NFL

NFL PM/AM: Manning Benched, Should Be Permanent

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Empty Record For Manning

On the same day that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s all-time passing yards record, he was benched.

The 18-year veteran surged past Favre’s 71,838 yards, but Manning had arguably the worst game of his career as he completed just five of 20 throws, for 35 yards, with no touchdowns and four interceptions.  The 14-time Pro Bowler finished with a Blutarski-like passer rating of 0.0.

Is Manning’s career over?

No, but it should be.  He simply can’t push the football down the field, due to his lack of arm strength from injuries and age.

“I’d have to play Brock Osweiler, based on what I saw today,” Manning’s former head coach and long-time cheerleader Tony Dungy said on NBC’s Football Night in America.  “I don’t know if it’s foot, shoulder, ribs or anything they’re talking about but that’s not the Peyton Manning I’m used to seeing.  I would play Brock.”

As long as the checks still cash, Manning won’t give up, but this is the utter equivalent of watching Michael Jordan barely getting off the ground in a Wizards jersey or Willie Mays stumbling around centerfield in a Mets uniform.

It’s over.

Bad Teams Find Ways To Lose

The difference between the NFL’s have’s and have not’s is not that much.  A play here and a play there separate playoff teams from losing teams.  On Sunday, we were reminded again why certain losing teams continue to find ways to lose.

The biggest example of a team continuously shooting itself in the foot on Sunday was the Baltimore Ravens as they hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Jaguars entered Sunday’s action losers of 13 straight games on the road, and they did about as much as they could’ve to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles turned the ball over once (although he could have had four interceptions), kicker Jason Myers missed a 26-yard field goal, and the team dropped two touchdown passes.

And they won.

Baltimore out-gained Jacksonville by nearly 150 yards, but it wasn’t enough as they turned the ball over four times and committed nine penalties for 121 yards.  There was no penalty bigger than Elvis Dumervil’s 15-yard personal foul for grasping the face-mask of Blake Bortles as time expired.  The Jaguars were forced to snap the ball when they weren’t ready and they had no play called, 60 yards away from the end zone.  Blake Bortles was in the grasp of Dumervil when he inexplicably grabbed his face-mask.  That gave the Jaguars one more untimed down and Myers connected from 53 yards to win the game.

To lose to Jacksonville is bad.  To lose to them at home hasn’t happened since December…of 2013.  Congrats Ravens.

Speaking of finding ways to lose, the Dallas Cowboys maintained their perfectly imperfect 0-for-Romo record in 2015 as they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-6.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is doing another great job, even if it’s not showing up in the win column and his unit allowed just two scoring drives, out of 11, and lost.

“Ultimately you have to do what’s necessary to win the game,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said.  “You have to make the stops and make the plays. We all know that.  I think the efforts outstanding, the fight is outstanding.  All those things, but you have to do what winning teams do in critical moments.  We didn’t do that today, and I think if you reflect back on the earlier games that we’ve lost you would probably say the same thing.”

Up 6-3, the Cowboys defensive damn, aka the end one, hadn’t been penetrated all day.  With four minutes remaining they needed just one more stop and rookie quarterback Jameis Winston was able to lead his team down the field for victory…after getting a mulligan.  Winston drive the Bucs into the red zone and on a 3rd-and-goal play, fumbled while trying to scramble for a touchdown.  The Cowboys recovered the ball in the end zone, but a questionable defensive holding penalty was levied against America’s team.

“Yeah, they called defensive holding,” Garrett said.  “We made a play where I thought we had turned the ball over and got the ball back.  But they called defensive holding and gave [Tampa Bay] another opportunity, first-and-goal inside the one-yard line.”

Was it an accurate call?

“I don’t want to talk about the officiating,” said the Cowboys embattled head coach.  “We played for 60 minutes and they did a good job offensively at critical moments.  They did a good job defensively. We didn’t do enough to win this ball game, so that’s the story of the game.”

Winston would plunge into the end zone on the next play for the winning score.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Cowboys teased their fans one more time as Matt Cassel and some Buccaneers stupidity gave Dallas a chance to throw the football into the end zone.  The journeyman quarterback’s pass fell into the arms of Tampa’s Bradley McDougald as Dez Bryant, the intended receiver did nothing to prevent the turnover.

“Well, we don’t have that much time left and we got a great opportunity.  It’s hard to get that opportunity,” Garrett explained.  “We ran a double move and got Dez down the field one-on-one in the end zone with a chance to win the ball game.  So unfortunately that play didn’t work out for us.”

Garrett didn’t want to question his star receiver’s effort level.

“I thought we had a great opportunity to make a play.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen.  There was some contact down on the other end.  Their guy was able to make the play and we weren’t.  The worst-case scenario is what happened.  You can’t let them intercept it.  I did think it was a great opportunity late in the ball game one-on-one down there with a big-time receiver to win the game, unfortunately we didn’t get it done,” the former Princeton grad turned head coach said.

Both the Ravens and Cowboys dropped to 2-7 and they have failed multiple times at situational football.  That’s what bad teams do.

Hardy Newsworthy For All The Wrong Reasons

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is in the news cycle every few days and it’s never for anything good.  Although no more of his disgusting transcripts of his domestic violence case have been leaked, Hardy did manage to get into a tiff with teammate Demarcus Lawrence during Sunday’s loss.

Football is an emotional game and sideline arguments happen.  If it were Tom Brady yelling at an offensive lineman, it’s because he’s a leader.

When Hardy does it, it’s because he’s a hothead, a near psychopath who can’t control his emotions.

Is race a factor in that perception?

Who’s to say?

Is Hardy’s past a factor in that perception?

Absolutely and he’s earned it.

Hardy is another horrific, distracting ingredient in the Cowboys anti-karma stew that owner Jerry Jones is stirring vigorously.

Jones labeled Hardy a team leader and I’ll label the oil tycoon an enabler.

Jones is getting exactly what he deserves.  The worst team in football with the worst locker room in football.

How ’bout them Cowboys?

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.