Y’all already know what time it is, so let’s get to it.
If you thought my beloved Denver Broncos (5-4) would play with some sort of emotional hangover after trading away one of the best players in franchise history last week, Sunday put the entire league on notice that anybody can (and will) still get this work.
While I reserve most of my lifelong rancor for the Los Angeles Lakers and New England Patriots (because fuck them both), I have a special place in my heart that’s full of deep disdain for the Dallas Cowboys (6-2). So imagine my delight when my mighty, mighty Broncos marched into AT&T Stadium on Sunday and proceeded to backhand every ounce of dignity out of the Cowboys and their much-ballyhooed No. 1 offense. Because that’s what Denver does, as evidenced by the fact that the last time the Broncos lost to Dallas, Troy Aikman was still a thing.
Denver miraculously overcame their inept coaching staff (everybody not named Mike Munchak can go) and an endless succession of injuries to not only dominate Dallas on the defensive side of the ball—Jeezy looked more comfortable listening to Gucci Mane perform “Truth” during that Verzuz than Dak Prescott did in the pocket on Sunday—but to run up the scoreboard, too. By the time NFL Sunday Ticket kicked me off the broadcast in the fourth quarter (how rude!) because the game had gotten so lopsided, the score was 30-0.
Kiss my ass, Jerry Jones!
Part of the reason Denver was so dominant was because they followed a formula they’ve practically abandoned all season: A stout defense + a commitment to the running game + deep shots down the field = something the Broncos should’ve been doing all season long.
“Those guys had the right mindset, which you have to when you’re playing against an offense that’s that good,” Denver coach Vic Fangio said after the team’s 30-16 win. “They bought into what we had to do to have a chance to slow them down. We did more than slow them down.”
“The message is don’t take the cheese, and frankly we were outcoached, we were outplayed all the way through,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said. “This is the first time I’ve felt clearly our energy didn’t exceed our opponent. That’s disappointing.”
Says who? It was glorious!
Sunday was full of surprising defeats (the Rams, Raiders, and Bills getting cleaned up immediately come to mind), but San Francisco 49ers (3-5) coach Kyle Shanahan has some explaining to do after getting his ass handed to him by an Arizona Cardinals (8-1) team that was missing Deandre Hopkins, A.J. Brown, and had Colt McCoy (Colt McCoy!!!!!!!!) under center.
James Conner finished with three touchdowns (two on the ground, one in the air) and 173 yards from scrimmage to help push the Cardinals past the 49ers 31-17, and it’s safe to assume Shanahan had a good cry in the car afterward.
“We didn’t play very well today at all,” he told reporters after the game. “I was real disappointed. I thought we’d played really well. We had a good week of practice that we’d even improved from the week prior, but obviously it didn’t go that way.”
It did not. But then again, not much has during Shanahan’s tenure as head coach.
Yes, injuries have factored into the 49ers’ struggles, as has questionable quarterback play. But when you have exactly one winning season since taking over the team in 2017, at some point you have to be held accountable for the lack of production on the field (as well as Trey Lance’s lack of readiness when he does play). The Cardinals just did far more with even less, and the Broncos are a prime example of a team that’s been equally decimated by injuries yet still has a winning record (5-4) this season.
So at what point is Shanahan gonna run out of grace? Because if we’re addressing the elephant in the room, there have been plenty of coaches who had stronger resumes prior to getting hired, but had much shorter leashes than the guy who currently has a 19-37 record as a head coach. Can you name a Black head coach who was even allowed to stick around long enough to go 19-37 while fielding rosters that include players like Joey Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, and Greg Kittle?
And for all of his grandstanding as some type of offensive mastermind, the only season San Francisco’s had a top 10 offense during his tenure was in 2019. Add in the fact that the team still doesn’t have an identity and has struggled with disastrous penalties, turnover margin (this has been a recurring theme during Shanahan’s tenure), and making big plays, and Shanahan could be scrolling through LinkedIn for another job by season’s end.
The gig is up, sir.
- Adrian Peterson rode a pterodactyl to school and is still out here scoring touchdowns:
- For the first time in NFL history, Josh Allen sacked Josh Allen. And no, not that Josh Allen, but Josh Allen Josh Allen.
- And Denzel Ward was kind enough to do this to the Cincinnati Bengals:
Catch y’all next week.