Tag Archives: Peyton Manning

The Broncos Flop and John Fox Is Gone

Welcome to the 92nd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the holidays are over, the Broncos’ season is over, the college football season is over, the weather is crappy, and March Madness is more than two months away. What a depressing intro! Let’s get into it…

It’s been real, Foxy. (Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports)

John Fox’s last game with the Denver Broncos was a disaster. Playing at home against an inferior Colts team, the heavily favored Broncos were dismantled and lost convincingly, 24-13. They were lucky it was that close.

In the 2013 season, the Broncos appeared to be the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. They made it to the Super Bowl fairly easily. Their performance in the Super Bowl was a disaster. They were outplayed, outcoached, and completely unprepared for sport’s biggest stage. They were blown out by the Seahawks 43-8.

In the 2012 season, the Broncos rolled into the playoffs as the AFC’s highest seed, again earning a first-round bye. They were heavy favorites at home. Again, they didn’t play well against an inferior team and saw yet another disastrous ending, blowing a late lead and losing to the Ravens in stunning, gut-wrenching double overtime.

For plenty of franchises in the sports world, the scenarios mentioned above would represent successful seasons. The Denver Broncos are not one of them. Not with John Elway running things.

We can talk all we want about Elway’s issues with the team’s preparation and mental toughness or the differing opinions on the changing offensive schemes, but the outcomes of those three games are the reason John Fox and John Elway told each other to get lost on Monday afternoon.

It had to be done.

John Fox coached the Broncos for four years, compiling a 46-18 regular season record. He went 38-10 post-Tebow. But those gaudy numbers will always ring hollow because of the way the team performed in the playoffs, where two home field faceplants sandwich an embarrassing Super Bowl appearance.

Let’s talk a little more about the most recent faceplant.

The Broncos started the game by forcing a three-and-out. Then they marched the down the field for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. It was all downhill from there. The Broncos did not find the end zone again. The Broncos’ next seven drives– against a very mediocre defense– ended like this:  Punt, Fumble, Punt, Punt, Field Goal, Punt, Punt. Remember that high-powered, intimidating, record-breaking offense with an unstopabble array of weapons? Me neither.

The Broncos’ offensive game plan on Sunday appeared to be:   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When that idea failed, they simply had their quarterback, who couldn’t really throw, repeatedly chuck the ball down the field, hopefully in the general vicinity of a receiver. It worked zero times.

By the end of the afternoon, the Broncos looked tired. They looked unenthused. They looked anxious to call it a year and go home.

This game felt like the end of an era. On Monday, we learned it was, indeed, the end of the John Fox era. But there is a greater feeling of finality and change beyond the coaching staff not returning. This game felt like the last time the Broncos can be looked at as perennial Super Bowl contenders. Over the past three years, we’ve grown accustomed to the Broncos being one of a handful of favorites to win the Super Bowl. Before the season, we could look at the schedule and easily pick out twelve or thirteen games the Broncos should win. Those days are over. At least, they certainly appear to be.

Of course, much of the reason for this outlook is due to the play of Peyton Manning on Sunday and in the regular season’s last few weeks. He just wasn’t the same guy. Never was this more apparent than on Sunday when the Broncos’ offense repeatedly stalled after several poor throws from Manning.

Then Monday also brought the reports that Manning was playing on a torn/strained/tweaked/hurt/injured right quad. Is that why Manning didn’t play that well? Or is that just a convenient excuse? Did we all just witness the end of Manning’s incredible career?

These are all questions Elway and Manning will need to try to figure out, preferably sooner than later.

So aside from needing a new coaching staff, the Broncos don’t really know what they have coming back at quarterback. Even when Manning decides to make it official and play another season (I think he will), the Broncos still won’t know exactly what they have at quarterback for the next year or two. That’s not an ideal situation to be in.

In the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, a handful of teams feel really good about their quarterback, a handful of teams have a “pretty good” quarterback, and a bunch of teams have a crap quarterback. The past few years, the Broncos have been among the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE’s best teams because they’ve had a great quarterback. If Manning has devolved into a “pretty good” quarterback (or worse) the Broncos, as a team will also inevitably fall back to the pack, a place they haven’t been since the Tebow days of 2011.

John Elway has “won free agency” a few years in a row. And for the third year in a row, Elway, Fox, and Manning have failed to win on the field in the playoffs. Another year has come and gone and with it, another opportunity to win the Super Bowl.

I’m afraid that might have been the last one for a while.

Not a good way to end things, Peyt.  (@NickiJhabvala, Denver Post)

Off to the weekly departments…

Tweets of the week:

Ummm…

Roy Halladay’s picture is pretty hilarious:

Vines of the week:

Colorado State and Air Force threw down. It started with this headlock and girly punch to the back:

(Here’s the full video.)

Look at the Hawks’ bench celebrating before Korver even shoots it:

And I just keep laughing at Puddles’ dramatic entrance last night:

Photo of the Week:

Beautiful, unique picture from last night’s national championship.

(Simon Bruty, Sports Illustrated)

A couple links worth sharing (lots this week!):

Some other stuff the internet had to offer this week:

Just a nice, relaxing drive on the city bus.

I always knew public transportation wasn’t for me.

Kenny Mayne‘s tribute to Stuart Scott was touching:

And finally, the college football version of Jimmy Kimmell’s “Mean Tweets” segment is absolutely awesome.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

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2014 Year In Review, Part Two

Welcome to– and another Happy New Year from– the 91st edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m blogging for the first time in 2015. Let’s get into it…

It’s 2015 now, but I’m not ready to look ahead at the coming year or look back on the five days that have already passed. 2014 has come and gone and in doing so provided 52 weeks– and 52 posts– of sports and pop culture content. It’s time to reminisce on all that we took in last year so I went back and reviewed each of the last 52 posts and pulled out all of my favorite things.

So let’s look back at the year that was. Sports highlights, sports lowlights, news bloopers, funny videos, moving pictures… Here are some of my favorites. The best, the worst, the most memorable. We’re talking Vines, GIFs, videos, posts, pictures, tweets, moments and other stuff from 2014. (This post got so big, I split it up into two sections. Part One was posted last week.)

I present: Your Tuesdays With Mitch 2014 Year in Review (Part Two):

We pick this thing up in…

JULY:

The dog days of summer produced a lot of baseball and soccer talk across the country. And the early part of the month produced another all-time great Vine.

This one became so popular so fast, lots of people thought it was fake, causing the MLB to step in and confirm its validity. It was quite the controversy.

The World Cup finally came to end in mid-July when some country beat some other country. I couldn’t take it anymore and had to provide my thoughts on soccer, which evidently pissed some people off.

On an international scale, we suck at soccer. We always have and we always will. We suck because we don’t really give a damn. We never have and we never will.

People were excited about the World Cup not because they have a newfound love for soccer, but because of national pride (I am an advocate of U-S-A chants, after all), an excuse to weekday day drink, and the biggest factor, social media group think.

Social media was flooded with athletes and celebrities voicing their support on the job done by the #USMNT. For what? The team’s 1-2-1 performance? Or was it to help build their own brand, get a few ReTweets and Facebook likes and show that they’re in touch with pop culture and supportive of whatever you support?

This obviously goes far beyond famous athletes and other celebs. It became “the thing to do” for everybody. Countless Americans didn’t want to feel left out, so they posted a bunch of tweets, statuses, pictures and stupid memes about the #USMNT even though they literally couldn’t name one player on any team the day before the World Cup started.

Is soccer on the rise in the United States? I guess. Maybe. But if it is, it’s increasing from a tiny minority to a small minority. So congrats on that, soccer.

I regret nothing.

But hey, this Vine of goalie or keeper or whatever Tim Howard not giving out hugs is still stellar.

Even though the Rockies were really bad, watching their infield turn double plays was a treat all year. This was probably the best one, which I referred to at the time as “majestic artistry.”

By mid-July the wheels were completely falling off for the Rockies and owner Dick Monfort wasn’t handling things well. This led to what was probably the funniest thing I wrote all year, “In Defense of Dick Monfort.” That post received quite a bit of positive feedback, so thanks. Go read it again, you lazy bum.

The ESPY’S came and went at the end of the month. Stuart Scott’s speech was just the best.

(Note: I had most of this post completed prior to Scott’s passing on Sunday, so this video was already embedded. This speech is certainly more difficult to watch today than it was just a few days ago. But it’s also more moving and important to watch. He nailed it, man. I also encourage you to watch ESPN’s beautiful tribute and Rich Eisen’s perfect, live remembrance from Sunday.)

AUGUST:

Sad news came in the beginning of August when Pat Bowlen stepped down as owner of the Broncos to focus on his battle against Alzheimer’s. So, so damn sad.

I don’t read much Woody Paige anymore, but his column on Bowlen was a must-read.

August brought us the first sniffs of the college football season, starting most importantly, with THE RUNNING OF THE GUMPS. I enjoyed breaking down the Alabama hillbillies racing to worship Nick Saban. (Seriously I just cracked up over looking at the pictures/captions of those freaks one more time.)

And a trio of amazing news stories all came out around the same time, starting with my favorite news blooper of the year.

Followed by the best overall news story of the year, without a doubt.

Although this dude was not to be outdone.

The firing of Jack Graham came in early August and began a CSU-intensive few months for this blog. I kind of still can’t believe it happened. At the time, it seemed like this meant the on-campus stadium project had officially fallen through.

August 17th brought Todd Helton’s number retirement ceremony. It was perfect.

(Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post)

The Little League World Series came along and was as entertaining as always. We can’t forget this great speech from a coach who managed to keep everything in perspective.

A lot of you enjoyed my “Colorado State Football and Rocky Mountain Showdown Preview“. I spend a good amount of time just trash-talking CU, including discussing these numbers, which have only gotten dramatically worse after CU went winless in the Pac-12 in 2014.

Obviously, part of the reason for Colorado’s awful records and innumerable blowout losses is because they usually play a really tough schedule. This is all funny to me because one of the bragging points among Colorado fans is their conference. They’re in the Pac-12! That’s one of the best conferences in the nation! It’s prestigious! They play really good teams like Stanford and USC and Oregon! Good for them!

One interesting sidenote many CU fans seem to forget: Colorado is 4-23 against the Pac-12 in their three years in the conference. Wait guys, 4-23? That’s really bad. That’s a .148 winning percentage. But hey it’s a really prestigious conference! Who cares if they get blown out and embarrassed by all the good teams every week?

The pre-showdown CU hate is one of my favorite traditions every year!

SEPTEMBER:

September began with a recap of CSU’s fun victory over CU. The CSU student section was named Stud of the Week for their remarkable performance.

@NolanLees

Naturally, as the season wore on and CU was revealed to be a really bad team again, the win looked less and less important to Rams fans. Still fun though.

The first true “football weekend” started with a bang as the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! got underway. The Broncos beat the Colts in the first of many victories that would leave large portions of the fan base disappointed because it wasn’t dominant enough. The weekend also included what I still consider to be the greatest play in the history of the game:

Deadspin

This same week saw CSU lose to Boise State in a game that would greatly affect the remainder of their season regarding aspirations for a conference championship and a “New Year’s Bowl.”

The following week produced another Broncos’s win and, from the college world, this Vine, which has 23 million loops:

I love the pass defense here.

And this guy provided the best selfie-video of the year, from an LSU tailgate.

The Broncos lost to the Seahawks in their third week, which I said was “cool with me.” More importantly, that week provided us with a mascot wildcat intently listening to a postgame locker room speech. The speech is cool, but that mascot, on one knee, nodding in agreement is one of the funniest damn things from the entire year.

Colorado State Beats Boston College For A Huge, Wild Win” was one of the more fun write-ups I did this year. Here’s the lede:

Colorado State had no business beating Boston College as our Saturday mornings transitioned into Saturday afternoons. Not after CSU traveled farther east than the program had since 1959. Not after kicking off at 10:30 a.m. local time (an underrated factor in this game). Not after their senior quarterback threw two first-quarter interceptions. Not after falling behind 14-0 late in the second quarter. Not against an ACC team that beat the #9 team in the country on this field two weeks ago. Not with CSU’s senior quarterback beat up and grabbing his shoulder in pain after just about every play. Not when they were down three points facing a fourth-and-eleven with 1:05 left.

It also produced one of the better pictures of 2014.

Grayson to Lovett for the biggest play of Colorado State’s young season and a huge, dramatic win. (Stephan Savoia/AP

Indeed, the win over Boston College set the tone and made a statement in what would turn out to be a very special year for Colorado State.

On the last day of the MLB regular season, Jordan Zimmerman threw a no-hitter. Here’s the last play of the game from a unique vantage point.

OCTOBER:

October is always one of the best times of the year for sports. That was certainly the case this year with a great MLB Postseason, the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!, college football, the NHL and the NBA all in full swing (eventually).

The first week saw the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics in an incredible one-game playoff. They won it on this 12th-inning hit from Salvador Perez. This was probably the best game of 2014 in any sport.

The first Saturday in October saw four MLB postseason games and 11 of the top 19 college football teams lose. This might have been the best sports day of 2014.

Katy Perry was on ESPN College Gameday that morning, and after Ole Miss upset Alabama, she was out on the town celebrating:

One of those postseason games went 18 innings. It ended, at last, when Brandon Belt did this. (Notice the bat drop swag.)

By mid-October, the CSU Rams and the Denver Broncos were both rollin’. It seemed easy. Too f**kin’ easy. IT’S SO EASY! At least that’s what Julius Thomas thought.

And around this time, some huge news came off of a football field, when it was announced that Rockies co-GMs (or whatever they were) Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett both resigned. Jeff Bridich took over the role. My quick thoughts on the situation:

The Rockies organization is a mess. Change is good. At this point any front office change has to be considered a good thing. That said, the real problem is the guy who owns the team and he isn’t going anywhere. And because of Monfort’s stubborn loyalty towards O’Dowd, resigning is the only way O’Dowd was ever going to leave.

Naturally, Monfort immediately filled the position with an internal candidate. Very, very “Rockies” of him. Jeff Bridich seems like a bright young executive and for all we know, he could be the perfect replacement. But it would have been nice for Monfort to at least poke around the baseball world outside of his own organization.

So I think Rockies fans should proceed with some cautious optimism. I can’t get overly excited, but this is progress. And progress is good.

If you’ve been keeping up with these posts, you know how I feel about this truly amazing Vine.

Still laughing at that thing.

Not to be outdone, Lou Holtz had this to say in another Top-5 Vine.

After those nutty couple of weeks, we turned to watch CSU beat Utah State on homecoming weekend in front of their first sellout crowd in over a decade. The Rams were rollin’ at 6-1 and the games were a blast.

That same weekend Peyton Manning broke the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! record for career passing touchdowns. (Man, there was a lot going on.) Of course Peyton and friends had to have some kind of silly (stupid) scripted celebration queued up.

@_MarcusD_

And the MLB Postseason marched on, too, with amazing game after amazing game. The Giants and Royals secured spots in the World Series. Here’s Joe Buck with my favorite play call of the year.

WE’RE STILL IN OCTOBER HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! The Broncos moved to 6-1 with a convincing win over the Chargers. CSU moved to 7-1 with a dominating win over Wyoming to keep The Boot. And the Madison Bumgarner train charged into the World Series without slowing down. By the time he was done, he had put together one of the all-time great Postseason performances in MLB history and perhaps the best individual performance by any athlete in my lifetime.

The other great individual performance from the World Series came from CHEVY GUY, who became an instant sensation after producing all-time high levels of discomfort for everyone watching. “You know, technology and stuff.” (Also keep your eye on Bud Selig at the 33 second mark.)

The Nuggets and Avs also started their seasons in October. Those have both been, umm… disappointing. And boring. And uneventful.

NOVEMBER:

The first weekend of November saw the Broncos go into New England and get their asses kicked by the Patriots. This GIF is a pretty fitting description of how the day’s events went.

@cjzero

The loss to the Patriots forced the Broncos to reevaluate lots of things as their season moved along.

A week later a boring game against the Raiders produced yet another Top-5 Vine.

This guy was an easy selection for Douche of the Week:

So was this bird and the people delighted at his horrifying antics:

Mid-November is when the University of Florida fired their head coach, prompting some national speculation about who might replace Will Muschamp. Jim McElwain’s name was mentioned often. I wrote:

There are always a lot of moving parts in these situations and much of my outlook is based on speculation, but as of right now, there are plenty of reasons to be confident McElwain will be back with Colorado State next year.

Hmmm…

Odell Beckhamn Jr. made the best catch any of us have ever seen.

Deadspin

In the month’s final week, Colorado State went to Air Force for both teams’ final regular season game. The Rams were looking to finish an 11-1 season and still had hope for a Fiesta Bowl apearance. The Falcons capped off their own great regular season (9-3) when they beat the Rams with a field goal on the game’s last play. At the time, it was a devastating loss for Rams fans.

(Andy Cross, Denver Post)

The Broncos beat the Chiefs the next night and Travis Kelce did this.

And Tom Brady was taken for a walk by his handler:

CJ Zero/ Cauldren

DECEMBER:

The beginning of the year’s final month started with some big news when Jim McElwain did, indeed, accept the Florida head coaching position and leave the Rams behind. This was another of my better (and most read) posts of the year.

Those three strange days are over now, having put an odd stamp on the end of the Jim McElwain era at Colorado State. It was a short era that should be remembered fondly. It should be remembered as the three years that brought Colorado State out the dredges of 3-9 seasons and into respectability.

The Rams are no longer an embarrassment. The Rams are a force in the Mountain West. The Rams are back on the college football map.

Jim McElwain put them there.

The McElwain news was quickly followed by bigger, more important news when the CSU Board of Governors approved the much talked about new, on-campus stadium. Somebody, somewhere thinks it will look like this, sooooo… that’s pretty sweet.

It’s slated to open for the 2017 season if all goes well.

The end of the year wasn’t that long ago so you should really remember this stuff.

Colorado State played in the Las Vegas Bowl without a head coach and was blown out 45-10 by a good Utah team. Shortly thereafter, CSU announced the hiring of Georgia Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo, which appears– albeit before a single game– to be a very solid hire.

I thnk that’ll do it, folks. 2014 was a fun one around these parts. I really do appreciate the hundreds of thousands of devoted readers who check in here each week. Here’s to a successful 2015 with more of the same fun posts on Tuesday afternoons.

And again, if you missed it, here’s Part One from last week.

And finally, here’s the funniest year-end video I’ve seen to date. You should recognize some of these clips, as I’ve happily touched on a bunch of the stuff in here over the past 12 months (and in the past two posts. Careful, you might hear some bad words.

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

What Is Wrong With The Broncos? …Is Jim McElwain On The Move?

Welcome to the 85th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the orange and blue sky might be falling. I wrote a lot of words this week. Let’s get into it…

Sunday was not a good day. (AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post)

At some point late in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ disheartening and discouraging loss to the Rams on Sunday, I provided the group of family and friends with which I was watching a distinct summary of both the day’s events and the broader implications concerning the big picture of the Broncos’ 2014 season. With the outcome having already been decided, I sullenly slumped forward, plopped my chin on my  palm and proclaimed the following:

“Well…

…(long pause)…

…(sophisticated stroking of chin hair)…

…(vacant stare)…

Shit.”

I think that pretty much sums things up, but let’s dive in to this mess.

The Broncos have just gotten their asses kicked for the second time in three weeks. And this one was pretty much a disaster. They lost 22-7 to the St. Louis Rams. They lost by 15 points. To the St. Louis Rams. They scored 7 points. Against the St. Louis Rams. THE ST. LOUIS RAMS!

Krusty The Clown watched the game. He has the same question as lots of Broncos fans.

Good question, Herschel. What DID we just watch?

We saw dropped passes and bad tackling. We saw bad throws from an MVP quarterback. We saw garbage offensive line play. We saw a kneel down. We saw injuries. We did NOT see any field goal attempts.

Now, there’s no sense in playing the blame game, unless you’re writing a blog about the Broncos after the Broncos got their asses kicked by the St. Louis Rams. Then there’s a ton of sense in playing the blame game. Let’s point some fingers!

THIS IS ALL THE OFFENSE’S FAULT!

For the first time in a few years, the offense was without a doubt the main issue in a Broncos’ loss.

Peyton Manning does not look sharp right now and is undoubtedly playing the worst football of his three seasons in Denver. He seems uncomfortable in the pocket. He seems hesitant or unwilling to throw the ball down the field. He’s hanging his receivers out to dry. He’s throwing picks. It’s all kind of odd to watch.

*Sidenote:  I do not care about Manning’s “bad” body language. He’s been doing that his whole career. His career has been pretty good. He gets pissed off when things don’t go well. So what? Peyton Manning is afforded certain luxuries such as this.

The running game has, for the most part, not been much of a factor throughout the year. On Sunday that nonfactor-ness went to a whole ‘nother level.  The Broncos ran the ball ten times. Manning threw 54 passes. TEN! FIFTY-FOUR! That’s amazing. To an extent, I am of the belief that a team with Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders does not need to lean too heavily on the run. That’s not necessarily a point of emphasis based on the personnel that has been assembled here.

But regardless of your offensive makeup, you can’t throw the ball FORTY-FOUR more times than you run it. That is absurd.

Yes, the offense took a hit when two of the passing game’s most important and prominent weapons left with injuries in the first half, but shouldn’t that mean you run the ball– or try to run the ball– MORE?

We can talk about the lack of a running game. We can talk about the two big injuries. We can talk about the struggles of Manning. (Struggles is a very, very relative term here.) But there’s another problem that outweighs all of those.

This offensive line is crap right now. The Broncos have a guard playing tackle, a center playing guard, a new guy playing center, and an all-pro playing like crap. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. Right now the lack of a running game comes back to the offensive line play. The (relative) struggles of Manning comes back to the offensive line play. St. Louis has an above average defense, particularly in the front seven. And they just owned the Broncos up front.

It was ugly.

The Denver Broncos and their immensely talented, record-setting, intimidating offense scored seven points on Sunday. That’s a problem.

THIS IS ALL THE DEFENSE’S FAULT!

Don’t get me wrong, I am identifying the Broncos’ offense as Reason Number One they were dominated on Sunday, but we can throw plenty more blame around.

The defense gets some credit for holding St. Louis to just one touchdown and forcing five field goals. I guess. They only gave up 22 points. The way this team is constructed that’s supposed to be good enough, right? I guess.

But they really weren’t all that impressive when you consider the opponent. Shaun Hill was making his first start in over two months. He’s a backup’s backup. Tre Mason is a fine young rookie running back, but he’s been up and down since taking over as a starter. Kenny Britt is Kenny Britt. He’s not exactly curling the toes of wide receiver coaches across the league. What I’m trying to say is THE RAMS’ OFFENSE SUCKS.

Yet the Broncos defense again had trouble getting stops on 3rd-and-longs. They forced zero turnovers. They sacked Hill just three times.

It would have been nice for this new, revamped defense to step up and shut the Rams’ crappy offense down on a day when Manning and Co. were not at their finest. We’ve heard plenty of talk about the Broncos needing to learn to win a low scoring game. A game that sees both teams score in the teens or low-20s. Evidently this defense isn’t ready for that.

Yes, some of this comes back to the offense. The two interceptions, the bad field position after failed fourth-down attempts, and the lack of a running game didn’t do the D* any favors, but I’m not exactly giving the defense a thumbs up.

*How many times did CBS show that middle-aged dork with the cutout of the D and the fence during the broadcast? Like, ten? It amazes me that someone would bring that to a game in 2014.

THIS IS ALL THE SPECIAL TEAMS’S’S’S’ FAULT!

Tuesdays With Mitch is here with some breaking news. Good teams in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! have kickers. All of them. Right now, the Broncos do not appear to have a kicker after they thrice turned down long field goal attempts and instead elected to go for it on fourth down or punt. Those game situations are as follows, and keep in mind THEY’RE PLAYING IN A FREAKING DOME!

  • 3-0 Rams. 1:22 left in the first quarter. 4th-and-5 from the 37. The Broncos decline a would-be 54-yarder and fail to convert. …A made field goal would have simply tied the game in the first quarter. That’s obviously not important at all.
  • 13-7 Rams. Opening drive of the third quarter. 4th-and-10 from the 38. The Broncos decline a would-be 55-yarder and punt. …Leaving three more (potential) points on the board in a close game.
  • 19-7 Rams. 9:37 left in the fourth quarter. 4th-and-4 from the 28. The Broncos decline a would be 45-yarder and Manning is sacked for a loss of 12. …At this point it’s a two possession game with under ten minutes remaining. The game would have stayed two possessions with a made field goal, so many would argue that going for it is the right call here regardless of whether or not a kicker wearing a Broncos jersey exists somewhere in the world. HOWEVAH, if the Broncos had kicked a couple of those long field goals earlier, another field goal here might have made sense.

This is not college football, where #collegekickers are notoriously shaky and erratic. This is THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! Kickers in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! need to be able to make, or at least attempt, 50-plus yard field goals. In fact, I’m fairly certain they’re paid a handsome salary to do just that. So I’m not putting these decisions on the coaching staff. If they don’t trust Brandon McManus, so be it. But something needs to be done about this. You can not have a guy on your roster that you don’t trust attempting field goals when a very, very large portion of his job description involves attempting field goals.

Aside from having a kicker who is not allowed to kick field goals, the Broncos special teams units have been awfully pedestrian all year. They have zero kickoff return threats. They have zero punt return threats.

The more you think about it, the Broncos do not appear to be a complete football team.

…I also have McManus in both of my fantasy leagues, you jerks.

So looking ahead…

The Broncos come back home for their first game at Mile High in exactly a month on Sunday. Things don’t appear to be getting easier. The 6-4 Dolphins come to town with the 2nd highest rated total defense and 2nd highest rated passing defense in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. Miami played on Thursday night last week, so they will have a few extra days rest.

After that, the Broncos take their annual trip to Arrowhead to play the 7-3 Chiefs, who will also be coming off a Thursday game with a few extra days to rest and prepare. So yeah, the Broncos and Chiefs will be playing in Arrowhead in week 13 with first place on the line. I didn’t see that coming.

Oh, and the Patriots look like a damn powerhouse after beating the Colts handily in Indianapolis. For Denver to catch New England, the Broncos need to win out and the Patriots need to lose twice in their final six games.

Much of my focus in this space throughout the season has been on securing the top seed in the AFC. This is all one long preseason, I said. Enjoy the ride until the real games start in January, I said. That’s no longer the outlook. Right now the focus needs to be trying to win the division by trying to win some football games by trying to not suck on offense, defense, and special teams.

Because excluding a two-quarter stretch (roughly) against a team that hasn’t won a game in a calendar year, the Broncos have looked pretty crappy three weeks in a row.

You know me, I’m much more levelheaded than most sports blowhards you’ll hear or read. I actually misplaced my Broncos Panic Button a couple years ago and have never bothered to look for it. But after watching the Broncos on Sunday afternoon I think I’m going to need to locate that thing. Because if the Broncos have a similar performance in this week’s game against the Dolphins, I’ll be mashing down the Broncos Panic Button and heading for the hills until… Rockies season? Oh Dear Lord.

Description of . Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos sits in disbelief after he can't hold on to the ball on a 4th down pass as the broncos turn the ball over on downs  vs the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome November 16, 2014 St. Louis, MO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Before Emmanuel Sanders got hurt, Emmanual Sanders got sad. 😦 is right, Emmanuel. (Joe Amon, Denver Post)

One quick thought on the Broncos potentially signing Hall of Fame MeatHead/DoucheBag/ScumBag/Racist/Sexist/Homophobe Richie Incognito:

This is something I find myself torn on. Not because I wonder whether Incognito would be able to play well after his time away from the game. I think he would help this team’s patchwork offensive line immediately. Not because I’m concerned with the chemistry in the locker room. I think the Broncos have a veteran locker room that wouldn’t put up with his nonsense and I think even Incognito would be able to stay in his lane for the season’s final couple months. And no, I don’t really care about the media distraction it would bring (though that would be the biggest annoyance).

I’m struggling with this thought because as a fan, Incognito is one of the last people on this planet I would ever want to root for. He is a terrible dude. I’m not naive enough to think all Broncos players are saints. Assuredly, they are not. But I do have a hard time believing that anyone in the Broncos’ locker room, the entire NFL, the entire world is as big of a douche as Incognito.

So this is the question I find myself asking:  Would it be worth it to root for someone I find to be hilariously stupid and mind-numbingly repulsive if it substantially increases the Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl?

I’m not entirely sure how to answer that.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

Let’s talk about Jim McElwain. He’s pretty awesome. First though, let’s recap the CSU Rams’ eventful bye week.

First, Boise State took on San Diego State in a game that could have had huge (HUGE!)implications for CSU. Things got off to a pretty great start, with the Aztecs jumping out to a 20-0 lead in Boise. I was feeling prett-ay darn good about things. But San Diego State isn’t all that good this year and Boise State is. So the Broncos came roaring back and won 39-28, delaying the Rams’ Mountain West championship hopes at least one more week.

Boise State plays in Laramie this week at 8:15. The Broncos are 14-point favorites. CSU fans are all die-hard Wyoming fans until further notice.

On Sunday some good news was released in the form of the national polls. CSU was bumped up two spots to #23 in the coaches poll. They moved up one spot to #22 in the AP poll. The committee’s rankings will be released in a couple hours and I think CSU has a somewhat reasonable chance to sneak in there after multiple teams ahead of them lost on Saturday.

Jim McElwain’s name has been linked to the open head coaching position at Florida. (Lance Iversen/USA TODAY Sports )

Okay back to Jim McElwain… Other college football news surfaced on Sunday, when Florida announced the firing (or resignation, whatever) of Will Muschamp. Of course, this immediately sparked speculation as to who will replace Muschamp as head coach in Gainesville. Jim McElwain is on just about every list of potential candidates.

Bovada even has odds on who the next coach will be. McElwain opened as the second most likely “candidate”, but has moved to third as I write this. This is obviously kind of silly, but it’s also a bit concerning, as oddsmakers are generally extremely well-informed.

I would be very surprised if McElwain took the Florida job. It’s a possibility, but I would be very surprised.

The first thing we need to consider is the buyout in McElwain’s current contract, which is an unheard of $7.5 million. Yes, Florida is a big time school with a big time budget and big time donors, but SEVEN AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS, in a lump sum, one-time payment, is a lot of money, even for them.

I think people’s’ eyes can glaze over when we start discussing millions of dollars in big time athletics. For reference, Will Muschamp’s 2013 salary is about $2.7 million. So McElwain’s buyout alone is almost THREE TIMES what Florida is paying Muschamp each year. That’s not chump change.

Also, it sounds like Florida is going to aim higher than a head coach at a Mountain West school. Florida is considered a top-five or so job in the country and they will probably have their initial sights set on a head coach from a Power 5 school like Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) or Dan Mullen (Mississippi State).

So my guess is Florida would have to swing and miss on a couple of their first choices, then they would have to REAALLLY, REAAALLLYYY want Jim McElwain to the point where coming up with multiple briefcases filled with cash isn’t an issue.

And that’s only half of the equation.

McElwain has to want Florida, too. McElwain is comfortable in Fort Collins. He is the highest paid coach in the Mountain West (although obviously a job like Florida would provide a big raise). Maybe McElwain will pull a Sonny and be cool staying in Fort Collins for a long time (fingers crossed). But assuming that’s not the case, McElwain doesn’t have to jump at the first job opening that comes his way. He has the luxury to sit back and wait for what he considers the perfect situation.

If McElwain doesn’t want the task of completely rebuilding a powerhouse, he can simply wait for a good situation at a school he considers an upgrade. Chris Petersen did this when he stayed at Boise State for eight years before finally leaving for Washington after last season. Petersen’s name was mentioned in every big school’s coaching vacancy for years. He waited until he saw a school that fit his profile and was left in good shape by the previous coach.

Florida needs a new coach. Michigan will soon be needing a new coach. Nebraska may (maybe not) soon be needing a new coach. McElwain’s name will be associated with every job opening in the country.

There are always a lot of moving parts in these situations and much of my outlook is based on speculation, but as of right now, there are plenty of reasons to be confident McElwain will be back with Colorado State next year.

Douche of the week:

This guy needs to reevaluate everything in his life and I mean that sincerely.

Douche is even a douche when he’s interviewed after the whole thing went down.

A few other things:

The Nuggets beat the Cavs last night in a game that will surely represent the moment that their entire season turned around. Until all that actually happens, this free throw sums up their season.

Never change, JaVale. That’s from Sunday’s loss to New York. The Nuggets scored eight points on 1-16 shooting in the second quarter.

This dude did not like Mr. Referee touching his bottom.

Mr. Referee looks kind of terrified.

This is the greatest punt ever. Right back in his own grill.

I stumbled across this GIF from a recent boxing match this week. It is the coolest thing I saw all week. Incredible.

Deadspin / @bubbaprog

And,


A
couple links worth sharing:

And finally, here’s Daniel Tosh tearing up ESPN. Really good stuff:

Pretty solid from Tosh, but he loses some credibility when he includes Mike and Mike in his “you guys are cool” disclaimer at the end.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Weekly Roundup! Colorado State! Broncos! Baseball!

Welcome to the 82nd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where last-second field goals and record breaking touchdowns are commonplace. Big post this week. Let’s get into it…

Hollywood just making plays on the reg. (Andy Cross, Denver Post)

I’ll start– again– with some thoughts on the Colorado State Rams. I keep planning on focusing on something else in these posts, but they just keep winning in dramatic fashion. They leave me no choice.

This one started with a bang. On the first play from scrimmage Rashard Higgins took a short pass and turned it into a 69-yard gain. CSU would score three plays later. The sellout (no, really!) crowd at Hughes was rockin’.

A couple series later, Utah State answered with a 59 yard touchdown run from Joe Hill.

From that point until the fourth quarter the game was… actually pretty boring. Lots of punts. Lots of penalties. A couple field goals. A couple injuries. A missed field goal. That was pretty much it.

In fact, the second and third quarters saw a combined total of three points.

So credit goes to both defenses for stepping up. Even though there wasn’t a lot of flash, the game was intense throughout.

Things became particularly intense when the fourth quarter started. Let’s break that down a bit.

The final frame began with Utah State at the CSU 22 and driving with a little bit of momentum. But CSU held them to a field goal. 13-10 Aggies.

Colorado State then moved the ball, but the drive stalled and Jared Roberts missed a 47-yard field goal that seemed like it could be a back-breaker. But the CSU defense forced a quick three-and-out and the Rams took over down by three with nine minutes left.

The Rams moved the ball and chewed a lot of clock, which set up a huge third and five at the Aggie 30 with about two minutes remaining. McElwain surprised me with a conservative play call on what could have been the Rams’ final drive. A Jason Oden run up the middle went for no gain. When I saw the running play I thought maybe McElwain was in “four down territory” mode. And perhaps he would have gone for the first down if the prior play had led to a fourth and short. Instead, on fourth and five he trusted his kicker to make one from 46. It worked. Tie game. 1:40 left.

That moment was pretty damn dramatic. The final 1:40 wasn’t too bad either.

Utah State took over at the 26 and Hughes came alive like I’ve never seen before. It was a pretty cool moment for me personally to take a step back and glance around the stadium and listen to that sellout crowd roar in the game’s biggest moment. The students, who often leave to go increase their B.A.C. sometime in the third quarter, were still loud as hell and focused. Pretty good stuff.

After one first down, the Rams’ D stepped up again and forced another punt from the Aggies.

CSU took over on the twelve. Most of us assumed they would play for overtime, which is what they did initially. Handoff to Hart for a couple yards. Let the clock run. Handoff to Hart… Except this one went for 17 yards and a clock-stopping first down.

Well shoot, now you might as well take a shot right?

(You’re welcome for that very technologically advanced and professional multimedia presentation I created by holding my phone in front of my TV. Via CBS Sports.)

So that pretty, majestic, dramatic, stalwart 46-yard bomb to Higgins blew the roof off Hughes and set up a last-second 46-yard field goal from Roberts, who COMPLETELY REDEEMED HIMSELF after his miss earlier in the fourth quarter.

Victory.

Colorado State is 6-1.

I think I’ve said this before, but this was a big win for CSU.

Utah State is another good team and they came to play. Yes, CSU caught a break when quarterback Darrell Garrettson went down for the Aggies. But honestly, the USU offense wasn’t doing much with him in there either.

It was not the prettiest of wins. The Rams’ offensive line line was completely outplayed by Utah State’s strong front seven, which recorded three sacks in the first half and five more in the second. Colorado State had to overcome a whole crapload of big penalties, too (11 for 116 yards). But they did.

So the bottom line from Saturday is that Colorado State won yet another game they could have easily lost against a quality opponent.

Hey let’s update these numbers, which I enjoy doing every week (apparently). Colorado State is now 10-2 in their last 12 games going back to last season. 12-3 in their last 15; 13-4 in their last 17.

Before the season, I said Colorado State’s schedule had one “maybe” game, three “probably not” games, and 9 “should win” games. CSU won the “maybe” (Colorado) and went 2-1 in the “probably nots” (Wins over Boston College and Utah State). It’s been an impressive seven weeks.

The Rams will be favored in every game for the remainder of the regular season. If they can take care of business against lesser teams, this could turn into a very special year.

And while we’re at it, go ahead and jump to the 1:56 mark of this video to bypass a bunch of screaming hooligans who rushed the field and some interesting(?) locker room dancing and enjoy some awesome locker room Fight Song-ing.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

I’ll use this space to share some thoughts on the Broncos, because their quarterback is kind of a stud. Did you know that Peyton Manning broke that record for touchdown passes or whatever? He totally did.

Manning breaking the record was a special moment for the Broncos and their fans, even if Manning did throw 399 of his touchdowns in a Colts uniform. Simply put, I am constantly in a state of awe at what Manning has done in the two and a half years he’s been in Denver. It has to be the most remarkable story of my generation, right? Coming back from those surgeries and being released by Indianopolis and missing an entire season to achieve all of this is just unbelievable. All he needs is a Super Bowl (or two) to cement his story as one of the all-time best in sports history.

And while I’m on the topic here are some non-Manning-record Broncos thoughts:

  • They currently look like the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! by a wide margin. Vegas agrees, listing them as heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl at 3-1.
  • They just pounded a pretty darn good 49ers team, albeit one that is depleted by injuries. Sunday night was the biggest statement the Broncos have made all year.
  • We might be entering the part of the season when the Broncos just beat the crap out of whoever they play and we’re all bored by halftime. It is not okay to complain about this.
  • That said, they lost a Thursday night home game to San Diego last year. They play San Diego at home on Thursday night. Thursday night football is stupid and this game concerns me.
  • Against the 49ers the Broncos used the pass to set up an effective run game instead of trying to set up the run from the outset. This is how it should work every week.
  • When Von Miller steps on the field, he is the best football player out there. A healthy and active Miller is a huge game-changer.
  • The sweetest play of the night might not have involved Peyton Manning. It may have been this fake spin move sack from DeMarcus Ware.

And as a quick aside, if you didn’t assume this was scripted and planned out (which it was) from the moment you saw it, you’re far less cynical than me. This was classic, goofy, aren’t-we-cute? Peyton.

Tweet of the week:

The lady who received Brett Favre’s now infamous picture message had some advice for Peyton on Sunday night.

Well played, even though I hate the term “prolly”.

Douche of the week:

I’ll use this space to talk about some baseball because I hate the Giants so damn much. Travis Ishikawa is a douche for doing this.

Although… I also hate the Cardinals so he’s kind of a stud too.

A quick thought on Joe Buck’s call there… It was perfect. He knew the ball was gone and jumped in immediately. Perfect timing. “The Giants win the pennant!” has historical significance. He quickly made the call with exuberance followed by silence from the whole booth for 46 seconds. Perfect. If you don’t like Joe Buck calling a baseball game, you’re trying too hard to find something to complain about.

Anyway, I can’t believe the Giants are in the World Series again. I’m convinced they’re just not that talented. It does not add up. Their starting pitching isn’t even that good this year outside of the postseason version of Madison Bumgarner. But I suppose there is something to be said for a team that finds ways to win. Even if those wins come on wild pitches, errors on bunts, and routine fielders choices.

Over in the ALCS, the 2007 Rockies 2014 Royals swept the Orioles and haven’t lost a postseason game yet. They’re the first team in history to start a Postseason 8-0. Though, to be clear, that statement is a bit of a misnomer. The ’07 Rockies did the exact same thing, but their Wild Card play-in game was considered game 163 of the regular season and not a Postseason game. Same exact thing though.

Also, this is a thing that happened.

@cjzero

@cjzero

Here was the awesome scene in Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon:

The MLB Postseason has been awesome– even with all of the short series–  and I’m geeked for the Fall Classic, which starts tonight on Fox.

I’ll pick the talentless and hatable Giants to win it all for the third time in five years. I have no idea how San Fransisco will score late runs off the Royals’ bullpen and that outfield defense (Gordon and Cain are simply a treat to watch out there), but they will probably find a way on some flukey garbage nonsense. Giants in six. Hope I’m wrong.

Vines of the week:

More good stuff this week, but I have to warn you, nothing as funny as that Longhorn punch from last week, which I still haven’t stopped laughing at.

…But Lou Holtz saying this sentence is pretty darn close:

I’m not the Mike! This is just awesome audio.

I’ve never heard a ref say this.

Here’s Tubby Smith falling on a mortorcycle.

Smooth, Tubbs.

Madison Bumgarner Wasting Beer, Volume III

We’re up to 66 oz. of waste this week.

A couple other cool things:

The Ohio State marching band is amazing. Keep an eye out for the pin ball session.

@Landgrant33 / SB Nation

I am told those are people moving around out there, presumably playing instruments.

This lady is just too damn much:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, Katie Nolan is on the same page as me when it comes to Madison Bumgarner’s celbratory antics. This video is great, but I’m really just putting this in here because Nolan is one of my favorite people on the internet. She’s a star in the making. And… you know… I think we’d probably get along.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the Fall Classic. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Recapping An Incredible Week In The Sports World

Welcome to the 80th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m still trying to comprehend all of the sports I consumed over the last seven days. Let’s get into it…

Demaryius Thomas’ record-setting performance was just one part of an amazing week of sports. And now he smells like beer, lady. (via @Broncos)

I started last week‘s post by mentioning that we were officially entering one of the best times on the sports calendar. Those words would prove prophetic. The past seven days have just been unreal for a guy or gal who likes football and baseball. Who knows, there might have even been some soccer on, too! Let’s recap a few of the finer moments from around the sports world since last we spoke in the form of words, Vines, Tweets, GIFs, pictures, videos and whatever else exists these days.

TUESDAY

No football is played on Tuesday nights because the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! clearly doesn’t understand good business. Playing games on one-day’s rest would lead to a beautiful product with a high level of play and low injury rate. SMH. No worries though! The MLB Postseason kicked off on this night with a one-game playoff between the Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals. The game marked the end of Royals’ 29-year postseason drought, the longest in major professional sports.

It only turned into one of the greatest baseball games ever played.

The Royals were down four runs in the sixth inning with Jon Lester on the bump. And Lester was just cruising. But they somehow chipped away. Scored three in the eighth. One in the ninth. To extra innings we go.

One of my favorite aspects of this game was Royals’ reliever Brandon Finnegan, who was drafted THIS JUNE! He’s 21. He came into the most tense atmosphere one can imagine and dominated for a couple innings.

He was pumped:

But the Royals’ magic appeared to run out when Oakland scored in the top of the 12th.

On the contrary, their magic was far from over. Eric Hosmer hit triple that looked like it might be a game-tying homer. Christian Colon singled him in on a ball that went about ten yards. Colon stole second, the Royals’ seventh steal of the game. 14 position players played for the Royals, and HALF OF THEM stole a base. Seven steals!

Then Salvador Perez came up. He was 0-5 coming into this at-bat, when he sent the Royals to the ALDS:

Jeff Passan made that Vine. The opening paragraph from his piece the next morning was all goosebumps if you’ve ever been a fan of a downtrodden team.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is always a payoff. That’s why we’re addicted to sports. No matter how ugly it gets, how miserable the team, how long the skid, how abhorrent the owner, how dreadful the management, how unlikeable the players, the payoff exists, somewhere in the future, at some random juncture, like on a Tuesday in the middle of America at a baseball stadium that for 29 years waited and waited and waited for such a night.

What a game.

WEDNESDAY

Still no football. What the hell, NFL?! The players haven’t even played since Sunday. That’s two whole days of resting. SMH. No worries though! There was another one-game playoff in the baseball world. This one was between the very hatable San Fransisco Giants and the easy-to-root-for Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was a bit of a letdown after Tuesday’s show, but I won’t complain about watching an elite pitcher throw a complete game shutout on the road against a good offense. Madison Bumgarner was incredible in an 8-0 Giants win.

Bumgarner is usually pretty mellow, but after the game he gave into some locker room peer pressure.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

I prefer the picture, but here’s the Vine of Mad Bum wasting about 44 ounces of beer:

There was also this incredible moment of a baffled security guard and an old lady in the Giants’ dugout:

THURSDAY

Thursday was the first of five straight days with both football and postseason baseball.

We started with the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles to begin the ALDS. This was a one-run game until the ninth inning when the Orioles busted it open with eight runs to win 12-3. The Baltimore crowd was almost as good as the Kansas City crowd from Tuesday.

As that game was in its final stages, the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! started their fifth week. The Packers blew out some crappy team. I literally can’t remember who they beat right now (legitimate sports overload, guys). I could look it up in like 10 seconds, but who really cares? Thursday Night Football is pretty stupid. At least this one gave me an early lead in my fantasy league.

But we had more baseball! The Royals, coming off that ridiculous win on Tuesday, had to go on the road and face the team with the best record in baseball in the Los Angeles Angels. Each team scored a run in the third. Each team scored a run in the fifth. And that was it through nine innings. And ten innings. Tension was high. Then Mike Moustakas hit a homer in the 11th. Greg Holland quickly locked down the bottom half of the inning and the game.

The Royals, in their first two postseason games in 29 years, played 23 innings and won each by one run. Amazing.

But that’s not all.

We also had some college football with unranked Arizona heading to Eugene to play #2 Oregon. This turned out to be a very entertaining game. We even had Heisman candidate quarterbacks running over defensive backs while catching 26-yard touchdowns from running backs.

GIF: Ducks with some trickeration

via @cjzero

Naturally, the Thursday night showcase game was an omen for the weekend to come. Arizona came into Eugene and took down the #2 team in the country in their own crib. This game ended a little after midnight because sleep is overrated because SPORTS!

FRIDAY

This day saw all four MLB Postseason series in action. The first game started at 10:07 a.m while I was still groggy-eyed at the office. The last game ended some 13 hours later after about ten beers while I was at my third bar (I think). Three of the four games were decided by one run. The other was decided in the 11th inning. Just an amazing day of baseball.

Baltimore and Detroit started us off. Baltimore was down three heading into the bottom of the eighth. They scored four in the frame and won 7-6.

San Fransisco beat Washington in another one-run game that saw Bryce Harper hit a ball that appeared to go 800 feet or so:

Friday’s main course was a matchup of Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Naturally the two best pitchers in the National League combined to give up 14 runs. The Dodgers entered the inning down 5 and dropped an 8 spot on Kershaw, who had the best regular season since Pedro Martinez in the late 90s. Fort Collins native Marco Gonzales, a rookie on the Cards, got the win in his first postseason action.

Yet, the best game again involved the Royals, which was fine with the Kansas City Police Department:

A well-pitched game from both teams led to extra innings again. And it led to Eric Hosmer heroics again. His 11th-inning bomb gave the Royals a 2-0 series lead over a 98-win Angels team.

So make that 34 innings in three postseason games for Kansas City. All extra-inning, one-run wins. Simply astounding stuff.

We also got a great Vine of what happens when you give thundersticks to a couple kids rooting for opposite teams.

So sometime after 11 p.m., Friday’s madness comes to an end. Time to take a breath, because the next day was…

SATURDAY

This was the nuttiest single sports day of the year, or is at least tied with the first two days of the NCAA tournament back in March.

The college football weekend was complete chaos. We saw losses from the teams ranked:

  • Second.  #2 Oregon 24, Arizona 31
  • Third.  #3 Alabama 17, #11 Ole Miss 23
  • Fourth.  #4 Oklahoma 33, #25 TCU 37
  • Sixth.  #6 Texas A&M 31, #12 Mississippi State 48
  • Eighth.  #8 UCLA 28, Utah 30
  • Fourteenth.  #14 Stanford 14, #9 Notre Dame 17
  • Fifteenth.  #15 LSU, 7, #5 Auburn 41
  • Sixteenth.  #16 USC 34, Arizona State 38
  • Seventeenth.  #17 Wisconsin 14, Northwestern 20.
  • Eighteenth.  #18 BYU 20, Utah State 35
  • Nineteenth. #19 Nebraska 22, #10 Michigan State 27

Now, not every one of those games are upsets. But still, five top-18 teams lost to unranked opponents. That’s a pretty wild day!

The biggest of these wins was probably Ole Miss taking down Alabama. They like to party in Oxford and wins of this nature don’t come around very often, so the people in town were fairly excited. They tore down the goalposts and took them for quite the tour around town and campus, chronicled here. One of the uprights found a final resting place in some dude’s apartment.

Also happening in Oxford: Katy Perry, who was a guest on ESPN’s College Gameday that morning, doing this:

I also encourage you to read more on the scene from Oxford in this excellent piece.

The ending to the Arizona State – USC game was also pretty decent:

And oh yeah, on the local scene, Rashard Higgins had four receiving touchdowns in an easy Colorado State win over Tulsa on an absolutely gorgeous Colorado afternoon. Decent.

 

Not much analysis needed here. The Rams’ are still rollin’. Make that 10-3 in their last 13. Traveling to Nevada on Saturday night is a big one. CSU opened as 1-point favorites.

Hey baseball happened too!

Just two more postseason games decided by one run is all. And hey, one of them lasted 18 innings.

Wait, what? 18 innings? In a postseason game? Yeah, that’s a record. The Giants and Nationals just kept playing and not scoring until Brandon Belt did this:

Check out this bat drop! I had no idea Brandon Belt had that level of swag. Again:

Once that game ended after six hours, it was time to flip over to the other NLDS game, a well-played game that saw the Dodgers even the series with the Cardinals by scoring a dramatic (surprise) 8th-inning go-ahead run.

So that’s it for the day, right? That game ended sometime after 11 p.m.

Nope. Boise State and Nevada were still going back and forth in an important Mountain West battle. Boise was able to hang on in Reno to win an entertaining 51-46 game. (CSU probably wouldn’t have minded if the Wolfpack pulled off the upset.) What a day.

What? There was one more game still going on?

Well look at that! Washington State and California were exchanging after-midnight touchdowns. Connor Halladay set an all-time NCAA record with 734 yards passing. SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY-FOUR YARDS PASSING. He lost. His kicker missed a 19-yard field goal as time expired. 60-59. Hope you took the over. That was an unbelievable finish to an unbelievable Saturday.

SUNDAY

Ten hours after that last college football game ended, a full slate of NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! games kicked off.

Locally, Sunday was all about the Broncos game. And naturally, there was plenty to talk about.

Peyton Manning threw his 500th touchdown pass. Demaryius Thomas set the Broncos all-time single-game receiving record. The Broncos won comfortably. They still look like the best team in the AFC. I have essentially no concerns about this team as the long preseason rolls on. (Okay, maybe the running game a little bit.)

While the Broncos were playing, the Orioles completed the sweep of the Tigers in– guess what?– a one-run game.

And then Sunday night the Royals completed their three-game sweep of the heavily favored Angels with a rare comfortable win. The scene in Kansas City was awesome again.

Salvador Perez partying on the dugout with fans. And a broom.(John Sleezer, KC Star)

It just never stops, man.

MONDAY

Monday was just your average, really mellow day of two tightly contested postseason games. Bumgarner slipped up at home and the Nationals stayed alive. Cardinals’ mid-season acquisition John Lackey shutdown the Dodgers to take a 2-1 lead in that series.

And oh yeah, there was a Monday Night Football game that saw Russell Wilson have some sort of career night that led (in part) to my fantasy team losing after holding a 72-point lead heading into Sunday night’s game. Freaking brutal.

Those seven days made for a dizzying amount of sports consumption. If one could overdose on enjoying sports, I would have been a goner sometime Saturday night. What a week, man.

I would say I could use a break… But there’s two more postseason games tonight.

A couple links worth sharing from the past week:

  • Just one: Absolutely incredible, rare, recently discovered footage from the 1924 World Series. Complete with old-timey windups, an unnecessary dive into first base, and 40,000 fans storming the field in Washington DC. From 90 years ago! One of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen.

(All that other stuff is taking the place of the other weeekly departments.)

And finally, Here’s the latest episode of “The Grind.” It’s the best one yet, with some really cool footage from the Boston College upset. After hearing McElwain yell “Go Take It!” at halftime and the boys sing the fight song postgame, I found myself frantically searching for some pads to throw on.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. And a big, special thank you goes out to sports for their continued existence. See y’all next week.

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Thoughts on the Broncos’ Loss to the Patriots and What I’m Thankful For

Welcome to the 36th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where if you’re lucky you have the next five days off work. If not, hopefully you have the next four. If not, hopefully you have Thursday off. I’m feeling festive.  Big post, so get to readin.

Before I proceed to the customary sportswriter Thanksgiving column, I have some thoughts on that football game that was played on Sunday night.

Tom Brady beat the Broncos again. AP photo

That was really something, huh?

In the lead-up to the game, I made a few jokes about how much hype and promotion there was surrounding this game. (“I know NBC and the NFL are struggling trying to promote this one, but the Broncos play the Patriots on Sunday Night.”) All that hype was met and exceeded. During that gut-wrenching final quarter and overtime, I couldn’t help but think how rare it is for a regular season game that is pumped up that much to actually meet the vast expectations cast upon it.

This one sure did.

The huge fan bases of the Broncos and Patriots were obviously going to be locked in, but as the Patriots began that epic comeback you could feel the whole nation turning their attention to this one.

And after all the clutch defensive plays, the ballsy quarterback play, the wind, the coaching decisions, the intense crowd and so many intriguing story lines, the deciding play was a punt bouncing into some reserve defensive back’s leg. For that particular game to end like that was a damn shame.

Either way it was fascinating theater and a whole lot of fun for football fans.

You know what happened. 24-0. Then 34-31.

So what does the meltdown/comeback say about the Broncos? I think it says a few things. They are pretty darn good and so are the Patriots. It’s really not very easy to beat the Broncos, but they are beatable.

I feel pretty comfortable saying the Denver Broncos are still the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! They have plenty of flaws and I no longer feel like they are head and shoulders above the rest of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! But I still think they’re better than every other team out there. Including the Patriots.

If those two teams played each other on a neutral field, some games in good weather, some in “The Elements” I think the Broncos would win six or seven or even eight times out of ten.

One sentiment floating around is the “If it wasn’t for those Patriots fumbles the Broncos would have gotten killed” argument. Yes, the Patriots gifted the Broncos with three fumbles on their first three drives, but then the Broncos turned the ball over four times. Fumbles always have a flukey feel to them. That goes both ways.

There’s one group out there that knows more about what is going to happen on football fields than me or you or anyone on ESPN or even the people in the locker rooms. One group will refuse to overreact the way your talk radio hosts and many Broncos fans will.

Vegas. Vegas knows more than everybody.

According to Bovada, the Broncos (7-2 odds) have fallen slightly behind the Seahawks (3-1 odds) as the Super Bowl favorites. The Broncos are still favored to win the AFC at 5-4 odds, which math tells me is almost 1-1. The next closest team is the Patriots, who are 5-2. That means Vegas still thinks the Broncos are twice as likely to go to the Super Bowl as the chowdaheads from the northeast.

Now, of course, the Broncos were favored to go to and win the Super Bowl last year and we all know how that ended up.

Still, the Broncos are just fine. Choking away a 24-0 lead is a bad look for the offense, defense and special teams. They collapsed. It was unbecoming.

Every team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE has flaws. Lots of flaws.

Peyton Manning was cold. AP Photo / Elise Amandola

Peyton Manning and those three receivers are allowed to have a bad week. Maybe it’s because Manning sucks in cold weather. Or maybe it’s because sometimes good offenses simply have a bad week. And if you’re scoring 31 points during a bad week, you’re probably pretty good. I don’t care if 17 of those points came off of turnovers.

Von Miller looks like he’s starting to round into form as the best defensive player in the game again. Knowshon Moreno is reliable. I still insist Champ Bailey will have a positive impact upon his return. So will Julius Thomas. The sky is not falling. Good teams lose games on the road to other good teams.

Playing these types of games will benefit the Broncos come January. Losses like this will benefit the Broncos come January. They should finish the year 14-2. That will get them the 1-seed in the AFC.

And they’ll be Super Bowl favorites again.

Like I’ve said all year long, the Broncos’ real season starts in the playoffs. They have 20 preseason games. Epic contests like last night make for some great debate on television and radio. They make for memorable evenings.

It’s an unpopular belief because people love to analyze football, but for this Broncos team, Sunday night’s loss really didn’t matter much.

And since it’s Thanksgiving week, I find it a good time to reflect on some sports things and some non sports things that I am thankful for:

The Broncos. Teams that are favored for pretty much every game have been few and far between ’round these parts the past few years. I’m truly thankful that John Elway and company have put together the model franchise in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! yet again. Ideally, I’d be more thankful if they don’t rip my heart out in January. But still.

Being in attendance for this moment:

(You know I have to squeeze some Helton in here whenever I can).

Jack Graham. He’s not screwing around. If I set my objectivity aside and embrace my Colorado State fanhood, I am very happy an AD is in place who has his mind set on success and vast improvement in all facets of the athletic department.

Jill Hahn's yams midway through preparation. You can see the pecans in the background and oh dear Lord.

Mom’s yams midway through preparation. You can see the pecans in the background and oh dear Lord. (Yes I like them so  much that I have a picture of them stored on my computer).

My mother’s sweet potatoes. About seven or so years ago my mom tried a new recipe for sweet potatoes that changed my life forever. She puts pecans and brown sugar and probably some other stuff on them and oh dear Lord. I only get them twice a year and oh dear Lord.

High Definition televisions. The technology has changed the sports world more than anything the past 10 years. For the better. For the much, much, much better.

The “mute” button. I don’t understand why or how you all listen to commercials. I’m a professional muter. I would put my muting skills up against anyone in the world. If you can’t improve upon silence, shut up.

GIFs. They’re great. Just look at these:

via deadspin.com

via @guyism

The Iron Shieke‘s fascinatingly bizarre Twitter account. Especially when he praises Fridays and bashes Mondays. Seriously, those make me happy.

Coors Field. It can be almost ruined by the drunk 21-year-olds trying to start the wave and the Rockies’ perennial ineptitude, but let’s be honest, Coors Field is a great, great place to spend an afternoon or evening.

Coors Field is pretty great.

Coors Field is pretty great.

Chipotle Fridays. I’ve gone to Chipotle every Friday for about seven and a half years. It’s the only way to start the weekend. I wish it was Chipotle Friday right now. (I also enjoy hot wings, cereal, sunflower seeds, the Cambridge Skillet at the Egg & I, New York Strips, honeycrisp apples and stringcheeses.)

The drive-through liquor store that is a block away from my house. I can go buy 30 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for about 20 dollars without putting on a shirt or shoes.

Christopher Columbus. We all know that Christopher Columbus was the pilgrim that taught the Indians how to eat turkey and grow corn. If it wasn’t for him and those kind Indians he befriended none of us would get to stuff our faces and drink enough to tolerate our weird relatives all Thursday long. That’s how it happened right?

All of my loyal readers. I wouldn’t be making millions off of this blog if it wasn’t for the hundreds of thousands of devoted followers that read and share my posts every Tuesday afternoon.

Moving on…

Stud of the week: Tom Hilbert. I’m going a little off the board this week. The Colorado State volleyball coach saw his team win two road matches last week and is now ranked 9th in the nation. They clinched their fifth consecutive Mountain West title and have established a legitimate dynasty. I know not many people care about women’s volleyball, but CSU’s volleyball program is probably the best college sports program in the state. And the main reason for all that success is their stud coach. Tom Hilbert: Stud.

Douche of the week: Alex Rodriguez. Again. I’ve already outlined his douchey history. He added to that this week when he “stormed” out of the MLB hearing regarding his suspension because he was so “upset.” He immediately released a statement and made a “surprise” radio interview. In typical A-Roid fashion, the whole thing was a complete joke. Completely scripted and poorly executed. Who are the people coming up with these bizarre ideas? Anyway, I’m very glad all this happened because it produced this incredible YouTube video.

(Background here: Mike Francesa has a huge, New York based radio show and the volatile host kind of fell asleep during an interview a couple years back. Put that together with Rodriguez’s odd performance and you have video gold.)

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I was literally in tears. Alex Rodriguez: (Still a) Douche.

Tweet of the week:

pft tweet

This of course, came when things were going well for the Broncos against the Patriots and referenced this classic “We Are Killing the Patriots” moment. I don’t care if things went a little poorly in the second half. That’s a great tweet.

What to watch the next seven days:

  • Colorado State will beat Air Force for the first time since 2005 (How crazy is that?) at noon on Saturday. With the win, the Rams will earn their first trip to a bowl game since 2008 and make my season-preview prediction off by only one game. The Rams opened as 14.5 point favorites. Yeah, Air Force is really bad this year.
  • Broncos vs. Chiefs. Third must-watch in a row. Broncos open as 3.5 point favorites. They’ll cover.
  • The Maui Invitational is usually pretty sweet. It’s taking place all week long (mostly on the ESPN family of networks) and the teams are a combined 30-0 going into the tourney. Also read this great article on the history of the event here.
  • Auburn is ranked fourth in the nation. They host #1 Alabama at 1:30 on Saturday in one of the nation’s most intense rivalries. Should be awesome.
  • New Orleans plays Seattle on Monday night. Should be awesome.

OTHER STUFF

The Boston Celtics have a lot of new players and aren’t nearly as good as they’ve been in the past few years. Maybe that’s why I thought this GIF of Rajon Rondo reading the night’s statsheet was so damn funny.

via thenosebleeds.com

Who the hell are these guys?!

Kickers aren’t real people.

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Ron Burgundy had a great appearance on Conan. This was the most funny part.

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This article about the athletic and academic culture at Florida State in the wake of the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations is generating a lot of conversation online. It’s well done and you’ll feel sorry for both the instructors and the privileged athletes. I think it’s worth your time.

If you have the opportunity, I really recommend watching the HBO Real Sports piece on Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. Set the DVR if you can. It’s a heartbreaking story that is really well done. You can watch a couple minutes of the segment here.

And finally, I’m 99 percent sure this is a set-up, but it’s still pretty darn cute.

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Happy Tuesday everybody. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend; it’s a truly underrated holiday. Give thanks. And thank you for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.