Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/19/12

Denver had a late second half rally to get with in a one possession game, but at the end of the game, the unspeakable, horrendous, first half play of the Broncos was too much for Manning and the team to overcome.  As always, when the day is over we have to have a winner and a loser and yes, a hero and a zero.

Let’s start with the zero today.  It would be easiest to point the finger at the obvious play and first half turnovers by Manning and the Broncos, but someone else was behind the zero factor last night: Coach John Fox. 

The confusion of delayed calls seemed to be the early diagnosis, but it was clear the Coach Fox was not going to let the refs have a break last night and if anyone from the Falcons had plan on messing with his game plan, their plans can be shelved for next time.  Coach Fox could not get passed the refs, blowing his challenges for the whole game before we could even get to the first half 2 minute warning. 

It was clear the coach was shaken and he wasn’t getting passed it. 

Now really, I did an article on how the replacement refs were going to make mistakes but Coach Fox seemed to want to make a game out of it and not let it go.  When you have let such petty things under your skin so early in the game and you make it so, so, evident, everyone takes notice then you have just let your team down on the biggest stage in NFL, Monday Night Football. 

Come on coach, pull it together; you have a team to lead, even if you have some of the most seasoned players on your team.  As the Denver Broncos’ 14th coach, last night you get the big zero.

Just as my final zero factor, I didn’t even have to watch the teams, though hard fought, fruitless, comeback attempt.  No sir, you got my zero when the ref through a flag at you after you through your second challenge flag, for reasons unknown, just to throw a flag.  “Yeah buddy, you got a flag, me too, back at ya!”

Hero: Tony Gonzalez, a class act from start to finish.  By start to finish, I mean from the start of his career to the end of every game and it was no different last night. 

Tony Gonzalez, second in all-time receptions, only behind Jerry Rice, never loses focus and goes that extra mile every play.  Jumping to his toes in the late second quarter to make what was a sure read on the blitz and nowhere for quarterback Ryan to go, Gonzalez finds a way open to make what was nothing into a five yard gain.  May not seem like much, but when it is done consistently, play after play, year after year, and team after team, you get my “in zone hero factor”. 

Gonzalez, off the field and on the field is always a class act.  You never hear “those” stories about him and complete focus on the field, as to never disappoint. 

Although Matt Ryan is still the one the Falcons want to put in front as the aspiring star.  Last night’s no huddle offense and the continuous support of my MNF hero Tony Gonzalez took Atlanta to 2-0 with a 27-21 win over the favored Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Gonzalez, you are a champ, a class act, and in many young boys' minds a hero, which might even be better than a prevailing MNF winner.



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