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Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Looking forward to that big AFC Championship game on Sunday?

The one in a Boston (or is it a Providence) suburb? The one featuring future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Tom Brady?

Yeah, I know. It’s still too early. Too raw. That devastating loss by the Broncos last Saturday still hurts and it is hard to take that this Sunday we’ll be tuning in to see whether it is the Patriots or the Ravens who will get the AFC’s berth in the Super Bowl in New Orleans.



It was not supposed to be this way. This was the week that Bronco fans all over Aspen were supposed to be scrambling for tickets, making hotel reservations and planning on going to Denver for the epic Manning v. Brady match-up. This is what everyone was looking forward to ever since Peyton Manning announced that he was bringing his talents to the Mile High City.

And everything had gone better than expected since that day. Better than our wildest dreams in fact. The season started with a win over Pittsburgh on a Sunday night, remember? It ended with eleven straight 11 victories. While there were losses, all came to good teams and we viewed them as signs that the team was simply growing, learning, getting better with each defeat. Manning was the consummate CEO. The defense was stout. Perhaps stouter than any Bronco D ever, and that’s saying something.




And then came Saturday. This was a game the Broncos should have won. They had it in the bag. They could begin to look forward to next week. And then they let it slip away.

Many will blame Rahim Moore, the Broncos second year safety who allowed the game-tying touchdown pass to sail over his head into the waiting arms of Jacoby Jones in what must be the longest three seconds in Bronco history. The 60-yard toss hung there in slow motion like a full moon as fans, both in the stadium and on television, watched in disbelief as Moore misjudged it, his leap, and the receiver. Oh the horror.

Others point the finger toward Champ Bailey, the perennial All-Pro corner who was beaten twice for touchdowns by Torrey Smith. And it is hard not to question Manning who turned the ball over three times.

But personally I blame the coaches. On a third and seven with under two minutes to play and an opportunity to ice the game away, the Bronco’s came out in an I-formation and ran the ball into the line for no gain. They then kicked away on fourth down, a 30-yard boot that gave the grounded Ravens the ability to fly.

Why on earth did they not use their All-Pro quarterback and try and pick up the first down? Manning said it was his call; “Don’t blame Mike,” meaning offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who is now the new head coach of the San Diego Chargers. But I don’t buy that for a second. Good riddance McCoy. Hope that Charger thing works as well for you as that Raider thing did for Dennis Allen, who left the Broncos last year.

Then the Broncos sat on the ball with 31 seconds left and two time-outs at their disposal. I would have called the same play that Tim Tebow used last year to beat the Steelers in OT in the playoffs. Right there on first down: Send Demaryius Thomas from left to right over the middle, hit ’em in stride and let him run 80 yards for a score.

Oh the horror. Time to stop beating a dead horse.


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