How obsessive is Peyton Manning? Even Broncos' keep-away celebration of record-breaking TD was scriptedCharles Robinson at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
DENVER – In the end, the Peyton Manning playbook extended all the way to the touchdown celebration.
When Demaryius Thomas dragged his toe into history Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers – and Manning touchdown No. 509 was in the books – Thomas already knew the call. Manning had gone over the audible the previous Friday: Keep-away, on four … specifically, Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas.
So that's how it went in the Broncos' 42-17 blowout. The quartet gathered around Manning and hot-potatoed the Canton-bound football beyond Manning's reach, with the quarterback gator-arming at each pass and aw-shucking into the cameras. Fans roared in laughter, television analysts swooned and Manning silently delighted in his ruse.
He scored twice on one play. It might have been the most Manning moment in history.
"He actually planned that himself," Demaryius Thomas said with a smile, drawing chuckles from a collection of half-surprised reporters. "He came to me, it was either Thursday or Friday. [He said], 'If anybody scores 509, this is what we should do.'
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
Twenty-eight years ago, then-Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson asked his future Hall of Fame running back if he could handle 30 carries in a game.
Eric Dickerson couldn't say yes fast enough.
And when the 1986 season opener was over, Dickerson had done even more: 38 carries for 193 yards and two touchdowns. All that was left was to answer Robinson's next question.
"He asked me, 'Well, do you think you can do it again?'" Dickerson recounted with a laugh.
You can tell that Dickerson likes telling that story. In his mind, it's a good illustration of what his NFL era was like. It was tough, challenging – in both good and bad ways. So you can understand why he takes a different view of Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray than the rest of us. As it stands, Murray is on pace for a mind-numbing 424 carries this season, which would set the league's single-season rushing attempts mark, eight more than what Larry Johnson did in 2006.
But Dickerson – the league's all-time single-season rushing leader – says this is all a breath of fresh air. Much to the contrary of popular hand-wringing.
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports10 days ago
SEATTLE – Jerry Jones wanted the Super Bowl question. For 15 minutes he waited for it, toothy-grinning, winking, nodding – all while leaning in as if to say, "Go ahead. It's all right. Ask."
And someone finally lobbed it: Could Sunday's authoritative 30-23 road win over Seattle allow the Dallas Cowboys owner to think about the Super Bowl?
He leaned into the question with conviction.
"When I see us play like that," Jones said, "I'd say we've got a chance to line up against anybody and win."
Jerry waited a while to be able to say that – to be able to release a little bit. After all, you keep failing in the meaningful games and that Super Bowl ring starts to look a little smaller, a little more dated. And that diamond-encrusted star on your lapel starts to feel like costume jewelry, pinned on for a party that ended decades ago.
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
CONROE, Texas – Speed, precision and focus: the keys for Adrian Peterson winning in a courtroom won't be all that different than his day job.
Peterson's attorney Rusty Hardin made that much clear on Wednesday, when the Minnesota Vikings running back emerged for a plea hearing that eventually produced a tentative trial date of Dec. 1 to face a felony child abuse charge. Peterson sat in the front row of the courtroom – flanked by his wife, mother, father and an NFL agent – and watched as Hardin did the heavy lifting.
When it was over, Hardin had used the day to accentuate three primary talking points to the judge, prosecution and courtroom gallery:
1. Peterson's trial can't get here fast enough.
2. Peterson is having his name/reputation unfairly smeared as he awaits trial.
3. Peterson is a good family man with the support of his community, who made a parenting decision that is open to interpretation.
Whether the public agrees with those points remains to be seen.
Broncos avoided Super Bowl blowout repeat, but Peyton Manning is still standing on familiar trapdoor
SEATTLE – The chasm looks better, like the Denver Broncos have indeed drawn closer to bridging the distance to the Seattle Seahawks. Surely, Sunday's 26-20 overtime road loss will sting for Denver. But it wasn't anything near the 43-8 championship debacle in February. It wasn't humiliation.
But there's a familiar trapdoor for these Broncos, creaking beneath the feet of quarterback Peyton Manning. It's a franchise frailty that wasn't resolved with the signing of linebacker DeMarcus Ware or the swapping of Emmanuel Sanders for Eric Decker. It's the weakness of time and pressure: a creeping age in Manning's game and his inability to consistently perform when everything falls on his shoulders.
Stop the running game, push Manning's offensive play-calling into one mode. Then hit him. Hurry him. Push him around. That dynamic chopped the Broncos down in the Super Bowl. It rolled them over, and it ultimately tipped Denver again Sunday.Thu, Oct 235:25 PM PDTSan Diego at DenverPreview Game
Ray Rice. TMZ. Roger Goodell. New Jersey authorities. Media. Media. Media.
Heads are spinning after five days of allegations and rebuttals over the Ray Rice domestic violence saga. While initially the video of Rice striking his wife seemed enough to define the story, it has now spun into one of the most debated and reported stories in NFL history. Each day brings a new claim, deepening a furor that has demoted the start of the 2014 season to a distant sideshow.
Almost undoubtedly, the past five days have charred the NFL brand. How much so remains to be seen. The damage won't be known until some key issues are resolved surrounding Rice, commissioner Roger Goodell and how the NFL generally goes about its investigative business.
The most pressing?
1. WHO SAW THE SECOND ELEVATOR VIDEO?
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have denied seeing the second video from the Ray Rice elevator incident multiple times. The tape, in which Rice is seen knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer, has become the lightning rod in this case. When the video surfaced, it prompted the NFL to indefinitely suspend Rice and caused the Baltimore Ravens to release him outright.
HOUSTON – Late in the fourth quarter, after Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watched a pass carom off the outstretched arms of Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, the defensive end trotted away, wagging a cautionary index finger.
"No, no, no," Watt mouthed, as if Griffin should have known better.
At that stage of Sunday's 17-6 Texans win, the die had been cast – Griffin and Washington's offense had been solved, Watt and Houston's defense had not. It was an appropriate snapshot of two players whose season opener proved that sometimes what you see early in an NFL season could be a fair depiction of what you're going to get. Watt is everything – every single pound and $100 million penny – that the Texans know he can be. And Griffin? He was his dinking, dunking, pea-shooting, no-running best – which the Redskins have to hope he won't be.
One star is casting a tremendous shadow. The other star is turning into one.
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
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HOUSTON – The money always matters. It's the most clear-cut and tangible sign of NFL respect. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt knows it. He'll even say it, albeit far more gingerly than anything else he does in football.
Over the past month, Watt watched silently as a select few members of his disgustingly loaded 2011 NFL draft class have bathed in lucrative contract extensions. Two pulled it off despite two years remaining on their rookie deals: Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (five years, $70 million) and Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (eight years, $98 million). Two quarterbacks with a single year left on their deals (San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton) each reeled in six-year deals worth $126 and $115 million, respectively.
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports5 mths ago
NEW YORK – It's rare a team completely skips your pro day, passes over you twice in the first eight picks of the NFL draft, and then swoops in to save you from a free fall. But Johnny Manziel likely won't hold any grudges against the Cleveland Browns.
The team that had one of the most erratic pursuits of Manziel will now count on him breathing new life into the franchise. How crazy was the journey to this draft pick? Consider back in January, word began to circulate that then-Browns general manager Mike Lombardi liked Manziel so much, he'd consider trading up to No. 1 just to get the Texas A&M star. One month later, Lombardi was fired and everything seemingly went out the window.
- Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports6 mths ago
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Uncut hip-hop tracks cascaded onto the field, well within earshot of a former U.S. president and first lady. Cameras whirred in a packed end zone. A standing room only audience crowded the boundaries for 100 yards on each side of the field. By the time a train whistle blared late into Johnny Manziel's pro day on Thursday, it was feasible that a Coors Lite commercial was about to smash through a practice field wall.
This is the theme park of Johnny Football. You won't leave without being thoroughly entertained.
"Johnny does things a little differently," Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said with a smile. "… They do things a little differently in Texas."