Good Monday-after-the-Super-Bowl morning, my friends.
Here's to a better day for you than the one Peyton Manning had Sunday. Man, was that brutal. And, as far as he's concerned, totally unexpected.
Yes, the Seattle Seahawks' defense was expected to shine in the league championship game, but to completely shut down Manning and make him look like a young quarterback who had never seen a pass rush before, was tremendous. It was a thing of beauty, in fact. It was the type of performance that personally brought me back to a few Cincinnati Bengals games. Namely, their 13-6 win over the Patriots, and the 49-9 win over the same Jets team that beat the Patriots the week before.
In both of those games, the Bengals' stout defense didn't allow a touchdown. The Seahawks on Sunday, gave one up only when the game was well in hand late in the third quarter. They ended up winning, 43-8.
For some Bengals fans, Manning's head-scratching showing was reminiscent of the struggles their own quarterback, Andy Dalton, has endured in the postseason. I say that because I did get a couple of tweets from people who saw it that way.
All season, Manning was the Superman of the NFL, leading a potent, record-setting offense. Against the Seahawks, he looked puzzled, lost and completely out of his element. Yes, it was only one game, but it was the game. Much like Dalton, who has been a good regular-season quarterback in his three seasons, Manning didn't show up this time on this particularly big postseason stage. Dalton hasn't shown up at all in the postseason, losing all three playoff games he's seen. So from a one-game perspective, you can see where some drew the comparison.
The main reason I'm bringing Dalton up now is because I'm trying to segue to the links for the day. The two items you'll read below have to do with him. The first is headlined by a few comments former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner made in New York on Saturday, just before the "NFL Honors" ceremony.
Warner doesn't believe Dalton has maxed out on his potential yet, and for that reason you have to understand why the Bengals want to continue to make him their man. After all, he is the player who they sought to make the franchise quarterback three years ago when they drafted him. They want to give him every opportunity to succeed for that reason. But when comes the point of no return? Is it smart to start thinking about life beyond 2014? Is it smart to start thinking about whether Dalton is the quarterback of 2015 and beyond, or at the very least of who his backups will be from that point forward? If you click that link, you'll see we wrote about that Friday.
With those questions circling in your heads, we present this post-Super Bowl Monday edition of the Morning Stripes:
Here's the item on how Warner is among the many still standing by Dalton and continuing to declare him the rightful Bengals starting quarterback. It comes from Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, who caught up with Warner will in New York over the weekend. Warner does note that it's time Dalton's regular season productivity translate to the postseason.
Sticking with the Dalton theme of the day, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner Jr. has this item from Friday that features Dalton's former high school coach. Katy (Texas) High School's Gary Joseph was declared a finalist last week for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award. Inside the link from Dehner, Joseph talks briefly about what Dalton did that impressed him in the two years he coached him.