In a word, Yes.
Cue the insults and hatred towards me. I will explain after the jump.
First of all, Let me start by defending Garcon. On the Interception, Garcon made the correct play. Peyton, and ESPN will tell you that Garcon was running an option route. In an option route, Garcon read both the safety AND the corner going deep. This means if he cuts back, he has nobody with 15 yards of him. If he keeps going forward, he has a jump ball against a safety and a Corner who are in good position WAITING for the ball, while Garcon would have to sprint to even reach it. Fact of the Matter is, Peyton not only made a bad read, he made a terrible throw. That would have been WILDLY overthrown even if Garcon did keep running.
Now, here is where you guys are planning comments to banish me. Peyton Manning is human. He is a player. He makes mistakes. We cannot blame everything he does wrong on receivers. As good of a player as Peyton is, and as classy as he is, he is always quick to blame his receivers when it was truly their fault. For Peyton to take the blame, he knows he made the mistake.
To Defend Garcon a bit more, it was not all his fault. If anyone else here plays sports, this next paragraph will make a lot of sense. In sports, when you screw up, all you can do is move forward. There is no turning back and changing the past. (Example: The Colts can never win last years SB, but if we win this one, and maybe the next, nobody will remember the loss). In Garcon's case, what this means is that no matter how bad he played in 3 quarters, and no matter how bad he played all season, all he can do is move forward. What did he do? he moved forward. In the last drive, facing adversity and having many screwups and drops, he could never go back in time and fix those. What he could do was play a good last drive, and he did! He made a TREMENDOUS catch on a decent throw by Peyton. If my view, he did not lose us the game. Please realize time travel is impossible. After screwups, all you can do is play good after, and he did that. To me, that 1 catch overrides his bad play all game. Why you ask? Because regardless of all of his bad play, we were still in it. However, if you take away that catch, we lose. He came through in the clutch. Remember Kobe in the Finals? He CHOKED, shooting less than 40% from the field. but he scored when it mattered, and is remembered a Finals hero this past season.
On to Peyton. Here is the sad truth of sports, and life for that matter. The better you are at something, the more pressure you have. It is sad that if you work hard, you can't enjoy it. Hard work only brings up great expectations. This is the case for Peyton.
If he were any other NFL QB, just fighting back to be in this game would be spectacular enough. However, when you are talked about as being the best QB of all time, just getting there is simply not enough. It is not. For being Peyton Manning, nothing short of a victory is satisfactory. If I'm being too rough, I'm not. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning for a reason.
In sports, like i said, the past is the past. Whatever you did in the past does not matter. It is all about the moment. Look at it this way.
During the game:
-Our defense played like crap. They blew it...
-Garcon played bad football. He didn't do good.
-Brown played like crap. Blame the blocking(Next bullet)
-Blocking was terrible. They couldnt pass or run block.
-Wayne had a key drop. It was a hard catch, but for being regarded as a top 5 NFL WR, he needs to make that play
-Peyton played a good game, factoring in how poor his teammates were.
On the Comeback and the final drive:
-Our defense stepped up. They got stops. They forced 3 and outs. They SHUT down the Patriots, and got them off the field fast. They REDEEMED themselves.
-Garcon made the great catch to keep the drive and the game alive. He REDEEMED himself.
-Brown had a 39 yard run on a key 3rd and 4. He REDEEMED himself.
-Blocking did great for Brown, and gave Peyton all the time in the world. They REDEEMED themselves.
-Wayne had a huge catch on 3rd and 6, and a monster run after the catch. He REDEEMED himself.
-Peyton, our ace, choked. Lets face it. 1st and 10, in almost chip shot field goal range. Plenty of time and 2 time outs. Absolutely NO NEED to force a pass. However, he throws into double coverage. Screw the arm angle argument. The fact is he should have NEVER TRIED to make that pass. Why risk it? Look at the situation. Time and downs were not a factor, and if he gets 5-10 more yards, it is a chip shot for Vinny-T.
*Disclaimer: You guys may think what I consider redeeming truly isn't redeeming. Why do I think so? Go back to my no time traveling theory. These players could never go back in time, all they could do is start playing good with mere minutes to go. And they did. If this game is won, all of these players are praised for their resiliency, praise because due to a terrible game they came back and played great.
I understand that without Peyton, we wouldn't be in it. If it were any other quarterback, I would be impressed. But he is Peyton Manning. His very name is synonymous with glory and success because he is expected to win these games. Defend him all you want. He played a great overall game, but Superstars define their career not with good play in 3 quarters. Superstars are defined by the last moments of games, when all hope is lost.
I expect to be torn apart for this. But that's it. This is my honest opinion. I still love Indy, and LOVE PEYTON! But the fact is that throw was dumb. If he makes that on 4th down, with 20 secs and 1 TO to go, i understand. But not on 1st down with 2 TO's, with a lot of time and already in good FG range.
Now, as always,