After thinking about the divisional playoff game between Denver and Baltimore, and the sequence of plays and events leading up to Baltimore’s double overtime win, I have concluded Peyton Manning was injured.
In the third quarter Manning was sacked twice and fumbled on each. When he wasn’t fumbling Manning was only 3 for 7 with a long toss of only twelve yards.
In the fourth quarter, except for the touchdown pass that went for 17 yards, Manning was not throwing the ball farther than then yards. In overtime, it was again all super short passes of then yards or less, with no attempt to stretch the field or get a big play.
For all intents, the Broncos second half of the game was spent throwing passes of a length I could throw.
By comparison to last year, against Pittsburgh, Tim Tebow completed passes of 80, 58, 50, 40, 31, 17, 15, and 13 yards. Tebow also ran for 50 yards and was not sacked. Then, Denver was using that throwback read option stuff San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington are now running. It would have come in real handy, especially after Knowshon Moreno left with an injury and the running game was hindered.
With the season on the line, with one of the supposed greatest quarterbacks of all time, someone being paid $95,000,000.00, and with an opportunity to ice the win, the Broncos’ coaches would not let Peyton throw a pass. This gave Baltimore time to tie the game, and they did. Then, with 31 seconds left, timeouts, home field, a tired Ravens defense, and the thin air where the Broncos once tried a 73 yard field goal, a coin flip was deemed a better option than letting Peyton Manning air it out to try and win.
Obviously, Peyton was injured. No one could possibly be stupid enough to call those plays with a healthy QB.