After watching and listening to a lot of the reaction to Peyton Manning’s performance in Monday night’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, there’s a definite need for a voice of reason.
People who got excited about Manning’s performance in the opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers were told to calm down, it’s only one game. Now after a bad game, and it was a bad game indeed, those same people are overreacting the other way. Keep in mind these are the same people who have been telling everyone to expect a game or two like this in the early going, and now are reacting like one game is the end of the world.
I’m now going to use a phrase that I’ve used in relation to the hype surrounding Manning: “Pump the brakes.” Everything is fine.
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this but there was always going to be a game or two like the one Manning played on Monday night. Maybe it was because of his performance versus the Steelers, but he did miss an entire year of football, and that showed Monday night.
I’m not talking about the injury anymore – he is obviously healthy enough to play – but I am talking about the rust. It was and is foolish for anyone to believe that there were not going to be bumps in the road, especially early. As difficult as the first half was to watch for Denver Broncos’ fans, that’s a part of the process. My guess is Manning has already looked at the tape ten times, and is ready to go back to work and correct the mistakes on Wednesday.
The other point to remember here is the Broncos were one defensive stop away from getting the ball back with 2+ minutes to go in the game. No one knows if the Broncos would have scored had they gotten the ball back, but they were moving the ball well in the fourth quarter. If any other of the quarterbacks that the Broncos have had since Elway retired had started the way Manning did on Monday night, that would have been a blowout loss. As bad as Manning was in the first half, he never lost his cool and pulled it together.
The bottom line is this; it was one game in a hostile environment against a very good football team and despite all of the mistakes, the Broncos were in the game at the end. It was a rough night for Manning, but just like the win over the Steelers, was only one game. The loss to the Falcons was only one game as well.
If football is the favorite sport in America, overreacting to it has to be the second favorite sport. Manning had one bad quarter; nothing more, nothing less.
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