Does Peyton Manning strike fear?

Certainly the way he could play in the past does; the things he could do about a decade ago — or even back in 2013 — should.

Does Peyton Manning strike fear right now?

I don’t know about that.

Surely, his numbers don’t.

Unquestionably, what he’s been doing lately doesn’t. Not even in the least.

If you are someone on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense and you have that date with Manning and the Denver offense on Sunday, exactly what about the current form of this 39-year-old shell-of-his-former-self quarterback are you supposed to look at and be afraid of?

Let me know, because I can’t find it.

I’ve looked up, down and pretty much everywhere — I can’t figure out (outside of reputation) what guys like Cameron Heyward or Ryan Shazier or William Gay or Will Allen are supposed to frightened of; what they should look at in No. 18 and not just see some run-of-the-mill quarterback.

For as bad as the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has performed at times this season, it seems a stretch to me that, even with his history of remarkable play, Manning has much of an upperhand on them this weekend.

You see, these aren’t words knocking the brilliance and limitless talent that is Peyton Manning. He has achieved in the National Football League like few others have, throwing for 539 touchdowns and almost 72,000 yards while accumulating 197 wins off that enchanted right arm.

Instead, this is just logic. Or at least logic as I see it.

Again, what is any defense supposed to fear about a guy who has completed just 10 passes in game since the middle of November? Let me know if you know. I’m having a really hard time figuring that out.

What is a defense supposed to fear about a guy who is still working back from an injury to his heel who was never the most mobile guy in the world to begin with?

I’m not understanding what the Steelers’ defense is to be all that concerned about coming from a guy who has gone 10 for 29 for 104 yards with four interceptions and no touchdowns the last two times we have seen him on the football field.

And those two times were spaced out by more than a month.

There is no denying, because of that shoulder injury to Ben Roethlisberger, that he most likely won’t be his usual self on Sunday against the Broncos. His status is still in the balance, but I’d be shocked if we don’t see Ben out there.

This matchup — as just about all are in the NFL — will be billed in some regards as a clash of two quarterbacks. The telecast will make it Ben v. Peyton.

The newspapers and other media will tell us (at least in some way) how this is Ben v. Peyton.

Here’s the thing, however: I’m not so sure we’re going to see anything close to what we know as Peyton Manning on Sunday. Come to think of it, we probably will never see that Peyton Manning again.

You know the one. The one who strikes a ton of fear in defenses. That guy is done for good.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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