I was more than a little nervous for the Broncos during halftime on Sunday Night. The Broncos led 24-0, and yet I was uneasy about the way things had gone and the direction they were going. Obviously I remember how the Broncos took it to the Chargers in that pivotal and historic come-from-behind win last year, and so I knew full well that you never count out a guy like Peyton or Brady. But instead of that San Diego game from 2012, it was actually the Chiefs entire 2013 campaign that quickly caught my focus. No matter how hard I tried to fight back, the comparisons were backhanding me like a pimp. And as you can imagine, nobody likes to get pimp slapped - so I wasn't very happy.
The flimsy Chiefs like to do a lot of what we around here like to call "run, run, pass". So like, lots of running and whatnot. Not a lot of passing. Virtually never more than ten yards downfield. Target the RB and not the WR's. Ignore the wide receivers pretty much entirely. The runner is the offense. Rodger that, over? Defensively, the odd shaped football gives them every lucky bounce. They score their own points. They hit the quarterback and prevent rhythm. True that, over and out.
Remind you of anything? Are you picking up what I'm laying down here?
Now wait a minute, let's back that ho-train up for just a quick bit, to a spot that's maybe not quite past the realm of reality. I didn't actually think we were going to lose the game when I sat with my uneasiness at halftime. That would have made me either clairvoyant or else batshit crazy, maybe a bit of both. Similarly, the greatest offense the world has ever seen should not truly be compared to the one that Chief Checkdown has been running over in Kansas City (get it, I said "running"? Ha! I kill me).
The takeaway here is only that the warning signs were there, even if it doesn't mean a defeat was likely. If the bounces stopped coming, and the elite quarterback on the other side of the field stops shitting the bed.. then all of this run, run, pass crapola - with Peyton suddenly allergic to his receivers (as well as to the overall idea of the forward-pass just in general principle) - this could have the makings of a very long night. Denver's first-half of that game was eerily similar to the first half of Kansas City's season. Problem is, that kind of luck on defense coupled with a "run-only" offense is simply unsustainable as a winning formula, most especially when playing against guys like Brady, Brees and Rodgers. It's why the Tebow miracle crumbled, and it's why the Chiefs are crashing to earth. And so naturally I ask myself, wtf were we thinking going into Brady's house with that kind of game plan?
The Game Plan.
First off, whose bright idea was it to run Knowshon Moreno 37 times? Do they not know he's injury-prone on a magnitude of 8.7 on the Richter Scale? It made me more and more nervous with each passing carry, and I know I wasn't the only one. I mean, what ever happened to lightening his load as the season progresses? Sure, he looked amazing: amazing in defeat. Where did it get us? Having him carry the rock that many times was a bad plan to begin with, and an even worse audible... not to mention dangerous to the future health of both him and to the team as well.
Now slow your roll before it even gets started. I already hear you: hellz no it's not Moreno's fault. Nothing about that game was his fault. Dude was a boss and a hog in heaven. Even to his staunchest detractors, Moreno was Real Deal Holyfield out there. This isn't at all about him, or for the greatness he created with the opportunities he was given; this is about the boneheaded call that fed him the rock 37 times as if it was a good idea....against Brady getting hot... all while keeping Peyton cold.
This leads me to my next beef. Please point me out to the guy in Dove Valley who doesn't yet understand that Peyton is a "rhythm" quarterback. I'll eat his lunch out of the office fridge and then make him smell my breath. I mean, what's a guy gotta do to get a little r.e.s.p.e.c.t.? I'm sure you've all heard the saying that dictates you dance with the one that brought you. Well, this is a little bit of a different case here. This is more like once you got the girl and now you're happy and secure enough to know that other boys will look and whatnot. Maybe even a little flirting here or there. It's all good, yo. She can dance with other guys. Nobody is going to get jealous if you smile at Knowshon either... just don't forget who's taking you home, ya dig?
There's nothing new or novel about the idea that it takes our offense some time to find it's rhythm. We have lulls every week. Sometimes it's a hot start and slow finish, sometimes it's the reverse. But Peyton, he always gets hot. And once he is, he can hang a 30-burger on the opposition in the blink of an eye. I just cannot be more clear here. This isn't new. There's no excuse for not understanding that this passing offense doesn't get hot until it's unleashed. One pass every third-down isn't going to cut it. Sure, we started opening stuff up later, just in time for him to finally march down and score. See what ya did there? Holy fudgesicle, batman! If Captain Obvious were around, he'd have hit you with a dose of no-shit-Sherlock right in the ear-hole. I mean just don't get it. How do you go nearly all game long by the time you realize we might need to get that Ferrari warmed up after all? It's Tom Brady, man. In his house. Against a secondary with all it's starters sitting on the sidelines in big coats. Run, run, pass just like the Chiefs? Really dude?
With an early lead, DC Del Rio and OC Adam Gase bet on not needing a "warm" Peyton at any point during the game, and then they pretty much ignored the changing landscape of the game until it was too late. Rhythm isn't just about throwing 30 passes, it's about not being handcuffed so that, you know, you're able to, like, find a rhythm. Rio failed in this by instead going balls-out on Foxball. Gase, too, failed by going along with whatever cheesedick input he had in it. So, who is to blame the most? I guess it's up for debate. It's up to you to choose which one gets the pointy finger and which one gets the middle finger. For me, they both get a Suck-Balls Award of the Week nomination.
I do not like Foxball in wins. I do not like Foxball in losses. I do not like it in the cold or in the heat. I do not like Foxball when it snows or when it blows. I do not like green eggs and ham, that's just the man I am.
I'm not suggesting you play for a shootout when you're up by 24 at the half, nor am I suggesting we ignore the weather and a gimpy ankle. I'm simply saying that you still need to warm up your Ferrari in case you need him - and even that you should have done it already before half-time. I'm saying this was Tom Brady going against our secondary that basically had every starter on the sidelines. In his house. I'm wondering why Rio saw this as such an uber limited possibility to where it was decided to stick with the "run, run, pass" that had the offense running for records but sputtering to score points all game long.
DC Del Rio got into trouble for assuming, like Chief fans generally have, that the breaks wouldn't eventually balance out in the second-half - that Lady Luck is loyal. She's not loyal. As I've said here many times, she's an unpredictable bitch and is not to be trusted. This was a bad place and a bad environment to expect to hang on and hold on for so long, all while keeping your best player in shackles. Rio, you failed to react. You failed to adapt. And it was your hyper-overdrive of Foxball that makes me want to puke. Still. Even two days later.
What to do going forward? Simple:
Dance with the one who brought ya. Don't forget who's taking you home. Or hey, I'll tell you what: you decide how much you want to share your love - how loyal or how jealous you want to be with him. You can choose to dance with Moreno from time to time if you like, but one way or another let's just all agree that we never again treat anybody but Peyton F. Manning as the bread winner of this family. If we go down, we go down swinging. And it'll be by his right arm and none others.
Oh, and no more Foxball, Rio. Two pees in a pod, you and Coach Fox. The difference being that Foxy Bear is clearly the better half-time adjuster, and is clearly more adaptable to having The Freaking on his team. Get well soon, Coach. We miss ya much! Peace out, my peeps!