But, you might recall, I didn't think there was any way Manning could be stopped this year. Not like that. That was ugly.
Manning improves his completion-% with a lot of dump-offs, that were going nowhere fast Sunday. His third-down % must have been hideous. Yes, the Pats played great d, but...you gotta make it happen, if you're going to be the champ. Manning didn't look like any kind of champ, in the one game that counted. Maybe it's his team's fault, maybe it's his coach's fault, maybe the receivers dropped too many passes, but he's the Star QB, he has to carry the team on his shoulders in the crunch. He might, someday, but at this point in their respective careers, you can't deny that Brady's got "The Thing" going on, and Manning does not.
I like the part in the ESPN article, "But if you blitz Vick, you're playing with fire, because the defensive backside is vulnerable to a long run if the pressure doesn't put the Falcons star on his back." That's for sure! You have to remember, every team he played this season was keyed to stop him from running, and yet he still pulled off 7 runs 20 yards or longer, and who knows how many in the 10-20 range. He's a big play waiting to happen.
I predict, he'll make a couple of big plays, but it won't be enough to beat Philly, who are too good on both sides of the ball for Atlanta.
I know it's a specious thing in general, to compare different sports, but the Colts and Falcons remind me a bit of the Phoenix Suns in basketball this year. They've been blowing everyone away early, with their run-and-gun flashiness, but are they going to be able to play the kind of defense and low-post, brass-knuckles ball that wins championships? I say no, judging from what I saw of the Suns yesterday. I don't think they'll get past the second round in the West. Like the Colts.