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Chiefs vs. Colts: Does Romeo Crennel Have Peyton Manning's Number?

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There have been a lot of one-liners thrown around this week about the Kansas City Chiefs, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. I'd like to at least statistically shine light on one of those this afternoon (as reader Aiken_Drum did this week) - Romeo Crennel's history against Peyton Manning. 

Crennel was the New England Patriots defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2005. He became the Cleveland Browns head coach in 2006, a post he held through the 2008 season. During those eight seasons, Crennel faced Peyton Manning six times in the regular season. He faced the Colts and Manning four times as DC of the Pats and twice as head coach of the Browns. 

I've heard a number of people mention that Romeo Crennel does a fantastic job game planning against Peyton Manning.

And guess what? That's true. Sort of. 

Here's what an average game from Peyton Manning looks like when he's playing a Crennel led defense:

  • 81.2 passer rating;
  • Completes 65.5% of his passes;
  • 236 yards passing;
  • 1 INT and 1 passing TD; and,
  • TD to INT ratio against Crennel is 6/8. 
Before I get into the details, it seems like Crennel's defensive game plans against Peyton Manning are hit or miss, with Manning unfortunately excelling at home in Lucas Oil Stadium. 

My big question is: Can the Chiefs win by holding Peyton Manning to stats in the list above? I say yes, they can win if that happens. As Joel's been saying, I think a special teams play or a turnover or two decides this game in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Now, I take a look at Romeo Crennel's games against Peyton Manning as a defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots (2001-04) and his time as head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2005-08). Hopefully this can help shed some empirical data on just how good Crennel's game plans are against Manning. Of course, the variable in all of this -- and it's a big one -- is that the same players on the Pats and Browns aren't on the Chiefs.

 

2001 

Away 9/30: Peyton Manning passes for 196 yards, completes 59% of his passes and threw three picks. Add in Manning's one passing TD and that gives his a 48.2 QB rating. Crennel's defense sacked Manning twice. 

Home 10/21: Manning played much better at home against the Patriots this time, passing for 335 yards, completing 65% of his passes and throwing one TD. His QB rating was 106.9.

2003

Home 11/30: Despite throwing one interception, Peyton Manning had a big day in Indianapolis against Crennel's defense. Manning passed for 278 yards, completed 60% of his passes and threw four TDs. His QB rating was 95.7.

2004

Away 9/9: Another solid game from Manning although it wasn't a blockbuster. He threw for 256 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and had a 93.5 passer rating. 

2005

Home 9/25: Rome Crennel's first test against Peyton Manning as a head coach went pretty well. Crennel and his team held Manning to a 89.9 QB rating, 228 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception. However, Manning completed nearly 83% of his passes.

2008

Away 11/30: The Browns crushed Peyton and company this game. Manning was stymied to the tune of 125 passing yards, 2 INTs and a QB rating of 46.8.

Conclusion

While Romeo Crennel is far from "owning" Peyton Manning, playoffs aside even, it seems like Crennel's game plan has absolutely nailed Manning on a number of occasions. 

The big question for the Chiefs: Is this weekend one of those occasions?