Thursday, October 24, 2013

8 comments Gregg Easterbrook Tries to Figure Out What's Wrong with Peyton Manning Now That the Broncos Have Lost One Whole Game

Gregg Easterbrook tackled the useless topic in last week's TMQ concerning how unrealistic it is that Hollywood shows a person leaving the bed without waking his/her bed mate up. Gregg also questioned why aliens have red eyes glowing eyes, and despite the fact he's never actually seen an alien (as far as I know), he thought this was unrealistic too. TMQ is a column about football by the way, but the big takeaways from the column have nothing to do with football. This week Gregg wonders why Peyton Manning struggles so much in big games by introducing the Bill Simmons-esque "Peyton Paradox," criticizes television shows again for a lack of realism, and does the same stuff he does every week in TMQ that I dislike so much.

At 6-1 and scoring 43 points a game, the Broncos will be fine. But the night produced a reminder about Peyton Manning: Though one of the best ever at his position, he often comes up short in big games.

It depends entirely on what you would consider "a big game." Really, a regular season game against the Colts isn't big for the Broncos because it is an out-of-division game and isn't a playoff game. Now if Gregg is going to cherry-pick data to prove a point, he would want to call this a big game. It was only big because the media wanted to make it big. I don't even know what "often comes up short" means anyway. 50% of the time? 75% of the time? The Broncos won an opening night game over the defending Super Bowl champs and beat a quality Dallas Cowboys team on the road, so in my calculation the Broncos are 2-1 in what could be considered (by the media or the fact the game was on national television) "big" games this year.

Call it the Peyton Paradox.

Let's not.

Here is the key indicator of the Peyton Paradox: Manning is 160-71 in the regular season but 9-11 in the postseason.

Yes, Peyton Manning has a below .500 record in the postseason. John Elway had a 7-7 record in the postseason prior to his last two Super Bowl winning seasons. Dan Marino was 8-10 in the postseason for his career. It's not unusual for really good quarterbacks to not replicate their regular season winning percentage in the postseason. The quality of teams increases, which means the odds of a loss are higher as compared to a normal regular season game.

But Manning has played so many times over so many years that his numbers seem to represent a pattern. And those numbers show Manning's performance declines in the playoffs, when the pressure is on.

Statistically compared to his regular season statistics, Tom Brady's performance declines in the postseason too. Again, it's a result of playing a higher level of competition.

Manning career in the regular season: 268.6 yards per game, 65.4% completion, 2.17 TD/INT, 96.7 rating.

Manning career in the playoffs: 283.9 yards per game, 63.2% completion, 1.52 TD/INT, 88.4 rating.

Tom Brady career in the regular season: 252.8 yards per game, 63.4% completion, 2.67 TD/INT, 95.7 rating.

Tom Brady career in the playoffs: 247.9 yards per game, 62.3% completion, 1.90 TD/INT, 87.4 rating. 

So Manning and Brady's performance declines in the postseason in that they tend to throw more interceptions and otherwise both quarterback's performance declines much in the same way in the postseason (and no, I didn't cherry-pick the data, but just picked a quarterback who has a good career postseason record). So I believe it's natural for a quarterback's statistics to decline in the postseason given the higher level of competition.

A quarterback can underwhelm in the playoffs and still be a memorable athlete. Canton's Dan Marino was 8-10 in the postseason and wrapped his distinguished NFL career with a 62-7 playoff loss at Jacksonville. Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Fouts, Warren Moon and Y.A. Tittle had losing postseason records:

But Gregg has a theory as to why Peyton Manning is so bad in the playoffs and he will ignore that a quarterback can underwhelm in the playoffs simply so his theory fits better. When reality doesn't match the theory you want to prove correct, just ignore reality.

Still, the Peyton Paradox is vexing. Eight of the 12 times Manning has led his charges to the postseason, they've bowed out in the opening round. Four times, Manning-led teams lost their playoff opener at home following the reward of a bye week.

Is the reason for this Peyton Manning's fault or the fault of the Colts defense, running game, or a coaching issue? Manning's performance falls off a bit (like it should) in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean a Colts/Broncos loss is his fault. Last year if Rahim Moore just covered Jacoby Jones while he was running a deep route the Broncos could have been in good position to win the AFC Divisional Game against the Ravens. That wasn't Manning's fault that Moore let Jones get behind him.

Five of Manning's 11 postseason losses were to the team that went on to win the Super Bowl that season -- in other words, to the league's best team. Still, both Manning and his coaches seem to develop certain "yips" in the playoffs.

This means the Colts lost a playoff game to a quality team, which happens, even to great quarterbacks. There's less of a paradox here than a recognition the competition in the playoffs is much tougher and the margin for error much less. I'm not taking away blame from Manning for his career playoff record or performance, but it has to be acknowledged more than just Manning's performance results in him being 9-11 for his career in the postseason.

One is too much passing, a tendency on display against the Colts when, adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Manning (who calls many plays himself) and his coaches signaled 54 passing plays and 19 rushes.

"Too much passing" was called "running up the score and jumping to a big lead" after every other Broncos game earlier this year, so I reject the idea the Broncos should have run the ball more. Gregg thinks Denver has passed the ball too much when the Broncos lose, but when they win, the fact they jumped out to an early lead (by passing the football) is partly given as a reason for the win.

If nothing else, this means the Broncos must work on their running game.

Oh ok, that sounds easy. Let's see, Ronnie Hillman had trouble holding on to the ball at the end of the Colts game, Montee Ball has had trouble fumbling, and the Broncos offensive line had offensive line issues including a guard playing his first-ever game at tackle and a backup left tackle playing due to an injury to Ryan Clady. But yeah, the Broncos should work on that running game.

Manning, always concerned with his receivers, needs to take into account his offensive line's situation. Manning barks so many pre-snap instructions that linemen might have only 1 second between learning the play and hike. That's not enough to switch your mindset from the retreating motion of pass-blocking to the drive motion of run-blocking.

Gregg is so annoying when he makes knee-jerk reactions like this to one game that was played. Just a few weeks ago he counted the San Francisco 49ers out and declared the read-option nearly over and done with. Defenses had caught on to it and the 49ers were in trouble. Since that time, the 49ers haven't lost a game and there's been zero follow-up or mention from Gregg about how he was very, very wrong. Gregg is so reactionary in his criticism. When the Broncos are winning Gregg talks about how the pre-snap instructions can confuse the defense and allow the offense to make adjustments, but now that the Broncos have lost a game, all of a sudden these pre-snap adjustments are too much for the Broncos offensive line to handle. Did I mention the Broncos had a guard playing tackle for the first time in his career and the Broncos still only lost by six on the road, partly due to a running back (get the running game more involved!) fumbling the football?

Kickoff for the recent Baltimore at Denver playoff game, lost by the Broncos in a shocker, was 13 degrees. Denver is likely to host another playoff contest in January, and bracing cold is likely. The Peyton Paradox might continue.

Peyton and the Broncos offense put up 35 points in this playoff game by the way, with Manning throwing three touchdown passes and having two interceptions. Did the cold make Peyton Manning miss deflecting a deep pass to Jacoby Jones? I get that Manning threw an interception in overtime, but there was more than just "Manning doesn't play so good when it is cold" that happened prior to that pass.

Stats of the Week No. 1: Stretching back to last season, Kansas City has followed a 1-12 streak with a 7-0 streak.

Since the inception of the franchise, the Chiefs are on a 411-388-12 regular season streak. Numbers!

Stats of the Week No. 6: The Washington R*dsk*ns have given up touchdowns on punting plays in three consecutive games.

We still know what you are typing, it doesn't mean you aren't typing the word "Redskins" because you don't include the vowels.

Sweet Play of the Week: Trailing Houston 10-7 with a minute before intermission, Kansas City faced third-and-1 on the Moo Cows 5. The Chiefs lined up with two backs in a zone-read look. Alex Smith took a shotgun snap; the tailback went to one side while Smith turned the other way and made a "show" fake to no one, which ensured defenders saw the ball; Smith then followed his blockers up the middle for an untouched touchdown. Sweet! If this had been a designed action, it would have been among the sweetest plays of all time. Tailback Jamaal Charles went the wrong way, causing the fake-to-no-one. Sweet nonetheless.

This is not at all how the play was designed. It was a sweet play, but completely unintended to be run in the fashion it was run.

Sweet No. 2: Trailing 7-3, Indianapolis recovered a fumble on the Denver 11. The first snap following a turnover is a good time for whatever is the best play in the playbook.


Defensive coordinators will study film of this game, in which the Broncos ran up 33 points but were just 5-of-16 on third down and often seemed discombobulated. Indianapolis used press corners to throw Broncos receivers off their carefully timed routes.

So every NFL team just needs to run press corners to throw the Broncos' receivers off their routes. Every team can easily do this with the personnel they have in the secondary and the Broncos are not going to adjust anything they do on offense based on the defense running press corners.

In 2012, Washington opened 3-6, then went 7-0 down the stretch. A similar rebound could be in the cards.

That would never happen because the read-option is dead, remember? It doesn't work and defenses have caught up to. Remember writing a TMQ that basically said that?

Sweet 'N' Sour Play: Game tied, the Lions faced third-and-4 on their 23 with 40 seconds remaining, Cincinnati down to its final timeout. Cincinnati surprised Detroit with a corner blitz.

Stop me before I blitz again!

Notice how blitzing worked in this situation, but the next time a blitz doesn't work Gregg will be sure to point out how if the defensive team had not blitzed and played straight defense "it is likely the offensive would not have gotten a first down."

When Stafford was chased from the pocket by the blitzing corner, he should have allowed himself to be sacked. That would have forced Cincinnati to spend its final timeout, and probably led to overtime.

Gregg is the master of hindsight, isn't he? Yes, I guess in hindsight while completely knowing the outcome of the game and how far Martin would punt the ball it would have made more sense for Stafford to allow himself to be sacked. Of course if Sam Martin still shanks the punt after Stafford takes the sack then the Bengals would have had 8-10 fewer yards they had to gain (with one less timeout) in order to win the game on their final possession. Of course, Gregg knows the outcome of the game so it's easy to second-guess. I would bet if Stafford had taken a sack then Gregg would write about how Stafford should have thrown the ball away and not given the Bengals better field position by taking a sack.

Not to mention, Stafford didn't know Sam Martin would shank the punt, so throwing the ball out of bounds didn't seem like a bad decision. Gregg annoys me so much when he uses hindsight to come to a conclusion a football player could not have reached without being able to predict the future.

Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Washington State coaches called 93 passing plays and 8 rushes at Oregon. Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti had the temerity to complain that the Cougars kept trying to score after the outcome was ordained because "they want stats."

This is close to the same complaint that Gregg Easterbrook has every week in TMQ about college football teams that run up the score on lesser schools. So I have no idea why he would have an issue with a defensive coordinator making the same complaint.

This from a school that averages 58 points per game and often stays with hurry-up tactics after the outcome is ordained. Oregon kept its starters on the field, playing for stats, when ahead 48-24 in the fourth quarter.

As always, Gregg plays both sides of the issue. Gregg is fine with talking about how the Oregon offense is so revolutionary and they put great offensive numbers against opponents because of how well they block downfield. Yet all of a sudden, Gregg is a little upset with the Oregon offensive starters scoring so many points and now these great offensive numbers and the great downfield blocking is just a sign Oregon runs up the score on their opponents.

Aliotti later apologized, which is the proper thing to do. But his comments were the first indication there is an underside to the Ducks of 2013. University of Oregon football went down a notch in this columnist's estimation and now is on the watch list for punishment by the football gods.

So when/if the Ducks don't win the BCS title then Gregg will explain the reason the Ducks aren't national champs is because of these comments by Nick Aliotti.


Here is the news story from the future:

Then Gregg writes a fake news story, which amazingly is actually dumber and less clever than the premise shown in the headline indicated it would be.

Visiting Indianapolis, twice Denver punted on fourth-and-1, despite having the league's best offense. The Broncos' pass-wacky tactics can be better on third-and-long than on short-yardage downs -- something else that needs to be corrected before the postseason.

I'm not even sure what this means. The pass-wacky tactics "can be" better on third-and-long than on short-yardage downs, but they also "can be" worse on third-and-long than on short-yardage downs. Considering Gregg provides zero data showing that the Broncos struggle passing the ball on short-yardage downs then I am obligated to just assume he is making this up.

Because Atlanta, like Denver, uses last-second audibles and like Denver struggles to run the ball, Falcons coaches need to modify Matt Ryan's calls so that offensive linemen have several seconds to adjust their heads from pass-blocking to drive-blocking.

It's hard to run a hurry-up offense if the coaches don't let the quarterback run the offense in a hurry-up mode. Besides, if the offensive linemen adjust their heads from pass-blocking to run-blocking won't the defense notice this?

When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play: Atlanta's Harry Douglas normally is the third option at wide receiver. With Julio Jones and Roddy White both out with injuries, Douglas had seven receptions for 149 yards.

"The third option at wide receiver" is otherwise known as "the Falcons slot receiver."

And also, Harry Douglas is part of the reason that the Falcons don't run the football as much as Gregg Easterbrook would like for them to. Well, that and Steven Jackson is injured, but I hope Gregg remembers Douglas' performance the next time he complains the Falcons don't run the ball enough.

Football IQ Lacking: Leading New England by three points with 2:29 remaining, Jersey/B faced second-and-11 on its 40 and went incompletion, incompletion, punt. This stopped the clock twice; New England scored with 16 seconds remaining to force overtime. TMQ's Law of the Obvious holds: Sometimes, simply running up the middle for no gain is fine.

But doesn't fortune favor the bold? Don't the Jets get some sort of extra advantage by being aggressive in this situation and trying to put the game away? After all, they were playing against Tom Brady, so being conservative and just trying to run the clock out may not win the game for them.

It seems fortune favors the bold unless the outcome isn't in favor of the team being bold, which at that point a team that is bold lacks a high football IQ.

Facing third-and-10 from inside his own 1-yard line, Robert Griffin III called timeout to prevent the play clock from expiring. But the walk-off would have been one foot!

Right, but that would have backed the Redskins up even just a little bit more into their own end zone. Timeouts are precious, but is it really a better situation for Griffin to take the penalty and back his team up even another foot closer to their own end zone? This is especially true since it looked like the Redskins would have to punt the football in this situation. Even one extra foot of room would give the Redskins kicker more room to get the punt off. Gregg Easterbrook is so busy criticizing NFL teams for having a low football IQ, I'm not sure he realizes his suggestion doesn't make sense either.

The Buffalo-at-Miami contest devolved into dueling mental errors. Last week, TMQ excoriated Bills high draft choice Leodis McKelvin for fair-catching at his own 7 -- never fair catch inside the 10! -- which pinned the Bills deep in overtime. Sunday, McKelvin again fair-caught on his own 7, pinning the Bills deep when trailing in the fourth quarter.

Again, it's generally a bad idea to fair catch a punt at this point on the field. There is no guarantee how the ball will bounce though and if the punting team has gunners down field already waiting to down the ball inside the five-yard line, then a fair catch at the seven-yard line may be a good idea. It's hard to defend a punt returner catching the ball, but there is always a chance the Bills could have gotten pinned deeper.

Twice in the second half, Stevie Johnson, one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers, ran a third-down pattern short of the marker; both times, Buffalo punted on fourth-and-1. Stopping short of the marker is a rookie error that a megabucks guy should not make.

Doesn't Gregg mean stopping short of the marker is a rookie error a lowly-drafted, hard-working player like Stevie Johnson shouldn't make? Johnson was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. Notice how Gregg calls him "megabucks" but leaves out that Johnson was drafted in the seventh round. Gregg wouldn't want to ruin the perception that undrafted and lowly drafted players are smarter and more team-oriented than highly-drafted, megabucks players.

Now, Buffalo, trailing by one point, reaches first down on the Miami 18 with 2:36 remaining, Dolphins out of timeouts. Miami must let Buffalo score! Otherwise, the Bills will grind the clock then take the lead with the game nearly over, too little time for Miami to reply. This is exactly what occurs. Last week, the Cowboys were in the must-let-them-score situation versus Denver and failed to do so. Miami repeated the Boys mistake.

It's a great idea to let the Bills score in this situation, but what if the Bills refuse to score and run the clock out? It's not like the Dolphins can force the Bills to score, unless a Dolphins defender picks up the Bills ball carrier and places him in the end zone. So even if the Dolphins had let the Bills score, the Bills still may have chosen to not score.

Last week, TMQ noted that even a team that wants to kill the clock can benefit from a defensive timeout. Before Miami staged its last-snap Hail Mary, the Bills called timeout, got collected and reminded defensive backs not to try to intercept -- just knock it down. They did. At least there was football IQ on the final down!

There is a difference in the Bills calling timeout here on a Hail Mary and the Saints calling a timeout the week before when the Patriots were in the red zone. It was very obvious what the Dolphins play call would be in this Hail Mary situation, so the Bills weren't running the risk of the Dolphins offense having additional time to decide on an effective play. This isn't the case in the previous week's New Orleans-New England game. If the Saints had called timeout they could have given New England's offense time to gather themselves and not rely on a play called at the line of scrimmage. Yes, the outcome of the game didn't favor the Saints against the Patriots, but I still am not sure they should have called a timeout on that last snap since there didn't seem to be very much defensive confusion. The defensive play call looked like the issue for the Saints, not confusion on the defensive play being run.

Unified Field Theory of Creep: Many readers, including Mary Beth Brown of Portsmouth, N.H., noted that Pro Bowl balloting just opened -- with 43 percent of the season played. Let's hope an NFL player performed well in September, since performance in November and December doesn't count.

It's a popularity contest anyway and many of the players don't even participate. The Pro Bowl is a joke. Still, when is the best time for Pro Bowl balloting to open? It has to open prior to the season ending, so no matter what happens there will be creep. I would love to know when Mary from New Hampshire and Gregg Easterbrook thinks Pro Bowl voting should open. Voting has to occur prior to the season ending, which would make it "creep."

"Hawaii Five-0" Update: Television's most ridiculous show is back for a fourth season...A high-security prison is blown up, Honolulu Police headquarters is attacked by commandos, a helicopter is shot down at Aloha Stadium, two machine gun duels occur on Honolulu streets and a gang of bad guys are killed by Five-0 during a paramilitary strike against a hideout. Five-0 personnel in blackout gear attack a fog-shrouded, shipping-container dock at night, taking out bad guys one by one rather than just driving up with lots uniformed officers and announcing, "This is the police." 

I don't watch this show, but it doesn't seem like driving up to the shipping-container dock at night and saying "Hey, we are the cops...go ahead and surrender!" is an excellent way of making sure these bad guys just walk outside and don't try to escape. More importantly, it's a television show that is supposed to be entertaining, not realistic.

In one sequence, McGarrett, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, is shown getting into his new Batmobile-class supercar. When he gets out a moment later, he is wearing a flak vest with guns strapped to his thighs.

At least he didn't get out of bed the morning after spending the night with a woman and manage to leave without waking her up. That's just incredibly unrealistic.

Defense Strikes Back: Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston, Jersey/A, Miami, Minnesota, New England, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were held to fewer than 300 yards of offense. The Steelers-Ravens contest was a traditionalist affair -- slow, grinding field-position struggles, six field goals versus two touchdowns.

It sounds like Gregg is getting ready to take credit soon for what he said two seasons ago when he mentioned defenses catch up with offenses around November. Gregg will just hope all of his readers don't recall the way he gushed over NFL offenses in September and October of this season and suggested 400 yards of offense for NFL teams will become the new norm for all NFL teams. I can't wait to see Gregg backtrack and remind us how so right he was two seasons ago when he said NFL defenses catch up with NFL offenses. As long as Gregg takes both sides of an issue when he writes TMQ he can always provide a link showing how he was right about something.

Leading 14-0 at Arizona, the Bluish Men Group ran up the middle on second-and-1 and failed. They ran up the middle on third-and-1 and failed. Now facing fourth-and-1 on the Cardinals 43, they ran up the middle and failed. The fourth-and-1 action was unimaginative -- no misdirection. That's something Seattle coaches need to correct. But the failure and the home-crowd roars did Seattle no harm; the Seahawks went on to win 34-22. The message coach Pete Carroll sent by going on fourth down was determination to win.

It was also a message that the Seahawks have a great defense and were already up 14 points, so Pete Carroll didn't think a failed fourth down try would hurt the team. But yeah, it was the determination to win thingie shown through going for it on fourth down, not the Seahawks defense and 14-point lead, that helped the Seahawks win the game.

left tackle Bradley Sowell barely slowed defensive end Chris Clemons. A few weeks ago, Arizona traded away highly drafted left tackle Levi Brown. He wasn't playing well, and in any case his new team, the Steelers, immediately placed Brown on injured reserve. But a modern NFL team simply can't cut the mustard -- whatever that means -- without a quality left tackle.

I can't believe that highly-drafted left tackle Levi Brown wasn't playing well. He's just another one of those underachieving, lazy high draft picks. What the Cardinals need to do is replace Brown with a hard-working undrafted free agent who would undoubtedly slow down the undrafted Chris Clemons (who amazingly hasn't gotten lazy with a 3-year $22 million contract) for good. You know, replace Brown with a hard-working undrafted free agent like Bradley Sowell, the same guy who couldn't stop Clemons. Interesting how Gregg tells us Brown is highly-drafted but leaves that little fact out about Sowell's undrafted status when talking about Clemons blazing by Sowell.

Baylor Held to 71 Points : Trailing Baylor, college football's highest-scoring team, by 14-0 in the first quarter, Iowa State punted on fourth-and-1 from midfield. Buck-buck-brawkkkkkk! The final was Baylor 71, Iowa State 7.

Yeah, Iowa State should not have punted in this situation, but were they going to score 65 more points if they had punted here? Probably not. Also, I can't wait until Gregg starts to accuse Baylor of running up the score.

Obscure College Score: Union of Kentucky 45, Bluefield College 35. Located in Bluefield, Va., Bluefield College "encourages" students to bring TVs and DVD players for dorm rooms. Mom and Dad are paying Bluefield $35,560 a year, and the college encourages students to sit in their dorms watching TV.

That's not at all what Bluefield College is saying. If Gregg would click on the link that he has linked then he would see the college is encouraging students to bring a TV/DVD player because the college does not provide one to the student. That is a list provided by Resident Life stating what the college will and will not provide, as well as a list of items the college does not provide which the student will need to bring.

Next Week: Kansas City fans ask NFL to end season now.

Thank God this TMQ is ending now. 


Snarf said...

The crazy thing about the "Peyton Paradox" is that one of the major reasons the game against the Colts was such a "big game" (other than the homecoming aspect) was that the Broncos came in 6-0, largely due to Manning being really really good at football and good at winning NFL games.

Aron said...

"and does the same stuff he does every week in TMQ that I dislike so much."

But the rest of us love so much, because we get to see you dissect the idiot

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, funny how that works huh? I guess the first game against the defending Super Bowl champs didn't count as a big game.

Aron, I know. He repeats himself so much of late. I love dissecting him though. It takes me forever to write them, but I wish he would do more "undrafted/unwanted players are the best" so I can call him on the unwanted part. I doubt he has self-awareness but it seems he has realized he is a moron for calling some players unwanted.

Chris Carlomastro said...

I think the fairly obvious thing that the Broncos (and all other teams) need to do is simply be very good on offense, defense and special teams. It's simple for your commenter on someone's blog to see, and I don't get why the teams don't just do it. Think about it. If you have the best passing and running game in the league, and also the best defense, you'll probably be in a position to get over the dreaded Peyton Paradox. It is also necessary to have a coach that will go for it on 4th down, while doing a little dance AND also have a tendency to play "straight defense" to stop the other team. Having your corner press, while only blitzing even it works... Why isn't everyone doing this? Almost forgot, have naked "cheerbabes" (God, that is so creepy to type) and the football God's will chortle while your team of hard working undrafted, unwanted free agents will go all the way! Also, have you seen the movie Independence Day? Jeff Goldblum uses a Mac to destroy an alien mothership, and NOT ONE does it ask him to update ITunes, or even update his java! Totally unrealistic.

Being Greg Easterbrook is easy, but I think I should probably shower.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, that's a good point. It didn't work for the Chargers a few years ago though, because they didn't have the best special teams. They must have angered the football gods or something.

I don't like it when he says "do a little dance" on fourth down. You can convert without dancing or misdirection. Though I do hate it when he says if a team played "straight defense" they likely would have stopped the other team. That's why I have a hard time writing like Gregg, it gives me douche chills.

Frank said...

Chris, you are taking this way too far.

....iTunes did NOT exist in 1997. :P

Andy said...

As a Colts fan who suffered through all these inane "Peyton can't win big games" for years, I can say with complete confidence that a big game can be defined as "a game that Peyton Manning's team did not win." Colts throttle the Broncos in the playoffs? Not a big game. Colts beat the Chiefs in that crazy game where nobody punted and one QB mistake would've led to a loss? Not a big game. Colts lose because the defense gave up an 80 yd run to Darren Sproles in overtime? Peyton chokes during big games.

But more importantly, when I remember all those years of fast starts the Colts had under Manning and we were 7-0, I distinctly remember thinking "I wish I never had to watch this year's team again. Watching a great, undefeated team blows."

Bengoodfella said...

Andy, how about that home playoff win where the Colts came back against the Patriots? Not a big game I guess...or possibly an outlier.

It's obvious that in the playoffs it is a really good team versus another really good team, so there's a good chance one team with a really good quarterback is going to lose. There's no paradox, just like it means very little that Mark Sanchez has three road playoff game wins right now.