After Ronnie Hillman coughed up the ball during the first quarter of the regular season finale against Kansas City, the Broncos played a series in relative chaos. Peyton Manning took a rare delay of game penalty; three snaps later, Ryan Clady jumped to a false start.
The result? A three-and-out, the first of just two on the day for Denver.
As has usually been the case this season, their struggles didn’t endure. The Broncos marched down the field like the champion team they want to be, pausing only briefly between possessions during the Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas highlight show.
It was also time to stop the Chiefs before they could gain any momentum. What happens here is part of that; great plays often come from great fundamentals applied with great effort.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! After a mostly meh wild card weekend, the decisions of two head coaches are in the spotlight today.
First, there's old friend Mike Shanahan, who left a gimpy RG3 on the field, only to have the dynamic quarterback further aggravate the knee injury he'd suffered in Week 14 against Baltimore, and leave for good in the fourth quarter. While many are skewering Shanahan for the decision, Griffin demanded that he be kept in the game, and let's not forget that Shanny himself almost died playing football, so it's not like he was asking his player to do something he wouldn't have done.
That doesn't make his decision right, and it doesn't mean reason ruled the day, but as Patrick Hruby writes, that's the problem with football. Mike Silver rightly points out that people should think about their own reactions to Jay Cutler's knee injury from a couple of years ago before they judge Shanny and RG3.
As for the original injury, Shanahan doubled down on his claim that Dr. James Andrews had cleared Griffin on the sideline during the Baltimore game, so stay tuned for that he said/he said showdown. Should get more interesting before all's done with.
It's official--the Ravens are coming to Denver for a rematch.
After dispatching the Colts 24-9, the Ravens now bring their slightly-less injured team to altitude next Saturday on only six days of rest.
Since the game was something of a bore, here's what you need to know, summarized by Barry Wilner of the Associated Press:
[Anquan] Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens' 24-9 victory over Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.
Baltimore's victory over Indy means the Ravens will visit Denver on Saturday for a 4:30pm ET game and a chance to avenge the Broncos' convincing 34-17 thumping of them in Week 15.
Of course, the Ravens were without a slew of key players, including Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Dannell Ellerbe, Marshal Yanda, and Ed Dickson, and Terrell Suggs was a significantly weakened version of himself.
Oregon's Chip Kelly was rumored on Friday to be nearing a deal with the Browns to become their next head coach. But a nine-hour meeting between Kelly and the Eagles have raised speculation that the coach might be headed to Philly.
Now, who knows? Check out the latest, from the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot:
Is this for real? Is it about leverage? Remains to be seen, but word is that the Browns have moved on and will focus their search elsewhere; Peter King says Kelly will choose between the Eagles and Ducks.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In just a few hours' time, we'll be learning which subpar playoff team (between Indianapolis and Baltimore) will be visiting the rarified air on Saturday afternoon to take on your top-seeded Broncos.
By edging the middling Bengals and their scattershot quarterback (who Mike Klis pronounced earlier in the year would meet Cam Newton "in a future SB or three") by a 19-13 margin, the Texans earned a return trip to New England and a chance to avenge the 42-14 thrashing they suffered there four weeks ago.
Houston will need to bring with them the defense that showed up last night, and find the confident Matt Schaub who threw 21 touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season - not the milquetoast one who's thrown just one in the past five.
Following Houston's win, they'll head to New England to face the Patriots on Sunday afternoon; the Broncos will host the winner of Colts/Ravens on Saturday.
Christian Ponder's elbow injury will prevent him from suiting up tonight for Minnesota; Joe Webb will start in his place. Here are the rest of the inactives.
Enjoy the games!
The people who put their money where their mouths are have spoken: going into Wild Card Weekend, the Denver Broncos are the favorites to win Super Bowl 47.
It might be easy to dismiss betting lines as something conjured up by Vegas (or whomever), but to guarantee a win for a game, the sportsbooks need to get a 50/50 split in bets, letting the house take in the even split plus the vig. That means the odds shift as people bet, accurately reflecting popular (gambler) opinion. When it comes to the Super Bowl, the pool of gamblers is large and easily reflects popular opinion.
Futures don't shift exactly the same way (there's no 50/50), but they do shift as bets are placed and news (namely wins and injuries) happen.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although Chip Kelly is likely to become the next coach of the Browns, he still met with the Bills last night and will interview with the Eagles today.
It was a busy day for Buffalo's front office, who also interviewed former Bears coach Lovie Smith and Doug Marrone of Syracuse, and will interview Broncos OC Mike McCoy today in the Denver area.
With Kelly probably ending up in Cleveland, Philly has expanded its search to include Colts OC Bruce Arians and Seahawks DC Gus Bradley; they'll meet with McCoy tomorrow.
Arizona, the other team McCoy will sit down with today, is apparently still waiting to hear whether Handshake Haley will take their interview request, as he reportedly doesn't want to jeopardize his standing Pittsburgh.
The Browns are expected to hire Oregon's Chip Kelly as their new head coach; he'll be replacing Pat Shurmur, who may be joining Andy Reid's new staff in Kansas City.
Kelly's Ducks defeated Kansas State Thursday night 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 49-year-old had also been a candidate for the Buffalo and Philadelphia jobs, both of which Denver's Mike McCoy will interviewing for this weekend. McCoy is scheduled to meet with the Cards and Bills tomorrow, and the Eagles and Bears on Sunday.