Game, set, match, Denver's season is over…six of the next eight games on the road.
No denials - no excuses, this was simply a matter of master and student, and in this case the mastermind wasn't on the Broncos sideline - he was wearing a yellow and white jersey with the number four clearly stitched into the heart.
The man who holds every conceivable NFL passing record took exactly sixteen seconds of overtime to completely dissect the Broncos season with an 82-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Greg Jennings, who had easily beaten cornerback Drey Bly on the play.
Not that he showed any favoritism, Packers quarterback Brett Favre beat out Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey earlier on a one-play, 79-yard touchdown strike to James Jones in the closing minutes of the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7.
The Packers attacked Denver's strengths - they attacked Denver's weaknesses - and they succeeding at both.
"A QB like Brett Favre has been doing this his whole career," said Denver's mini-Favre Jay Cutler. "This was a tough one to take."
Of course it was tough to take - Monday night was an equal opportunity slam - forget about what it says on paper - the Broncos are a good two years away from any serious postseason action, and that's a bitter pill to swallow, considering the all the off-season hype about how they planned to ‘open up the playbook' for the future of the franchise.
Denver coach Mike Shanahan's quarterback sneak in the closing minutes of regulation spoke volumes. Third and four became a scramble into oblivion and once again the Broncos brought out the only real threat left on the roster - the place-kicker.
I'm not saying Shanahan lost his nerve… but … Shanahan lost his nerve. The Mastermind turned vanilla and Cutler and Company were left out to dry. To make matters worse, defensive coordinator Jim Bates' defense is about as pathetic as it gets. Nine weeks into the season and the Broncos find themselves giving up a league worst 166-yards per game on the ground.
No offense, no defense. No guts, no glory - no home field advantage. Somewhere in Montana Jake Plummer's laughing his assets off.
Give the Rockies credit - at least they made it to the Dance. At this rate the Broncos won't even receive an invitation.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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