|The Bengals defense allowed one touchdown pass to Pittsburgh in their last game and will attempt to slow Peyton Manning this Sunday. (AP Images)|
Denver QB Peyton Manning has posted a number of ugly marks in the record books and box scores of opponents over the years. The Bengals are no exception.
Manning is 7-0 during his career against the Bengals.
The two most recent wins came in 2010, a 23-17 Indianapolis victory, and in 2008, when Manning and the Colts carved Cincinnati in a 35-3 win. Both were in Indianapolis.
On Sunday, he returns to Paul Brown Stadium for the first time since 2005 when he outdueled Carson Palmer, 45-37. Comparing the 2005 team to the 2012 version offers little in the way of context. The best comparison for how the Bengals will fare against Manning with the Broncos comes in looking at defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's history against him.
He's actually enjoying limited success.
In the 2010 defeat, a defense that finished year in the middle of the pack -- much as the current crop appears destined to do -- held Manning to 20 of 36 passing, 185 yards and zero touchdowns.
The 2008 game didn't go as well with Manning torching Zimmer, who was then in his first year running the Bengals defense. Manning finished 26 of 32 for 277 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The way the Broncos are rolling lately, Manning could be bound for a 2008 repeat. He has thrown for 300-plus yards in five consecutive games. They've scored 69 points over the last six quarters.
The numbers would insist this sets up as a disaster scenario for the Bengals. They rank 20th in the league in yards allowed per pass play, and the Broncos have reeled off 24 plays of 22 or more yards the last four games.
A deeper look shows the Bengals pass defense played exponentially better the last five games in comparison with the disastrous first two.
Stat: First two games compared to the last five games
- Yards allowed per game: 325.5/227.8
- Completion percentage: 71%/65%
- Yards per attempt: 8.4/5.82
The pass defense looked among the worst in team history through two games but has now settled at a more reasonable level. Of course, all of that doesn't necessarily mean they will be able to slow down Manning.
“He's been around for a while, so he's seen almost everything,” CB Leon Hall said. “You can disguise (coverages), but probably what we're going to try to do he may have seen before last week and years before. So we've got to go out there and really out-execute, which is hard against a player like him.”
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