Peyton Comes Up Peyton

Oct 22, 2013 4:12 AM EST

The best thing about Sunday night’s game between the Colts and Broncos is that it’s over. The circus has left Indianapolis and is on the way back to Denver. Maybe now the national sports media can get back to their regular coverage instead of focusing on one regular season NFL game for an entire week straight. 

The storybook ending never materialized. Instead, it was re-written, in real time, by a younger, more mobile, bigger armed version of the Homecoming King. 

The game itself was terrible. No flow at all. The final score would suggest a shootout. A back and forth game that came down to the wire. I suppose it could have. Denver technically had a chance to win it late but anyone watching had to feel like the game was decided by halftime. 

The Colts looked faster and hungrier on defense. On offense they moved the ball effectively, exposing the Broncos porous secondary for what it will ultimately be, this season’s reason for postseason failure.  

The entire Broncos team looked lost, as if this whale-sized moment just swallowed them whole.

Jim Irsay is grinning somewhere. The man the media killed all week as being disrespectful to Peyton Manning and accused of taking cheap shots is smiling. For all his supposed disrespect and cheap shots he can take solace in the fact the one thing his critics can’t call him today is wrong. He was right about moving on in favor of Andrew Luck. He was right about Peyton’s inability to take his team to the highest level. He was right that the future in Indy is infinitely brighter than it was just two years ago.

Peyton Manning came up small. The type of performance usually saved strictly for the biggest of playoff moments. Yes he threw for 386 yards but no one watching that game would say he wasn’t outplayed by Andrew Luck and his 228. Peyton was off all night. The ball was coming out wobbly with reduced velocity and limited accuracy. His receivers always seemed to be a few yards from where the ball was landing. Even on the ones they caught. He held it too long, took too many hits and audibled to the run too often. The last time being when he handed it Ronnie Hillman to fumble the game away for good with three minutes left. Now, the Broncos have to hope that Manning’s performance was just a bad game in a big moment and not a long-term injury sustained when Mathis hit him in the end zone in the second quarter. Again, he didn’t look right even prior to that hit.

On the other side, Andrew Luck was fantastic. He controlled the game under center and more importantly he controlled the moment all night. While the focus was supposed to be on Manning, everyone watching couldn’t take their eyes off of Luck. Whether or not he’ll ultimately have a better career than Manning will take another 15 years to determine. However, anyone watching last night has to concede he has a legitimate chance to one day be the greatest quarterback in Colts history.

 A week ago, not even Jim Irsay would have been crazy enough to admit thinking that could happen.

Week 7 Late Hits

The call to end the Jets/Patriots game was horrendous. The Jets outplayed the Pats for 65 minutes and had every right to the win but that call can’t end the game. Yes, those are the calls the Patriots have lived off of for years and no, nobody feels bad for them but the officials need to keep the flag off the field in that situation.

Tom Brady has now thrown only one touchdown pass in the past three games. And that was the miracle to beat the Saints with 10 seconds on the clock in week six. I wonder how much he regrets leaving money on the table in the hope that management would use that extra cash to re-sign Wes Welker or surround him with more talent at the skill positions.

Even after a loss like that, Brady gets to go home to his supermodel wife and his $ 20 million home. Not too bad. Tom Brady’s life is so good that I would guess his billionaire owner Robert Craft would trade places with him in a second.

My father once told me about watching Knicks games on TV back in the 70s. Apparently, back then people used to shut the sound off on their TVs and turn on their radios to listen to Marv Albert call the game instead of the television color guys. Listening to Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels call Sunday Night Football reminded me of that story. Unfortunately, it’s 2013 and I don’t own a radio.

The Buccaneers are in a free fall and are now going to be without Doug Martin the rest of the year. How long until Greg Schiano is fired? I’d set the over/under at 24 hours after the season ends and I’m taking the under.

Why are the Bucs paying Darrelle Revis $16 million to play zone coverage and why aren’t the Broncos calling them right now to see what they want for him in a trade?

The Cowboys/Eagles game was brutal. Two of the top five offenses completely forgot to show up further proving that when it comes to divisional games forget all that you think you know. It doesn’t apply.

Sam Bradford is out the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Even before that it was looking more and more likely that, much like Alex Smith, Bradford was going to need a change of scenery and some stability to ever be truly successful. He has the skills but the Rams proved once and for all they have no idea how to tap into them when they hired Brian Schottenheimer fresh off of Mark Sanchez’s rapid development in New York.

Brian Cushing is hurt again because of low hit on a block. How the NFL can claim they care about player safety and continue to allow these types of cheap blocks escapes me. 

Jermichael Finley’s injury is being described as a neck injury. It very well may be. However, he got hit in the head a couple of weeks after suffering a massive concussion. Pretending the two aren’t related is a leap of faith the NFL has not earned.

Reggie Wayne’s season is over with an ACL injury. I’m afraid that might be it for his career. A great pro ticketed for the Hall of Fame.

Jacksonville might go 0-16. If they couldn’t give a San Diego team playing on a short week, after a cross-country trip, and early morning start (their time) a run for their money I don’t see them beating anyone else.

A.J. Green is a top-3 talent at wide receiver. If he played with a Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers instead of average armed Andy Dalton he’d be an absolute monster. Dalton underthrew the 82-yard touchdown that A.J. made a great play on and underthrew another route later in the game where he beat his man for another potential long strike. With a great QB under center, A.J. is making a serious claim at the title of best receiver in the NFL.

The Cardinals are succeeding in wasting a second year of Larry Fitzgerald’s prime. In fact, Carson Palmer is making it look like a certainty.