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Thread: Woe to those trying to trick Peyton Manning

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    Default Woe to those trying to trick Peyton Manning

    Woe to those trying to trick Peyton Manning
    By Mike Klis
    The Denver Post
    POSTED: 09/26/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
    UPDATED: 09/26/2010 02:08:55 AM MDT


    Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey (John Leyba, The Denver Post )
    Defending Peyton Manning is often described as challenging, difficult, exasperating, next to impossible.

    It has also been comical.

    Review the film, as only Manning might, and attempts to halt the Indianapolis Colts' iconic quarterback have pushed the boundaries of the absurd.

    In 2004, the year Manning threw his then-record 49 touchdown passes, Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher attempted three onside kicks and a fake punt in an attempt to keep the ball away from him.

    The Colts won 51-24.

    "When you play Peyton Manning, because he's so good at what he does, the stress level goes up in every situation," said Don "Wink" Martindale, the Broncos' defensive coordinator. "It's almost like you say, 'Hurry up and get in the locker room at halftime because he's going to hurry up and come back out at halftime.' "

    It's Martindale's turn to have his vitals tested today when the Broncos meet Manning and the Colts at Invesco Field at Mile High. Martindale won't know exactly how best to counter Manning until he tries, but he knows not to follow the blueprint of former Broncos defensive coordinator Bob Slowik.

    Back to 2004: Slowik, who was then running Green Bay's defense, came out blitzing on every play. Blitz on the first play. Blitz, blitz, blitz. It's a Green Bay blitz, play after play.

    "I wouldn't say it's every week, but more often than not, we'll go into a game plan thinking this (will happen), and then a defense will go totally against their tendencies," Colts tight end Dallas Clark said in a conference call last week.

    To put it kindly, Slowik's plan was ill-advised. Manning checked at the line of scrimmage and threw passes on the Colts' first 22 plays from scrimmage. That stat again: 22 plays, 22 passes.

    Manning finished with five touchdown passes and no interceptions, and the Colts won 45-31.

    "I think you're being a gimmick to yourself if you think you can gimmick him," Martindale said. "Because he'll find it."
    So why do even the most brilliant of coaches become unnerved enough to try? A look at the more famous outside-the-box ideas opposing coaches have attempted, merely because Manning was playing for the other team:

    Belichick's fourth-down gamble: This is the counter to those who argue Tom Brady is the superior quarterback. Brady's own coach, Bill Belichick, gave Manning the type of respect he would give to no one else.

    In a game last November at Indianapolis, the New England Patriots were leading the Colts 31-14 early in the fourth quarter.

    As the game ticked down to 2:08, the Pats' lead was only 34-28 and they had fourth-and-2 on their own 28. Field position and down says punt, right?



    Nope. Belichick didn't think his defense could stop Manning from going 80 yards in two minutes. He went for it, and Brady's pass to Kevin Faulk gained only 1 yard.

    The Colts took possession at the Pats' 29, from which Manning needed just four plays to score. The Colts won 35-34, and Belichick was vilified, particularly by those salivating at the chance to attack football's No. 1 coach.

    There was a sound explanation, though, behind Belichick's gamble. After the Pats went ahead 31-14, Manning had drives of 79 yards in five plays and 79 yards in six plays. The two drives' average time of possession was 1:57.

    Even Belichick felt the stress of defending Manning. If this doesn't prove Manning is better than Brady, it at least keeps him in the debate for the league's best quarterback, along with defending Super Bowl champion Drew Brees.

    "All of them throw different," said Tim Tebow, a Broncos backup quarterback who studies such mechanics. "A lot different. But they've all got a unique command of their offense. I think that's what makes them special. They make everybody believe at the end of the game they're going to go down and win the ballgame for them."

    Super Bowl XLIV onside kick: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was praised as a genius, thanks to his successful onside kick to start the second half.

    It was Manning who made Payton try it.

    "What we were trying to do is create an additional series (on offense), which we were able to do," Payton said at the time. "We sure did want to minimize his snaps, and we were able to do that to some degree."

    In 2004, Fisher went to the extreme and lost. Payton was more judicious with the same plan and won 31-17.

    "Absolutely, keeping the ball away from Peyton was part of the game plan," Brees said.

    Four ends to one line: The all-blitz attack by Slowik may not have been the worst idea ever tried. When the Broncos played the Colts in 2007, then-defensive coordinator Jim Bates started four pass-rushing ends — Simeon Rice and Elvis Dumervil lined up outside; 250-pound Jarvis Moss and 271-pound Tim Crowder were inside.

    Defensive tackles Sam Adams and Amon Gordon watched from the sidelines.

    "I remember it like it was yesterday," Moss said.

    It was the first career NFL start for Moss and Crowder, and the last career start for Rice.

    Manning was confused for one series, then assaulted the Broncos' defense with running plays. Joseph Addai and somebody named Kenton Keith combined for 216 yards on a 7.5-yard-per-carry average.

    "The way Peyton manages the game, the way he commands the game at the line of scrimmage, it's like he's a general when he's out there," Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn said. "He does a lot more at the line of scrimmage than other quarterbacks because he checks into different plays. The no-huddle kind of allows you to do that."

    McDaniels defers. Trying to gain an extra possession was also at the root of Broncos coach Josh McDaniels opting to defer the coin toss at Indy last December.

    As the thinking goes, teams that start the game kicking off generally have the final possession of the first half. Take the ball to open the second half, and Manning and his no-huddle offense stays on the sideline for an extended period.

    By itself, deferring worked. In seven consecutive series from early in the second quarter to late in the fourth, Denver's D forced Manning into three interceptions and four three-and-outs.

    Problem was, deferring helped Manning strike fast for a 21-0 lead. By the time the Broncos made it a game, the game was all but over.

    Mike Klis: 303-954-1055 or mklis@denverpost.com



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    Last edited by Lonestar; 09-26-2010 at 11:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    if the d was able to stop them in the 1at half and the O getting some pts, McD's call could have been the difference.
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    Bitter Clinger. Deal with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcsodak View Post
    if the d was able to stop them in the 1at half and the O getting some pts, McD's call could have been the difference.
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    The D did their job. All this shit blaming the D gets old. When you hold Peyton to 6 points on two redzone attempts, at some point the offense needs to score POINTS!

    Same song different verse the offense can't score and McDaniels is a Bill Belichick impersonator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhildebrand View Post
    The D did their job. All this shit blaming the D gets old. When you hold Peyton to 6 points on two redzone attempts, at some point the offense needs to score POINTS!

    Same song different verse the offense can't score and McDaniels is a Bill Belichick impersonator.
    I agree other than the McDaniels comment but the playcalling and redzone woes for the BRONCOS!!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    I agree other than the McDaniels comment but the playcalling and redzone woes for the BRONCOS!!
    I only meant impersonator in that he has this penchant to go for it on 4th in silly situations.

    Had we kicked two FG's, the last drive at the end of the game could have tied it with a TD and two point conversion. I like those odds better than scoring and going for the on side.

    This team needs to score points. I love McDaniels creativity on Offense but it sure seems to be sparse in red zone situations.

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    IF we did this and if we did that would not habe made any difference as manning would have simply called up another TD late in the game just like he did in the fourth.

    Some of you simply under estimate how good this guy is.

    You score he scores.
    You score he scores.

    You score he scores.

    You score he scores.

    Who ever has the ball last wins.

    The guy is that good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrwiz View Post
    IF we did this and if we did that would not habe made any difference as manning would have simply called up another TD late in the game just like he did in the fourth.

    Some of you simply under estimate how good this guy is.

    You score he scores.
    You score he scores.

    You score he scores.

    You score he scores.

    Who ever has the ball last wins.

    The guy is that good.
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    Gary Kubiak disagrees.

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