Gut Reaction: Week 12 - Broncos @ Patriots

Welcome to my sixth rewrite in the last twenty minutes.

This was supposed to be a story about Petyon Manning and Tom Brady dueling; it was supposed to be about two teams playing until the bitter end; hell, it was supposed to be about the near perfection of the Broncos running game.

Instead, we’re going to be talking about bouncing balls for a whole damn week.

Actually, I should probably be more specific. Wes Welker didn’t give Tony Carter enough time to clear a bouncing punt, which now makes Tony Carter look really dumb. 

What a letdown, and what a silly way to lose a game.  There’s just no rewriting that.

The Positives

  1. Fast-twitch fibers, my pale white ass, Jeff Legwold. What can Von do for you? Pretty much everything.
  2. You’ve got to love Jack Del Rio’s timeout before the end of the first quarter. It caused the Patriots to have to punt into the wind—the kind of strategic thinking he won’t get credit for elsewhere, but deserves. It also buried any bit of momentum the Patriots were trying to gain.  Not sure if John Fox does the same. If not, it’s time for the old dog to learn some new tricks when he gets back.
  3. You remember, don’t you, that Woody Paige said Virgil Green—a seventh-rounder—was a draft bust? The only thing Green busted this evening was the ass of any Patriot that tried to step to his block.
  4. On defense, getting fumbles in bunches are so rare when they occur, you simply bow your heads to the football gods and move on. Just look how things turned in the second half.
  5. Knowshon Moreno should go to the Pro Bowl. Or maybe he should just bowl. Either way, he should go somewhere to relax at the end of the year. He’s certainly earned it.
  6. Louis Vasquez was practically flawless in his execution tonight. Kids, for a clinic on guard play, you may want to have your parents get you a subscription to NFL Rewind for the holidays. This single game would be worth it.
  7. Zane Beadles and Manny Ramirez didn’t play quite as well as Vasquez, but they were in the ballpark.
  8. Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan were at it again. Woodyard, specifically, looked infinitely faster than he did last week and hit double digit tackles. Trevathan was simply Trevathan.
  9. Awesome switch between Kayvon Webster and Chris Harris to stop the Patriots on their last drive of regulation. That is professionalism and film study at its absolute best.
  10. Jacob Tamme did his best impression of Julius Thomas’s big body catching, while doing a better impression of blocking.

The Negatives

  1. For the record, I wouldn’t have punted on fourth-and-eight in overtime. I’d have gone for it. That Denver lost doesn’t mean I’m right. It just means I hate giving the ball back to Tom Brady.
  2. I hate it even more when Peyton Manning plays poorly in cold weather since I have to hear, guess what...about how badly he plays in cold weather. Still, the temperature dropped, and Manning seemed to freeze until his final drive of regulation. Part of the reason, of course, was the game plan. The Broncos came into the game with the intent of running the ball right into the gut of the New England defense. It also didn’t help matters that his receivers were about as physical as Rob Gronkowski’s pinky finger, which, as it turns out, beat the Broncos secondary several times in the game.
  3. Just when Montee Ball appeared to be emerging as the next big thing, he goes and puts the ball on the turf. The next thing I know, C.J. Anderson is putting the ball on the turf as well. The Broncos' backup running backs just can’t win.
  4. Just what did the Patriots do to adjust to the Broncos defense? In the second half, they went max protect, ran a ton of pick/rub routes, and finally, Gronkowski pushed off like he was the toughest guy in city league basketball. It didn’t hurt that the Broncos defensive backs were dropping like houseflies.
  5. Just what did the Patriots do to the Broncos offense? Of all things, they blitzed—a usual no-no against Peyton Manning.
  6. The Broncos were beating the Patriots up in the running game all night, but I have to say, it seemed rather out of character. A negative? Only if you like passing, which I really do.
  7. One huge negative tonight was the injury to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Broncos pass defense never seemed to recover.
  8. I get it. Trindon Holliday wants to make a play. But he can’t make a play unless he has the damn ball first.
  9. Not that it mattered, but if Demaryius Thomas has even half the game he normally does, the Patriots would have looked like an Al Davis team.
  10. I’d probably have to say the same for Eric Decker. I don’t think he whines for flags as much as we think. It only looks that way.

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. Bill Belichick will look like genius for his call to take the wind in overtime, but the truth is, the call was pretty dumb. If it weren’t for Eric Decker’s penalty, the Broncos are still driving for the score as I write.
  2. Strangely enough, Doug Lee and I had a disagreement about clock management to end the fourth quarter. I thought Del Rio should have used the Broncos’ timeouts to try and give the Broncos another chance with Welker on a punt return. Doug was fine with letting the clock go to zero. I’m not even sure I’m right. In fact, I’m probably wrong.
  3. Since when did Bill Belichick start looking as old as Marv Levy?
  4. According to Peyton Manning, the Broncos practiced all week with simulated crowd noise so irritating, the Patriots’ crowd was barely an annoyance.
  5. I was going to blast Sylvester Williams for his personal foul penalty in the first half, but when I saw the replay, I realized the only one needing a blast was the referee.
  6. You think we may have buried Cam Newton prematurely in his career? We like nothing more in America than to build a guy up just to take him down. Let’s hope we build them back up again if they deserve it.
  7. Welcome back to earth, Chiefs fans. What you were experiencing before your last two losses was a huge-ass anomaly. Most teams in the NFL don’t get the chance to face multiple junior varsity quarterbacks and a schedule that resembles the out-of-conference slate of an SEC team.
  8. Further on the Chiefs front: they’ve finally experienced the kind of injuries the Broncos have seen all season.
  9. Don’t look now, but the Arizona Cardinals are 7-4, with their last two games against the Seahawks and 49ers.
  10. You know what should scare the hell out of defensive coordinators that have the Broncos and Patriots on their schedules? The fact that Manning and Brady (according to Tony Dungy) share information from week to week regarding common opponents.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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