Patrick Daugherty

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Norv's Pain, Peyton's Gain

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

There are two sides to every story.

When the protagonists are Norv Turner and Peyton Manning, you can usually guess which will be bad and which will be good.

Fresh off a mind-numbing Week 5 collapse in New Orleans, it appeared Turner was ready to flip his typically tragic — some would say tragically stupid — script in the first half Monday as the Chargers raced to a 24-0 halftime lead.

Chargers - Broncos Box Score

Then the second half happened.

As Manning played his best half since his return — and arguably one of the best of his career — there was Norval calling two of the most stupefying quarters of football you’ll ever see.

We’ll start with Manning, who completed 13-of-14 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Again, pretty good. Commanding the huddle every bit as well as he did during his Indy prime, Manning made adjustments and fit bullet-accurate throws into tight spaces with an almost symphonic brilliance.

Norv? He called deep balls as his team turned the ball over five times and got out-scored 35-0.

It’s true a ton of the blame lies with Philip Rivers. Channeling some strange hybrid form of Evil Brett Favre and Every Week Tony Romo, Rivers tossed three second-half picks — one of which was returned for a touchdown — and lost two fumbles. Tony Carter took the first to the house.

But it was Turner — a man tasked with protecting a 24-0 halftime lead — who called for 28 passes and 10 runs as the Bolts allowed the biggest road comeback in NFL history. And it was Turner who completely abandoned his most dynamic player in the fourth quarter, giving Ryan Mathews just two carries.

This, as Ronnie Brown was somehow allowed to touch the ball four times.  

After the chaotic, inexplicable dust settled, Adam Schefter tweeted, “Denver will look back at this as the night it won the AFC West.”

What he could have added was that it will also be the night Turner looks back on as the one that finally got him fired.

Monday Night In Brief: Rivers wasn’t the only Charger to have a brutal night against the Broncos. My boss/Jets mega fan Evan Silva was left wondering, “Why do people think that Eddie Royal is good?” The question was no doubt prompted by the fact that it was Royal who appeared to run the wrong route on two of Rivers’ four interceptions. It probably doesn’t hurt that Royal has just 13 catches for 98 yards through six games. … Mathews finally got his touches — 26 of them — but as alluded to above, he was largely abandoned in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter where the Chargers clearly preferred Brown on passing downs. Us Mathews backers need a union. … Demaryius Thomas: human after all. Human, but still locked in as a WR1. … It just isn’t happening for Jacob Tamme. He’s an acceptable bye week fill-in, but nothing more. … There you are, Antonio Gates. Gates caught six passes for 81 yards, with both totals easily representing season highs. It was the culmination of weeks of frustrating build up where Gates continued to offer hints he’s still every bit a TE1 even though the numbers suggested otherwise. Gates no longer plays like the basketball player he was in college or freak athlete he was earlier in his career, but there’s plenty of gas left in the tank.   

Best for Best?

Jahvid Best won’t play football this season. Best has reportedly experienced no symptoms since he suffered his fourth concussion in three years last October, but his doctors apparently aren’t confident his quality of life could withstand the effects of a potential fifth blow to the head.

If Best can’t get cleared one year after the fact, the odds are against him ever playing another NFL snap. It’s sad news, and could be a scary indication of things to come as the league slowly gets smart about concussions.   

Murray’s Morass

Dealing with “some” ligament damage (is that like a “mild” concussion?), DeMarco Murray (foot) is “doubtful” to play in Week 7.

The good news is, he appears to be week-to-week instead of month to month, and has a good shot at returning before October is through.

For now, however, owners need to man their Felix Jones battle stations. Jones has a strong Week 7 matchup in the Panthers’ soft run defense.

Grumbling About Garcon

Pierre Garcon apparently isn’t dealing with a case of turf toe, but instead an “inflamed capsule underneath the second toe on his right foot.” What he said.

It means he remains week-to-week, and that his availability comes down to matter of pain tolerance.

The issue has all the hallmarks of an ongoing headache, and should have Garcon owners treating him as little more than a high-upside bench option.

End of an Era?

No one knows if Ray Lewis has played the final snap of his Hall-of-Fame career. What we do know, is that if he has, he’s left behind a treasure trove of insane/inspiring YouTube clips to remember him by.  

Quick Slants: Brandon Lloyd has been diagnosed with a bruised shoulder. Although coach Bill Belichick will surely take this as an opportunity to limit his practice reps and list him as questionable on the injury report, he’s in no danger of missing Week 7. … Matt Hasselbeck is getting another start this week. Jake Locker will supposedly be back in Week 8. … Trent Richardson has been diagnosed with a right rib cartilage injury, and is day-to-day. He’s “fine” in the words of coach Pat Shurmur, and though he’ll likely be playing through a decent amount of pain, he’ll be active and starting against the Colts. … Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) has a “good shot” at suiting up in Week 7. … Andy Reid is lukewarm on Michael Vick heading into the Eagles’ bye week. … Kevin Kolb’s (ribs) X-rays came back negative, but his Week 7 status is up in the air. … Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Alex Green will remain a bell-cow going forward. … Bilal Powell (shoulder) is out for Week 7, but may return in Week 8.  

My friend told me he’d give me $1 if I included this link in today’s article. You are...welcome?   

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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