Category Archives: NFL-AFC

AFC Profiles

Although Steelers’ linebacker Jarvis Jones is no longer playing for the University of Georgia, this ESPN profile reveals the obstacles Jones went through just to get an opportunity to play football again.  It’s a great story to a year later because it shows how hard he worked and overcame adversity to get drafted 17th overall in last year’s draft.

Another great, inspirational profile is on Titan’s Tommie Campbell.  It was a great read about how he struggled in academics and let his dreams of playing in the NFL slip away but got back on his feet after being a janitor to support his two children.

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Two AFC Profiles

In this profile of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, I really enjoyed the various perspectives, (seven to be exact) of him that Elizabeth Merrill compiled together. Each perspective revealed a different side of Tomlin and gave insight into the type of person he is from his sense of humor to the philosophies that he teaches. Instead of hearing about Mike Tomlin through the words of Merrill, I felt like I was having a conversation with each of those seven people.

The thing I enjoyed most about this profile of Peyton Manning, was the attention to details by Tom Chiarella. He sets the scene so perfectly that you feel as though you are eating dinner with Manning. He lets you inside the mind of the very personal Peyton Manning to see how the man views himself, his career, his lifestyle and his teammates.

A New Era

It was not overlooked. The fact that the man asked to replace a legend had begun his way to doing so.

The Denver Broncos took on the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. It was a contest hyped up by every major sports news outlet. Peyton Manning was going to return to Indianapolis, the city where he played professional football for 14 seasons. Colt’s fans loved Manning. He was their first ballot Hall-of-Fame player, the charismatic guy with the funny commercials, the guarantee that every game was worth going to. And then, he was gone.

A sequence of circumstances, including a major neck injury, led to the Colts moving on. The left “The Franchise” behind. Then, Andrew Luck entered the picture. The Stanford quarterback was seen as one of the best prospects since, well, Peyton Manning. The Colts could not resist ten to fifteen years of winning compared to the two to three left with Manning. In a move allegedly endorsed by Manning, the Colts drafted Luck and released the four-time MVP.

Manning found a home in Denver. Luck began his journey in Indianapolis. They both won a lot of games and made the playoffs in 2012. But last weekend, they finally met in the house that Manning built. The match up did not disappoint.

Manning ended up with 386 yards, three touchdown passes, and a costly interception. Luck had 228 yards and three touchdowns. The Colts had a lead most of the game, but Manning brought the Broncos back. And just when you thought he was going to pull it out one last time in Lucas Oil Stadium, Manning’s running back fumbled the ball away at the goal line. It ended the comeback. Luck could finally close the “Book of Manning” and start his own story.

Luck and his teammates brushed off the significance of the victory. It was just another win. Well, that is what they told reporters.

It is hard to believe that the moment was lost on Luck or Manning. Things had changed in Indianapolis. Football is a game players have a tough time giving up. Manning has alluded to the end of his career. If this is the last time he plays in Indianapolis, the loss really will become meaningless. If that was it, then THIS is what will have really mattered.

Two Things the Houston Texans Must Do to Salvage their Season

By: Melanie Watson

The team that was predicted to be Super Bowl hopefuls at the start of this season is now 2-5. They’re on a five-game losing streak and their fans cheered when their starting quarterback went down with an injury. The Houston Texans are currently experiencing some difficulties and the only thing that fans can hope for at this point is for the skidding to end soon. There are two things that the Houston Texans can do to try and rebuild their season: 1) cut down on turnovers and penalties and 2) beat the mind games.

The Texans have the No. 1 defense in the NFL. The problem is that the turnover rate for the offense is frequently higher than the number of turnovers forced by the defense.  Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is not to blame for all of their misfortunes but a lot of them are attached to his name. The two-time Pro Bowler has thrown six interceptions this season – three of which resulted in touchdowns. In their 38-13 loss against the St. Louis Rams, the Texans had 95 yards of penalties, lost two fumbles and had two interceptions (which were thrown by Schaub’s replacement, T.J. Yates). Overall, they commit 12 more turnovers than their opponents and they have 46 penalties for 459 yards this season. It’s hard to be a winning team with those kinds of statistics.

The on-the-field issues that the Texans are having are starting to play with their minds also. Sports are every bit mental as they are physical so it’s only natural for the team to feel frustrated. Even offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said that the coaching staff has resorted to beating their heads up against the wall for answers. The Texans will fail to make everyone believe in the team again if they can’t even convince themselves. With fair weather fans, plaguing injuries and players getting cut from the team due to misconduct, it’s extremely important for Houston to battle their off-the-field issues before expecting a good product on the field.

Yes, they have a tough schedule ahead of them and some of their players are out for the season. Yes, they have five losses. It’s hard to overlook those things but keep in mind all of the things they do have. They have a great quarterback in Schaub despite his recent performances. They also have a chance every week to cut down on those costly mistakes they’re so prone to making. Finally and maybe even most importantly, they have a bye week to recoup and re-strategize in order to avoid sinking their season even further.

Peyton’s Homecoming

This past Sunday wasn’t just another Sunday Night Football game.  Some things were the same: the same name on the back of the jersey, the same #18.  Except this time, the jersey read Broncos and he was coming out of the visitor’s locker room of Lucas Oil Stadium.  Colts fan around the country along with the rest of the nation awaited as Peyton Manning returned to where it all began.

Peyton Manning, son of the legendary Archie Manning and big brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, was drafted first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998.  14 years, 12 Pro Bowls, four NFL MVP awards, two Super Bowls, Player of the Decade and countless numbers of awards and records later, he was released by the Colts in 2012.  And since then, Peyton stepped foot on the field for the first time in Indianapolis as a Denver Bronco.  Manning received a warm welcome back to Indianapolis with a pre-game tribute.  The crowd was on their feet cheering for the man that was not only their quarterback for 14 seasons but the man who changed Indianapolis, some even showed up in split-team jerseys.

Aside from Peyton’s return and the drama with Colts owner, Jim Isray, the game between the undefeated Denver Broncos (6-0) and the Indianapolis Colts (4-2) was sure to be a thriller.  Manning has had a multiple-record breaking season so far and was taking on the 2012 first-round draft pick out of Standford, Andrew Luck.  A lot of comparisons have been made in the past, and how similar they are, Luck being the 14-years-later version of Manning.  But on Sunday night, a night tributes to Peyton, Luck and the Indianapolis Colts came out with a 39-33 victory.

The Broncos had more first downs, more passing and total yards, more tackles and more red zone appearances than the Colts.  But they also had more penalties and turnovers than the Colts, getting penalized 12 times for 103 yards and two fumbles and an interception.  Luck was 21-38 for 228 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Manning completed 29 out of 49 passes for 386 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.  Matt Prater’s 47-yard field goal made it a one-possesion game for the Broncos with 0:12 left in the game but a failed on-side kick secured a Colts victory, while giving Denver their first loss of the season.  “The guy who replaced Peyton” went home that night with a victory.

The Colts improve to 5-2 (1st in AFC South) and enter a bye week as the Broncos falls 6-1 (2nd in AFC West) and will face the Washington Redskins (2-4) in Denver.

Patriots vs Saints

I really enjoyed this second-day story on Week 5’s game between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.  It broke down big crucial parts of the game to point out what aspects of the game helped lift the Patriots over the Saints 30-27, which included Tom Brady’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with 0:05 left on the clock.

Texans Second Day Story

In this second day story, ESPN.com’s Jeffrey Chadiha calls out Houston Texans fans for turning on their quarterback during his current slump. This second day story came out after Texans fans celebrated Matt Schaub’s ankle injury in the 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams two Sundays ago. He reminds fans that Schaub is a great quarterback just going through a rough time and to remember all that he’s done for them. I like that he also compares them against New York Giants fans who continue to support Eli Manning despite the fact that he’s thrown a league-high 15 interceptions through six games. The thing that I like most is the relevance behind this article. He took a memorable moment that really didn’t have an impact on the game itself and challenged fans to reconsider their character.