Demaryius Thomas enters week nine with just one touchdown on the season, so will he get back on track against the Colts on Sunday?
The Denver Broncos selected Demaryius Thomas out of Georgia Tech with the 22nd pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Thomas comes off of the best season of his career in 2014, totaling 111 receptions for 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns. His reception and receiving yard totals were both career-highs for the wide receiver, but the 11 touchdowns were second-best to his 14 touchdowns in 2013. However, this season, Demaryius Thomas, to date, only caught one touchdown through the first eight weeks of the season.
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The Denver Broncos travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in week nine. Peyton Manning returns to face his old team, and he surely wants to show Jim Irsay what he let walk away. Demaryius Thomas has not recorded a touchdown since week three against the Detroit Lions, and he is currently on a four-week dry spell. Despite putting together back-to-back games of 100-plus receiving yards, Thomas failed to find the end zone in both weeks.
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Since becoming a starter for the Denver Broncos in 2012, Demaryius Thomas’ lowest touchdown total sat at 10 in 2012, his first season as a regular. Also, the four-week touchdown drought is Thomas’ longest drought since week seven through week 10 in 2014. However, the Broncos’ offense looks to be finding their stride. In week eight, Peyton Manning threw for the most yards of the season against the Green Bay Packers. Moreover, Demaryius Thomas benefitted from the increase in Manning’s production.
Over the past two weeks, Demaryius Thomas received plenty of targets from Manning. In week six against the Cleveland Browns, Thomas saw a season-high 17 targets come his way, and Thomas turned those 17 targets into 10 receptions for 111 yards. Following Thomas’ impressive showing in week six, he put together his best game of the 2015-2016 season, accumulating 11 targets. He finished week eight with eight receptions for 168 yards, but the end zone eluded Thomas for yet another week.
Against the Green Bay Packers, on passes thrown 10 yards or longer, Peyton Manning completed four of his six passes to Demaryius Thomas for 119 yards. The receiving yards on deep passes matched the second-best total of Thomas’ career. Outside of touchdowns, Thomas is on pace to match his production from the previous three seasons (all of which were Pro Bowl seasons). Thomas enters the week nine matchup, against the Colts, on pace for 128 catches and 1,589 yards.
Although Demaryius Thomas in on pace for a career-high in receptions, Thomas may post his lowest touchdown total since his rookie season. Despite Thomas’ struggles to find the end zone, he likely ends his drought sooner rather than later. However, Vontae Davis presents a tough matchup for Thomas in week nine. Outside of week one and week five, Thomas accumulated 92 receiving yards or more in every other game this season.
Manning looks to be improving on his deep passes, and everyone knows that he prefers playing indoors rather than outside. Thus, Manning seems poised to continue his week eight progress heading into Indy. With the addition of Vernon Davis, the Denver Broncos have three near-elite pass-catching options for Manning to target. The Colts give up the second-most yards to tight ends in the NFL, so perhaps, that frees up Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders is likely the beneficiary from Vontae Davis covering Thomas, but do not rule out Thomas getting the better of Vontae.
While Demaryius Thomas only has one touchdown on the season, he possesses the ability to score touchdowns in bunches. Manning looks to be throwing the ball downfield with more velocity, and that bodes well for Thomas’ big-play ability. Therefore, Thomas looks poised to break his slump against a poor Colts defense. Keep an eye on D-Tom’s performance during the Broncos’ week nine tilt with Peyton’s former team.