On Romeo Crennel and Peyton Manning
The Kansas City Star
I referenced this in the column, but didn’t get much into the continuing fascinating Romeo juxtaposition of being such a tremendous defensive coordinator and such a rotten head coach.
Yesterday’s game provided a pretty stark reminder, because Crennel might be the closest thing the NFL has ever had to a Peyton Manning stopper.
Coming into this game, Manning was 145-67 with a 95.4 passer rating against all teams whose defenses were not coached by Crennel. Including the playoffs, Manning was 3-4 with a 67.8 passer rating against Crennel.
To review: against everyone else, Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history. Against Crennel, he is Charlie Frye.
Manning throws half as many touchdowns, nearly twice as many interceptions, and is a hundred times more likely to stare at the ground and curse – golly gee dangit, probably – as he rips his chin strap off.
Manning is having another MVP-caliber season, transforming one of the league’s worst offenses from last year into one the very best this year. His pass to Demaryius Thomas – 30 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown through good coverage by Jalil Brown – was perfect. His orchestration of a 94-yard touchdown drive just before halftime was flawless.
But there were other moments, other glimpses of mediocrity from a Hall of Famer. His second quarter interception was as terrible a decision (Eric Decker was double-covered) as it was a throw (at least five yards off target). Denver went three-and-out twice in the fourth quarter with a chance to put the win away.
Overall, Manning was ordinary by his standards: 22 of 37 for 285 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Broncos’ 17 points are a season low. They are a Super Bowl favorite that struggled to beat the same team in the same stadium where the mediocre Bengals won by 22 last week.
No matter what faults Crennel has as a head coach, he deserves credit for much of this.
Of course, no matter what strengths Crennel has as a defensive mind, he deserves blame for much of the rest.