Re: There is HUGE amount of crow to be eaten here.....
posted at 1/19/2014 7:40 PM EST
Due credit to Denver GM John Elway for:
--taking calculated risks on a couple of old guys, first a purportedly washed-up Peyton Manning with four neck surgeries and a shrunken passing arm, (Elway might be remembering his own experience in his late glory years) and second Wes Welker who took scads of hellacious hits on his tiny body and brain over the years. Both risks paid off.
--Hiring John Fox, who seems to be a pretty good coach
--Coming up with all sorts of good replacement linemen and receivers from somewhere, without much left in the kitty after paying Welker and Manning.
Manning used his powerhouse team in September and got the homefield advantage. Then he used the Denver air to perfection, not giving the Patriots defensive line time to breathe. He also got lucky that this game wasn't played in a blizzard. He can't throw in high winds. Good luck in the Meadowlands, because the 14 day forecast is for a polar vortex plus above-normal precipitation.
This year's Patriot team was never playing at the power rating of the Patriots of last year. They squeaked by instead of plastering bad opponents, they overachieved, they sometimes stole games that they had little right to steal.
Lots of losses, lots of holes. Hernandez was a fourth rounder gamble that paid off for about three years, then he didn't. Gronk went on IR. Welker wanted the big cash and Denver came up with it. So, Brady had a bunch of late-round rookies catching the football, pretty good late-round rooks, but that's still faint praise. Next, big Vince Wilfork went down, not to mention Tommy Kelly right beside him, and lots of teams ran it up the middle. Vollmer went down and the middle of the O-line was always pretty soft.
So finally Aqib Talib had to leave the field and that left a huge hole for Peyton Manning. But what did we originally expect when BB traded a fourth rounder away for Talib last year? Somehow, Talib didn't walk when he was a free agent. The same can be said for Edelman. Blount was a cheap trade for Jeff Demps, who got something like 21 yards this season for Tampa. Is someone giving good players away every single year?
Somewhere not far away is an NFL team that didn't go 1-1 in the playoffs. Again.