Peyton Manning makes one ‘bad throw’ and he is one-and-done again
|01.12.13 at 11:01 pm ET|
It’s one of the central themes we’ve heard all week from the Patriots.
One bad decision at the wrong time and your season can come to end before you knew what hit you.
Certainly, that’s what the Patriots must have been thinking to themselves as Peyton Manning made a horrendous decision at the wrong time late in overtime that ended his Super Bowl dreams and those of his Broncos teammates and fans.
Rolling to his right late in the first overtime against the Ravens, Manning decided to force a pass back to the middle of the field to Brandon Stokley on second-and-6 from his own 38. Ravens cornerback Corey Graham undercut Stokley and was in the right place at the right time as the pass hit him right in the stomach as he fell to the ground at the Denver 45.
“Bad throw, probably the decision not great either,” Manning said [watch Peyton Manning’s press conference on NFL.com]. “Thought I had him open, didn’t get enough on it. Trying to make a play and certainly a throw I’d like to have back.”
“He was trying to make a play,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “I’m not going to be critical.”
Six plays later, Justin Tucker nailed a 47-yard field-goal to give the Ravens a 38-35 win over the Broncos in double-overtime, and send Baltimore to the AFC championship for the second straight season. They will either play at Gillette Stadium against the Patriots or Reliant Stadium in Houston depending on the outcome of Sunday’s Patriots-Texans game.
So, after being named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team earlier in the day and earning praise for leading the Broncos to a 13-3 season in one of the more remarkable comeback stories in recent NFL history, Manning must now watch the rest of the playoffs again from home.
“I accomplished a lot more this year than I thought I would have,” Manning said of his return from multiple neck surgeries. “I think this team exceed expectations. It’s a hard one to swallow.”
Manning has lost his first game in the playoffs eight times, six of those times he was a prohibitive favorite, including on Saturday when he was close to a double-digit favorite. Manning falls to 9-11 in the playoffs.
Manning finished 28-of-43 passing for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, including one returned by Graham in the first quarter that was returned for Baltimore’s second touchdown of the day. He also had a fumble in the second half that led to a Ray Rice touchdown that tied the game, 28-28.
Manning may well win the NFL MVP award but there’s no comfort in coming up short again when it matters the most.