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headscratchingsports
01-20-2014, 19:53
The Pats/Broncos Snoozefest

2 games that were basically polar opposites. You might have thought you were watching 2 different sports. I actually nodded off during halftime of the Pats-Broncos game and woke up with about 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. It isn't the NFL's fault - they HAD to talk these games up and build the hype for yesterday. Apparently, so did the country of Austria. The storylines were palpable. Brady vs. Manning for a chance at the Super Bowl, followed by the Carroll/Harbaugh rivalry and their battle of teams with impressive defensive prowess and stellar, young quarterback play. The day was billed as one of the greatest Championship Sundays in recent memory. The fans (and general public - Championship Sunday is usually when ALL of the bandwagon fans come out of the woodwork) were promised an unforgettable day of football, but in reality, it wasn't all that impressive. Here's why.....

Pats vs. Broncos. Brady vs. Manning. Brady leading a team of offensive scrubs (no Gronk, no Hernandez, Welker on the other team) BACK to the AFC Championship. Manning sets all of the offensive records he could possibly set and the only thing standing in his way was his history of coming up short in the playoffs (9 Wins in 20 chances before yesterday).

Watching this game, it was easy to tell when it was over. Welker running the pick play on Aqib Talib that knocked him out of the game. Talib went down last year, and Anquan Boldin went off. New year, same problem. Talib goes down, Demaryius Thomas goes off for 7 catches, 134 yards, 1 TD, and 1 statement game on the big stage. It was never the same game after Talib went down. It was not intentional, unless Welker decided to do it on his own - Fox had plenty of big bodies to send out there if he wanted to, not your small, undersized, concussed wide receiver.

Brady didn't look good at all. Overthrows didn't help his case, but his offensive teammates didn't step up to make any plays either. It was clear that his O-Line and wide receivers lacked playoff experience and they got some of that today. The Broncos out-gained the Pats by about 200 yards and controlled the ball for 11 minutes more than the Pats (35:44 against 24:16). The Broncos just looked better, played better. Manning did everything right that he needed to: spread the ball around, mix in a good amount of run to keep the Pats secondary honest, and his O-Line played extraordinarily well. And this is a line that is missing their Pro Bowl Left Tackle! The big (read: overplayed) storyline the next two weeks will be the "Eli won it in Peyton's building, now Peyton gets a chance to win it in Eli's building". The real story is that Manning looks like a man who is determined to win at MetLife stadium. This feels like his year and that team will be mentally and physically ready for February 2nd.