Talib loses his cool and costs Broncos shot at win
Nov. 09, 2015
Aqib Talib turned Denver's dominant defense into a Three Stooges routine, and now he'll sit out a game as a result.
The Pro Bowl cornerback lost his cool and cost the Broncos a shot at staying unbeaten with a pair of penalties in the closing minutes at Indianapolis on Sunday.
One was a poke in the eye of an opponent — which cost him a one-game suspension Monday— and the other a clap in the face of an official.
Two bad decisions by the man who was arguably the first-half MVP of the league's paramount defense.
The Colts were facing third-and-long from the Denver 15 with 2:24 left and Indy up by three points when Von Miller and Dwayne Allen started shouting and shoving. They went face mask to face mask when Talib ran up and poked Allen in his right eye with two fingers. Talib swore he meant to shove him in the face, not poke him in the eye.
The personal foul gave the Colts a first down and allowed Indy to chew up the clock. Talib was summoned to the sideline, where Manning waited for his Hail Mary of a chance.
Talib went back into the game as part of the special teams unit when Adam Vinatieri lined up and nailed a 23-yard field goal with 28 seconds left to make it a six-point game.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan, who had a career-best 19 tackles, was whistled for holding, giving Indy a first down. Talib responded by tauntingly clapping at the official, drawing yet another flag, this one for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Manning never got back on the field, finishing 3 yards short of becoming the league's all-time leading passer and one win shy of breaking the record for most victories by a starting NFL quarterback, marks that Brett Favre will hold for at least another week.
Afterward, Talib was anything but contrite. He said he saw Allen head-butt Miller, so "I went over there and tried to poke his head. I think my hand slipped there and hit his face. He acted like he got into an 18-passenger car wreck. I guess that's what type of guy he is."
Manning was clearly disgusted on the sideline. But he wasn't about to denounce a defense that has had his back all year as he continues to turn the ball over — he threw his league-leading 13th interception at midfield with 6 minutes left Sunday.
Denver's defense had carried the Broncos to their 7-0 start, leading the league in every major category. But their only eyesore was a propensity for penalties. As the wins rolled in and the weeks rolled past, they were able to brush off their lapses in discipline as a byproduct of all that nastiness.
Talib's reputation and pocketbook took a big hit with a series of dubious decisions in Denver's 27-24 loss.
There were plenty of other intriguing calls by officials, coaches and players Sunday:
WINDY WIN: The Vikings elected to defend a goal after winning the coin toss in overtime against the Rams so they could have the wind at their backs at blustery TCF Bank Stadium. Greg Zuerlein had kicked a 61-yard field goal with the wind at his back in regulation.
"I thought, 'Man, I don't want to give them a chance to kick another long field goal to win a football game,'" said coach Mike Zimmer, whose strategy worked perfectly as the Rams went three-and-out and Blair Walsh's field goal won it for Minnesota.
The game might not have gone to overtime were it not for Rams coach Jeff Fisher's decision to call for a 2-point conversion in the first quarter after a TD run by Todd Gurley.
Because they were facing the wind, the 33-yard extra point try seemed riskier. So they handed off to Gurley, and he was stuffed for no gain.
"I would do it again," said Fisher.
MAXED OUT: Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell was called for two pass interference infractions on Dez Bryant in the final minute of regulation in Dallas, leading to Dan Bailey's tying field goal.
The Eagles won in overtime, so it ultimately didn't matter. But neither flag was an obvious penalty and seemed really too close to call in a spot like that — especially the second one, where Maxwell had a better play on the ball than Bryant, who was exhausted in his second game back from a broken right foot.
After the second flag, Bryant caught a 12-yard pass on Maxwell to put the Cowboys in field goal range.
CAMPBELL CLOCK: Down 19-7 and facing first-and-goal at the 1 with 2 seconds left in the first half, Miami coach Dan Campbell elected to go for the TD. The gamble failed.
Campbell acknowledged the Dolphins could have had more time on the clock had he called a timeout two plays earlier after Lamar Miller was tackled inbounds.
"Valid question," Campbell said. "In hindsight, you'd certainly call a timeout there."
TRICKY BILL: The Patriots were held to a season-low 27 points, but it didn't matter because Bill Belichick buried Washington early on with an onside kick.
The Patriots, 8-0 following "Deflategate" after going 16-0 in the regular season following "Spygate," were up 14-0 by the time Kirk Cousins took his second snap.
BOLD BOLDEN: The Colts dominated Denver in the first half and were about to take a 17-0 lead into the locker room, but instead of punting the ball out of bounds, they punted it to Omar Bolden. He returned Pat McAfee's kick for an 83-yard touchdown as the half expired.
Since 1985, the only other punt returner to score as time expired was DeSean Jackson from 65 yards to give the Eagles the win over the Giants in 2010.
BANNER DAY: Cam Newton ripped down a Packers banner and discarded it before Sunday's game at Bank of America Stadium, suggesting one doesn't "sell a Whopper at a McDonald's."
The Fayetteville Observer reports the owner of the banner, who spent $500 to have it made last year, has reported the "theft" to police.
AP Pro Football Writers Dave Campbell and Rob Maaddi, and AP Sports Writers John Wawrow and Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed.