Two Manning fumbles. (I'm counting the one that was negated by the Raven's penalty). Two Manning interceptions. Bailey doing his best imitation of toast. Third and seven, a 7-point lead and 90 seconds left on the clock with history's best QB and they run the ball. I don't want to even remember the name of the defender who waved his hands and fell down when Flacco threw the Hail Mary at the end of regulation. I don't want to clutter my mind with his name since surely he won't be on the team next year.
This game reminded me (even going into it) too much of the 1996 Broncos. Elway as QB. Shanahan was coach. Terrell Davis in the backfield. Eddie McCaffrey and Rod Smith wide receivers. Shannon Sharpe at tight end. Steve Atwater safety, Bill Romanowski at LB. That team went 13-3 for the season and only lost due to their own mistakes, sloppiness and ennui. You watched that team and thought, "No one can beat them. They only way they lose is if they don't show up."
It was their year. No one in Denver worried about Jacksonville, that was just a warm up for the Steelers or the Patriots. And they sleepwalked through the game against Jacksonville, and lost, at home, they lost.
I remember that game too well. I was visiting my Mom in Denver and sat in that room watching the Broncos piss away their season. Periodically she would come in and ask, "How are we doing?" She really couldn't care less about the Broncos, a healthy attitude generally, and one that served her very well that year.
I watched this game with Mrs. Knabe and at times daughter Knabe graced us with her presence. At 28-28 it was clear the Broncos didn't want to win the game. Did they really have to drag it out for four hours? A couple of times I was tempted to shout out, "Mom, we are doing horrible, they obviously have skiing vacations planned for next week."