Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

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    Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

         Hats off to the Boys in Blue for their stirring 34-31 OT win over the Denver Horsefaces last night! Down 24-0 at halftime, Tom Brady put this team on his back, as the Pats outscored the Broncos, 31-7 in the second stanza. I'd venture it safe to say that this win washes away the bad taste from our mouths, left by that frustrating loss in Carolina. Here are my grades:

    I. OFFENSE: A tale of two halves. There was the 0-24 turnover plagued debacle, and the 31-7 second half mash. After putting up 55 points on the Steelers, moving the ball consistently against a very tough Carolina defense, and scoring over a point per minute against a good Denver defense, knifing through the cold and wind in the process, it's safe to say that the offense is back!!!!

    1.) QB: For the third straight game, Tom Brady was outstanding. With the exception of a first quarter strip sack fumble, Tom, through no fault of his own, couldn't get untracked. Three fumbles in a row in the first quarter will do that to any QB, as the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead. But oh, what a second half, as Brady showed how, drive, determination, and persistance pays. Though he opened the 3rd quarter having to play into the teeth of a howling wind, Tom led his team to 21 unanswered points. He accomplished this via an eight (8) play 80 yard drive in 3:39, a six (6) play 32 yard drive (following a Dane Fletcher fumble recovery) in 2:39, and a five (5) play 64 yard drive in 1:42. On those three drives, Brady completed 12 of 14 passes for 163 yards, and two TDs...as the Pats cut the Denver lead to a mere 24-21. Thereafter, Tom took advantage of a Peyton Manning pick, which gave him the ball at the Denver 30. He subsequently led the Pats to a go-ahead TD, and a 28-24 lead. For the game, Tom completed 34 of 50 throws for 344 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. The turnovers which had plagued the Pats in the first half now were being made by the Broncos in the second half...with a muffed punt in OT being the ultimate deciding factor: GRADE: A;    

    2.) RBs: As I've stated repeatedly in the past, no matter how many yards a RB rushes for, he is worthless if he's a fumbler. On their initial possession, the Pats appeared to be moving the ball crisply, when Ridley lost control of the football after being hit in the backfield on a running play. He then watched helplessly while Denver OLB Von Miller returned his fumble 60 yards, for Broncos' first score. This marks the third straight game that Ridley has dealt his team a serious blow with an untimely fumble. This play seemed to set the tone for this game in the first half...as Tom Brady followed with a fumble, setting up Denver's second TD...and RB LaGarrette Blount fumbled, setting up a Bronco's FG. These three fumbles spotted the Broncos a 17-0 lead. Brandon Bolden provided the lone bright spot for the RBs, rushing for 58 yards on 13 carries. Shane Vereen contributed 91 combined rushing and pass receiving yards...including 60 yards on 8 receptions. But, his bobble of a Brady pass in the 4th quarter nearly led to what may have been a game deciding interception. Folks...this fumbling needs to be brought to an immediate end: GRADE: D; 

    3.) OL: Another mixed bag performance by the Big Uglies. On several plays, Von Miller cleanly beat LT Nate Solder. One such play led to a Miller strip sack of Brady, and Denver's second TD of the game. The strength of the Denver "D" seems to lie in their two massive DTs, Terrence Knighton and Kevin Vickerson. They manage to keep offensive lineman off the Denver LBs, who make most of the defensive stops. For example, for most of the night, nobody seemed able to block Denver MLB Wesley Woodyard, who finished with a game high 15 tackles, included seven solos. It was Woodyard's hit on Ridley behind the line of scrimmage which forced the aforementioned Ridley fumble. Denver weak-side LB Danny Trevathan aso added 13 tackles, including six solos. Yet, in the second half, the OL by and large provided adequate protection, allowing Tom Terrific to work his magic. Still, the uneven, inconsistent performance of the OL is a major concern, as playoff time draws near: GRADE: C-;

    4.) TEs & WRs: Another outstanding performance by Gronk, who blocked well, and had seven (7) receptions for 90 yards, including a TD. He also set up the Pats' second TD of the game by bowling over a Bronco's DB at the Denver 5 yard line, nearly getting the ball into the endzone. That play seemed to ignite the troops. As for the WRs, Julian Edelman did a fabulous Wes Welker impersonation, finishing with nine (9) catches for 110 yards, and two (2) TDs. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was a 43 yard hook-up with Brady late in the third quarter, which set up the Pats' third TD of the game. Rookie Kenbrell Tompkins added six (6) catches for 56 yards, while Danny Amendola was the Invisible Man, with just three (3) receptions for 17 yards: GRADE: B+;

    II. DEFENSE: When a team faces a multi-faceted attack offense like that of  Denver, it is practically impossible to shut down every weapon. This is particularly true when the man at the controls is a great QB like Peyton Manning. Faced with a lesser of evils choice, BB wisely chose to try to take away Wes Welker and the Denver short passing attack. He did so by primarily employing nickel packages (4 defensive lineman, two LBs, and 5 DBs) and occasional dime packages (4 defensive lineman, one LB, and six DBs). Seeing this, Peyton Manning attacked the Patriots' "D" on the ground...resulting in the Broncos gaining 280 yards on 48 carries (5.8 yards per carry). But, the Patriots' schemes resulted in limiting Peyton to 19 completions in 36 attempts for a paultry 150 yards, two TDs, and an interception. Third down defense showed improvement, holding the Broncos to 9 conversions in 18 attempts. 

    1.) DL: Though the DL was able to disrupt the timing of the Denver passing attack by getting some pressure on Peyton Manning, they were gored by the Bronco's OL, and RB Knowshown Moreno. Moreno rushed for 224 yards on 37 attempts (5.3 yards per carry). But, he paid the price for being such a work horse, as he left the game with a deep ankle bruise. He would subsequently leave the Denver locker room wearing the dreaded walking boot, and with the aid of a crutch. Denver RB Montee Ball had a Stevan Ridley type night, finishing with 40 yards on seven (7) carries, but with one costly fumble after a short pass reception, which led to the Pats' second TD. Chandler Jones' red zone sack of Manning in the second quarter resulted in holding the Broncos to a FG, and kept the Pats within long distance hailing frequency, at 17-0. Rob Ninkovich was all over the field, finishing with 13 assisted tackles, to lead the team. But, DTs Joe Vellano and Chris Jones seemed to be consistently overmatched at the point of attack: GRADE: C-;

    2.) LBs: Pity poor Brandon Spikes, who seemed to have bodies flying at him all night. For the game, he had nine (9) tackles, including three (3) solos, a TFL, and out-fought several players to recover the aforementioned Montee Ball fumble. Dont'a Hightower didn't have one of his better games. He appeared to play tenatively, before leaving the game with an injury. Fortunately LBs Dane Fletcher and rookie Jamie Collins had career games, with Fletcher contributing with seven (7) tackles (four (4) solos), and forced the Montee Ball fumble. Collins added ten  tackles, including six solos, and had one TFL. Both Fletcher and Collins also did a good job in helping to stifle Denver's dreaded short passing attack: GRADE: B;

    3.) SECONDARY: Aqib Talib bounced back from his terrible performance in Carolina, and, for the most part, shut down Denver WR Demaryius Thomas...holding him to just four (4) receptions for 41 yards, and a TD. Kyle Arrington did a good job defensing Wes Welker in the slot, holding him a pedestrian four (4) catches for 31 yards. Credit rookie CB Logan Ryan, who jumped an attempted Manning completion of a slant to WR Eric Decker, and picked Peyton off. The Ryan pick gave the Pats the ball at the Denver 30 yard line, early in the 4th quarter. It set up the Pats' go ahead TD, giving them a 28-24 lead. Rookie safety Duron Harmon had his most productive game as a Patriot, finishing with 11 tackles, including seven (7) solos...and doing an above average job in pass coverage. Though Devin McCourty didn't appear to do much on the stat sheet, he did a good job of patroling centerfield, preventing the deep pass. TEs continue to hurt the Pats' "D", as back-up Jacob Tamme was the Bronco's leading receiver, finishing with five (5) catches for 47 yards, and a TD: GRADE: A-;  

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: This group remains special, as it has all season. Credit Nate Ebert for alertly bouncing on the muffed fumble in OT. This came about as the result of a Ryan Allen skyscaper punt towards Wes Welker. Welker then appeared to make a late call to inform his punt return blockers of his intention to let the ball hit the ground, and for them to get away from that area. As a result, the ball hit the ground, and caromed off a helpless Denver player named Tony Carter, who was attempting to block for Welker on a return. Kudos to "The Ghost" once again, for nailing the game winning 31 yard FG, immediately thereafter. Excellent job of kick coverage on dangerous return men, Trinidad Holliday on kick-offs, and Wes Welker on punts. Another outstanding job of punt returning by Julian Edelman, who returned three punts, and averaged 13 yards per return: GRADE: A;

    IV. COACHING: Can't blame the coaches all the time, if the players' don't execute. BB didn't fumble, Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, and LaGerrette Blount did. By all accounts, BB did no scolding, swearing, or yelling during halftime. But, judging by how the Patriots came out of the lockeroom and performed in the 3rd quarter, some type of "bullying" must have taken place! Though I'm sure some adjustments were made at the half, it merely appeared that the Patriots just began to execute their offense better, while the Broncos became the team that kept on giving through turnovers. Obviously, something must be done to cure RB Stevan Ridley of his fumblitis. He's a talented RB, who has the potential to average 1200 plus yards on the ground per year. But, his bumbling and fumbling is going to result in a one way ticket out of New England, and perhaps out of the NFL. I don't know whether RB Brandon Bolden has Ridley's talent. But, he'll likely be starting next week in Houston. The OL must begin to play consistently better!! Though the Pats gave up a ton of yards on the ground, how many teams have you seen hold Peyton Manning to a mere 150 yards passing over four quarters...let alone five quarters? Brilliant defensive game plan by Matt Patricia and BB...especially with all the injuries that the Pats have been forced to deal with. Smart and gutsy decision by BB to take the wind in OT paid big dividends: GRADE: A-;    

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: The Logan Ryan pick of Peyton early in the 4th quarter put the Pats in the driver's seat;

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tom Brady was, once more, Tom Teriffic. He clearly out-played the Horseface in this one. One has to wonder just how much the weather, or that high ankle sprain, affected Peyton's performance? 

         Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331124017

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome. Goodnight y'all!! Enjoy this huge win!!  

       

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

     

    Fantastic TexasPat.  I agree with your report card 100%.  Great execution in all phases.  Assessing, writing and posting!  Smile I always look forward to these and reading your take on the game.  What a great and enjoyable 2nd half.  That Tom F'ing Brady is pretty terrific!!

     

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ccnsd. Show ccnsd's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to TFB12's comment:

     

    Fantastic TexasPat.  I agree with your report card 100%.  Great execution in all phases.  Assessing, writing and posting!  Smile I always look forward to these and reading your take on the game.  What a great and enjoyable 2nd half.  That Tom F'ing Brady is pretty terrific!!

     



    First of all the report card is fine, as usual, but isn't the Citizen Kane clap kind of an insult TFB. Wasn't he clapping for his mistress who is an awful singer. If someone has never seen the movie it looks like a rather determined clap but since I have seen the movie i know what is really happening in that scene and Kane is trying to overcome her lack of talent by extravagant praise. Or maybe I just have my movies mixed up. Nonetheless a good report card and I think the Pats can still get the 1 seed because Denver is mighty cold in December. Manning can't play like last night too much more or he will lose friends fast there. Unlike Indy, which is thankful for anything, Denver is a pretty rough football town that has won some super bowls and won't put up with a one and done Manning for long.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to ccnsd's comment:


    First of all the report card is fine, as usual, but isn't the Citizen Kane clap kind of an insult TFB. Wasn't he clapping for his mistress who is an awful singer. If someone has never seen the movie it looks like a rather determined clap but since I have seen the movie i know what is really happening in that scene and Kane is trying to overcome her lack of talent by extravagant praise. Or maybe I just have my movies mixed up.



    Sometime a clapping gif is just a clapping gif, nothing more, nothing less.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP, can't find fault with anything you've written.  Pretty much the way I saw the game. 

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Quagmire3. Show Quagmire3's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.



    Apparently, Parcells made a similar decision in a playoff game during the '86 season.  BB alluded to it during his interview with S & L on WEEI yesterday afternoon. 

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Quagmire3. Show Quagmire3's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to ATJ's comment:

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.



    Apparently, Parcells made a similar decision in a playoff game during the '86 season.  BB alluded to it during his interview with S & L on WEEI yesterday afternoon. 



    thanks for the clarification ATJ! I researched it and did not find that. I still think the decision warrants an A for coaching! haha

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

     

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.

     



         As poster ATJ pointed out above, BB learned the value of taking the wind in these wintry type settings from Bill Parcells. I remember Parcells' Giants winning the coin toss and taking the wind during weather similar to that of last Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game, played in then Giants Stadium, against the Washington Redskins during the 1986 season. His decision proved to be instumental in the Giants' eventual 17-0 win in that game...on their way to a World Championship.

         The way the Pats played in the first half can't happen again in a such a big game. Rarely does any team come back to win after digging themselves a 24-0 hole. Had this happened in Denver, where the Pats are likely to face the Broncos again in the play-offs, it wouldn't have been pretty.

         Though I acknowledged that BB and his staff didn't commit any fumbles or miss any blocks, it's incumbent upon the coaches to have their team ready to play and execute from the get-go, and not for just 30 minutes. The teams' poor start was the reason that I reduced the coaching grade from an "A" to an "A-".  

     

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    In response to ATJ's comment:

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.



    Apparently, Parcells made a similar decision in a playoff game during the '86 season.  BB alluded to it during his interview with S & L on WEEI yesterday afternoon. 



    thanks for the clarification ATJ! I researched it and did not find that. I still think the decision warrants an A for coaching! haha



    Agree. It was a ballsy decision especially given the potency of the Denver offense. Bb knows horsegface doesn't do well in the wind and cold. I would also call out the halftime adjustments, bb's willingness to play fletcher over Hightower, and how he defensed the Denver pass attack. Overall good gameplan. 

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    In response to ATJ's comment:

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.



    Apparently, Parcells made a similar decision in a playoff game during the '86 season.  BB alluded to it during his interview with S & L on WEEI yesterday afternoon. 



    thanks for the clarification ATJ! I researched it and did not find that. I still think the decision warrants an A for coaching! haha



    I totally agree, Quag.  I was actually surprised BB conjured up that one from 27 years ago!

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from NEGAME2. Show NEGAME2's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    A+ report card.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Uncle Rico. Show Uncle Rico's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Great report card. Really enjoyed reading.  You must be or should be writing these for a blog or something, it is very well done.

     
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    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Nice writeup.  The only part I think people might argue about was whether the fumbles could have been avoided or not or whether it was just good ball hawking skills by the Broncos.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP... this game was a tale of two halves, but, you did comment on something I too noted in the game.  In spite of the three consecutive fumbles, it was not like the team was playing badly and being smoked by the Broncos.  The Broncos scored their first 17 points with a total of 45 yards of offense and didn't have a sustained drive until mid 2nd quarter with the 80 yard TD drive.  They punted 3 times.  When the score is 24 - 0, these facts were lost on many fans. Once the Pats O got into rythm in the second half, we saw the "real" offense in gear.

    Secondly, the defense did play well considering what everyone was predicting Manning would do in that game.  Take away the Bronco defensive TD, the D held the Bronco offense to 24 points.  Who noticed that?

     
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    Well done TP.

     
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    Great job as usual, TP. I may not agree with all grades, but I aways enjoy reading your report cards. You might consider releasing another report for mighty with A+ across the board.

    I would give coaching at least an "A" for confusing PM once again with defensive schemes. It looked like PM did not expect a blitz from Arrington on Ryan's INT. We also saw Chandler Jones in coverage. Taking the wind in OT left me scratching my head, but it turned out to be a huge advantage in field position game and prevented Broncos form kicking a long FG (Prater has just one miss on the season and made all kicks from 50 yards or closer). Then BB forced Denver to burn the remaining timeout before kicking the winning FG just in case. Simply the best.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from garytx. Show garytx's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Hey Pat.  Always look forward to the report card.  Way to bring up the turnovers.  You're right.  It's got to stop.  They always seem to end up in points.  The team needs to clean this up pronto.

    Although the DTs were over powered it is a 2nd string out there starting.  The depth paid off.  It could be much worse than it is.  But it is what it is and perhaps BB will answer it in the draft.  If everyone is healthy they would have a nice rotation.  It's going to be a problem for the rest of the year though.  

    Wow.  What a come back!

     
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  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from 123six. Show 123six's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    D gave up yet another 3rd and very long...I wonder what the conversion rate is against the Pats D on 3rd and 15+ this year.  Frustrating.  Collinworth made a comment that no one converts on 3rd and long on a BB defense...clueless.  Great win!

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from dbeach48. Show dbeach48's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    "Credit Nate Ebert for alertly bouncing on the muffed fumble in OT, after the a Ryan Allen punt ball hit the ground and struck a helpless Tony Carter, as he was attempting to throw a block for Wes Welker. Kudos to "The Ghost" once again, for nailing the game winning 31 yard FG, immediately thereafter"

     

    I thought  you meant the  friendly Ghost that guided that punt into the fleeing leg  of Tony Carter. 

     

    Very good report.

     
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    Great report card that lauds solid contributions  from certain players (Collins, Hurmon, Fletcher).

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from joepatsfan111111. Show joepatsfan111111's posts

    Re: Broncos @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to Quagmire3's comment:

    great report card TP! The only disagreement I have, I would upgrade the coaching grade from A- to A. I think BB's decision to defer in OT was an epic decision, a decison that was never made before in NFL history! (if it has I cant find proof of it) That decision and the fact that it worked out warrants an A.



    that was the 11th time in history winning toss has deferred. i saw it somewhere, espn maybe

     
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