Peyton's place: Atop list of NFL's comeback QBs

Broncos’ Manning has 48 career comeback wins; Panthers’ Newton has 1

jperson@charlotteobserver.comNovember 9, 2012 

  • Comeback Kings With his comeback last week at Cincinnati, Broncos QB Peyton Manning now has more game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime than any quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. A list of the top five comeback quarterbacks since 1970:
    Total
    1. Peyton Manning 48
    2. Dan Marino 47
    3. Brett Favre 43
    4. John Elway 40
    5. Warren Moon 35

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has seen Peyton Manning in Papa John’s ads and Buick commercials.

He has also watched Manning direct a few of his NFL-record 48 fourth-quarter comebacks.

Newton and Manning, who are represented by the marketing firm IMG, have the ads in common.

The fourth-quarter comebacks? Not so much.

Manning, the future hall of fame quarterback in his first season in Denver, broke Dan Marino’s record for fourth-quarter or overtime comebacks since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger last week when he brought the Broncos back for a 31-23 win at Cincinnati.

Newton, who broke Manning’s rookie record for passing yards last season, has one game-winning drive: a five-play, 55-yard touchdown march with about seven minutes left in a 16-10 win against Jacksonville on Sept. 25, 2011. Newton had the Panthers in position late in two other games last season, but Olindo Mare missed short field goals in losses to Minnesota and Atlanta.

After producing one comeback with Indianapolis in 1998, Manning’s reputation as a clutch performer took off his second season when he orchestrated seven comebacks.

Newton is looking forward to facing Manning on Sunday when the Panthers (2-6) host Denver.

“To say I’m a big fan of Peyton Manning’s is an understatement. He’s transcending to a god of the game. He’s obviously a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Newton said. “What he has done for this game and the records he has set is just extraordinary. It’s going to be exciting to watch. I’m saying this in the best way possible: I’m not wishing him any luck for this game.”

Newton had a couple of chances to make fourth-quarter magic this season. But he had a crucial fumble against the Falcons, and misfired on a throw into the end zone in the final minutes against Seattle.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the fourth-quarter problems are not a Newton problem, but a team problem.

“We’ve had a couple close ones this year that if we make a play, now we’re talking about this is the signature (drive) ,” Rivera said. “It’s not just him, but it’s us as a team and it falls on the other guys as well. We’re looking for that opportunity.”

Newton said little things get magnified in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line.

“It’s about putting your head on the right side (of a defender), not the left side. Finishing the blocks, finishing the route. Putting the football in a position where he (a receiver) can catch it and run,” Newton said. “Everybody has to be accountable in those type of situations.”

In eight games with the Broncos, Manning has orchestrated three come-from-behind victories. Denver (5-3) overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit at San Diego to win 35-24 in Week 6.

Rivera said Manning uses “the first few quarters” to get a feel for the defense.

“He’ll look you over and try to get a sense and a feel, and when they get to the sidelines they talk about what just happened and what they just went through,” Rivera said. “That’s why those sideline pictures are so important to a guy like him because he controls so much at the line of scrimmage as far as audibling and checking.

“And probably by the fourth quarter if you haven’t changed things up or done something different, he cuts it loose.”

The Panthers do very little audibling with Newton, although Rivera said Newton has built-in checks to kill a play and go with another call against certain defensive looks.

Person: 704-358-5123 Twitter: @josephperson

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