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Post Game Recap: Denver Broncos defeat New England Patriots, 20-17

I said during the Post Game Open Thread that I needed to sleep on this one and I feel like it did some good.  I initially blamed the defense, but that's only part of the problem.  In Belichick's own words:

"Just collectively as an offensive unit, we’re just not consistently doing things as well as we need to do them," Belichick said. "All the way across the board. It’s not one position, it’s not one player. It’s not one particular type of play. We’re just not as efficient and as precise as we need to be. There’s no other way to put it."

It was night and day for the Pats' offense from the first half to the second. All of their 17 points came before halftime. So did their five first downs. They didn’t find the red zone at all in the second half, and after completing 14-of-19 passes in the first half, Tom Brady was 5-of-14 in the second.

"We didn’t get that much production at all in the second half: 0-for-6 on third down, no points," Belichick said. "We didn’t do well."

At the risk of disagreeing with a PhD in astrophysics, I think Bill is being gracious.  The offensive line, in my humble opinion, did a bangup job of protecting Brady.  There were many times when he had all day long to fire a pass downfield.  Except for a badly timed sack with 2:27 in the fourth quarter, the 300 pounders were pretty solid.

The Ups

  • Wes Welker - The little guys is back and doing what he does best, drive defenses nuts, to the tune of 8 for 86 yards and a TD.  Even after he was speared in the back, Welker walked off for one play and came back on to do some more damage.  This guy is ridiculous.
  • Offensive Line - I thought the offensive line did a good job of protecting Tom Brady and giving him as much time has he wanted to make plays.
  • Sammy Morris - With 17 for 68 and a long of 19, Sammy had a good day pounding the rock.  Oh, did I mention he went 2 for 39 yards receiving with a long of 35?  He's becoming a Kevin Faulk clone.

The Downs

  • Brandon Meriweather - I'm not in the habit of complaining about penalties or, more accurately, whether or not a penalty could've changed the outcome of a game.  Every team benefits (or not) from a call that goes one way or another.  But this taunting call was absolute garbage.  Brandon shows a smidgen of emotion and out goes the flag.  Unfortunately, it brings the ball from the 22 to the 11 where Kyle Orton hits Brandon Marshall for an 11 yard TD to tie the game.
  • Defensive Play Calling - Playing too...dang...soft.  As some have pointed out, this is not the fault of the players.  Rather, the coaches (Belichick and crew) are instructing the players to give a cushion.  The result?  Orton was underneath all day long and ate us up with the dink & dunks.  It was so frustrating to watch.  This prevent defensive style just prevented a win.
  • Tom Brady - As stated above in Bill's quote, he's trying to sugar coat the offensive problems and not call out any one player.  I give him props for that.  But, we all have eyes and us edge-a-macated football fans can see what's going on: Brady is not in sync with his receivers.  Welker's thinking one thing and Tom's thinking another.  Boom!  Missed first down.  The most frustrating "out-of-sync" play had to be the overthrown ball to Randy Moss that was a certain touchdown.  Those were money during 2007 and now they're struggling.
  • Third down conversion - 0 for 6 in the second half.  That just about says it all.

After a miserable sports Sunday, I am not depressed nor am I ready to jump off of the Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge.  This is a game and not nearly as important as other, more pressing issues.  However, there is one interesting takeaway for me: as poorly as our Patriots played, they still managed to come within an overtime coin toss of beating a hot Denver Broncos their house.

Just imagine what will happen when Brady and the boys start to click...