DENVER — Peyton Manning is hurt — and he’s sorry he hurt his team.
“I thought I felt good enough to play,” Manning said Sunday after the worst performance of his career in Denver’s 29-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Maybe it was a false feeling or a wrong feeling.”
Manning knew the Broncos (7-2) were already missing stars DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib and that Emmanuel Sanders was hurting.
So he gutted it out, telling his coach and athletic trainer he felt fine even though he’s been dealing with a sore right foot, throbbing ribs and aching right shoulder.
“By going out there and trying to help the team, I ended up hurting the team,” Manning said.
He finished the day with just 35 yards on 5-of-20 passing, zero touchdowns, four interceptions, two sacks and an almost unheard-of zero passer rating before being benched late in the third quarter in favor of longtime backup Brock Osweiler.
“He’s still a great quarterback — just not what he used to be,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said.
With his first, modest completion, Manning set another milestone, supplanting Brett Favre for most career passing yards. But the Chiefs (4-5) prevented him from getting the one record he really wanted: most career wins.
They did it on the strength of five interceptions, five field goals and two touchdowns by Charcandrick West, including an 80-yard catch from Alex Smith.
Manning entered the day with 71,836 yards through the air, two shy of Favre’s record and tied with Favre with 186 victories.
Asked if he pulled Manning because of injuries or ineffectiveness, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said, “To be honest with you, I was protecting him because I was worried about him.”
Kubiak promptly accepted the blame for the debacle, saying he was kicking himself for even playing Manning in the first place.
Manning, who refused to use injuries as an excuse, didn’t practice until Friday but on Saturday showed up in the trainer’s room with a new ailment — sore ribs.
“And I probably should have right there said, you know, no, he’s not going to go this week,” Kubiak said. “But he’s a competitor, he wanted to play.”