The Broncos beat the Browns in overtime on Sunday to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the season, but Peyton Manning has had almost nothing to do with his team's success, and seems to be hurting more than he is helping.
Cleveland has the league's 30th-ranked defense, yet Manning threw three interceptions and now leads the league with 10 picks on the season. Overall, the offense has scored only one touchdown in its last 32 drives, and it came on a 75-yard play in the fourth quarter that was more a result of the receiver's speed than it was of Manning's greatness.
As fans were watching Denver struggle to beat a below-average Browns team, a large segment of them wanted Manning benched in favor of the unproven Brock Osweiler, who has never even started a game and has thrown just 30 passes in total over three professional seasons.
As Manning's teammates got word of this, they predictably weren't pleased, and rushed to their quarterback's defense.
"We're here to rally behind him," running back Ronnie Hillman said, via ESPN. "Peyton is our leader, our quarterback. People can say whatever they want. They don't know. And this offense is right there. It's going to get going, and then people can ask about something else."
"We don't really care what people say," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "I know I just got to make more plays and make people be quiet on it. Me dropping a ball, they probably say something about Peyton after that. ... I bet there are people that blame Peyton when I dropped the ball. He's our quarterback. Our leader. I know I can make more plays for him."
Hillman had even stronger words for Broncos fans on Twitter.
It's hard to imagine the Broncos benching Manning as long as they're at the top of the standings, but if his poor play continues, so will the outcry from fans who want him replaced.
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