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.
Happy Friday, friends. I have some thoughts about the hiring of Andy Reid by the Kansas City Chiefs. The more I think about it, the more deeply ambivalent I become about the move. It affects us directly as Broncos fans, though, so let’s give it a think.
First off, the talent pool in Kansas City is atrocious, and it’s poorly fitted to the kinds of schematic approaches that Reid has historically favored.
In terms of the offensive skill positions, the only players that Kansas City can even consider to be real keepers are Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, and Moeaki is overrated. Dexter McCluster is a useful guy as a matchup problem, and he’ll be in his last year of his rookie deal. Jonathan Baldwin looks like a giant bust, not that I am surprised.
The Chiefs have no QB and no speed at WR, and Reid likes to go deep with speed guys as much as any coach in the NFL. There are a few guys with some promise on the offensive line, but as a group, today, they’re not good. If Juan Castillo becomes the OL coach, I see a couple of them (Rodney Hudson, Donald Stephenson) not being great scheme fits, because Castillo has tended to favor larger players, and asked them to do a lot more drive blocking than zone blocking.
John Elway joined the usually gruff Sandy Clough yesterday morning on 104.3 The Fan, Denver's local sports talk radio station. He opened up quite a bit on his thinking over the last two years on the job. I was struck by one particular answer regarding Clough's glowing praise for Peyton Manning's intelligence:
There were a lot of good things that Peyton hadn't seen before that Mike McCoy and Gase were doing...Peyton saw something he hadn't seen in 14 years...so he got some new ideas from McCoy and Gase. And to me it made that package that much better and I think that's why we had the year we had offensively.
This is a slightly different narrative than the one we're used to--you know, the one that paints the Broncos as an exact replica of the Peyton Manning Machine that existed in Indianapolis. Perhaps this was true at the beginning of the year, when the Broncos utlized the fullback more often, but my guess here is that Elway doing what all good bosses do, which is to spread the credit around so that everyone feels ownership over the result. Elway could be helping McCoy out as well, during a time when teams across the league want to know that McCoy has the chops to be a head coach. Of course, the final explanation could be the most likely: McCoy knows his stuff, and in his time in Denver (and beyond), he picked up some additional offensive strategies from guys like boy genius Josh McDaniels (gasp!).
We never pass up an opportunity to take shots at the Raiders and their fans. So it gave us great pleasure today to read this GQ piece from Lauren Bans, in which she spends some time in Oakland with two Raiders fans known as Metal Cindy and Dre of the Dead:
In all of Raider nation, there are about fifty or so "superfans," and Metal Cindy and Dre of the Dead are two of them. Along with other "characters"—including Gorilla Rilla, a dude who shows up every game day in a full ape suit, plus a jersey and sunglasses over the ape suit, and who, according to Metal Cindy, got married in that getup—Cindy and Dre never miss a Sunday. They're like walking and waving Disney World mascots for the drunk-at-10-A.M. set
Dan Fouts finally said something I agree with.
The Broncos' ass kicking has become a broken record to the AFC.
Let the music play--three more times. Whoever comes to Denver won't be getting away.
Not this time; not with this defense; not as the number-one seed.
Did we mention we've got Peyton Manning, too?
A lot of things happen when you get on a winning streak. One of those things is that you forget your responsibilities--namely, a game-day limerick.
So here goes (in pure-form anapests):
It's the last of the games of the year
for the AFC West to revere
the appeal of the pass
and a hoof up their ass:
it is Manning and Denver to fear.
Thanks to my boy Alaskan for reminding me of my responsibilities. Feel free to give it your own shot (anapestic or not) below. Just remember, crude and lewd is quite shrewd, dude.
Yesterday and today, there has been a collective gasp across Broncos Country that the Chiefs--yes, the lowly and wretched Kansas City Chiefs, whom Denver will host on Sunday to close out the regular season--placed five players on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
The thinking seems to be that a 2-13 team can't possibly deserve such honors. After all, if their players were any good, they'd have a better record. While there's certainly some truth in that line of thinking, and the Pro Bowl has largely become a game for divas, as they say in Spain, "no sé qué," which, roughly translated, means "Kansas City has good barbeque." In other words, it's not always so crazy when you scarf meat from bone and get into the details.
Before we take a look at whom the Chiefs actually put into the Pro Bowl, though, we should recognize that a lot of things influence a team's record. Just because the Chiefs are 2-13 and the Broncos 12-3, it's not necessarily always a reflection of better play at specific positions.
Santa Claus is real. I don't care what your parents told you.
How do I know?
Because I heard him on the roof, dropping gifts down your orange-and-blue chimney.
The first gift? A ten-game winning streak.
The second? A quarterback more accurate than Santa's naughty/nice list.
Well, that came from Santa's little helpers, the Minnesota Vikings. Because of their win, the Broncos just might get the #1 seed.
Rockin' around the Christmas tree, at the Christmas party slop.
I love the myth of the free market and the bootstrapping entrepreneur. Without it, our business schools wouldn't continue to surge with wide-eyed future (and underemployed) alumni donors. I also love it because the narrative is so simple. It's black and white, really--I did everything, all by myself. Despite the lessons from behavioral economics and history, the narrative's insistence on oversimplifying complex issues into laissez-faire dogma provides for some great comedic context.
Enter the humor of Bills owner Ralph Wilson. In 2011, Wilson gave an interview in which he gave this tidy little homespun answer to a question about how much he profits from his ownership of the Buffalo Bills:
I came into this game 50 years ago because I enjoyed the game of pro football. Not to make money. In those days, everybody was hoping to break even. We lost money for a number of years. I am really not into the game to make money, but I would like to break even or make a little.
Here they come at a furious pace--a wave of Tebow-related articles that all basically say the same thing:
Rex Ryan finally decided to bench Mark Sanchez, but he won't let Tim Tebow start.
Mike Freeman is hearing that the Ultimate Teammate™ feels like he was lied to. Jeff Darlington thinks Tebow will ask out of New York (very un-team) and compares the situation to when Tebow was in high school and decided to switch schools so someone would let him play quarterback instead of linebacker.