“Watching Denver, I just felt they thought there was no way Baltimore was going to come in there and win that game. I just thought Denver thought there was no way they were going to lose to Baltimore. They just totally overlooked the task at hand.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Maas knows something about overconfidence. He caught hell from Marty Schottenheimer back in 1992, prior to the Patriots/Chiefs game when he was quoted saying, “All we have to do is throw our helmets on the field,” to defeat the lousy Patriots. Maas’ Chiefs won in a close call, unlike Manning’s Broncos. Read on.
“There was a zombie-like state to the Broncos players Sunday as they packed up their belongings in trash bags, backpacks and gym bags. It wasn’t so much that there was laughter or tears, or anger or relief, as much as there was of feeling nothing.”
Mike Klis, writer, after the Broncos suffered their first loss in 12 games in their opening round of the NFL playoffs, Denver Post
GH: This was the Broncos’ Linn Elliot loss – with the Bronco safety Rahim Moore playing the role of Elliot in this tragedy. The Broncos hadn’t lost in three months. They had a bye into the playoffs. They had buried the Ravens only a month ago on the road. Things weren’t just good in Denver, they were Peyton-Manning good. And it all went poof on an improbable TD bomb and a Manning INT. It will forever live in Denver’s craw like Elliot’s feeble foot lives in ours.
“Weather-wise, we had not had anything like that all season. There was some unknown going into that game. You can’t simulate it. I tried everything from putting my hand in a freezing tank. But you just can’t simulate it.”
Peyton Manning, on playing in the freezing temperatures in Denver on Saturday, Denver Post
GH: Manning didn’t play poorly – he threw for 290 yards and three TDs – but he faded at the end when he should have been at his Pro-Bowl best. He looked cold. He looked old. He is old. There is a reason Manning took a knee with 31 seconds in the game and Atlanta’s Mat Ryan used his 31 seconds to put the Falcons into the AFC championship game.
“Little surprised more not being made of Peyton’s physical collapse Saturday. Refused to challenge downfield & throws were dying. No mustard.”
Evan Silva, @evansilva, Twitter
GH: Manning is now a “touch” passer after multiple neck surgeries at the age of 37. He’s still very good on a nice day in October. He is something less in single digit temps with a gloved right hand.
“The Ravens’ offense was great against Denver. But the Balt defense? It stinks. And Ravens know it. Here is what Ravens fans don’t get. I don’t care if DEN won or lost. And I was right on about Balt D.”
Mark Kiszla, @markkiszla, Twitter
GH: The Denver loss leaves us with the Ravens traveling to New England next Sunday for the AFC title game. It looks like it has the potential for a Pats’ blowout win. Tom Brady, the greatest player the NFL has ever witnessed, might put up 60 on Ray Lewis’ blackbirds.
“Alfred Williams wore a Broncos uniform in the press box. Love ya, dude. But you’re not playing
anymore. There’s level of professionalism, even in lowly media. If I wore ND jersey in press box for Domer game, I’d be kicked out. Without a credential, then you, me or Alfred Williams shouldn’t be in press box. Period. Act like a pro or be gone.”
Mark Kiszla, @markkiszla, on the former CU and Bronco linebacker who is now a Denver sports talk radio host, Twitter
GH: Kiszla’s critique of Williams comes on the heels of Steven St. John’s grinning photo op with Andy Reid. It is simply a bad look for anyone in the media to play fan so publicly. For those of you who have said SSJ is an entertainer and not a member of the media – I believe you think too little of the man.
“I have been consistent with this: When [Jim] Harbaugh told Elway no on [his] way to San Fran, it was huge L for Broncos. Fox is average NFL coach. Right now, SF’s Harbaugh is best coach working in football. By far. Belichick? Please. Saban? Not close.”
Mark Kiszla, @markkiszla, after the 49ers’ win over Green Bay, Twitter
GH: And to think Harbaugh at least flirted with the idea of taking the Kansas job. Well, maybe not flirted. More like winked at it.
“The Kaepernick move [to have him replace Alex Smith as the 49ers’ starting QB] required boldness and an understanding of how his unique skill set could dramatically alter the dynamic on the gridiron. But it paid off, as usual, because Harbaugh knows how to push the buttons to make his players believe.”
Paul Gackle, writer, San Francisco Examiner
GH: This is one reason I would have preferred that Clark Hunt chose to be bold with his head coaching hire instead of safe. The NFL is changing quickly. I believe quarterbacks are becoming more like running backs where they have a four or five year career life span. You have to be ever changing and have an eye for extreme talent. I believe that takes the energy and insight of youth.
“Last year he was carrying a clipboard. This year he’s carrying a team.”
Nike Football, @usnikefootball, on the sudden rise to fame of San Francisco’s second-year quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, Twitter
GH: Stanzi? They both have the weird looks and lanky height…
“When teams lose in the playoffs, ads with their players always look kinda funny. Looking at you, Manning, Rodgers, Jennings and Matthews…
Kurtis Seaboldt, KSeaboldt, Twitter
GH: Those Packer ads do seem a bit dated and even self-serving now that Green Bay has been discount double checked by the Niners.
“I’m crying for crying out loud! I’ve never cried after a win!”
Tony Gonzalez, in an interview with Tony Boselli after his Falcons staged an improbable comeback with only 31 seconds on the game clock and a three-play drive for the game-winning 49-yard field goal, 810 AM
GH: Gonzalez’s season was over with 31 seconds in the game. But the NFL showed us once again this weekend that is America’s greatest spectator sport. Even I knew Gonzo was going to run a hook to get the Falcons in field-goal range. There was simply nothing the Seahawks could do about stopping it. Tony’s first playoff win of his career was a damn good one.
“Look around this [Seahawks] locker-room-in-mourning and all you see are possibilities.”
Steve Kelley, columnist, after Seattle was eliminated by Atlanta despite a furious second-half comeback, Seattle Times
GH: Contrast what Denver sees in its locker room with what the Seahawks view looks like. The Chiefs need to emulate Seattle, not the desperate and aging Broncos.
“I think you saw, with Russell Wilson’s development, how far he can take us. Obviously, he’s a franchise quarterback. He’s a guy who wins games for you. We saw that today. He should have been credited with a comeback win and he wasn’t. I think we wanted to win a little extra for him, just because it’s his rookie year and he’s played so well.”
Zach Miller, Seattle’s tight end, on his rookie QB from Wisconsin, Seattle Times
GH: This third-round pick in last year’s draft will haunt every NFL team who passed on this undersized quarterback. That’s all of them – multiple times – if you’re counting. I think Russell Wilson is the best thing to hit the NFL since Tom Brady.
“Live life in the fast lane with 100 times faster Internet. Learn more about Google Fiber today.”
GH: Does anybody have google fiber in their home yet? Is it really 100x faster than Time Warner? Give us a quick review of whether or not google is good or playing Pioli.
“A year ago, [John] Dorsey turned down chances to interview for GM jobs in Chicago and Indianapolis. He expressed contentment with his role in Green Bay and said his family liked living here. In Kansas City, Dorsey will work side-by-side with Reid, a close friend who was a Packers’ assistant coach from 1992-’98. … His wife, Patricia A. Sexton-Dorsey, is a Kansas native and attorney who practiced law in Kansas City.”
Bob McGinn, writer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GH: We heard the same stories about Pioli turning down other suitors in favor of Clark Hunt and the Chiefs. It appears Kansas City and the Chiefs organization still holds some allure for some of what the NFL considers its best and brightest.
“One of the things that’s going to be very appealing in Kansas City is John’s personality. He’s very down to earth. The fans will take to him in a hurry. He’s great in the office, he’s great in the locker room.”
Kevin Harlan, who has known Dorsey since he played for the Packers in the 1980s, Kansas City Star
“Best player available. We live it.”
John Dorsey, explaining the Packers’ draft philosophy prior to the 2011 NFL draft, Kansas City Star
GH: With the number-one pick in the draft, that doesn’t sound like Dorsey will be eyeing a quarterback with his top pick – unless he trades down.
“Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was legally drunk when he killed his girlfriend at their home and then himself outside the team’s Arrowhead Stadium practice facility, according to autopsy results released today. The results show Belcher’s blood-alcohol level was .17 when he died, about five hours after police found him sleeping in his Bentley in front of his secret girlfriend’s apartment. That alcohol level is more than twice the legal driving limit. … Belcher’s blood-alcohol level at his death indicates his level could have been .22 or higher when officers encountered him in his car.”
Christine Vendel, writer, Kansas City Star
GH: The two cops who let Belcher walk into that apartment complex had no idea what destruction their decision would lead to only a few hours later. Read on.
“Police roused him two hours later after someone called 911 to report his Bentley as suspicious. Officers noted the car was running and legally parked. They said Belcher ‘initially displayed possible signs of being under the influence (asleep and disoriented),’ but after a few minutes of being awake, his demeanor and communication ‘became more fluid and coherent.’ The officers and their sergeant could not smell any alcohol on his breath or person.”
Christine Vendel, writer, Kansas City Star
GH: Whoa. .22 and no smell of alcohol? If true, those cops are in the wrong business. If not true, ditto.
[email protected] and Twitter / greghall24