After seeing Broncos fans boo Peyton Manning as he headed to the locker room after the game yesterday, it symbolizes what the 2014 season is all about for the Broncos, which is disappointment, false promise and the end of a good era. That’s the image Broncos fans will think of when they reminisce about this forgettable season. That summed up how bad yesterday was.
This is a far cry from the championship dreams the Broncos had when they started training camp in July. This is not what John Elway envisioned after spending money to improve the defense by signing T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware this past offseason.
For the Broncos to go down with a whimper in their 24-13 divisional playoff round loss to the Colts yesterday afternoon at Sports Authority Field, this season turned out to be a waste of time after another false promise by last year’s Super Bowl runner-up.
There’s no question the Broncos were not good enough to go to the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning being ineffective for a month. Still, it’s surprising to see the Broncos go down in the way they did yesterday afternoon. They never showed fight. They were waiting for this game to be over. The Colts did whatever they want when they wanted to.
It’s hard to say this is a successful season after being one and done. It’s hard to accept this team imploding altogether.
The Broncos never had a chance yesterday afternoon because of Manning. He was terrible. He couldn’t throw. He couldn’t engineer drives. He couldn’t do anything. He played like a washed-up quarterback, and it was sad to watch.
The game was over by the second quarter. It was hard to believe he was going to figure it out after he couldn’t throw for most of the first half. If he couldn’t do it early in the game, he wasn’t going to do it later.
It was interesting C.J. Anderson did not run the ball much. Maybe it was Manning’s stubbornness that prevented him from giving the football to the Broncos running back. That should have happened. If it did, maybe the Broncos win the game as Anderson would milk the clock by getting more first downs and running to the end zone.
Something had to be done in the second half. It was insane that Manning kept throwing when he had nothing left. He put the Broncos in a position to fail rather than succeed.
He wanted to show he had it in him to lead a comeback. It wasn’t happening. He finished the day by going 26 for 46 for 211 yards and throwing one touchdown.
It shouldn’t be surprising Manning stunk. He has been awful for a month. There’s a reason Broncos coach John Fox used Anderson as the focal point of the offense in December. Everyone knew Manning was hurt. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today that Manning played with a torn right quad for a month.
This news should make some Broncos fans feel foolish for following this idea that Broncos coach John Fox wanted to run the ball to make this offense versatile in January. Shame on them for believing this spiel. There’s no way Manning ever wants to hand the ball to a running back. That’s not his MO. He likes to throw four or five touchdowns a game. He is such a perfectionist.
When Manning turned into a game-manager quarterback, it was not a good thing. It was an inkling he was not going to be the player he was anymore this year. The Broncos needed him to wing it for them to win a Super Bowl. It was not meant to be, and that’s why the Broncos are cleaning out their locker rooms today.
The window of opportunity of winning a championship is slammed shut for the Broncos. They had three chances, and they did not get it done. That’s why it was a failure. This team was built to win a Super Bowl, and they did not get it done. It’s hard to believe they can get it done in the next few years. Not when Manning is going to be 39 heading to next season. If they can’t get it done now, it’s hard to think they will get it done anytime soon.
In so many ways, this era is over. Manning’s best days are behind him. Fox could deal with the consequence after his team stunk in this year’s playoffs by being fired. There are going to be many players leaving via free agency or by being released.
If Manning comes back, the Broncos will be a playoff team. The problem is his body will get hurt because of his age, and we saw that this year. It won’t change. That’s why he won’t be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy ever again in what has been a Hall of Fame career.
That’s why yesterday was a sobering moment for the Broncos quarterback, Broncos fans and the Broncos.
It was the end of an era that gave good moments.
But in the end, the Broncos have no championship to show for it under three years of the Manning era.
That’s why this era will be remembered for disappointment than good memories.
Yesterday showed how good the Broncos are at making false promises than winning a championship.
Follow or Contact Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter