(Editor's note: As always, these are Big Pete's instant and unbridled reactions, and just as Broncos Country will disagree on any given topic, his takes don't necessarily reflect those of the entire Mile High Report staff's. Give us your take in the comments.)
I'm not even sure where to start. Yes, I'm kind of at a loss for words right now, but fear not, I'm sure I'll get in a rhythm (unlike Manning) and actually pull it together long enough to get the job done no matter how ugly it might get (again, unlike Manning).
First of all, can Aqib Talib earn his paycheck in the playoffs? He made a good play you say? Yeah, maybe one! He also gave up countless big plays. If this is what shutdown corner money gets you, I demand a refund!
Next is our pass rush. What pass rush you say? EXACTLY!
And then there was Brett Favre...err... I mean Peyton Manning. I'm sorry, I must have gotten him confused for another quarterback who played one year too long.
How about all those strides our coaching staff made? Yeah, as I feared earlier, they reverted back to who they always were.
C.J. Anderson, you get a game ball even in defeat. Just like Thurman Thomas should have won Super Bowl MVP in a losing effort, you were the lone bright spot on the entire Broncos offense tonight. When everyone else looked like they didn't give a $&!*, you busted your ass and gave it all you had. You should hold your head up high, because you balled your brains out on a day when nobody else cared to show up.
Earth to Demaryius Thomas, this is not how you bust the bank in contract talks. To make big money, you need to make big plays. 2011 was a LONG time ago my man. You had way too many drops and seemed out of it from the get go. Yes, you had a nice fade route in the end zone for a TD to open the game up, but after that? Nothing. Get your contract out of your head, because it's affecting your game.
Emmanuel Sanders did good. He too busted his ass even though you could visibly see how frustrated he was getting as the game wore on. You had your man beat many, many times, only to be let down by your quarterback.
Julius Thomas? You had a moment or two, but sadly, it was only a moment or two. I'm not sure if you were physically limited, or if your quarterback simply let you down? Whatever the reason, you had one nice catch I can remember, and then was forgettable since.
I love your fire Orlando Franklin. I hope the Broncos sign you. I love how you and C.J. have your game down. I even love the fire you showed that almost got you a penalty (heads up move C.J.). Although, it ultimately didn't matter. But still, when the rest of the team seemed to give up, you kept fighting. So here's my shout out to an offensive lineman.
Peyton Manning? Here, how about my take on Peyton Manning: I hope you retire. I'm done with you. Yes people, this is me wanting to run Peyton out of town. I'll even pick him up and drive him to the airport if needed. Yes, I'd rather have Brock because until Brock proves otherwise, he might be able to complete more than half of his non-garbage-time passes and not completely fall apart in the playoffs.
Remember how you feel right now people, because this is how Peyton will always make you feel. You'd rather feel like this than maybe take a year off from the playoffs while the Broncos discover whether or not Brock is the answer or a QB is needed? Fine, then feel like this. Feel pissed off. Feel embarrassed. Feel let down. Feel ashamed for your quarterback who looks like he cares less about playing in the cold than you do. If that's how you'd rather feel, then you deserve Peyton. Myself? I'd rather root for a winner who doesn't choke in the game's biggest moments (yes, Peyton is a winner, but no he isn't a winner when it matters). I'm offering free taxi service Peyton, I urge you to use it! Goodbye! Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!
I love you Chris Harris Jr. You played your heart out. I love it. You are truly the best of the best. Keep being like Champ and improving year after year and keep taking Roby under your wing, because he can be special.
And that my friends, concludes anything nice I have to say about anyone else on the Broncos defense. Aside from Rahim taking a good angle for a pick (glorified punt).
Coaching Staff and Special Teams
Special teams did great. Out of all the phases of the team, who'd have thought? Bruton, you are a stud. Barth? You are solid. McManus? You can kickoff like a mad man. Omar Bolden? You are a mean man. And that my friends, concludes special teams.
Coaching? Where to start? FIRE THEM ALL!!!!
Bye Bye John Fox. We out grew you, and when you get so totally out coached and out classed at home in the playoffs, you simply have to go. Just like the Chargers firing Marty after repeated playoff appearances, you too have to go. You've outlived your usefullness. My only complaint is that Rex Ryan just got hired. I really wanted him. Let the coaching search begin! Kubiak maybe?
Adam Gase? So long! You either allow Peyton to call weak plays or you have no power to call plays. Both are equally damning.
Jack Del Rio? I was really hoping you'd save this garbage for the Raiders, but I guess you did Al Davis proud and $&*(*#()@ over the Broncos one last time. Congrats. I love how you put our man cover corners in zone. Outstanding!
There you have it folks. Feel free to completely ignore 100% of what I wrote and focus on me saying I don't want Manning anymore, because I know that's all you'll all focus on anyways. #TebowWouldHaveWon
And do you know what? Regardless of what we all say, I think Manning is retiring. He knows he played one season too long too. Time to root for Brock or for Elway to draft a QB high, cause my head and gut tell me that Peyton is hanging them up. Let me know if you agree or disagree. (hint: you should agree and let it go)