DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos stiff arms Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers to score an 80 yard touchdown in overtime during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Denver Broncos defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers in over time 23 - 29. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
What a satisfying victory.
The first playoff win in over 5 years couldn't have come soon enough. In fact, it came at the expense of the franchise that boasts the most well traveled fanbase. Fortunately, for me, this means a number of co-workers in Cincinnati are Steelers fans. One guy, specifically, had been giving me grief for a long time. Now, I could get my revenge.
Unfortunately, I went to work on Monday and he happened to be out for the day - something about "being sick". What impeccable timing to call in sick, right? It must have been really difficult to watch the game with your head all stopped up and what not....
What a shame.
So, I came into work Tuesday morning, expecting to be rewarded with some quality redemption. No dice. He was out for the second day in a row. He must be really nervous to face me. I'll be in this position for 5 months, so he can't possibly avoid facing me forever. I'll keep you updated as this story develops.
Eric Decker's Injury... Was it a Dirty Play?
I've seen a lot of people complaining about the means by which Eric Decker became injured. As Tim Tebow threw the ball on the first play of the second quarter, the human sledgehammer named James Harrison met the left knee of Eric Decker. Was this play "dirty"? Let's put it this way... there wasn't a flag thrown and rightly so.
This was a statement hit by James Harrison. After handing a few checks to Roger Goodell, James Harrison has become infamous for hitting players in the head, most recently knocking out Colt McCoy. In my opinion, his play on Eric Decker was pretty smart, considering Harrison's history with shots to the head.
If you won't let James Harrison hit high, he'll hit low. That's the nature of the beast. See how much wide receivers like having their knees targeted by a defender coming at full speed? Not very much. Presumably, Roger Goodell has to be scratching his head, thinking "how many more body parts can I make immune from devastating hits"?
The answer: none.
Football is a violent game. I don't think it's a dirty play. I think it was a smart play. By saying a certain area of the anatomy is off limits, defenders will (or should) adjust and hit another area. To me, this appears to be a middle finger from James Harrison to Roger Goodell. He's stretching the rules to the fullest extent of the law. You don't like me hitting players in the head? I'll break some kneecaps.
It would be a waste of breath to urge James Harrison to form tackle people to the ground. This is just how he does business. He leads with his head and shoulders. His brain will be mushy a few years down the road, but that's his own fault.
Here's some food for thought. If Roger Goodell is reading this, instead of docking players money for helmet to helmet hits, why not dock the players a percentage of their health insurance benefits in retirement? Before the union comes crashing down my door, please consider the following. By James Harrison lowering his head and increasing the risk for his own mental demise, he is costing the NFL future expense. In addition, he's increasing the risk of injury to the opposing player, as well. That's double damage to the NFL pocket book. To me, it's a no brainer (no pun intended). James Harrison may not be affected by a monetary deduction or even suspensions, right now, but he's putting at risk his future health and the future health of other players. It has to stop. A "defenseless receiver" rule change, increasing fine amounts, and even suspensions haven't deterred James Harrison from injuring players, so a new approach is necessary.
There's not a chance the Players Union would go for it, though, but it's a thought, nonetheless.
With all that said, I feel terrible for Eric Decker. I hope he's comfortable and I wish him the best of luck in his recovery.
What an awesome player and awesome person. He's the antithesis of everything we've come to know about NFL wide receivers. What strikes me most about Demaryius Thomas is his mouthpiece. Every time I see him on the field, his mouthpiece is in. This may seem mundane to most people (and it is), but with a mouthpiece in your mouth it becomes increasingly difficult to mouth off. This "mouthiness" is a disease that has inflicted some of the NFL's most talented wide receivers, notably Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall and Chad Ochocinco.
Demaryius isn't like that, though. That giant white mouthpiece brings a smile to my face, whenever I see it. We've got a guy that we'll never have hesitation rooting for. He's a class act and a talented one, at that. I can proudly say that I've backed this guy since before the Broncos drafted him. I didn't have the same premonition for other Broncos players (I'm glad to have been wrong about Tim Tebow and Von Miller), but I have truly enjoyed backing Demaryius Thomas throughout the past two years.
I hope to have more reasons to praise Demaryius Thomas for a long time to come.
P.S. Eddie Royal
If I win the Eddie Royal New England Ticket, Airfare, Hotel contest, I promise to tweet, blog and video the whole experience for MHR. Let the campaigning begin. #SendKBtoNE
How many first down passing plays (passes that occurred on first down) did the Broncos call in Sunday's game against the Steelers?
Bonus Trivia Question
How many first down rushing plays (rushes that occurred on first down) did the Broncos call in Sunday's game against the Steelers?