|Marcus Cannon and Aqib Talib are Keys to Pats vs Broncos||Connelly’s Top Ten: Belichick’s Greatest Move||Red Sox Targeting David Price||Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13|
Last weekend was not a good one to be a Boston sports fan. We watched the Red Sox blow leads of 5-2 in the seventh and 6-4 in the ninth in the same game and then immediately after, like a nice one-two punch combo, the Patriots blew a 10-point second half lead and lost to the Broncos. It’s not just the fact that both teams lost, its how they lost. In both cases, the other team came from behind late in the game to steal the win, which is uncharacteristic for Boston. Aren’t we the ones that are supposed to have the dramatic victories?
Either way it was a crappy weekend, but we, as fans, must pick ourselves up and focus on next weekend. Get that living room clean, stock that fridge up with beer, make sure you have a nearby pizza place on speed dial and maybe get a board game ready because next Sunday’s game against the Titans could get ugly fast. Now, to what I learned…
He’s just not the same guy. He used to be the player we could depend on when the Pats were up late in the game with the ball because he just never made crucial mistakes. Will we ever see that Tom Brady again? Maybe in future years, but this season we will have to get used to Brady re-acclimating himself to the NFL after taking a year off (and boy does he look like it).
One tell-tale sign that he is not the same is that in five games this season, he has yet to complete a pass thrown over 31 yards. This is shocking considering that just two years ago, with the same receivers, Brady completed 13 of these passes for eight touchdowns. Is it unfair that we are still comparing this season to 2007? I don’t think so. I’m not asking the offense to break any records, but I do expect a three-time Super Bowl champion to complete a pass to an open receiver whether he is 10 or 30 yards down the field. Brady has yet to show any consistency with the long throws and his timing is off on the short ones. If he completes that pass to Moss in the first half or that post to Welker in the second half we win Sunday’s game easily.
At times, this offense has shown spurts of excellence, but it is not close enough to being as consistent as it needs to be for the team to make a deep playoff run this year.
The numbers are staggering. In five games, the Broncos defense has 16 sacks and 11 takeaways while allowing an average of 8.6 points per game. Yes, they have played a cupcake schedule, but this game was their test to see if they were legit and I would say they passed with flying colors. After letting up 17 points in the first half, the defense clamped down and shut the Patriots out in the second half while forcing a late fumble as the Patriots were going for the game-winning score. McDaniels has done a great job so far in Denver after a shaky start. At 4-0, I didn’t think the Broncos were for real, but at 5-0, I think they need to be noticed. What a difference one win makes.
I’m not too proud to admit it. Kyle Orton outplayed Tom Brady on Sunday. On the Broncos’ final scoring drive in regulation, Orton did his best John Elway impression and led the offense on a 98-yard drive for the game tying touchdown. On the drive, Orton threw for 76 yards on 6-of-10 passing while connecting with Brandon Marshall for the 11-yard score.
He had a nice season last year, but no one seemed to really buy into the fact that Orton was a legitimate NFL quarterback. Well, the Broncos were and Josh McDaniels were believers because they traded their franchise quarterback for Orton and three draft picks. Orton is on his way to establishing himself as a formidable starting quarterback which means the Broncos may have swindled the Bears in the Cutler trade by making them add two first round picks in the deal.
In his career, Tom Brady has a 1-5 record against the Denver Broncos and in those games he hasn’t been anything special. Even in the game the Pats won, Belichick had to call for an intentional safety and Brady threw a last second touchdown pass. The numbers aren’t bad (averages of 252 yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 0.8 interceptions per game), but he has an uncharacteristic 56.8 completion percentage. Maybe it’s something in the cool, thin air or maybe the Broncos have his number (for the record, it’s 12), but whatever it is the Broncos do not make it easy on the Patriots.