That was a great Thursday night football game, thanks to the hero, no thanks to the near goat. Peyton Manning did it for Denver, after his coach Gary Kubiak nearly did the Denver Broncos season in. Denver needed every bit of Manning’s juice to climb back into the game, and then a last second fumble recovery for a touchdown to beat Kansas City (31-24).
Gary Kubiak, replacing John Fox, is trying to replace all the things that made the Broncos so scary. Sorry, he’s not the smartest man in the room, 18-Peyton Manning is. Coach, go look at the video, at what you almost did to the franchise, and then watch the video as Peyton returns to his form, in his formation, driving his team to touchdowns, and a win.
Kubiak came from Houston, where they ran the ball, threw some, and played defense. He’s tried to install that same package in Denver, invoke his will, and take the electricity out of all the things that made the Broncos dangerous, and made Manning great.
The shotgun attack will put Manning in the Hall of Fame. Coming into the season, 69,000-plus yards throwing the ball, all those TD passes, a Super Bowl ring, and lots of playoff appearances.
Enter Kubiak, with the blessing of team President John Elway. Make Manning take snaps under center. Make them run the ball. Install zone blocking. Let’s hope it works, hope we don’t lose.
They almost did opening day to Baltimore, and were losing 14-0 early to the Chiefs too. You’d thought Manning was in his final hours of an NFL-quarterback’s life. Wobbly passes, big hits, sacks, and a running game that got very little done.
Somewhere in the second quarter, someone made a decision, maybe Elway, maybe his coach, more likely the quarterback, go back to what makes us great. Here came the shotgun, here came the first downs, then drives, then touchdowns, a comeback and a win.
When Manning was done, he threw for 256 and 3-scores. His wide receivers starters putting up numbers and catches, equal to what we saw last year when both had over 100-receptions in the season.
Kubiak’s run game? In two outings, 47-carries for 105-yards, an anemic number that will get you beat, and probably get you fired.
Yes Wade Phillips defense went wild with 4-sacks of Alex Smith, 5-takeaways, 3-fumble recoveries and 2-picks. But it would all have been lost had this thing resulted in a Broncos setback rather than a come-from-behind win.
The Broncos organizations chart reads Elway’s-GM, Kubiak-Coach, Manning superstar.
On this Thursday night, Manning was the smartest man in the room and on the field. Kubiak’s insistence on dumping the shotgun package, to send the superstar under center, seems absurd, and counterproductive to the greatness number 18-has shown for all these years..
Play to the quarterback’s strength, not the coach’s wishes. Run the shotgun. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Round pegs don’t go into square holes. A blockhead coach should realize that.