FACT: In three years at Tennessee, Peyton Manning never beat main rival Florida.
FACT: Peyton Manning now owns a 9-11 playoff record as a starting quarterback.
FACT: In 8 of Manning’s 12 career playoff appearances, his team has failed to win a single game.
FACT: Peyton Manning is 0-4 in playoff games in temperatures below 40 degrees.
FACT: Manning is now tied with Brett Favre for the most playoff losses by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
Worse yet, the link to Favre is even more disturbing because of the way Manning lost Saturday’s play-off game against Baltimore. That interception which drove the final nail in the Broncos looked so much like the one Favre threw that tanked the Minnesota Vikings against the Saints in the 2009 NFC championship game. Just like Favre, late in the game, Manning commits the cardinal sin of throwing back across his body into the middle of the field. The loss was inevitable from that point, but it isn’t like you couldn’t see it coming.
Even worse, you can’t lay all of this loss on Manning. Just like the 2009 Vikings, the Broncos pulled a collective gag job which set up the final death-blow interception. The Broncos had the Ravens in a choke hold, and yet it was the Broncos who choked. Just look at how close the Broncos were to a date in the AFC championship game.
With 41 seconds left in the game, the Ravens’ were down to their last real shot; third down, 3 yards to go from their own 30 yard line, down by a touchdown with no time-outs left. 99 times out of 100, the Broncos win that game. But the hundredth time included Jacoby Jones.
For some inexplicable reason, the Denver defense let Jones run free behind them, and a few seconds later, Jacoby Jones’ name got put right along side those of Franco Harris and Dwight Clark for having a tectonic catch in the play-offs, a catch that ripped the soul out of the Broncos and set the stage for Manning’s season-ending gaffe.
Once that game went to the second overtime, it was frightfully obvious that game would be won or lost on the next “big” play; a play Peyton Manning literally fluttered right into the Ravens’ hands.
Broncos’ fans who have enjoyed play-off events like “The Drive” and “The Fumble” now get to taste the wrong end of “Jacoby’s Jaunt.” But the best part of all this: the Broncos get some play-off karma thanks to the Baltimore Ravens, the very same franchise they victimized in the 1980’s when they were still the Cleveland Browns.