Watching Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning get off the turf holding his head after a hit is never a good thing if you are a fan. The last thing you want to see is an injury to the biggest hope you have going into a playoff run. That is exactly what happened when Manning threw a TD pass to Jacob Tamme with 18 seconds left in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday.
The hit was administered by Chiefs DL Tyson Jackson who knocked Manning down after he released the ball to Tamme. The Broncos can not afford to allow their Hall of Fame QB to continue to take punishment like he went through yesterday when he was sacked twice and hit six times. It seemed that the Chiefs were bringing the pass rush from all angles and the Broncos offensive line was simply over matched.
The good news is that Manning underwent concussion tests and was able to continue with no signs of problems the rest of the game. The bad news is that the offensive line, considered one of the best in the NFL, allowed Manning to take a beating at the hands of a 1-9 Chiefs team that was playing desperately.
LT Ryan Clady had the designation going into yesterday as the only tackle in the NFL to not give up a sack throughout the first 10 games of the season. That streak was ended in the first quarter when LB Justin Houston beat Clady around the edge. Protecting Manning has been sort of a vengeance with Clady this year, and the one thing the Broncos can not afford to lose is their QB.
In the coming weeks, Denver will be playing the likes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens and Chiefs again. These will be big tests for the o-line to protect Manning better as the playoffs loom, when all they will see are top-flight defenses that can pressure opposing QBs. So, for now Manning may be fine, but if he continues to take the punishment that was doled out yesterday, this 2012 season may very well be cut short.
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