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Where’s Your Head Linesman Now?

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Our brief national nightmare is over.

About the call that Cowboys fans will be complaining about before people laugh at them again, correct me if I’m wrong but I think it was the correct application of a stupid rule — like the Brady tuck call — as opposed to a bad call, like (to pick an entirely random example) picking up a clearly correct DPI flag after the penalty had been announced and marked off.

To turn to the next game, helluva job by the Colts front office. Trading a first-round pick for a replacement-level running back seemed like a great idea at the time — what went wrong?

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  • sleepyirv

    To be fair, if referees aren’t going to enforce good, logical rules how can we expect them to enforce stupid, arbitrary rules?

    • catclub

      Did they show the ball hitting the ground? I saw his arm cupped under the ball, which then bounced up and he juggled it and then held it.

      • ASV

        Yeah, the angle from the sideline next to the end zone shows the nose of the ball hitting the ground and beginning to bounce out. Not a tough call (with the benefit of replay), and exactly the play the rule exists for, IMO. He caught it in the air, came down hitting the ball on the ground and losing control of it in the process.

  • McAllen

    Yeah, it seems a little iffy but obviously it would be hypocritical of me to complain too much.

    Also the announcers were trying to say that Dallas should have kicked a field goal there, which seems nuts to me.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, Garrett should coach more like Jim Caldwell.

  • c u n d gulag

    Heh, heh, heh, Chris Christie…

    No celebration today!

    Just the tears of a fat clown, pouring down on his 2-dozon Krispy Kreme donuts!!!

    • apogean

      You know who else is fat? Al Gore, that’s who.

      • rea

        Let’s not discriminate against the horizontally challenged.

        • Horizontally enhanced, you mean.

  • Mudge

    Only a controversial play like that, following a week after the Cowboys essentially told the Lions to “get over it”, will allow the appropriate whining and hypocrisy to flow from Cowboy fans. Their off-season is well set up.

    • Joseph Slater

      Especially ironic given that the rule in question (“complete the process” is known at least to Lions fans as the “Calvin Johnson” rule from a game against the Bears a couple of years ago.

  • Colin

    Christie is sad, but Paul Ryan celebrates. It’s still better this way, but only barely.

    https://twitter.com/morningmoneyben/status/554386018145951745

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, let’s see how he feels next Sunday.

      • Denverite

        Karma police
        Arrest this man
        He talks in maths
        He buzzes like a fridge
        He’s like a detuned radio

    • McAllen

      Ryan cheers for the publicly-owned Packers?

      • endaround

        If he didn’t, even his Gerrymandered to death district wouldn’t be safe

  • Joe_JP

    Here’s a visual:

    https://twitter.com/TicketRadio/status/554387636195188736

    Few Mets players upset, lol & I think the overturned call in the Seattle game clearer. Not sure if an uphold there would be call for much criticism. Shrugs. Karma and all.

  • Fighting Words

    Well, at least Jason Garrett went for it on 4th and 2. Troy Aikman was livid that the Cowboys didn’t try to kick a field goal (down by 5, with 4 minutes left in the game).

    I’m not a Cowboys fan, but I don’t think that call is that easily an incomplete pass. It appeared to me that Dez Bryant made a “football move” by taking two steps when he had the ball (I thought he had control), and it appeared that after he took the two steps, he was reaching for the goal line to try and break the plane of the goal line. And that’s when the ball touched the ground.

    Great game though. One of the best games I have seen this season.

    • Fighting Words

      Also, I’m embarrassed to say this, but I am a sucker for those new McDonald’s commercials.

      • allium

        I’m terrified they have enough cash to pay for the rights to all those archenemies.

      • uandme

        Why the shame? I just heard it a few moments ago and said: “self, that’s a good tune”.
        The imagery flew by as I was distracted. I’d like to see/hear it again, but it gives me no further incentive to eat a big mac.

      • NonyNony

        I like the commercials, but I don’t think they’ll be very effective for McDonald’s. I don’t think any amount of “cute” will get people who aren’t eating McD’s burgers to come in and try them again, and people who are already eating there are probably eating there exactly as often as they want to – ads aren’t going to change that. Also I keep thinking they’re iTunes ads for the first second or so before my brain kicks in to remind me that they’re McD’s ads for some reason.

        (If they’d commit a good sum of money to making their food fast again they might get some customers back. They have this misguided idea that people like eating their food instead of seeing their food as a convenient thing to grab and eat when they have no time for the alternative.)

    • furikawari

      Here’s the rule in question:

      A forward pass is complete . . . if a player, who is inbounds:
      (a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
      (b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
      (c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).
      . . .
      Item 1: Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

      Seems straightforward to me. The timer on “football move” starts after you get both feet down. He got both feet down, then took one more stumbling step before contacting the ground, losing control of the football. The “football move” doesn’t matter if you’re applying the “going to the ground” rule, and it would be difficult to argue you shouldn’t.

      • jamesepowell

        I think you have it right. I watched a vine some one sent me to show that it should have been ruled complete, but it just doesn’t look like it to me.

        Full disclosure, I took Cowboys +6 so I don’t give a shit either way.

  • Denverite

    Isn’t “linseman” an Old English word for the guy who collects lye from the quarry?

  • Denverite

    OK, I’m out. See everyone at half.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Trent Richardson= healthy scratch today against Denver. Christ, what a terrible deal that’s been.

    • ASV

      At least the Browns wasted the pick.

  • CrunchyFrog

    The Richardson deal won’t go down in history with the same infamy as the Hershel Walker deal or the Ricky Williams deal, but it should. Yes, all three teams paid way too much for a back they thought would be their ticket to a championship, but the similarities end there. Walker and Williams were actually pro bowl-caliber backs, excellent at receiving and (more for Walker) blocking as well as running. Richardson is basically Archie Griffin – college running back who did great in his system but has at best replacement-level talent in the pros.

    Add to that the fact that in 1990 the view that a RB was essential to a championship was still widely held, with perhaps some justification, although it was starting to lose support when the Williams deal was made. But in 2013 most personnel guys believed that only an Adrian Petersen/Barry Sanders RB was worth a 1st round pick.

    • jamesepowell

      Trading a first-round pick for a replacement-level running back seemed like a great idea at the time — what went wrong?

      The Browns made sure that there was no recovery from their original mistake of drafting Richardson by using the Colts’ pick (with a trade up) to draft Manziel.

      • joe from Lowell

        I’m not saying Brian Hoyer is clearly better than Johnny Manziel. I’m saying just the opposite.

        I’m saying, it isn’t at all clear whether the career backup they signed for short money is better than their latest stud QB draft pick. That isn’t clear. It’s a very open question.

        Go Browns! Brady Quinn for ever!

    • Buckeye623

      Trent Richardson made a sex tape. Nobody has more experience having three people on top of him at all times. Do you think the tape starts with Trent seeing a pile of naked people, running into it and falling down?

      TR made his bones by running to where the hole should have been.. and at Bama, that was good enough. In the pros, he runs to darkness.

  • efgoldman

    Meanwhile, 2/3 of the way thru the first quarter, the Colts just do not look ready to play.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Spoke too soon.

      One of the Denver weaknesses is that if they start strong they don’t keep the pressure on. By that I mean, if your offense is marching down the field to the end zone and your defense is forcing 3-and-outs OF COURSE your opponent is going to start doing different things. But for some reason it takes Denver a few drives to figure out what changed and react accordingly.

    • Joe_JP

      isn’t it a thing for the Colts to have to come back from a deficit?

  • fledermaus

    I was at brunch watching the game with friends. Everyone knew the reversal was questionable at best, but no one likes Dallas. There was much mockery.

  • erick

    Seems like there are a few of these noncatches every year, the refs call them very consistently but ESPN reporters act all confused and shocked and talk about “eye tests”. Either 1) they are genuinely stupid and don’t understand the rules (very possible) or 2) are being deliberately obtuse to stoke controversy.

    When you say thing like according to the rules the call was correct, but my eyes say… What you are arguing is for a form of “rule nullification” where refs should arbitrarily not call rules that you disagree with, which is obviously absurd and would be chaos

    • Joe_JP

      Shows are starting to have a rules expert chime in — such an expert did so during the Seattle game, explaining right before it happened why the interception near the goal line would be overturned.

    • CrunchyFrog

      The rules are extremely difficult to interpret – the “act common to the game” thing. It’s actually better if rules are written to be simple with predictable rulings, even if some borderline cases end up not going the way maybe people think they should.

      An example was when they finally got rid of that “two feet in bounds unless pushed out of bounds then the ref decides if he would have gotten in bounds without being pushed” thing.

      As far as this call, well it’s in the area where I don’t think it’s clear either way. I’m thrilled that Dallas got jobbed after last week but don’t think this is a good thing for football in general.

      • Brien Jackson

        I think they ought to get rid of the “football move” nonsense. Two feet down in bounds with control of the football equals a catch. If you drop it after that it’s a fumble. Simple!

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yup. This rule would be easier to apply. It would mean more fumbles, but…fine, it’s not like the rules don’t massively favor the passing game on balance. And it would mean a few more circus catches are ruled catches…also fine. I don’t really see the downside.

          • Joe_JP

            “Football move” is apparently a term of art, since what bothered many people (including at least one NYG player who tweeted it!) was that it looked like some sort of “move” involving “football” did take place. It just didn’t count under the rules, apparently.

            • tsam

              I thought catching the ball was a football move. If you catch the ball, land both feet inbounds, in possession of the ball, that should be a catch.

        • royko

          It’s tricky, because catching the ball and going to the ground is a fluid activity. If you take out the “football move” rule, then there are more cases where people will argue over whether a player was going to the ground during a catch vs going to the ground after a catch was completed. If you take out the “going to the ground” rule, then there are more arguments over whether a player really had control in the split second before he crashed into the ground and lost the ball. And if you give the refs more leeway for broad interpretations so they can use common sense when making the calls, people will be mad because the applications aren’t consistent.

          I’m in favor of simplifying the catch rules, just because the additions haven’t really helped, but I just don’t think it’ll cut back on the amount of controversy. (In fact, most of these rules got added to help deal with particularly controversial plays.) Fans will just have less silly language to hang their frustrations on.

  • Where’s Your Head Linseman Now?

    I had not figured this blog for space opera.

  • CrunchyFrog

    Broncos seem content to average about 2 points per possession. That’s not going to cut it as Luck is on fire.

  • joe from Lowell

    Cowboys fans complaining about that call are sort of like McCain supporters in 2008 complaining about the media liking Obama.

    One one level, sure, maybe.

    But taking a larger view…I mean…seriously? You’re going to complain about this? You?

    • CrunchyFrog

      Maybe we can use the term “tire swing” for Cowboy fans.

    • Joe_JP

      Sports fans are supposed to be consistent and fair?

      • joe from Lowell

        Other sports fans are supposed to be consistent and fair.

        ;-)

        • Joe_JP

          oh okay. I’ll edit it to other sports fans for teams I don’t like.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Good analogy.

    • Murc

      Not sure I agree with this analogy, joe. I mean, it wasn’t really the fault of McCain supporters that he’d spent the better part of a decade being fellated by the Village media. Similarly, it isn’t really the fault of Dallas fans that there have been blown calls in favor of their team. I mean, what are they supposed to do that would change that, exactly?

      The only way it’s an example of hypocrisy is for people who were very specifically silent, or made excuses, when things went in their favor but suddenly got loudmouthed when it did not.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I’m going to write this now, knowing that it may look silly later if the Broncos come back today and pull off an amazing upset next week.

    For a long while I’ve felt that the epitaph on Manning’s Bronco era will be “Elway did everything he could to make Peyton successful. But the decision which ultimately condemned Peyton to having a one-championship career was one made a year before Manning became a free agent: hiring John Fox. Did Fox remind Elway of his own father Jack? Or was he looking for an anti-Reeves? Whatever the answer, while Fox exhibited the basic competence to lead a Tebow team to 8-8 and eek out an OT playoff victory his deficiencies at the highest levels meant a string of seasons ending in playoff defeats.”

    • efgoldman

      Could be worse. You could be a Bills fan (I’m not, either) and wonder why they hired a great defensive coach when what needs fixing is the offense.
      Somebody said, when Ted Williams was managing in Washington,”all he knows about pitching is, he hates it.” Well, all Rex knows about offense is he hates it.

      • Brien Jackson

        Their offense needs an infusion of talent, especially at QB, not a head coach with an offensive background.

  • Scott Lemieux

    Andrew Luck is not yet an elite QB, Exhibit X.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Seriously???? That’s 3rd and long. Resulting field position is same as punt without a return. They are coached to take that kind of risk in that situation.

      • Denverite

        The issue with that particular pick is that it probably saved Denver 15-20 seconds vs. a punt and return. It’s not 100% clear that that’s a trade you’re willing to make, but it’s not crazy either, especially because the net field change was 39 yards and not 49.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Fair point. As a Denver fan I liked the play precisely for the time savings.

          But I’ll bet he’s coached to take that risk. It’s OT like Pagano is a strong coach.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yes, this was a dumb comment, especially since Luck is having a hell of a game.

    • shah8

      The aura that he is, has driven a rather poor FO attitude. Luck doesn’t have the physical talent (his arm) to carry an entire offense, so he’s not truly safe to go with in doing shootout games.

      OTOH, he’d be perfectly great for a defensive team. He doesn’t mess up plays, other than believe in them too much. You can keep him in a conservative passing offense–this year, Luck’s passing offense is considerably more conservative than his first or second year in terms of what windows his OC is willing to have him throw into. However, the FO is consistent on drafting lots of offensive talent high, when the defense needs a tremendous injection of talent. Trent Richardson is the worst manifestation of that tendency. In a year or two, you’re going to get something like what Matt Ryan is today. Except that Luck is a viable rushing threat.

      • sherm

        Luck has a much better arm that Matt Ryan imo.

        • LosGatosCA

          No contest as a matter of fact. I don’t know how anyone can look at the last two weeks and mention Matt Ryan in the same day as Andrew Luck.

  • Denverite

    Er, that could have been, I dunno, better? Worse?

    So glad I got a new bottle of Monopolowa this morning.

    • CrunchyFrog

      2nd worst first half in Manning’s playoff career. 7/18 passing.

      It’s been a great career. But this whole season has been a sign it’s done.

      • Bufflars

        Yeah, Peyton’s first half was worse than Rodgers’. I think there must be something wrong with him, he just doesn’t look like himself.

        • jamesepowell

          He’s going to be 39 in a couple of months

    • CrunchyFrog

      Meanwhile 3rd and 16. Barely in field goal range. What do championship DCs call? Whatever, it won’t be a vanilla 4-man front with everyone else in extremely obvious basic cover 2.

      Is this Del Rio? Or Fox? But this has been the problem all this year.

      Still rooting a comeback but I’ll be okay with a loss if Elway does in fact fire Mr Coach-not-to-Lose.

      • CrunchyFrog

        The Sky Sports announcers here in the UK (they fill the time gap between what UK TV allows for ads and what US TV permits) are speculating that Del Rio doesn’t want to be passed up for an HC job again this year due to being in the playoffs too long. Obviously a joke, but what the hell.

        • witlesschum

          What strikes me about that is, you can’t imagine a single U.S. announcer making that joke. They’re all much too much company men and suck-ups. Witness Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth waxing about Roger Goodell’s integretah, or so I saw people being outraged about.

      • Brien Jackson

        Sounds like the way Del Rio’s JAguars’ defenses were run, so…

    • howard

      there is, of course, no question that game in, game out, peyton is a much better qb than eli.

      but i’m sure peyton would trade that off for the two rings that eli has rather than his one.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Was.

        I’m sure Peyton’s done.

        Look, the fact that Eli has 2 rings and Peyton 1 should, by itself, end forever the practice of rating QBs on number of Super Bowl rings. It won’t, but it should.

        MacMahon better than Marino? Plunkett better than Peyton? Aikman better than Elway? Get real.

        • howard

          of course.

          but let’s not lose sight: these guys play to win titles. sure, talent at this level also comes with ego, and i’m sure they want to end up in the hall of fame too, but i’m willing to bet that no one goes into the pros preferring to end up in the hall of fame but not winning a championship.

          and so if peyton’s done, i have no doubt that he will not be happy that he only got to be part of one championship team, and frankly, i suspect deep down he would trade his career for eli’s.

          which is not to say that number of rings in any way correlates to qb quality, but it ain’t irrelevant to these guys themselves either.

          • CrunchyFrog

            We agree on both points.

            Marino will go to his grave pissed off about this.

  • Does Christie have a crush on that hideous rictus? Plus Skeletor seems to be ignoring the Gov., making Christie’s pathetic puppy-dog expression even sadder.

    Also, you can all pretend you’re football-loving real Americans until you’re blue in the face, but real real Americans know you’re still a buncha limp-wristed Commies.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      kinda reminds me of that pic of w bush holding hands with the saudi prince, only christie looks less self conscious. the other thought that occurs to me is that jones should have tightened up *all* the skin on his head, not just what he can see straight-on in the mirror

  • Rob Patterson

    How about the UC/late hit call in the first half on TJ Lang, when the Cowboys guy threw the receiver to the ground AFTER Lang made his supposedly late hit/block? If the block was late then so was the tackle! Do tacklers have a greater right to hit after the whistle than an OL?

    • sherm

      More of a dick move than unnecessary roughness. He was playing to the whistle, which is legal, although often unnecessary.

  • ASV

    Somebody should really remind Josh Cribbs how fair catches work.

  • Denverite

    NO JIM CALDWELL DON’T LOOK OH MY GOD

    • CrunchyFrog

      Whatever. It was one of the dumbest 4th down calls ever. Extremely lucky Anderson converted.

      I keep reading that Gase and Del Rio are in high demand for HC positions. I’m baffled, myself, but perhaps this is an opportunity for Denver.

      • efgoldman

        I keep reading that Gase and Del Rio are in high demand for HC positions.

        Top assistants on good teams are always considered. Then a lot of them are Peter Principaled.

        • CrunchyFrog

          See: Norv Turner and David Wannstadt

          • Scott Lemieux

            Apparently, Gary Kubiak may get the Bears job and become this generation’s Norv.

          • njorl

            Norv was a decent coach. You have to accept that the 20th best coach in the league probably deserves to be a head coach. Probably only a dozen or so coaches at a time are completely undeserving of being in the job.

            • CrunchyFrog

              He did deserve that first job – heck, in 1993 no one knew that the same Cowboys offense would be if anything more effective with Ernie Zampese as OC – even after dumbshit Switzer took over as HC!

              After years of mediocrity at Washington, though, it should have been obvious that Turner wasn’t HC material. But like so many other recycled coaches Turner kept getting chances. Granted, the SD case was basically due to a GM’s egomania – first, in firing his HC long after all the replacement candidates were signed, then sticking to his guns for years despite tons of evidence that Turner still wasn’t HC material.

      • Denverite

        You’re interfering with my Jim Caldwell shtick.

        • CrunchyFrog

          You do know that until this year John Fox was exactly as bad as Caldwell on 4th down, right? Freak – if there was ONE thing Tebow was good at it was QB sneaks, but Fox never called one on 4th down.

          • Brien Jackson

            Question for eternity; how much different would Peyton’s career look if he hadn’t been saddled with Mora, Dungy, Caldwell, and Fox for head coaches?

            • CrunchyFrog

              Sigh.

              Look, this is an age-old conundrum. What if Archie Manning gets Bill Walsh and Joe Montana is stuck with 60s-70s Saints? I guarantee you Joe doesn’t have 4 SB rings now – probably not one.

              Mora Sr never won a playoff game in the NFL (0-6). Tony Dungy was overly conservative – we all know about how he brought Tampa to respectability but he never won more than 10 games there. He did better with Peyton because, well, Peyton. But I still think that the only reason he has a ring is that a) they fell so far behind in the AFCC against the Pats that the conservative shit was dumped and they let Peyton be Peyton, and b) in the Super Bowl he ran into an even worse playoff coach, Lovie Smith. Then he gets “I’ll never go for it on 4th down even if it means the world ends” Jim Caldwell. Then John “OMG – they scored a tying touchdown. I am in shock. No, Peyton, don’t try to get a winning FG with 38 seconds and 2 timeouts. I have shit my pants. Let’s hope for magic in overtime.” Fox as his coach, followed by John “Super Bowl? There is never noise in the Super Bowl. I know we haven’t practiced a silent count for 4 weeks, no point in doing it now – we won’t need it against Seattle.” Fox.

              Look, swap Peyton and Brady and Belichek is already the first coach to win 5+ super bowls.

              • Scott Lemieux

                they scored a tying touchdown. I am in shock. No, Peyton, don’t try to get a winning FG with 38 seconds and 2 timeouts.

                That really was the definitive John Fox moment. IIRC, it had a lot of defenders in comments here, too; old-school bullshit has a lot of pull on people.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I can sort of get that one from the standpoint of worrying that, say, a couple offensive linemen might be shell-shocked by the hail mary or something and you didn’t want to have a colossal fuck up gift wrap the Ravens a game winning field goal or something.

                  What was really bizarre, and even more bizarre in hindsight, was calling three running plays on the possession BEFORE the hail mary, when a first down would have iced the game. I mean for fuck’s sake, you have a mediocre at best Ravens’ selling out in desperation to stop the run…and you’re too scared of an incompletion to let Peyton fucking Manning try ONE play action pass?

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Ironically two years later Peyton proved just how stupid that decision was, although that wasn’t his intention.

                  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nfl-week-3-seahawks-broncos-bengals-backup-quarterbacks/

              • jeer9

                Look, swap Peyton and Brady and Belichek is already the first coach to win 5+ super bowls.

                Crunchy,
                I don’t have a problem with deriding SB rings as the key criteria in determining a QB’s quality, but pretending that Peyton would have been the difference-maker in either of those two SB losses is pretty silly.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  I wasn’t thinking specifically of the two losses to the Giants – more just that in general, with a slightly higher caliber QB and lots of close losses in the playoffs Belichek would have a bette playoff record.

                  However, we’re playing “what if” here. If you want to argue Brady was as good as (or better than) Manning during those years I can’t prove you wrong, although I disagree.

              • marduk
              • Bufflars

                It’s terrible, but I think of this Onion headline every time Lovie is mentioned:

                “Lovie Smith Becomes First African-American Coach To Lose Super Bowl”

  • skip

    Seems there has to be some ambivalence about this result. Dallas is done, but so is Christie’s commission of political malpractice.

  • Brien Jackson

    Ya know, I think something’s wrong with Peyton’s arm.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’m really beginning to wonder if we’re seeing his last game here.

      • Denverite

        55/45

        • efgoldman

          55/45

          The more open receivers he misses, the higher the odds.

        • CrunchyFrog

          99/1

      • Brien Jackson

        I’ve pretty much thought for weeks that he has to be having problems with his neck/shoulder, and thought it was at least 50/50 that this was it for him.

        • Denverite

          My 55 is retirement.

          • CrunchyFrog

            I say 99%. Just about every observer is saying that right now.

            There is no point. He’s 38 and can’t hit 50% of his throws or any long ones. Unless there is a known neurological problem that can be fixed he needs to stop for his own sake.

            • Brien Jackson

              Meh, I don’t think he’s putting himself at a particularly high risk continuing to play if he thinks he’ll feel better after an offseason of treatment and rest. The question is more whether it’s going to get better enough to let him play, or if it’s going to continue to limit his throwing ability as it has for the past 8 games or so.

              • CrunchyFrog

                Not many QBs have it at age 39. Those who kept going did so-so (Moon, DeBerg) relying heavily on experience and an ultra-tight OL to make up for everything else.

                Peyton’s style is more suitable to playing into his 40s than for most QBs, but if neurological problems prevent him from making accurate passes beyond 5 yards there is really no point.

                • Brien Jackson

                  To be clear, Peyton doesn’t have any neurological problems so far as I know. He’s got physical issues in his neck, but that’s not the same as having brain problems.

    • CrunchyFrog

      It’s not new. I know I’ve read Barnwell’s stats on why it’s not so bad (QBR down from 80 to 70 or something), but this has been an issue from week 1 and got much worse in mid-season.

      Even in the games that looked great statistically, like both Oakland games, he struggled with basic accuracy.

      And his decision making has been flaky. Having had a father go through the Alzheimer’s decline I really hope Peyton is okay mentally, and do not want him to struggle through another season.

      I think he knows it, too. That recent declaration about coming back next year I think was to reassure the team – I suspect he knows this is his last year.

      • efgoldman

        How much of a cap hit?
        Also, all the money Elway spent on defense isn’t going to do any good without a QB.

        • Lord Jesus Perm

          IIRC from a piece that I read from a few weeks back, it’s $21.5 million.

          EDIT: Here’s the link.

          http://www.milehighreport.com/2013/5/19/4346278/peyton-mannings-contract-restructure-provides-cap-relief-in-2013-2014

          • CrunchyFrog

            No. $0. The contract was for $18M/year, with guarantees kicking in *after* the medical evaluation after year one. By year 4 it’s all year-to-year.

            The defense contracts are all for 2 years, so next year is the real question. Look, Brock Osweiler is not the answer unless the question is “who is about as good as Brady Quinn?” I have no idea what Elway will do but I can only hope he has some idea.

            Here’s for weirdness: he rehires Shanahan and forces the Bears to re-do Cutler’s contact so they eat all of the signing bonus and give him a suitable salary.

        • Denverite

          I don’t think it’s anything if he retires. He pretty much signed a one-year-at-a-time guaranteed deal.

          Both Talib and Ware only have significant cap implications for next year. After that and they’re free and clear.

          The Broncos are good enough in the rest of the roster that I think they’re an 8-8 or 9-7 team in 2015 if Manning walks away. But they may not want to be.

          • Brien Jackson

            I think there’s enough talent there to be a 9-11 team…provided that they can get a serviceable stopgap quarterback. With Brock Osweiler or someone similar I don’t see much of a difference between them and the 2011 Colts.

            • CrunchyFrog

              They have more than the Colts did. Well, they do now. Both Thomases are unrestricted free agents as is (the ghost of) Welker, which could decimate the receiving corps. The OL was problematic to begin with, as was the RB corps. Lots of talent on D, but much of that is aging free agents who have 1-2 years left. Hmmm. Maybe next year will be 2-14 if they don’t re-sign anyone … and maybe that’s the right long-term plan.

              • Scott Lemieux

                For all the shit Belichick got for letting Welker go, he was right.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Well, keep in mind he offered essentially the same amount in a different package, but Welker was so pissed off at Belichek he jumped.

                  Even so he’s been proven right. Last year Welker was still excellent. The numbers weren’t as high but no one expected that with the receiving corps the Broncos had. This year – well, he should join Peyton at the Nashville Shady Rest Home.

                • LosGatosCA

                  Bill Walsh set the standard:

                  “I’d rather get rid of a player one year too soon than one year too late.”

                  For ruthless, i.e. competent, GMs that’s a mantra that won’t cost you much lost sleep over the long run.

                  And since the average NFL career is so short, the odds of parting ways with a 31 year old that will bite you in the ass at age 33? Extremely low probability.

                • howard

                  fwiw, it was branch rickey who first set the “year too soon rather than year too late” standard.

              • Denverite

                Maybe next year will be 2-14 if they don’t re-sign anyone … and maybe that’s the right long-term plan.

                They can’t really do that because they’re on the hook for Ware and Talib and the like in 2015.

                If it was me, I’d probably try to take advantage of CJ Anderson, and give it one go as a defense-and-running team. Hopefully Manning retires. If not, so be it. But if that doesn’t work — and it won’t — then blow it up in 2016 when contracts come off the books.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Ware, Talib, Ward, and Sanders.

                  I haven’t really thought about it. But suppose you were Elway, Manning was retiring, you knew you were losing a lot of free agents, and you finally admitted to yourself that Fox isn’t going to win a Super Bowl. What would you do?

                  I’d keep drafting well, trade my free agents for draft picks (after explaining to them – perhaps not directly – that the Broncs were not going to be competitive in 2015), use the extra cap room in 2015 to lock up the really stellar youngsters for the future, and let under-contract Fox coach the team into high-draft-pick oblivion like Carolina did in his last year there before firing him.

                  Alternative B would involve getting Shanahan back and making a run with the players on hand. The problem is that would almost certainly mean a trade for Cutler, but that could be done in a way that forced Chicago to eat most of the salary in exchange for very little. Not sure that I’m ready for that.

                • Denverite

                  If I was Elway, like I said, I’d try to take advantage of the personnel I had and pitch the whole “we’re going to be a running-and-defense” team. Hopefully with Brock. Use Manning’s money to shore up the O-Line and re-sign Knighton.

                  It won’t work. The Broncos will win 8-10 games. 11 tops. That’s fine. In 2016, contracts will come off the books and they can tank properly. There’s no decent QBs slated to come out in the 2016 draft anyway.

      • Brien Jackson

        Sometime’s there’s really no substitute for the eye test. Even if Manning did manage to put up respectable numbers down the stretch, there’s just no denying that he didn’t look right in doing it. The velocity was definitely down, he threw A LOT of ducks, and his accuracy has been steadily eroding for about 6 weeks now. It’s just really hard to watch him play over the past 2 months and not assume that he’s having problems with his neck.

      • timb

        As a long time Indianapolis resident, I’ll just say I could give a crap about Peyton. He’s a pretty miserable human being

        • CrunchyFrog

          I understand you feel that way. This is difficult. First, Manning is a Xtian wingnut, which means that he has the ability to rationalize all kinds of pain to others. At the same time, he has spent incredible hours doing charity events and things – not just the usual agent-sponsored 20 hours/year, but pretty much every freaking day, even if no one is watching. And given his status – NFL QB, loved by everyone, IN DEMAND BY EVERYONE, he maintains his cool extremely well. I’m sure there are times when he reacts to people and situations in ways that aren’t very nice at all. But on the whole how does he deal with people?

          If you want a real shithead, look up Rex Grossman.

  • Denverite

    Winter Park is going to be BOSS next weekend.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    So Seattle/NE Super Bowl, then?

    • CrunchyFrog

      GB has a shot. Not much of one, but a shot.

      At least it’s not Dallas, thank the Refs. It seems funny to be rooting strongly for Seattle after last year but what the hell – I thought I’d never root for the Jints either then they had not one but two super bowls against the New England Yankees, so I had to.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        Agreed on Green Bay’s chances.

        Rodgers is going to have to have the game of his life for them to win, but I just don’t see it happening against Seattle’s defense. They basically made GB’s receiving corps disappear earlier this year.

        • Joe_JP

          Carolina kept it close to the fourth quarter. I think it’s possible GB can push it one more quarter.

          • tsam

            Carolina did it with a mobile quarterback, similar to Wilson. Rodgers is injured and immobile. I don’t think GB has much a of a chance, though I’m not going to proclaim victory until the game is over. You never count out Rodgers. The guys is a fucking wizard.

          • ColBatGuano

            It really wasn’t that close in the 4th quarter. Carolina wasn’t going to overcome a 14 point deficit in the last 9 minutes.

      • jeer9

        I wouldn’t count out any team quarterbacked by Rodgers, even if he is somewhat hobbled. The man oozes confidence, and he’s got a great receiving corps.

  • Todd

    Andy Stone: “The old man said maybe your friend should give in. And when the old man says “maybe” that’s like a papal bull. Not only should you quit, you should run.”

    Peyton Manning: “I can’t do that. I just need to maneuver better.”

    Andy Stone: “I would forget about the maneuver. I would just get out.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      “Our first guest on ‘Peyton’s Place’ is…Frankie Avalon.”

      • Todd

        “Look how many championship rings your muffin has and how many mine has. Yours is falling apart. I have nothing.” – Peyton

        “What are you talking about? There’s one right there” – Brady

        • Scott Lemieux

          “I saw that the head coach was weak, but he wasn’t in on it.”

  • As a kid who grew up in Massachusetts, then moved to the Pacific Northwest for college and never moved back, Seattle vs NE is the match-up I want to see. It’s almost hard for me to remember how bad the Patriots were when I was young. Now I can’t wait to see them get pounded.

    By the way, that photo really calls for a caption contest:

    Christie: “Back off Jerry – That’s my sandwich!”

  • shah8

    That was a really pathetic end.

    • CrunchyFrog

      The best part? Denver never had a chance. Elway can contrast this to the 2nd game of the year against the same team and realize how badly his team has declined.

      Elway did a great job giving it his best shot. I maintain that his fatal flaw was hiring Fox. Now he has a new challenge – rebuilding a team that needs to lose its HC, DC, and is losing its QB.

      • Brien Jackson

        Speaking of Del Rio; am I the only one who can’t figure out why a team with DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller has a base 4-3, Cover-2 defensive coordinator?

        • CrunchyFrog

          So Del Rio has commented that his defense is more Fox’ than his own. I have no clue.

          This year and last year we’ve seen periods of time when the defense was positively dynamic and other periods – the majority – when they were utterly vanilla. Against Seattle they were vanilla until down by 2 scores, then they blitzed the shit out of Seattle and got the ball back twice. In OT they went back to vanilla and lost before they got the ball.

          The question is: who decides to go vanilla? Fox? Or Del Rio?

          Inquiring minds want to know – I hope Elway does. By the way, after the 22-7 loss to St Louis the D changed as much as the O, towards more dynamic play calls. They seemed to lose that again tonight, not that it would have mattered.

          • Brien Jackson

            It just seems weird how mismatched the coaches to personnel are on that team. You’ve got two premier 3-4 rush ends…and a coach who uses a 4-3 system. You’ve got Peyton Manning and one of the best passing attacks ever (at least last year), and John Fox is the guy you’ve tasked with deploying it. It’s a really fascinating dynamic, made all the more fascinating because they’ve actually won a lot.

            • CrunchyFrog

              True.

              I think Elway was so pleased that Dan Reeves had nothing to do with it that he missed the subtle problems.

              Here’s an example of Fox’ influence on the offense: In Fox’ first year he forced the OC (McCoy) to call runs on every goddamn first down play. I exaggerate only slightly. This was true both for Orton and Tebow. The reason Polamalu creeps up so much on that famous OT TD pass to Thomas is that up to that point there was only 1 called pass play out of 25 first downs and Tebow aborted that immediately and ran it himself.

              Of course, this was also McDaniels’ failing with Orton. In both cases they called first down runs so often that Denver fans began referring to the starting halfback as “No-Yards” Moreno.

              Fox did the same with Peyton in the first year. They went 2-3, fell down 24-0 at half time to San Diego, and Peyton and McCoy rebelled, stopping that stupidity.

              But even with that the people who decided the offensive plan were Gase, Manning, and Fox. Manning I trust, but he really needed a strong OC. Gase is not a strong OC (as whoever stupidly hires him as an HC is about to find out), but Fox is a strong personality. Guess who won way too many arguments in the planning sessions?

              • efgoldman

                I don’t think much of Fox as a coach, but it’s hardly his fault that his HOF QB is 38 years old, going on 85.

                ETA: I hope for his sake and his legacy, Peyton doesn’t try to decide he’s Bret Favre.

                • Denverite

                  Funny you should say that. I think it’s very possible if not likely that Manning decides he wants to play one more year to pass Favre in terms of yards and completions, in which case the Broncos are well and truly screwed, because if he wants to play another year, there’s nothing they can do about it.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well, I mean, they could improve their coaching staff and hope that there’s enough left in Manning’s neck for another division title. If Manning feels able to play I think it’s kind of silly to just assume he’s going to immediately regress to something like Favre’s last season levels of awfulness.

  • timb

    I guess the fact that the Colts played well is something no one wants to mention? Is it possible their offense surprised the Broncos, especially how they owned Talib and kept the rush off Luck?

    • efgoldman

      Is it possible their offense surprised the Broncos

      All true, especially the less-than-stellar play of Broncos’ defense…
      BUT….
      When the whole personality of a team is built upon the greatness of a HOF QB, and his ability to do two impossible things before dinner, and he plays like a third-stringer, missing open receivers all over the place despite an effective running game and an O-line that protects him very well, then it’s likely that team doesn’t win.
      Also too, Andrew Luck is hardly chopped liver, although I was surprised the Colts ran the ball as well as they did.
      Denver’s playmakers didn’t, that’s all.

    • Denverite

      They didn’t play that well, except relative to the Broncos. Luck averaged 6.2 yards a dropback. They rushed for a net 99 yards. This isn’t a great performance. Again, unless you’re using the Broncos as the yardstick.

      I do think Pagano deserves some credit for deciding to make the Broncos beat him deep, and ESPECIALLY, to stick with it after the first drive. It must have been difficult to see Sanders beat his man deep over and over again, and to see Manning overthrow him each and every time, and still stick with the plan. But he did, and he was obviously correct to do so.

      • timb

        Running for 99 yards as the Colts is not impressive. They ran the ball when they had to and effectively.

        Oh, and Peyton, you shill, Emmanuel Sanders is STILL not open on the right sideline.

        Still, not open

        • Denverite

          The sad thing is that he generally did have a step on his man. Manning just missed. Every time.

          • CrunchyFrog

            By a mile. However, Manning did also throw a lot of long balls to completely covered receivers. This is partly why I think the problems aren’t just with arm strength – his judgement has been off a lot, and in a lot of way. The sooner he retires the better for his long term health.

            • Brien Jackson

              It’s pretty hard to train your brain to adapt to declining physical skills, especially when you’re doing something that’s as much about recognition and quick reactions as playing quarterback in the NFL is.

              • Denverite

                [dupe, post below]

              • Denverite

                SCREW YOU BRIEN. I’M JUST AS VIRILE AND ENERGETIC AT 39 AS A WAS AT 29. MORE, GODDAMIT. I’VE HAD NO PHYSICAL DECLINE. LET’S FIGHT!

                Er, wait, were we talking about Manning?

                Incidentally, you know that feeling of wistfulness that people describe when they realize that there aren’t any MLBers who are older than they are?

                Yeah, at about eight weeks older than Manning, feeling something like that. It sucks.

                • Jamie Moyer’s very long career was useful for me in avoiding this reality.

                • wjts

                  I have now realized that I am older than every single starting quarterback still in the playoffs. So, you know, thanks.

                • Denverite

                  I look at it like I’m only about 20 months older than Brady, and with all of his playing football and screwing actresses and models and the like, I’m practically younger than him, “real age” -speaking.

                  Much more palatable than thinking that I’m two months older than a guy who just crapped himself on national TV because he’s too ancient.

                  Christ. I’m going to bed now.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  you’ve still got a while before people your kids’ ages become pro sports stars, so there’s that…

                • Thlayli

                  Thanks to Jeff Feagles, I was well into my 40s before I was older than every NFL player.

                  The real shock was finding out I’m older than Paul Ryan.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Tom Brady is only one model-year newer than Manning, but he sure seems to have fewer miles, doesn’t he?

                • Denverite

                  Tom Brady is only one model-year newer than Manning, but he sure seems to have fewer miles, doesn’t he?

                  That extra year can be a big deal. Age 37 Manning had one of the greatest seasons of all time. Hell, age 38 Manning had a good 2/3 of a year.

                • Bufflars

                  Plus, I feel like Brady has generally had a better O line over his career than Peyton has.

                • ColBatGuano

                  You children need to quiet down so I can get my nap.

  • cpinva

    “To turn to the next game, helluva job by the Colts front office. Trading a first-round pick for a replacement-level running back seemed like a great idea at the time — what went wrong?”

    apparently not much, as the Colts seem to have handily overcome that error in judgment, being the only non-home team to win this weekend. I wouldn’t recommend they make a habit of it, but it really hasn’t affected their level of play this season.

    • CrunchyFrog

      So they had enough buffer to make one big mistake with a 1st rounder. Good for them. But it was still a horrible mistake.

      This is like people (I’m pointing to you, MMQB Peter King) justifying the stupid Rivers-and-a-shitload-of-draftpicks-for-Eli trade based on the fact that the Jints won two super bowls. Of course the same team would have won with Rivers – in fact probably better with the draft picks they surrendered. Good for them for winning, but that doesn’t justify a really stupid trade in which they imagined the younger brother was as gifted as his older sibling.

      • Scott Lemieux

        And, also, let’s see how they do at Foxboro this weekend. I’m sure taking the Pats minus whatever.

        • Denverite

          Yeah, I could get my hackles up and say that the Pats aren’t great (they’re not) and you should bet the Colts. Except it’s 7. Shit, I don’t bet, but my brother-in-law does. I might put a grand or so on the Pats at 7.

          I’d love to see Seattle and NE. Very schadenfreude. I think?

          • tsam

            I’d love to see Seattle and NE. Very schadenfreude. I think?

            Why?

        • timb

          You’d think after two weeks in a row, you’d have a little humility?

          I mean, I understand from Crunchy and Denverite that me and ten friends could have won in Denver yesterday, but the Colts have defied you twice now, Scott, and if you’ve watched the games, then you’ve seen their weakness, ie, their defense, is playing pretty well, their QB, despite only garnering 6 yes a drop back, is not turning the ball over and still finding Hilton deep, and, you know, the Patriots can’t play defense at all.

          Just sayin

          • marduk

            I think the problem the Colts are going to have is that they’re worse on both sides of the ball (and special teams, and coaching). Not a lot worse, but as the Ravens found everything has to go perfectly for you to win when you don’t quite match up on quality. Obviously they’re playing well and can win, it wouldn’t be shocking, but I wouldn’t put money on it myself.

            Not sure what planet you’re on thinking the pats can’t play defense but they were a top 25% defense all year with only 2 sub-par performances, vs KC in week 4 and Baltimore just now.

          • CrunchyFrog

            I wouldn’t say that. The Colts played well – better than expected. If they pull off the upset next week I’ll have to revise completely my assessment of Pagano as a head coach.

      • Mellano

        Did anyone think Eli would be as skilled a QB as Peyton? (Serious question, I’d be surprised if that was the consensus — maybe the hope of a few — but I don’t remember the evaluations to that level of detail)

        At any rate, IIRC Accorsi said at the time that he wanted Eli for his makeup as much as anything. I.e., he’s basically always confident that he will make the next throw, no matter how tough the defense or how many picks he’s already given up. Stays calm and unlikely to snap but also super competitive. Granted it’s tough to start differentiating the makeups of pro athletes, but NFL QB seems to be one of the rare situations where personalities are different enough that fans can hope to see them.

    • howard

      i think it’s worth noting that as far as i can tell, no team ever has failed to make errors in personnel judgement: it’s just plain tricky stuff. clearly, of course, some people are better than others, and i don’t follow closely enough to know who’s who really.

      which doesn’t mean that this wasn’t an especially egregious unforced error.

      i am curious whether there is anyone out there actually tracking draft performance: that is, when you picked 11, and then 43, and then 75, and so on, how close did you come to getting who eventually proved to be the 11th, or 43rd, or 75th best player in that draft class?

      • Scott Lemieux

        Right, but this isn’t just an ordinary misjudgment; as with the Walker trade, there was a basic philosophical error in addition to the talent misjudgement. Even if Richardson had played more the way they expected — yards per carry in the low 4s, say — it was an incredibly stupid trade, because 1)any decent organization should be able to come up with a competent running back, 2)the marginal quality of your running game isn’t that important, and 3)the Colts certainly weren’t close enough to a championship that would justify paying such a steep cost to maximize (sic) even relatively marginal positions. The facts that there was no reason as of the point of the trade to think that Richardson would be good and that he’s been even worse than could have been expected are just icing on the cake.

        • howard

          All true but hence my second graf.

        • timb

          This

  • hylen

    NSFW, but funny.

  • Joshua

    Calling Trent Richardson replacement level is really generous.

    • Scott Lemieux

      He was replacement level at the time of the trade. He’s now established himself as well below replacement level.

      • Buckeye623

        He’s lost his spot on the 2-deep to someone named Zurlon.

        Zurlon is an undrafted rookie free agent from a directional school in Michigan.

  • DocAmazing

    — like the Brady tuck call —

    Skip the light, with the Brady tuck
    On the nickel over there

  • Gosh, maybe I wasn’t paying attention, I had a bunch of shit to to do, but catch me up: who is Denver going to play next week?

    • Hogan

      On Saturday they’ve got the Timberwolves at home.

    • Denverite

      Not sure, but Manning will no doubt go 5-18 with nine consecutive overthrows in the first half.

  • Bullshit call. He cradled the ball in his arm.

    If that ain’t a typical “football move” then I’m fucking Elvis.

    Go ahead, make of that what you will.

    This is what happens to a sport when you let the lawyers write the rules. Just stop watching it, and they’ll put the game back in the hands of the players, not the officials.

    • Elvis

      ooooh, thank you, thank you verah much.

    • There was no cradling. He let the ball hit the ground and it bounced out. Incompletion.

      The definition of football move does not include cradling. I think the OP had it right; the correct interpretation of a questionable rule.

      • advocatethis

        Not sure which is true. Either way, it seems ridiculous that four yards after his feet came down and he had the ball in both hands he still wasn’t considered to have “caught the ball.

  • JR

    Well, this thread is probably as dead as Denver’s chances for this season, but I’m gonna make my statement anyways.

    Why do the TV guys think it is appropriate for Troy Aikman to call Dallas Cowboys games? There is no way that’s the personnel call to make, the guy played his whole career with Dallas, his heart has to be with them every play.

    Now I will confess he makes an effort to appear objective as he calls a game Dallas is in, he tries to call Dallas’s opponents fairly, but STILL!! How can they do that, as if there was only the one (ex-NFL star) guy available to call a game?

    I’m knowing that sports isn’t really journalism. I’m knowing that Aikman is the top color guy because he really does know the game cold. STILL!!??

    Another point. I don’t watch that much pre-game stuff. But I catch a little from week to week, and I’m really glad to see Randy Moss getting air time on TV. He was a hugely talented athlete, a small town boy who hit the big time. He did have some maturity problems, his original agent was a total waste, but he’s matured a lot, knows the game well, and is learning to speak well, and keep smoothly talking through whatever.

    Glad to see him hanging in there, and the TV guys giving him a chance. Best of luck to the guy, he deserves the opportunity and seems to be doing well with it.

    • Basically, they put him there so he can bad mouth the Packers every week. Just so happens that this week, his beloved former team was on the turf….

      He did have the sense to praise Rodgers’ play after the game. He must have recognized that if he were in that condition, he would have gone to the locker room whimpering.

      And Joe Buck? Calling Joe Buck? We have a truckload of salted dicks for you to eat.

  • Stag Party Palin

    You’re right, the thread’s dead, but as long as you’re playing – how did a guy with the name “Troy” play for UCLA? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go park in the driveway.

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