Manning misses tight end, Brady does not

With tight end Dallas Clark out for the season, Peyton Manning has seen his fair share of heavy pass rushes in the last three games. As a result, his production in those situations has dropped.

In the last three games, opponents have brought at least five pass rushers on 38 percent of Manning’s drop backs. Manning’s been sacked four times and his completion percentage is 54.2. In the Colts’ first six games, Manning faced five pass rushers or more 21.9 percent of the time with a 61.1 completion percentage and was sacked just three times.

While Manning and the Colts miss Clark, Tom Brady and the Patriots are making the most of their tight ends. Brady has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions when targeting his tight ends with a passer rating of 130.5. Only Philip Rivers and David Garrard have higher passer ratings this season when targeting tight ends.

Brady was not sacked on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and has been sacked 13 times this season. The Colts have, by far, the most conservative defense in terms of pass-rush numbers. Indianapolis has sent five pass rushers or more on less than 17 percent of opponent pass plays. The next lowest percentage is the Chiefs at 23 percent.

Packers at Vikings

Brett Favre leads the NFL with 16 interceptions. One reason for his high total is the fact that he’s underthrown receivers more often this season.

Brett Favre vs Packers
Facing 5+ Pass Rushers

Half of his 16 picks are classified as passes that were underthrown, and five of those eight interceptions were on throws that were more than 10 yards downfield.

Last season, Favre was nearly perfect against the Packers’ blitz, completing 16 of 18 attempts with three touchdowns. However, in their Week 7 matchup last month, Green Bay blitzed more often and Favre was far from perfect, throwing two interceptions against the added pass rush.

Browns at Jaguars

Jaguars QB David Garrard has thrown 14 touchdowns and just one interception in five wins this season. In three losses (Garrard did not play in the Jaguars’ loss to the Chiefs), he has one TD pass and six picks.

Early in the season, Garrard struggled on passes that were more than 10 yards downfield, but has improved greatly over his last two games. He’s averaging more than 20 yards per pass attempt on throws 11 yards-or-more downfield with three touchdowns and no interceptions.