And isn’t it ironic … don’t you think?
An old man turned 39. He became the NFL’s all-time leading passer and was benched on the very same day.
Now, that’s a black fly in your Chardonnay, almost a a death row pardon two minutes too late.
Forgive the Alanis Morissette shtick and you certainly don’t need the Canadian songstress incorrectly defining irony for you to realize there was an interesting dichotomy in Denver on Sunday as Peyton Manning passed Brett Favre as the most prolific passer in league history on the very same day he played his worst game as a professional and was benched in favor of potential trivia question to be Brock Osweiler.
By Monday morning the news that the five-time MVP has a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot and was having trouble walking leading up to the Broncos 29-13 setback to Kansas City began circulating in league circles.
The new narrative is that Manning has been suffering with the injury for weeks before aggravating things against Indianapolis on Nov. 8, resulting in the partial tear and Denver’s first two losses of the 2015 season.
Clearly there was something wrong with Manning on Sunday and it wasn’t just the Chiefs’ dynamic pass-rushing duo of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. It was evident early, Manning had no zip on the football and Kansas City prudently decided to sit on the underneath routes, making things untenable for the Denver Receivers.
Manning, who was also dealing with shoulder and rib issues, finished a miserable 5-of-20 for 35 yards with four interceptions before his coach, Gary Kubiak, mercifully pulled the plug for Osweiler. The veteran was also sacked twice and fumbled once.
“I have a really hard time using my injuries as an excuse,” Manning said. “I have a hard time saying that’s why I played badly. I was very honest with (athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos) Greek and coach Kubiak. I wanted to be out there for my team. But I certainly didn’t play well, and I am disappointed about that.”
“To be honest, I was protecting him because I was worried about him,” Kubiak added when asked about pulling Manning. “I am disappointed in myself. This is on me. I should have probably made the decision not to play him.”
With Manning’s resume and Chicago, with former Broncos coach John Fox and ex-Manning favorite Adam Gase, next on the docket, along with the fact that Osweiler is just not equipped to take Denver where Kubiak and general manager John Elway believe the team should go, it’s clear the future Hall of Famer is going to get a long leash.
Kubiak is already on record saying that Manning will remain the starter if healthy enough to be on the field.
“If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peyton is our quarterback,” the coach claimed.
The question is when will that be?
In the realm of plantar fasciitis injuries, a partial tear is actually more painful than a full tear and certainly more problematic than what Manning was going through before the escalation of the injury against the Colts.
What’s even more clear is that the Manning that was on the field against Kansas City on Sunday is not capable of leading the Broncos in any substantive way.
A healthy Manning has already lost a few MPHs of his fastball at his age and without the ability to push off correctly, passes that may have lacked style points but found the ultimate destination are now coming in woefully short or late.
Dr. David Chao, the former Chargers team physician, described it as a baseball pitcher trying to throw off a flat mound.
Plant foot plantar fasciitis saps arm strength.
Like pitching from flat instead of mound.
Tough situation when #Peyton arm already weak.
— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) November 16, 2015
On the other hand, the good news according to Chao, is that the tearing of the plantar fascia eventually cures the problem and the temporary pain leads to long-term relief.
Now that’s a little too ironic … don’t you think?
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen. Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for The Sports Bash on ESPN South Jersey.
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