Shanahan didn’t go there because, down deep, the man whose Super Bowl victories here now seem
last millennium knew:
It wasn’t the altitude; it was the ineptitude.
“We let ourselves down and we let our city down,” Pierre Garcon said, forgetting to mention pro football, a nation and very likely humanity.
Denver delivered one of the most devastating second-half beatdowns in recent NFL memory, a 21-point blitz spanning just eight minutes of the third and fourth quarters, 38 points total over the final, dizzying 23 minutes.
Whatever happens in this uneven eyesore of a season going forward, know that Robert Griffin III had a miserable outing and Washington
still had this game, had what very likely could be the Miami Heat of the NFL on the ropes with less than eight minutes left in the third quarter.
And, inexplicably, the coach’s son and that offense threw it away, ruined Shanahan’s homecoming and a four-turnover performance by a defense that did everything to keep Griffin’s unit in the game.
Yes, they woke the giant from its slumber. Peyton Manning wasn’t going to be Bubby Brister or John Beck forever. The Broncos showed the resiliency that elevates them above every NFL market, including unbeaten Kansas City.
But the Washington Runnedovers played right into Denver’s dangerous hands, made it so easy for this stadium to shake the way it did when Shanahan lorded over his own fiefdom here.
Three straight drives after that 21-7 lead and one running play — that’s all the offensive coordinator called.
“All we had to do was get a couple drives going offensively, keep Denver off the field, and we could have dictated the outcome of the game,” Mike Shanahan said.
Yes, there was another Shanahan who returned home Sunday, the progeny we’re all forgetting about amid the “We [heart] Mike” fanfare.
He grew up here.
He watched his father win Super Bowls here, heard him called “The Mastermind” once or twice for his blocking-scheme innovation and, in general, just being more prepared and smarter than the other guy with the headset.
Oh, Kyle did pop proud in that first half Sunday, mixing the run with the pass beautifully en route to a 95-yard, 16-play drive that kept Manning’s machine sidelined for a whopping 7 minutes 3 seconds.
But just when the son’s return looked to be as memorable as the head coach’s, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling collapsed here.
The run was abandoned sometime in the third quarter for Griffin’s aerial show — except there was no show. On a day when he took a step back, missing receivers, looking almost groggy and slow as he tried to dodge trouble, he ended up having his left knee examined by Dr.