Week 13 Review of the NFL


Denver has admitted to making a mistake

Now I agree that a season and a half is not nearly a long enough time for a NFL head coach to make his mark.  Josh McDaniels is still at an age (34) where he can be given another chance down the road to be a head coach.  I mean, Denver did start the ’09 season with a 6-0 record.  The overwhelming problem with him was not being the coach, but being the general manager.  How many times do we have to say that it’s too much to ask of a head coach to watch himself when it comes to personnel decisions?  He royally screwed up the Jay Cutler situation.  Cutler didn’t handle himself too well either, but McDaniels had a good quarterback in place and wanted to get his guy, Matt Cassell instead.  It happened again last year with wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  In training camp, Marshall was unhappy about his contract and was dogging it at practice.  There was video evidence of it and he was disciplined for it.  Everything seemed to be all right when the Broncos were winning.  As soon as the losing started, it boiled up and Marshall was suspended for the final game of 2009.  Marshall was then dealt to Miami and Denver left to put the pieces together.  Now this year the glaring need is a running back.  McDaniels traded away Peyton Hillis to Cleveland for quarterback Brady Quinn in the offseason.  I don’t believe Hillis would be doing exactly what he’s doing now with Denver, but one has to wonder why they needed to acquire Brady Quinn?  How’s that working out?  Since that 6-0 start last year the Broncos have lost 17 of their last 22 games under McDaniels.  That’s unacceptable, but how about owner Pat Bowlen just take away McDaniels’ GM title and have him focus on coaching instead.  This puts Denver back into the spotlight of mediocrity.  Something we haven’t said about them for over two decades.  Firing Mike Shanahan is now seen as a mistake and firing McDaniels is too.  The Broncos have panicked at a time when they needed to make an adjustment and look to the future they have instead of taking two steps back.

A season defining play

Troy Polamalu you could say is the biggest playmaker on defense in the NFL.  Bob Sanders, Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis and Brian Urlacher are a few others that come to mind.  However, Polamalu is a unique player.  When the Steelers have needed a big play at an important moment of the game, he’s always in the middle of it.  Take the Sunday night game against rival Baltimore.  Pittsburgh’s offense has been stagnant all night, yet the Steelers are only down by four.  There’s less than four minutes left in the game and the Ravens are in position to either run out the clock or force the Steelers to march down the field to try and win it.  Baltimore, on their own side of the field mind you, decide to pass the ball on 2nd and 5.  Low and behold, Troy Polamalu is free to hit quarterback Joe Flacco from his blind side and cause a fumble.  Pittsburgh now has a short field and plenty of time to score the go ahead touchdown.  They do and the question now is was that a season defining play and for whom?  Well, it was and for both teams.  Baltimore should have continued to run the ball and with that loss they are in a position to lose the division and maybe a playoff spot in the competitive AFC.  Pittsburgh has an edge on Baltimore for the division crown and keeps pace atop the AFC for a first round bye.  Both teams at the end of the year will look back at this game and one will ask what if and the other will say thank you Troy Polamalu.

What’s wrong with Peyton?

It’s easy to say that injuries to Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Joseph Addai have hurt the Colts passing game.  It’s also easy to say that the offensive line is in shambles.  Yet, no one seems to understand why Peyton Manning is struggling so much in the last six games.  Since their bye week, the Colts are 2-4.  Peyton has thrown 11 TD and 13 INT in that span.  Eleven of those thirteen interceptions have been in the last three games alone.  Now it seems to be too much of a coincidence that in the last six games, Dallas Clark has been out.  Austin Collie suffered a concussion.  Joseph Addai has a nagging shoulder injury and yes, the offensive line has been in shambles.  Gee, I just can’t seem to figure out why Peyton has been struggling.  He’s Peyton Manning.  A sure first ballot hall of famer.  He can make any receiver look good.  The defense hasn’t played up to par and the Colts aren’t running the ball as much as they should to take pressure off Manning and the passing game.  Yes, that has to be the reason for Manning’s struggles.  If the Colts can change their gameplan and run the ball more and the defense steps their game up, then maybe the Colts will take control of their division.
In all seriousness, when you put pressure on a pro bowl quarterback, he will look like an average quarterback every single game.  Not having Clark, Collie and Addai have affected him tremendously.  Clark isn’t there to block and save Peyton when he’s under pressure as his check down receiver.  Collie is the possession receiver who plays underneath Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.  Wayne is being constantly double teamed and Garcon is a non-factor.  Addai not only helps the running game, but the passing game as well by blocking and being a check down option.  Stop beating around the bush and trying to create a mystery when there isn’t any.  Peyton is still great, but he can’t be great all the time.

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