Gazette Denver sports columnist Paul Klee didn’t think the Indianapolis Colts should have played an ailing Andrew Luck in a 27-24 win over the Broncos the other week, and what happened? Luck, who is dealing with a lacerated kidney and a torn abdominal muscle, will miss several weeks trying to heal.
“Even though they won the game, they lost their quarterback,” Klee said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “That, to me, is a bad trade. If you know there’s something wrong with your guy and that’s your guy and you know that’s who you’re going to go with, you don’t put him out there – and the Broncos did that on Sunday.”
Peyton Manning, who had five completions and four interceptions in a 29-13 loss to Kansas City, has a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot. He will miss this Sunday’s game at Chicago.
“They knew that Peyton Manning was injured, they knew he’d been struggling and they started him Sunday – against a Chiefs defense that is very capable and had six sacks in the game (before that),” Klee said. “So I think that was a coaching decision that was a mistake, and now they’re going to Brock Osweiler. I don’t want to pile on Gary Kubiak. The fact that the Broncos are 7-2 right now, considering where their offense has been, is a minor football miracle. It really is. They won close games against the the Lions, against the Chiefs, against the Ravens. Everybody they played to get to 7-1, except for the Packers, was a one-possession game going into the last five minutes.
“So the fact that they’re 7-2 right now, I think a lot of credit goes to Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips,” Klee continued. “Except that they didn’t just start Peyton on Sunday; they put him back on the field for the second half. I think you had to see when Peyton had three picks in the first half and none of them were really contested – it was really hard to watch – they started him in the second half and that was confusing to me. I don’t think they were trying to prove a point, but it did show that Peyton Manning still has a lot of pull in team matters even after he took a pay cut and now they’re going to replace him at least for this Sunday. So this is a pretty seismic shift.”
Manning missed the 2011 season while recovering from neck surgery. Aside from that, he had not missed a game since entering the league in 1998.
But fear not, Manning fans. Klee doesn’t believe we’ve seen the last of No. 18.
“He will play again,” Klee said. “You’re going to see him on TV commercials, but you’re also going to see him on NFL Sundays. The company line right now is that Brock is the quarterback for Sunday against John Fox and the Bears and then they are going to reevaluate where they stand and where Peyton Manning is health-wise after that. I feel like the next start, if that doesn’t go well, then that will be it. If this was a developing team that was being built for 2016 or 2017, I think you see Brock the rest of the way, but it’s not. You have a $9 million cornerback in Aqib Talib. You just paid the other cornerback, Chris Harris, $40 million over several years. Von Miller is about to get paid after this season. DeMarcus Ware is over there and he’s making a whole bunch of cash.
“So they’re playing for now,” Klee continued. “Their idea is to give Osweiler the start in Chicago, see where Peyton’s health is, reevaluate things, and I think you got to take into consideration the fact that the Broncos are going to be hosing the Patriots in two weeks. That’s Brady/Manning Episode No.18, I believe. I don’t know that everybody wants to see Brady/Osweiler on that Sunday night.”