[Editor's Note: We'll be finishing our Broncos-Patriots review this afternoon, then moving into more on the Ravens and the AFC Championship game coverage starting this evening and carrying through Sunday.]
Grading the Patriots’ offensive performance from the Patriots’ 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs:
Tom Brady started the game 8-8 for two touchdowns. He finished the game by tying an NFL postseason record with six touchdown passes on 26/34 passing. Aside from one small stretch in the beginning of the second quarter, Brady was nearly perfect, and without a doubt, delivered his best passing game of the season.
Rob Gronkowski had huge numbers: 10 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Aaron Hernandez all had productive games while scoring their own respective touchdowns. The Patriots offense operated out of the no huddle most of the game and the Patriots’ offensive line was superb in keeping quarterback Tom Brady upright.
The Patriots, overall, ran the ball effectively against the Broncos. They used Aaron Hernandez as a halfback when operating out of the no-huddle, and he ran for 61 yards on 5 carries. Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead had some minor production (although Ridley lost a fumble), and while BenJarvus Green-Ellis had just 27 yards on 13 carries, he broke some tackles and generally did what was asked.
Overall, not a great game from the rushing offense, but when the passing attack was as stellar as it was on Saturday, there’s no reason to really complain.
Overall Offensive Grade: A
For most of the game, the Patriots were unstoppable on offense. They came out strong, they finished strong, they never let their foot off the gas. While the Patriots didn’t dominate the time of possession, they didn’t need to. The defense played well, but the offense put up so many points so quickly, that it wouldn’t have even mattered if the defense had struggled.
The New England Patriots are going to try to jump on the Broncos early on this game and put their foot on their throats. They beat the Broncos 41-23 just four weeks ago in Denver. The Patriots were 7-1 at home this year, but, the Broncos were a solid 5-3 on the road. Here is a look at the matchups in this game:
When the Patriots have the ball: The Patriots are going to come out passing the ball without a doubt tomorrow night. The key will be the O-Line’s blocking, as OLB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil are excellent pass rushers. Most teams pay for blitzing Tom Brady and the Broncos likely will tomorrow. TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are going to give the Broncos’ safeties huge problems in this game. The Broncos will probably put Champ Bailey on Wes Welker, which might slow him down a little bit. With that in mind, Deion Branch could have a big game tomorrow night. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley will likely get some carries to make the Broncos pay for overplaying the run.
When the Broncos have the ball: The Broncos rushed for 252 yards against the Patriots in the first meeting between these two teams, so they are without a doubt going to come out running the ball tomorrow night. Willis McGahee will likely have a very heavy workload in this game and the front seven of the Patriots is going to get challenged. The front seven will also have to rush Tim Tebow, while containing him in the pocket. The Patriots can’t overplay the run or WR Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow could hook up for some long pass plays tomorrow night.
PREDICTION: PATRIOTS 37, BRONCOS 20
The Patriots totally destroyed the Broncos last night in Foxboro. Tom Brady was awesome as usual as he completed 26 of 34 passes for 363 yards with 6 TD passes and 1 INT. He also carried the ball 3 times for 8 yards (2.7 ypc) in this game. BenJarvus Green-Elllis (13 carries for 28 yards), Danny Woodhead (4 carries for 25 yards) and Stevan Ridley (4 rec, 21 yards) pitched in for the Patriots on the ground in this game. TEs Rob Gronkowski (10 rec, 145 yards and 3 TD grabs) and Aaron Hernandez (4 rec, 55 yards and a TD and 5 carries for 61 yards) led the way in the passing game for the Patriots. WRs Deion Branch (3 rec, 83 yards, TD) and Wes Welker (6 rec, 55 yards, TD) also had solid games for the Patriots last night. The Patriots finished up with 146 yards rushing on 30 carries (4.9 ypc) and they also completed 26 of 34 passes (76.5%) for 363 yards despite only having possession of the ball for 26:37.
The defense was outstanding for the Patriots last night. CB Kyle Arrington (10 tackles and 1 pass defensed) and LB Jared Mayo (9 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss) led the way for the Patriots last night on D. LBs Brandon Spikes (6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 QB hits, 1 pass defensed and a fumble recovery) and Rob Ninkovich (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1.5 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss and 2 QB hits) also had rock solid games for the Patriots last night. DT Vince Wilfork pitched in with 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss and 2 QB hits last night. The Broncos finished up with 144 yards on 40 carries (3.6 ypc) and they also completed 9 of 26 passes (34.6%) for 108 yards in this game. The Patriots will host the winner of the Texans/Ravens game tomorrow next weekend for the AFC Championship.
The Steelers were down 20-6 at the half in this game and things weren’t looking good. The Steelers played well in the second half to tie the game and send it to O.T. The Broncos won the coin toss and Tim Tebow threw an 80 yard bomb for a TD to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of O.T. to end this game. Thomas absolutely burned Ike Taylor to a crisp on the pass in O.T.
Ben Roethlisberger battled hard yesterday as he completed 22 of 40 passes for 289 yards with 1 TD pass and 1 INT. He also carried the ball 3 times for 15 yards (5.0 ypc) in this game. Isaac Redman led the way on the ground for the Steelers in this game with 121 yards rushing on 17 carries (7.1 ypc) and he also caught 2 passes for 21 yards (10.5 avg). WR Emmanuel Sanders (6 rec, 81 yards), WR Antonio Brown (5 rec, 70 yards and 1 carry for 18 yards) and TE Heath Miller (5 rec, 60 yards) led the way for the Steelers in the passing game yesterday. Jerricho Cotchery (1 rec, 31 yards, TD) and Mike Wallace (3 rec, 26 yards and 1 carry for a 1-yard TD) also pitched in for the Steelers in this game. The Steelers rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries (6.8 ypc) and they completed 22 of 40 passes (55%) for 244 yards as they had possession of the ball for 31:06.
The defense was pretty awful for the Steelers yesterday. CB Ike Taylor had 7 tackles to lead the Steelers, but he was burned to a crisp in coverage repeatedly in this game. LB Lawrence Timmons (6 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss), safety Ryan Mundy (5 tackles and 2 forced fumbles) and LB LaMarr Woodley (fumble recovery) also pitched in for the Steelers who amazingly had 0 sacks. The Broncos finished up with 131 yards rushing on 34 carries (3.9 ypc) and they also completed 10 of 21 passes (47.6%) for 316 yards. The Steelers’ season ends with a gigantic thud!
It’s been mostly a week of quarterbacks when talking about the Steelers and Broncos – one a veteran who is a master at extending the play, but is hobbled while recovering from an ankle injury; the other a young buck who helped his team win their division, but is struggling as of late and overall ability is in question.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe had a terrific first half against the Denver Broncos catching six balls for 93 yards. He was clearly Kyle Orton’s No. 1 receiver but he wasn’t able to help in the second half after he went down with a possible concussion.
Bowe caught a pass and hit the ground in what looked like a routine play. But he was slow to get up and the trainers came out to check on him. He walked to the sidelines under his own power.
Following Sunday’s game, Romeo Crennel said “they wouldn’t let him go back into the game“, meaning the medical staff. Players have to pass a concussion test if there’s concern they suffered one during a game. Bowe apparently wasn’t allowed back in.
The Chiefs season is over so the possible concussion doesn’t matter at this point (assuming Bowe recovers).
SBNation.com has tons of NFL Week 14 highlight videos and gifs at this link.
We know that the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New York Jets today, giving KC a 5-8 record. Unfortunately, that puts Kansas City in last place in the division. How did the rest of the AFC West standings pan out in Week 14?
The San Diego Chargers beat up on the Buffalo Bills this afternoon, 37-10. That puts the Chargers at 6-7 on the season, good for third in the AFC West. Even though San Diego won, Phillip Rivers was still Philip Rivers.
Full NFL standings are here.
Just when you thought Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get any better, he puts on a performance like he did Sunday that just blows your mind. Two rushing touchdowns. Four TD passes. More than 400 yards passing and, yes, one interception but that was more bad luck on his part than a bad decision. In short, [...]
it’s only Tuesday and it already feels like a long week talking about the Kansas City Chiefs so let’s take a trip around the AFC West and see what the San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are up to.
Over at Bolts From The Blue, they’re wrapping up the Chargers 35-31 loss to the New England Patriots. I didn’t catch much of this game but I don’t like seeing WR Vincent Jackson put up 172 yards on 10 catches. He was out for half of last season so seeing him (in a contract year) may not be fun. They’re also talking about the stadium relocation.
Over at Mile High Report, our old friend Bewsaf is talking about the Broncos offensive line. They gave their game ball of the week in the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals to WR Eric Decker, who had five catches for 113 yards and a punt return touchdown. Also, it was one year ago today that WR Kenny McKinley passed away.
Finally, Raiders fans at Silver and Black Pride continue the theme of receivers in the AFC West talking about WR Denarious Moore. They’re also recapping what went down in Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
And for any Chiefs news you missed lately, check out our archives tab above.