How Did the Broncos Blow This?

Two weeks ago, the Chargers seemed to be buried and left for dead. The Broncos had produced back-to-back wins improving to 8-5, winning at the Jets and at home against the Chiefs. The Chargers were the inverse — 5-8 following losses to three of the better teams in football, the Steelers, Colts, and Falcons. All Denver had to do was win at Carolina (no easy task) or at home against Buffalo on Sunday to clinch the AFC West and take the Chargers out of the picture. Instead, they blew a 13-0 lead and lost to the Bills. Jay Cutler threw up monster yardage numbers once again, but when it came down to it, he threw the goalline interception to kill the drive like he has done so many times this season. Of course the weak Broncos defense didn’t help matters by folding in the second half, but the Broncos still blew it.

Now we have a showdown on Sunday night next weekend (NBC chose it as the flex game) with the AFC West title on the line. The Broncos are 8-7, Chargers are 7-8. Amazingly enough, after the whole season of close losses and disappointment, the Chargers might actually make it into the playoffs. In fact, with a three game winning streak to their credit, they’ll be the favorites. Furthermore, a second look at the Chargers’ schedule shows that five of the teams to whom they lost have won at least 10 games this year. Even losing at Buffalo and at New Orleans aren’t ugly. And now the ending to the week two battle in Denver blown by Ed Hochuli can be avenged by the Chargers. Perhaps sweet revenge will be paid off. Denver, oh Denver, how ever did you blow this?

Chargers Screwed by Ed Hochuli’s Whistle on Jay Cutler Non-Fumble Call

It was 2nd down, final two minutes of the game, Broncos looking to tie it up. In a play that seemed all too familiar to anyone who had seen the infamous Brady tuck rule play against the Raiders, Jay Cutler rolled right, let the ball escape his hand, and seemed to have fumbled the game away to the Chargers. Only problem, Ed Hochuli inadvertently blew his whistle as soon as the ball hit the ground, meaning only the fumble/interception could be overturned. By blowing his whistle too early on, Hochuli prevented the Chargers from taking over possession of the football. Hochuli knows he screwed up, and the Broncos know they caught a lucky break:

“I blew it,” is how Hochuli explained it to Turner on the sideline.

“That is not acceptable,” Turner said. “This is the NFL. Our guys fought hard to come back. It was just disappointing to have that kind of performance spoiled by that call.”

“I think it was a fumble,” Cutler said afterward, and he was one of many Broncos to say so.

That’s a terrible break for the Chargers, but there’s no way to be certain that they would have recovered the fumble had the whistle not blown. Additionally, the Chargers still could have stopped the Broncos on the 4th down play or the two point conversion to get the win. They didn’t do either. Sure, I’m disappointed since the Chargers were one of Doc Brown’s picks, but reality is that San Diego had this game won. Check out video of the final minute around the 2:20 mark to see the blown call:

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Champ Bailey Puts Rivers in His Place

RiversI totally whiffed on this story from the weekend, probably because I missed all the games and highlights. Philip Rivers was caught on camera jarring with Jay Cutler late in the 4th quarter of San Diego’s easy win over Denver. Just like Signal to Noise wrote, Rivers has no place to be talking trash in a game. Sure, if it gives you an edge as a player, more power to you, but we all know that Rivers is not one of the top players in the league and hasn’t earned the right to talk smack. Funny enough, that’s exactly how All-Pro CB Champ Bailey feels:

“And I don’t really care for the guy, first of all,” Bailey said of Rivers. “He’s not a respectable guy right now because you talk too much trash and do this and that, but you’re really not a great player in this league right now.

“You’re surrounded by great players, but you’re not a great player. I think he needs to understand where he stands in this league – where he stands on his team first and foremost.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Didn’t we go through something quite similar when an unknown from the Steelers guaranteed victory against the Pats? The parallel isn’t that Rivers is an unknown, rather, that Rivers should know his place in the league. Take away Gates and LT and we’ll see how well Rivers compares to Cutler as a QB.

Brandon Marshall Knows How to Celebrate a Win

I guess this ass hat doesn’t realize that despite his team’s win, he failed to get into the end zone to help out my fantasy squad. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t too depressed Sunday night after his team beat the Steelers. To the contrary, Marshall went out after the game, and got busted for DUI.

Police pulled Marshall over at 14th and Blake streets. Details about the traffic stop were not available, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

Marshall was booked into a detoxification facility for suspicion of DUI and cited, Jackson said.

I’m not sure how many times this discussion needs to be had, but when your game check for one day’s work is multiple thousands of dollars, why can’t you just hire a driver for the night? Or call a taxi cab? I just don’t get it.

Morning Paper: Shanahan Is a Genius

Mike Shanahan planned the loss to San Diego [The Hater Nation]

Best race horse names of all-time [100% Injury Rate]

Unsilent’s round-by-round breakdown of Pacquiao/Morales [Deadspin]

Explaining why Larry Johnson sucks this year [Football Outsiders]

Hayden Panettiere is the only hockey fan in LA [Just Jared]

Some people are quite upset with Willie Parker [The Big Picture]

Celtics played in Rome, and they looked good [The Basketball Jones]

Washington St. hoops has some awesome karma going [Storming the Floor]

Anna Kournikova bikini pics, classic [Egotastic!]

Was Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak a fraud? [SPORTSbyBROOKS]

Oh, and per Nick, we’ll get to see Eva Mendes‘ boobs in her next movie

Broncos RB Damien Nash Dead at 24

It is with great sadness that I pass along reports that Broncos running back Damien Nash has died.  The Denver Post says

Backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis, his agent, David Canter, said.  Cause of death was not immediately known.

There are two elements that make this extraordinarily sad aside from the simple issue of death in the first place.  For one, 24 year old Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed earlier in the year.  Secondly,

Nash was hosting the basketball game at Riverview Gardens High School to benefit the Darris Nash Find a Heart Foundation, a charity that raises funds for heart transplant research. Damien Nash recently founded the charity in honor of his older brother, Darris, who has had a heart transplant.

What an utter shame.  While I don’t know Nash from his playing reputation, his last actions speak tremendously about his character.  May many more NFL players follow in the footsteps of his charitable legacy.

Additional research led me to this article from the Titans website (where Nash played as a rookie).  The story is about Damien Nash surprising students at a visit to a local school and it shows photographs of Nash working with young kids.  Once again, it’s another sign that Damien Nash was a good-hearted person.