Experience is the Best Teacher: The Rams’ 2017 Campaign is Over

I feel strongly in my heart that this season’s Los Angeles Rams squad is better than the Atlanta Falcons. Last night, the final result of the wildcard game between the two did not reflect that opinion, but I still hold it. The Falcons won due to their calmness and poise backed by their playoff experience.

The Rams dropped a couple of passes and turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, setting the tone of the game and giving the Falcons 10 free, easy points in the process. No matter how good a team’s defense is, the Rams were wore out by the end, and the Falcons held on.

Am I disappointed? By the way the Rams offense played, yes. They did not maximize their potential or play up to snuff. While I feel that Atlanta’s defense is pretty good, the Rams’ receivers dropped catches and quarterback Jared Goff was off more than he ever was in the regular season. When they didn’t score on their first two offensive possessions, I knew they were in trouble, and when the first punt was muffed, ohhh boy…

Hats off to Atlanta. They aren’t that great of a team this year, but they don’t have that bad of a road, only facing the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles next week. I can only hope the Rams will come back stronger next season with this new experience under their belt, avoid serious injuries and ran the gamut in the NFC West again.


Tom Brady is the Greatest Quarterback I’ve Ever Seen (In My Life)

I’ve had almost 36 hours to digest what the fook (*Conor McGregor voice*) happened on Sunday evening.

Sunday was quite the tiring day. The wind was blowing heavily outside as I had the damnedest time getting my fire started on my smoker. I was going to get everything ready to go, though! I smoked a 10 lb. pork shoulder on Friday, in which leftovers existed for Sunday evening, and on that Sunday I smoked 11 bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers, a family pack of chicken thighs and about 5 lbs. of country pork ribs. Dana and I also made pepperoni rolls.

Our guests for the evening were my de-facto Falcons fan-brother (that I wrote about at the end of this post; I will refer to him as “Falcons Broski” for the rest of this post), his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s son and a mutual great friend of ours that is a Cowboys fan. They brought chips, cupcakes and 8 lbs. of chicken wings (all 8 lbs. of which I deep fried).

Everything was set! Delicious food had been prepared by yours truly, and it was ready at about the time the big game came on.

Falcons Broski was pumped (of course) from the get go, when Devonte Freeman busted out a big run to open the game for the Falcons. Falcons Broski’s palms were sweaty as he kept wiping them on his jeans. And then LeGarrette Blount fumbled the ball away. Not long after, Matt Ryan led the Falcons down the field and Devonte Freeman ran for a touchdown to put the Falcons ahead 7-0 in the second quarter. A little while later, Ryan connected with Austin Hooper in the endzone for another Falcons’ touchdown. 14-0. Falcons Broski was singing Atlanta’s praise at this point. It got even better for him when Robert Alford picked off Tom Brady and ran it back for an 82-yard touchdown. 21-0 Falcons.

And so all was good during the first half as the Falcons took a 28-3 lead into halftime. I was mindblown at how Atlanta was dominating New England. Tom Brady was missing throws and Julian Edelman couldn’t catch a cold. Everybody in the living room was laughing and talking up a storm. I didn’t watch much of the halftime show as I excused myself to the kitchen to fill up on some grub.

Into the second half, the Falcons continued their dominance when Ryan hooked up with Tevin Coleman for another score. 28-3 Falcons. We debated who would win the Super Bowl MVP, Ryan or Julio Jones? Jones had been on fire.

The Patriots scored a little while later, but missed the extra point. 28-9 going into the fourth quarter. Falcons Broski was still all laughs, all a good time… the Patriots hit a field goal to make the game 28-12. A little while later, Matt Ryan fumbled and Brady led the Patriots down the field for another touchdown, this time to Danny Amendola (he’ll always be RAMendola), and they converted on a 2-point conversion to make the game 28-20!

I still figured the Falcons had the game in the bag, y’know? They had been tearing up the Patriots all night with their running game, so all was good. Falcons Broski started getting quiet. Everybody in the whole damn living room was quiet as we locked in on the game.

Y’know that part about the Falcons destroying the Pats with their running game? Yeah, about that… they only ran the ball a few times after securing that 28-3 lead! In the drive following the one where the Pats made it 28-20, the Falcons kept passing the ball! When they were setting up a great drive after what would have been a historically awesome Julio Jones reception, they… passed, and Ryan got sacked. They passed once more… another Ryan sack. Third and long, they passed, and I believe this one went to Mohamed Sanu for little gain. In hindsight (I know it’s always 20/20), the Falcons could have ran the ball, used some clock and hit a field goal to make it a two score game. Instead, they nonsensically passed and it ruined ’em.

Brady cut through the Falcons’ defense on the next drive, when Julian Edelman made one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen… the Patriots scored and a quick pass to Danny Amendola secured the 2-point conversion.

The Super Bowl saw its first overtime in 51 games. The Patriots won the coin toss, got the ball and the rest is history. Falcons Broski sat in complete silence for about 15 minutes. I reckon we all did. I still can’t believe what transpired. The Falcons completed the biggest choke in the history of the NFL.

My feelings were bipolar on Sunday evening. I say that, because when the Falcons went up 28-3, I thought, “Welp, there goes my thoughts about Tom Brady. I mean, hell, I used Peyton Manning’s 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in 2014 as a way of saying, ‘Brady would never lose like that!’ And here Brady is, losing 28-3 to the Falcons!”

I was also thinking, “Damn, the NFL has evolved and passed Bill Belichick up! The Falcons have all these playmakers that are eating the Pats away, while the Pats have next to no playmakers! Belichick needs to up the ante and draft some playmakers!”

By the end of the game… holy hell!

Yes, the Falcons choked the game away. Kyle Shanahan made piss poor calls (by not running the football more). However, the Patriots’ D played out of this world, and Tom Brady was invincible, as if you were playing All-Madden on a Madden video game and trying to stop the CPU.

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback I’ve ever seen in my life. Albeit a short life, I’ve watched Brady from the get go.

Let me tell anybody who cares to read this story: on February 3, 2002 I watched my St. Louis Rams, a team that was heavily favored in Super Bowl XXXVI, shockingly fall to the New England Patriots 20-17. The Rams were down 17-3 but battled back with a HALL OF FAMER Kurt Warner quarterback sneak and a Warner-to-Ricky Proehl touchdown pass. In the Patriots’ final drive, a young man by the name of Tom Brady, who took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe earlier in the season, stepped up to the plate and led the Pats down the field as John Madden recommended that the Pats play for overtime. Adam Vinatieri hit a 48-yard field goal and gave the Patriots their first Super Bowl win in NFL history after they were embarrassed by the Bears in ’86 and clowned by the Packers in ’97.

I was pissed off. I watched the game next to my dad, and he grinned from ear to ear. You see, I think deep down my dad liked the Rams and thought Kurt Warner was a hell of a quarterback, but he liked to get under my skin in order to aggravate me. I digress. As we watched the post-game celebration and Tom Brady was anointed the game’s MVP, I rolled my eyes. “He’s the MVP with just 107 passing yards and a touchdown? That’s crap!” My dad looked over at me and said, “Tom Brady is going to win a bunch of Super Bowls. He plays with poise and he’s a winner. He doesn’t let the pressure of the big stage get to him”.

My dad had no reason to say something like that. No bias. He was a fan of the Miami Dolphins, a divisional rival of the Pats. He passed away a week before Christmas in 2003, so he didn’t see the Patriots’ subsequent Super Bowl appearances and victories (at least in this realm), but he was absolutely right in his prediction that Brady would win a ‘bunch’ of Super Bowls.

I often wonder what my dad would say about Brady now. Dad was born in 1954, so he grew up watching Joe Namath (he always said that he and his brothers idolized Namath when they were young boys), then he became a Dolphins fan in the early ’70s and remained one the rest of his life. He got to witness Joe Montana’s greatness in the ’80s, and I mention that because he always told me that Montana was the greatest ever. Since he was a Dolphins fan, I asked, “What about Dan Marino?” And my dad would say, “He’s great, he has the stats but he didn’t get it done in the playoffs. He couldn’t rally the troops.” I went and looked at Marino’s playoff performances and noticed how many times the Dolphins were ousted by double digits. Dad had a point.

Since my dad’s death, I’ve had a billion dreams about him where we talk about sports, from football to basketball to boxing to MMA. After Sunday evening’s game, I’d love to be able to talk to him about what transpired.

My dad also made a bold prediction about another quarterback, and although he ended up being wrong, he was almost right about this next prediction. I’ll never forget one day when my dad and I were passing a Nerf football around in the driveway in the summer of 2001. I remember that Peyton Manning was on the box. Manning was coming off his third year in the NFL. Dad thought that Manning was robotic on the field, when I asked him his thoughts about ol’ #18. “He’s robotic and a control freak. You don’t want that in a quarterback. Makes the rest of the offense nervous. He’ll never win a Super Bowl.”

Years later, with Peyton and the Colts’ meeting failure after failure, being dominated by the Pats in ’04 and ’05, stifled by the Steelers in ’06… I thought my dad was going to be correct in this prediction, too. As luck would have it, in January 2007 the Colts’ defense came into full fruition, with safety Bob Sanders (remember how dominant he was?) leading the charge. The Colts had the luxury of playing an overrated Chicago Bears team in the Super Bowl, a Bears’ team that featured Rex Grossman, the worst quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl (at least since Vince Ferragamo with the ’79 Rams). For a while the game was close, but Grossman’s incompetence as a quarterback failed the Bears and Peyton won a Super Bowl with a score of 29-17.

I always thought Peyton lucked out by playing the Bears in that Super Bowl. When the Colts made it back to another Super Bowl when they played the Saints in 2010, the Saints won by two touchdowns, including a pick-6 from Peyton Manning that sealed the victory for ‘Nawlins. A few years later, Peyton went to Denver and we saw him and the Broncos go to another Super Bowl, this time in 2014, against a Seahawks team. The Seahawks blew out the Broncos 43-8; Peyton couldn’t do anything to stifle the Seahawks’ defense that game, and the majority of the game Peyton spent his time on the sidelines, looking down and sulking. A year later, the Seahawks played Tom Brady and the Pats, and well, even though the Seahawks screwed their chances in the closing seconds, Brady and the Pats came out with a close victory.

A hobbled Peyton Manning that could no longer effectively play the quarterback position won a Super Bowl with a stacked, all-time top 15 defense on the Broncos last year in 2016, but that was effectively the Denver defense’s doings.

I digress. I’ve tried so hard to hate Tom Brady over the years, but I just can’t. I watched my Rams lose to them in upsetting fashion 15 years ago in Super Bowl XXXVI, and ever since — as I’ve watched my Rams’ toil in losing season after losing season since 2004 (I still love ’em, whether they are in St. Louis or Los Angeles) — I’ve watched Brady go to seven Super Bowls. Brady would have seven rings if his defense would have stymied the Giants in ’08 and ’12. (I always thought that the Super Bowl on February 3, 2008 — five years after the Rams’ loss — was poetic justice as the 18-0 Pats fell to the underdog Giants…. y’know, once upon a time I always thought it was my dad looking down from heaven and preserving the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins’ perfect record from being broken by the Pats….)

Last week, when the little kid at media day asked Tom Brady who his hero was and he kinda choked up and said his dad, I’m not gonna lie… when I watched that, I shed a couple of tears and thought about my hero — my dad. My dad was the smartest, most hardworking man I’ve ever known. He believed in true hard work and embracing the grind. He believed through hard work and perseverance that you could accomplish anything and everything, all criticizers’ and detractors’ words be damned! He passed that mindset on down to me, I’d like to hope/think. He always believed that hard work beats talent all seven days of the week. My dad was only about 5’6″ or 5’7″, his nickname among his brothers, his two sisters and his childhood friends was always, “Stubby” because of his hands (although he always had an inappropriate — albeit hilarious — joke about that), but he was genuinely the strongest, smartest and relentlessly hard working person I’ve ever known. And when I say, “smartest”, I don’t mean naturally. I mean he craved learning! When he wanted to learn something, he’d go and do it. We got a computer in the early ’90s and he learned how to use it himself. He was incredible at math. He wasn’t all that great at spelling (he’d be happy with spell check these days), but he was a pretty damn good writer, too! He was a businessman that treated people the way he wanted to be treated, and he loved joking/teasing the hell out of everyone. I’m so damn proud to carry his name. If I can even become 1/4th the man he was, I will be happy.

I digress. Before I finish this up, I just want to point something out. I will never understand the popularity contest and the polarizing love/hate-fest between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The country hates Brady but loves Manning. They see Brady as “smug and arrogant” (how?) and Manning as the everyday guy. This is 110% due to advertising and marketing. You don’t see Brady in very many ads at all. Yet you see Peyton advertising for Domino’s, Nationwide, DirecTV, Buick and Oreo. You see Manning on Saturday Night Live. Every time, he’s portrayed as the average everyday guy, when that couldn’t be more opposite. Brady is actually originally more of an ‘everyday’ guy than Manning will ever be. Manning was born with a silver spoon in his mouth; his dad was an NFL quarterback and is in the college football hall of fame for his time at Ole Miss. The Manning family is probably one of the richest in all of sports combined. Manning had the option to go to school anywhere, went to Tennessee and was the first pick in the ’98 NFL Draft.

On the flipside, Tom Brady embodies the All-American Dream. Brady grew up in northern California in a middle class family. His whole life as an unathletic quarterback was an uphill battle. No college coaches even looked at him. He was sending high school highlights tapes to every college he possibly could. As luck would have it, he attended the University of Michigan, but he had to sit for his first couple years. He had to battle with Drew Henson for a starting position in his last two years as a Wolverine. He was overlooked in the 2000 NFL Draft and was lucky to be picked in the 6th round, pick #199, by the New England Patriots. If Drew Bledsoe didn’t go down in the 2000 season, we might’ve lucked out and never seen him on the playing field. Brady has gone on to win 5 Super Bowls and appeared in 7.

Don’t get me wrong. I actively root against the Pats. I will always feel that Super Bowl XXXVI was emblazoned with controversy (Marshall Faulk being held, roughing the passer not being called when Kurt Warner was receiving late hits, Brady not being flagged for intentional grounding, etc.), but Brady truly embodies the All-American success story. I think that’s why my dad was an instant believer/fan of Brady, even as early as 2002, because he saw the struggle Brady went through, and he appreciated that.

I would love to be able to sit down with my dad and his best friend Sonny (who was like a second dad to me) one more time and listen to them trash talk each other’s NFL teams. Every time a wild or big moment happens in sports, I always wonder what my dad would’ve thought about it.

I know this post went all over the place. No rhythm, nothing. But I don’t care. I needed to write/document this.

The Falcons and Patriots Have a Date Set on February 5th (Super Bowl LI)

Let’s face it: we all overrated the Green Bay Packers, especially after they narrowly defeated the Dallas Cowboys after blowing an 18-point lead. We saw Aaron Rodgers do Aaron Rodgers things, and we all ooh’ed and ahh’ed.

Well, I had the Falcons beating the Packers, but not the way they did it. Atlanta slapped Green Bay around so badly that they are forcing ’em to relocate to another city before the Raiders do. In all seriousness, Atlanta jumped out of the gates, Mason Crosby missed a field goal (which prompted one of my friends that’s a Cowboys fan to text me with an expected and very appropriate, “Oh now you fucking miss one, Mason Crosby”) and the Packers made mistakes. That Ripkowski (kickass last name) fullback the Packers had fumbled, and Atlanta hardly let their foot off the gas.

We should have saw this coming. Atlanta is so fast; the Packers were hobbled and hurt coming into the game. Let’s also face the fact that the Packers aren’t very good. Aaron Rodgers is the makeup to the Packers’ acne. I still believe that Matt Ryan is the unequivocal MVP of the NFL this year, given the fact that the Falcons’ 2016 campaign is the 8th ranked offense of all-time, but take Rodgers away from the Packers and they are the Cleveland Browns of the NFC North.

The Patriots dominated the Steelers from start to finish. I’ve said it for years about Mike Tomlin being the most overrated head coach in the league. I’m sure he’s a great person, and well, he’s also a good “rah-rah” coach, but he inherited the Steelers after they were built up by Bill Cowher, and he was lucky to win Super Bowl XLIII against the Cardinals (he better thank Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes for a lifetime). He rode the coattails of the players Cowher brought in. Also, the fact that he has Roethlisberger — who’s probably the best quarterback in the AFC North outside of a temperamental Joe Flacco — and they’ve lost the division to the Cincinnati Bengals two of the last three years, underperforming with a high powered offense. From the Steel Curtain to the aluminum trash bag.

“So, Troy, you are saying that Tomlin is overrated just because he lost the AFC title game to the best organization in football?”

No, I’m saying he’s overrated because the Steelers have underperformed over the last five years with Tomlin. Besides, Tomlin is on the upper echelons of “coaches that Belichick consistently owns” list. Tomlin is a rah-rah guy, so the media loves him, but hey, just like Terry Bradshaw said, I reckon he’s more of a glorified cheerleader in a coach’s outfit rather than a head coach.

My early predictions for the Super Bowl? The Patriots will stifle the Falcons’ offense. The Falcons will score and get things going, but the Patriots will control the tempo of the game and not make mistakes like the Packers did. A lot of people refuse to believe in momentum in football, but think if the Packers would have hit that field goal to make the game 7-3 in the Falcons game, or if Ripkowski didn’t fumble. Momentum is absolutely real; these pro football players are still human. They have emotions and confidence issues at times. The script can be flipped and the tide can change.

I do hope the Falcons win, however. I heavily followed the Falcons when they drafted Michael Vick out of Virginia Tech in 2001. When they weren’t facing the Rams (or Dolphins), I rooted for them. One of my great friends/de facto brothers is a Falcons fan. Matt Ryan is the real deal; I watched him pick apart a menacing Virginia Tech defense when VT led Ryan’s Boston College Eagles 10-0 with a few minutes left in the game. Ryan tossed two touchdowns in 2 minutes and 11 seconds to stun the Hokies in Blacksburg. He’s the real deal. I can’t repeat that enough.

I’m hoping for a great game. The conference title games were stinkers!

The Rise of Zac Stacy and the Fall of Steven Jackson

I didn’t know if the Rams were going to be able to make it through the season with a running game or not. Five games into the season, I thought the idea that they’d ever be able to run the ball this year would remain a dreamful illusion. I thought the starting running back role would be lent to Daryl Richardson and that Isaiah Pead would receive a handful of carries.

Then Zac Stacy came along. He’s not just “Steven Jackson’s replacement!” — he’s now the franchise running back for the St. Louis Rams.

Stacy’s only started and played in 11 games this year, and with one more to go, with the Seahawks in Seattle, he’s a mere 42 yards away from hitting 1,000 yards for the season. Who woulda thunk it? You can’ t make this shit up.

Steven Jackson bolted for Atlanta in the offseason, figuring that, at 30 years old, and with the Rams primed to start a youth movement on its roster, he’d be able to win a Super Bowl title on a team that was in the NFC championship game last year.

Sadly, for Stevie J., the Falcons won’t be making the playoffs, as they sit with a record of 4-10 going into tonight’s game against the 49ers in San Francisco. That record could easily be 4-12 by the end of next Sunday. I never would have dreamed that the Rams would have finished the season better than the Falcons (7-8 at the moment before next weekend’s finale).

If that doesn’t wound the ego of Jackson, he’s only played in 10 games this year and racked up a mere 449 yards. Sure, the offensive line he’s playing behind isn’t the greatest, but he lacks the explosiveness he used to have in his heyday and that’s clear as day. The Falcons plan to bring him back next season, when he’s 31, but it’s clear that he’ll never be the Steven Jackson he was back in 2006 when he bulldozed Sean Taylor (RIP) onto his ass in overtime for a Rams victory in December of that year.

*Random note!!!!*: Robert Quinn is a fucking animal! Defensive player of the year, NFL! Listen up! Take this shit into consideration! 18 sacks and 7 forced fumbles on the season as well as a touchdown from a fumble recovery! Against the Seattle Shesquawks, a team he tends to dominate given the beastblood properties that he wields and the bitchblood properties the Shesquawks wield on the contraire, the dude has the chance to get at least two more sacks on the year, and that would be a big margin for him to lead in sacks to be the molecular structured sack king of the year. By the way, with his 18 sacks on the season, he’s passed Kevin Carter (17) on the all-time single season team sack record.

The Failures of the Atlanta Falcons

There’s something about the Atlanta Falcons that can’t be trusted (speaking of Atlanta, another sports team that can’t be trusted: the Atlanta Braves were ousted in the divisional round of the MLB playoffs last night, something that franchise has grown accustomed to). I don’t know what the hell it is, but the “check engine” light for that team seems to always be on.

There’s no doubt about it that Matt Ryan is a bad motherfucker. Straight up. I’ll write it again: Matt Ryan is one bad motherfucker. I’ve known this since his college days at Boston College when, in 2007, he pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to beat the Hokies. He’s undoubtedly one hell of a quarterback that’s cold and calculating (for the fans of Ryan’s opposition), but he and the Falcons have faced a wall.

Last year, during the Falcons’ regular season that saw the team finish with a 13-3 record, many internet pundits said, “Yeah, great season, but they’ll choke in the playoffs”. After a first round bye, they hosted the Seattle Seahawks and, after wielding a 20-0 lead, rookie Russell Wilson led the Seahawks back to take the lead before Ryan led the Falcons up the field for a game winning field goal, narrowly avoiding a massive chokejob that would have marred Ryan’s career that much more given how his playoff failures date back to his rookie season and his third pro year). In the NFC title game, the Falcons again jumped out to be a big lead over the San Francisco 49ers (17-0) and ensuingly lost the game 28-24 after the Niners stormed a comeback.

This year, the Falcons waltzed into the season with a “Super Bowl or bust!” mentality, and rightfully so. They lost a barnburner to their divisional rival buddies, the New Orleans Saints, in the opening game (the Saints are currently 5-0) of the season, beat the youngest team in the league — the St. Louis Rams — at home by just 7 points in week two, and ensuingly lost close games to the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Last night, on the biggest [regular season] stage of them all, Monday Night Football, the hosted rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the New York Jets — at home! — and lost 30-28. Smith also threw for three touchdowns and zero picks, and the Falcons pass rush was virtually nonexistent (asides from Osi Umenyiora breaking through a time or two).

What excuses can I make to validate the Falcons’ struggles at a disappointing record of 1-4?

— Steven Jackson’s been out ever since he left the game against his former team, the Rams, and is set to return in two weeks (bye week coming up) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
— Roddy White’s hobblin’ around, and the bye week will be good for him to heal up.
— Offensive line plights.
— Defensive miscommunication; no pressure on opposing quarterbacks, poor coverage.
— Poor red zone execution.

One could pile a list that’s sky high.

I believe the team will get it together when they heal up. A fresh win against the Buccaneers after their upcoming bye week will ensure a solid rebound. If they lose that game, though, the season’s over and the Falcons are done for.

Rams 24 Falcons 31: Rapid Reaction

I’m damned proud of the St. Louis Rams. Down 24-3 to the Atlanta Falcons at halftime, they forced four consecutive 3-and-outs on defense and produced a couple of scores before the Falcons made it a 14 point game at the score of 31-17. With one last breath of offense, Sam Bradford connected with rookie Tavon Austin (two touchdown receptions for Austin) to make the score 31-24, which is what the final turned out to be.

Growing pains, people. The Rams are the youngest team in the league and for that team to go into Georgia Dome and take on a team that’s ‘supposedly’ a Super Bowl contender, battle back like the way they did and only lose by a touchdown? That’s impressive, especially when your rookie wide receiver gets into the endzone on a couple of scores (also a headnod to Austin Pettis, not to, uh, be confused with UFC Lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis).

There’s a lot of issues the Rams need to work on, like Bradford’s penchant to check down to receivers (unnecessarily so) as well as the inconsistent running game of Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. The defense is still facing coverage issues — Julio Jones tore the Rams’ secondary apart with 11 catches, 182 yards and a touchdown. But let’s be honest: who in the hell is going to stop Julio Jones? He’s the Jon “Bones” Jones of the NFL.

And ah, the biggest storyline heading into today’s game was Steven Jackson’s meeting with the Rams after being a Ram for 9 seasons. Jackson had an 8-yard touchdown reception but left the game with a thigh bruise (and didn’t return).

The Rams hit up the Cowboys in Dallas next weekend before hosting the 49ers and Jaguars in consecutive weeks.

The Denver Broncos Lost as a TEAM!

“Peyton Manning is a playoff choker! He sucks! Tim Tebow won a playoff game last year! Peyton couldn’t do that! He blows! Throwing across his body and off the wrong foot against the Baltimore Ravens’ defense?! What in the world?! Peyton sucks!!!!!”

“The Broncos secondary is horrendous! The worst showing by any secondary all season! They are the reason the Broncos lost!!”

Team losses, oh team losses… what ever happened to team losses? The Denver Broncos lost to the Baltimore Ravens by the score of 38-35 because of a breakdown by the entire team. Yes, oh yes, the team. Everybody made mistakes (except for, say, Trindon Holliday).

What I don’t get is, with about 31 seconds left in regulation after the Ravens pulled off a monumental bomb play from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones that can also be called a major choke job by the Denver secondary (which happened multiple times, resulting in Flacco looking like an incredible quarterback), Peyton Manning kneeled the ball to allow the game to head to overtime. I’m not sure what John Fox told Peyton, but listen, the Broncos signed Manning for a reason. He’s a living football legend. 31 seconds left, with timeouts, is PLENTY of time to get down the field.

“But Troy! The Broncos had to take their sweet time moving the ball down the field all day! It’s ludicrous to think they could do it in 31 seconds!” Hey. HEY! Hello! They have Peyton effin’ Manning, folks. Yesterday, against the Seattle Seahawks’ defense, Matt Ryan moved the ball 41 yards in 18 seconds. There is absolutely no reason why the Broncos should have taken the knee yesterday, and it came back to bite them in overtime.

Let’s rewind to the instances BEFORE the bomb from Flacco to Jones. When the Broncos had the chance to close out the game, they ran the ball three consecutive times and didn’t even get anywhere near the first down marker. I swore, that on the third down play, Peyton would be passing. Nope. Run, stuffed, punt the ball back. Overtime… Bud Light! Here, we, go!

In overtime, Denver continued their conservative streak, running and running and running. It was physically making me sick to watch. Ronnie Hillman had a couple of damn good runs, but the offense became linear, predictable, banal.

That was a horrible throw in overtime by Peyton. The Broncos’ secondary played like garbage. The receiving corps had a couple of BIG TIME drops. John Fox… oh, John Fox!

Is John Fox even the RIGHT guy for the job? Who knows. He’s never won anything in his life (harsh statement, but trying to add some emphasis here). Obviously, when a team fails to surpass an obstacle or reach an objective, the fist two people that’s blamed is the quarterback or the coach, so I’m going to lay off of Fox for now.

Fox didn’t play in the Denver secondary. There were two guys back to stop Jones, and he was so far behind them one must wonder how these guys are playing for an NFL team’s defense. You can’t coach that in the pros. You just can’t. It is what it is, folks. It was a team loss.