Kubiak makes right quarterback call, again


Throughout much of Sunday’s playoff game against the Steelers, the Broncos offense was sluggish. The team flirting with another one-and-done playoff performance needed a spark. Coach Gary Kubiak decided not to give them one by making a quarterback change.

The decision to stand pat with Peyton Manning as the season was on the line was every bit as gutsy as every decision Kubiak has made all year regarding the handling of the quarterback situation — from when to make a change to when not to make a change to when to declare a starter on Monday to when to wait until Wednesday to when to act like decisions just made today had been made weeks earlier.

Two weeks ago, the team needed a spark and Kubiak shocked most by bringing Manning out of mothballs, replacing Brock Osweiler and nailing down the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Given the criticism Kubiak would have faced if he hadn’t made a change and the Broncos hadn’t snapped out of it, the decision this week arguably required even more resolve from Kubiak than all past decisions combined.

Osweiler, only four weeks ago, shredded the Steelers for 27 points in the first half of a game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers, who had been focused on Manning’s brand of Kubiak’s offense, may not have been ready for a Rocky-style switch. With the tension in the stadium rising to a level that even the state’s most popular agricultural product couldn’t have cured, Kubiak surely was tempted to make a change.

But he held firm with Peyton, the decision paid off, and now the Broncos are back in the AFC title game, with the Patriots coming to town.

Next week, if the Patriots confound Peyton, Kubiak again will be tempted to switch to the quarterback who beat New England in November. Whatever Kubiak decides, his track record this year suggests he’ll make the right decision.

59 responses to “Kubiak makes right quarterback call, again

  1. The defense was the difference and the offensive line opened up enough holes to get points on the board. Manning was a liability most of the game.

  2. I think I counted at least 7 drops. Not going to get away with that playing NE, regardless of who’s playing QB.

    A sloppy win is a win, but that won’t be enough next week.

  3. Manning gets it done. The calmness was key. Who knows next week but good to see the old guy get it done.

    Those Steeler fans who are still whining about the Burifact hit also have to remember that without that hit, and penalty and the Porter induced penalty, they wouldn’t have been playing today.

  4. Manning came into today’s game having thrown only 9 passes in the past 2+ months. Let’s see how that noodle arm holds up after having thrown 37 tonight, for a lousy 6 YPA.

    Manning did nothing but limit Denver’s offense today. All of Denver’s points were a result of the running game and Denver’s defense causing that crucial turnover and getting Manning great field position all night.

  5. Kubrick did indeed make the right call. There’s no way the refs would have let Osweiler give himself up, then pop up and make the biggest play in the game!


  6. In interview right after the game, Anderson said Manning audibled into the correct run (away from blitzes) throughout the td drive…you’re not getting that with Osweiler.

  7. Obivously Florio didn’t watch the game. Payton was throwing ducks the whole game. He needs to sit next week – he is toast.

  8. gregbeau says:
    Jan 17, 2016 8:41 PM
    Osweiler beat the Pats earlier this year. No way Peyton will do the same next week.


    No Gronk, Edelman or Hightower…and Denver still needed OT.

  9. Can’t help but wonder about the Pass interference call that led to the Steelers’ last field goal; these points ‘beat the spread’.
    The flag came so long after the play, the players had walked five plus yards back towards the original line of scrimmage.
    A quick TVO replay showed ZERO contact with any reciever on that side of the field.
    The official did not give a number of the player commiting the ‘penalty’.
    Was gambling involved?
    I think not!

  10. Okay. Don’t think it will much matter after another Patriot/Brady/Bellichick beat down. Manning was just there just like Osweiler was just there for most of the Bronco wins this year. Truthfully, this is fascinating because we’re trying to see if they can win a Super Bowl not only without a QB but without anything else dominant on offense either since their running game isn’t exactly humming. If the 3rd string Steeler RB doesn’t fumble and Roethlisberger could throw with any accuracy today, I think Pittsburgh wins this game easily.

  11. Stop giving credit where its not due….The Broncos owe this win to the defense, they kept this game close and got the big turnover right before Pitt was going to go up by 2 scores….the Broncos are not a good offensive team and will get blown out next week….my guess is Manning gets benched by halftime, he couldn’t beat Belicheck when he was good, how is he going to do it when he’s old and throwing ducks……..

  12. So you’re saying the head coach made some sort of genius call by starting his finally healthy Hall of Fame starting QB and stuck with him for the come from behind win at crunch time? Wow…genius! Pure genius.

  13. It’s tough.

    Peyton by far has the experience and is a field general.

    Brock def has the better arm right now, but not the football IQ Peyton does.

    It really just depends how cold it is. Peyton already can’t feel is fingertips from the neck surgery anymore.

    Throw in 30 degree cold, he basically can’t feel the football at all when he throws it.

    Which makes it that much more amazing what he’s been able to do, even if it doesn’t always look pretty.

  14. It’s a lot longer, but a far more accurate headline would be “Kubiak is just as average a coach as when he was with the Texans, but he won and poor analysis led to the conclusion that he made “the right call”.

    Kubiak NOT caring that Peyton couldn’t put up more points didn’t cause the Steelers backup backup RB to fumble, etc etc.

  15. An argument could certainly be made that the game would have been more easily won had Peyton not played .

  16. Did any of you that are blasting manning happen to notice all of the dropped passes that were on the money? Granted he’s not the QB he once was but he kept Denver in the game and then engineered the game winning touchdown. Give him some credit.

  17. Florio if an elderly qb handing the ball off is what you consider a spark that a team needs then you’ve completely lost it.

    The right decision Kubiak made was to give the ball to CJ Anderson. Peyton didn’t even throw for 250 yards despite 37 pass attempts.

    The key in these games for the broncos isn’t manning or osweiler…it’s CJ Anderson.

    But what the he’ll if you want to make it out that manning set the world on fire because it makes for better headline and you want the clicks then by all means…

  18. Denver won despite Peyton Manning not because of him.
    The Steelers continually handed the Broncs a short field and yet Manning could only deliver one TD.
    Lousy game.
    Play like that against the Patriots and they win going away. FG’s are not going to cut in next week.

  19. Truly and MVP-caliber audible performance by Manning.

    Pats will be playing the guys in the black and white stripes next week every bit as much as the Broncos.

  20. “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” notwithstanding, there’s no way of validating Florio’s assertion that Kubiak made the right decision. It’s not like the Broncos slammed the Steelers or Manning led any significant charges against the Steelers in their win. In fact it was a fumble recovered by the Broncos that ultimately resulted in their win. Hardly a compelling reason to make any statements about Manning’s performance as quarterback.
    I suspect that I am of the same opinion as the Patriots ie, bring on the final Manning/Brady festivities. Because of course, the Patriots are going to win even at Mile High Stadium. The Patriots are going to bury the Broncos and in that, bringing the Manning/Brady competition to an end. On there way to the SuperBowl, of course.

  21. The offense did not play well today, Peyton was not “on fire”, the running game sucked, and there were 6 or 7 dropped passes. The defense AGAIN did its job. That job being to keep us in the game until Manning and the offense put a drive together. This is now longer “the Peyton Manning Show” we once knew. But, he got it done, as much with his brain as with his body.

  22. Put Peyton out there under center to run the snap count, audibles, and cadence and stick Osweiler offset to the side of him, like a wishbone. You could snap it to one or the other on every play depending on what you need. It would blow people’s minds.

  23. All you Patriots fans need to remove your head from the sand. Broncos have dealt with serious injuries all year long too. Stop using injuries as an excuse. You Boston fans are pathetic. When we beat you next week I can hear all you crybabies whining about your injuries. Meanwhile the Broncos will be Super Bowl bound and have more significant injuries than you.

  24. So funny that everyone on here is bagging on Manning. He played a good game. He had receivers drop 7-8 passes, lost in crucial situations that at least cause them to lose out on 7-20 points. Thomas and Sanders both had two key drops. Thomas dropped one on their first FG that would have given them first and goal. Instead they had to kick a FG. 4 more times on 3rd or 4th down, they dropped balls that would have given them first downs and continued drives. Manning isn’t what he used to be, but he played well today and would have had a really good game had receivers held on to passes. He can’t catch them too. Manning is easily the smart choice at QB for them right now. He made GREAT calls at the line of scrimmage throughout the whole game. Good job Peyton!

  25. I thought Peyton looked OK today. It’s clear his arm strength is pretty shot, but he still put an extra 6 or 7 passes on target today that should’ve been caught.

  26. johnniemayes

    Pats have 20 players on IR, Broncos have 7.

    Those are the numbers, they are not excuses for anything. You have to find a way to win with the players available and both NE and Denver, when they had Manning out, who is a far superior QB to Osweiller, did just that.

    But you can’t even begin to compare the injuries both teams had to deal with this season.

    Great game in store next week and may the best team on the day win.

  27. His receivers are dropping the ball because he’s throwing wobbly ducks. Wobbly duck don’t fly straight, especially if there’s any breeze.

  28. When Peyton is healthy enough to play, Peyton’s going to play. I don’t think there was ever any decision for Kubiak to make. The trainers, the doctors, Peyton Manning, and John Elway probably all have a great deal of input, but Peyton’s been doing this long enough to know when he can go. Does anyone really believe that Kubiak is telling John Elway which QB he wants to play. I don’t buy that for a minute.

  29. To all those people blasting the writers call of Peyton being the right call…. turn in your football card. Playoff football, even more than regular season football, is about T/O margin. Peyton led the offense without having a single T/O. One turnover in that game, and Pitt is traveling to NE next week. Playing safe with the football is most definitely NOT a strength of first year qb’s.

    Peyton may not be Manning of the past. But he’s smart enough to know his limits and not hurt his team. With a defense like that, that will be enough to have a SHOT in any game.

  30. “This will probably be last Payton Manning vs Brady game. Hope they both give us a good one.”

    The five people who downvoted that post are probably baseball writers who refuse to vote for first-ballot hall of famers.

  31. Manning played a good game. He made calls at the line Brock probably would have missed. And don’t blame Manning for the calls Kubiak makes. It was the same in Houston. The most generic offense in the NFL! The Broncos were able to move when the tempo picked up and Manning was making the calls…even in the run game.

    I’m hoping for a classic next week too but NE looks awfully good. Go Broncos!

  32. I am not surprised that NFL Network “expert” Mikey Irvin was arguing the switch now. Regardless of arm strength, you can’t discount Manning’s ability to read, react to & pick apart any situation. Have the receivers catch + linemen block & he’ll be fine. Can the haters quit hating for his last 1 or 2 games?

  33. You guys in the sports media are hilarious with your narratives.

    For almost his entire career, you’ve all busted on Manning when it comes to the playoffs (even when he played well and they lost) and even though yesterday was similar to a lot of his playoff performances and he was far from good (even taking into account all the drops), he’s being praised.

    I am sure if next week he actually does well but they lose, he’ll be busted on again.

  34. People puleezzzee–a win is a win is a win.
    Count your blessings Denver. Peyton is not going to score big, that is not his call, it is the coach’s call and he has responded very well.

    Enjoy it while you can.

  35. “To all those people blasting the writers call of Peyton being the right call…. turn in your football card. Playoff football, even more than regular season football, is about T/O margin. Peyton led the offense without having a single T/O. One turnover in that game, and Pitt is traveling to NE next week. Playing safe with the football is most definitely NOT a strength of first year qb’s.”

    You Manning apologists are ridiculous. NOW turnovers are important? His turnovers (league leading 17 picks – even after missing a handful of weeks) during the regular season didn’t matter, but now the lack of them does?

    Tom Brady has more passing TDs in Denver this year than Manning…

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