FanDuel - WFBC

November 25, 2013

New England Overcomes 24-Point Deficit to Beat Denver: After staking the Denver Broncos to a 24-point halftime lead, the New England Patriots scored 31 points to take the lead, gave it up in the waning minutes of the game and then won late in overtime 34-31 on a cold, windy Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. The game-winning field goal came after New England kicked a punt that touched a Broncos defender because he wasn't warned to get away from the ball soon enough by former Patriots wideout Wes Welker, who was on punt return duty. Knowshon Moreno ran for 224 yards in a losing effort.

posted by rcade to football at 08:30 AM - 46 comments

NE doing a fantastic job of reminding me to go to bed early.

posted by kokaku at 08:59 PM on November 24

The Patriots forgot their supply of Stick-um for tonight's game.

posted by Bonkers at 08:59 PM on November 24

NE doing a fantastic job of reminding me to go to bed early.

In the words of that great philosopher and talking head, Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend." A TD drive and now a turnover deep in Denver territory has NE with 1st & goal at the 1. Stay tuned.

posted by Howard_T at 10:34 PM on November 24

NBC's getting its money's worth out of this one.

posted by Bonkers at 11:10 PM on November 24

Assuming there weren't a lot of other people who tuned out in Q1 of Fumblefest XIV.

posted by Etrigan at 11:54 PM on November 24

Prior to tonight's game, I was messing around with the Playoff Machine to see how many AFC teams I could get to finish at 9-7, and I maxed out at 8, but I had this game going to Denver.

Given that KC and Denver have built their gaudy records against some of the easiest schedules in the league, are the Pats secretly the AFC's best team?

posted by LionIndex at 12:52 AM on November 25

I don't think 9-2 is "gaudy," nor that there is a "best team" in the AFC at the moment. Would I put money on the Patriots playing in New Jersey in February? Sure, but not very much.

posted by Etrigan at 01:07 AM on November 25

NE doing a fantastic job of reminding me to go to bed early.

Expect it when you least expect it.

posted by feloniousmonk at 01:13 AM on November 25

I don't think 9-2 is "gaudy,"

Well, that question actually came up in a conversation with friends a couple weeks ago when the Chiefs were undefeated.

posted by LionIndex at 01:43 AM on November 25

9-0 is definitely gaudy, especially against weak teams, but 9-2? Nah. 9-2 is 13-3, which is good, but not OH MY GOD good (oddly, 13-3 teams are sub-.500 in the Super Bowl); I'd classify 9-2 as "good, with at least one exploitable weakness."

posted by Etrigan at 02:50 AM on November 25

Best game of the season.

posted by phaedon at 04:34 AM on November 25

I've been down on the Patriots all season (as a fan) because I thought their record misleads you into thinking they're a stronger team than they actually are. Watching the first half of the game tonight, I was thinking "Well, see, I was right all along."

And then the second half happened and I said "OK, I have been pretty much completely wrong."

I wouldn't go so far as to say that they're the best team in the AFC, but they're damn better than I thought and they deserve to be first in the east. They might even win a playoff game or two.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:01 AM on November 25

Best game of the season.

I've been trying to figure out for the last four hours whether this was an amazing game between juggernauts who refused to lose or a crappy game that neither team was able to win, and I'm still not sure.

On the one hand, some amazing defensive play by Denver; on the other hand, Peyton Manning seemed weirdly unwilling to go for the throat in the first half, then far too willing to grind it out on the ground as his lead evaporated (Manning handed it off to Moreno alone more times than he threw it to everyone).

On the one hand, shitty special teams play is hilarious; on the other hand, shitty special teams play deciding games just feels wrong to me (I know, you gotta win in all three phases or whatever the new catchphrase is, but it still feels wrong).

On the one hand, it's good to see Boston fans turn on their team before halftime; on the other, the Patriots rewarded them for doing it.

Still not sure.

posted by Etrigan at 05:12 AM on November 25

I think some combination of age/ankle injuries made it tough for Peyton to get any zip on the ball as the game progressed and players got colder. That's why they ran Moreno down their throats - Peyton's second-half passes were wobbly and the pick was a 5 yard pass that was underthrown by 2 yards.

That's going to be a big problem if it continues. Moreno's had 65 touches in the last two games - for a guy with a history of injuries/rotational back status, they have got to find other options to not run him into the ground before the playoffs begin. That's an unsustainable volume for most backs without the initials AP.

Ridley's putting himself on the Laurence Maroney train pretty damn quick. Bolden and Vereen don't have the capacity for between-the-tackles running that Ridley does, but the Pats have historically been pretty quick to adapt away from traditional skillsets if the players can't hold on to the ball.

posted by dfleming at 07:20 AM on November 25

I thought it was a big mistake for Del Rio not to go back to Ball in overtime. Given how Denver was running the ball with Moreno and his occasional subs, they should have kept pounding it at New England. I know Ball was a fumble concern, but he was as good as Moreno most of the time he got the football last night.

When you can run like that and took a 24-point lead, it's amazing Denver lost.

On another note, when Brady ran 15 yards at a ref to protest a non-call, I was hoping he'd draw an unsportsmanlike conduct foul. He complains too much to the zebras and to his teammates. It's making him look like a prima donna.

posted by rcade at 09:20 AM on November 25

Best game of the season.

Was it? I thought the Dallas game was better. Last night was a turnover festival with alternating beneficiaries.

I think that game meant a lot more for the Patriots, and NFL fans in general, than it did for the Broncos. I didn't get excited when the Broncos went up 24 and I didn't really mind when the Patriots stormed back. I did get annoyed when the Broncos didn't put the game away in overtime when they had the chance. Anyway, it looked like a big game on the schedule but it sure didn't feel like one from my point of view.

posted by tron7 at 10:27 AM on November 25

I thought it was a big mistake for Del Rio . . .

How long did you get to see him close up in Jacksonville? You don't need to mention mistakes by Del Rio; for some reason I hung in after the first quarter and my only hope at halftime was an early score by the Pats combined with the coach on the other sideline could give us some hope.

He complains too much to the zebras and to his teammates. It's making him look like a prima donna.

I dunno. Him blowing up at the rookie receivers on a nationally-televised game was overblown. It's not like he does a ton of that. I'm not a huge fan of any player demanding penalties and Brady does it a lot but let's put the specific incident in context: it was a pretty obvious pass interference call one week after a game ended for the Pats on a similar non-call. Asking him not to be wound up in such a situation is asking for the enlightened Buddhist attitude of a guy who would not make it in professional sports. As a side note, I thought the SportsFilter house style was "pre-Madonna".

I've been down on the Patriots all season (as a fan) because I thought their record misleads

Maybe I'm just old and crotchety, but I think you're right. They're not as bad a team as they seemed in the first half, but no team in the NFL is that bad. They have too many holes. I can see them being good enough to win a playoff game but asking them to repeat last night's performance in Denver in the AFC Championship feels far beyond them. They've still got Bill (why was everyone stunned by him picking the wind instead of to receive given the change in OT rules?) but Brady isn't the cure-all he used to be and the defense, which was the strength of this team in the first half, is too injury-ravaged to carry the team. They're about a week away from both starting QBs being on IR and they've already lost both defensive captains for the year along with the other starting interior lineman. I know the gameplan was to allow the Broncos to run and stop the pass, but leaving the two rookie tackles in all game and allowing 300 yards rushing isn't a recipe that usually delivers success.

posted by yerfatma at 10:29 AM on November 25

why was everyone stunned by him picking the wind instead of to receive given the change in OT rules?

I was going to ask the same question. The risk of giving up a touchdown on the first possession seems far lower than the advantage of not playing into freezing 20-mph wind. The Hoodie's move seemed like the obvious call.

The problem I had with Brady's Louis Prima Donna move is that he showed up the ref big time. The whole stadium could see him running at the official over such a long distance. I don't want the NFL to be like the NBA, where refs get to T players for their own self-esteem, but come on, Thomas. Act like you've been there before and wait to bitch at the guy until the next time he's in earshot.

posted by rcade at 10:39 AM on November 25

The risk of giving up a touchdown on the first possession seems far lower than the advantage of not playing into freezing 20-mph wind. The Hoodie's move seemed like the obvious call.

Barnwell has a bunch on this decision in his column at Grantland today. With picking the wind, you're also getting a much better shot at a touchback on the kickoff, as well as giving them a much tougher chance at a field goal - effectively extending the necessary drive by 10 yards - or a worse punting position should it come to that, and then you need a shorter drive to get to a game-winning field goal with no chance of a response by the other team. The only x-factor there is you're playing the highest scoring offense in the league.

posted by LionIndex at 11:02 AM on November 25

Still not sure.

Me neither really. But you have to understand I hate the Patriots, and my best friend has a huge Flying Elvis tattooed on his chest and we were at his house. Other than the ridiculous tattoo, he's the quiet type, so we were absolutely letting him have it up until halftime. We got to watch him sink into a dark depression, only to totally come out of it. So you could say we all walked away happy. I don't think he sat down for two hours.

With their roster, what the Patriots are doing this year - the games they end up winning, their game-time adjustments - is nothing short of miraculous. That move by Edelman? The first touchdown pass to the top corner that was vintage Brady? That ridiculous lob that Gronkowski almost caught? Man. I'm totally sentimental about it. And of course, Vegas gets the line right again.. these guys! Every week its a push!

So maybe I haven't been following the Broncos that closely this year. But I assumed they were a pass-based offense. Moreno had an unbelievable game, and Peyton - was it the cold? are his injuries catching up to him? - let's just say I'm surprised not more people are talking about it, but Peyton looks like he's done. He brought nothing tonight.

31 unanswered points against Manning, Welker, Moreno and Miller? I still can't believe it. That happens in college, not in the NFL. I say best game of the season in terms of pure fun - I mean let's not forget this all came down to that ridiculous punt recovery.

posted by phaedon at 11:24 AM on November 25

I think BB took a smidgen of added delight in having multiple opportunities to punt to Welker. Wind or no wind.

Welker also had a dropped ball on a pass route, with mechanics similar to a notable drop or two that he's made in the past. It all looked very familiar. When the drop occurred, Al Michaels said "how often does that happen?" and there was an awkward silence after that, as both he and Collinsworth realized that "often" wasn't the critical part.

posted by beaverboard at 11:29 AM on November 25

... Peyton looks like he's done.

He's on pace to break the single-season record for touchdown passes and has 3,722 passing yards, 36 touchdown passes and a season QBR of 114.5. You're calling him done during one of the greatest seasons a quarterback has ever experienced.

posted by rcade at 11:34 AM on November 25

He complains too much to the zebras and to his teammates. It's making him look like a prima donna.

How much is "too much?"

Manning and Romo are both chronic complainers, but somehow Brady's the poster child for it. The subjectivity of who people cheer for (and against) I think has more to do with the perception of who is a prima donna and who is effective at getting calls through protest than anything objective.

posted by dfleming at 11:36 AM on November 25

You're calling him done during one of the greatest seasons a quarterback has ever experienced.

I get it. And I'm not saying quarterbacks aren't allowed to have bad games. I like Pey Pey. Feel free to tell me what you thought happened last night. Those conditions, the competition, I mean, Peyton's the caliber of player where that stuff only feeds into his abilities, right?

What I saw was a guy that was managing the offense but couldn't throw the ball. Let's not pretend like his body hasn't been through a lot. Steve Young had some incredible stats right before he washed up.

posted by phaedon at 11:41 AM on November 25

With their roster, what the Patriots are doing this year

I caught the tail end of the San Diego/ Kansas City game and got teary-eyed watching Little Danny Woodhead™ make the comeback happen.

posted by yerfatma at 11:52 AM on November 25

The risk of giving up a touchdown on the first possession seems far lower than the advantage of not playing into freezing 20-mph wind. The Hoodie's move seemed like the obvious call.

Moreno has no problem running into the wind. I was happy the Broncos got the ball first, I thought that was their best chance to win. Though, I didn't think it was a horrible decision by Belichick.

posted by tron7 at 11:56 AM on November 25

Feel free to tell me what you thought happened last night.

He was throwing into 20 mph wind over the last two quarters. There was a bunch of drops. No one ever seemed to be terribly open.

posted by tron7 at 12:00 PM on November 25

Manning and Romo are both chronic complainers, but somehow Brady's the poster child for it.

Brady's earned the poster gig this year, starting with week one when he kept ripping his receivers during the game. Do others do it too? Sure. But Brady is making an ass of himself more often than I'm used to seeing from him.

Feel free to tell me what you thought happened last night.

I've watched almost every Broncos game this year. Manning's passes have looked worse since the high-ankle sprain he suffered against the Chargers, but I don't think he's losing it. He had 295 yards or more passing in every game until last night.

I attribute his 150-yard performance last night to several factors, not just a sub-par passing night. The Broncos took an enormous lead and were running the ball spectacularly, so the circumstances called for less passing, and his receivers dropped around 4-6 catchable passes, by my estimation.

At the end of the fourth quarter trailing 31-24 when Manning had to throw well, he did. That final drive in the wind was impressive.

posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on November 25

The Broncos took an enormous lead and were running the ball spectacularly

And the Patriots were willing to concede the run on a night whose conditions did not favor passing. Brady didn't put up gaudy passing numbers because that was the game plan, he did because they were forced to pass.

posted by yerfatma at 01:29 PM on November 25

I don't get your first sentence. Why would the Pats do that instead of stacking the box, when passing was so difficult?

posted by rcade at 02:25 PM on November 25

All-in-all last night was an excellent example of a coach developing a defensive game plan, and then making a critical decision that was somewhat out of the norm. Denver's most effective weapon, even under the wind and cold conditions of last night, is Peyton Manning. He is the one player who can win the game nearly single-handedly. Conceding the run, even to the likes of Moreno and his 200+ yards, was the correct strategy. Over the larger part of the field, outside the red zone, Moreno could rack up good yards, but was unlikely to break one for a score. Facing the larger than usual contingent of defensive backs and quicker linebackers, Manning was effectively limited to the short game. Once Denver entered the red zone, the New England defense went to a more conventional set, and since the amount of field to cover was reduced, the defense was able to concentrate. It was a slight variation of the old "bend but don't break" scheme of former Patriots teams.

Taking the wind for the OT was an obvious decision. Manning's numbers against the wind were good, but not as good as those with the wind. Belichick had confidence in his defense being able to prevent a Denver touchdown on the first drive, and after that it became a field position battle in which one waited for the critical error by the opponent. In those circumstances, the wind at one's back was a decider. Having the strange bounce of a wind-blown punt be the deciding play was aesthetically displeasing to the purist, but to Patriots' fans it was beauty in the highest.

posted by Howard_T at 03:17 PM on November 25

Moreno also got beat up pretty good last night with the amount of work he got. There's more football yet to be played. I'm sure Belichick didn't enjoy giving up well over 200 yds to one guy, but I'll bet he didn't mind that guy getting over 35 carries put on his odometer in case these two teams meet again in a few weeks.

Now my mind is drifting into David Carradine Kung Fu country:

"If after a journey of a thousand miles you were to meet an enemy, what would you do?"

"I would make sure that the journey was his."

posted by beaverboard at 03:58 PM on November 25

Why would the Pats do that instead of stacking the box, when passing was so difficult?

You're asking the wrong guy as I'm just regurgitating what I read/ heard in order to look smart. I think Howard and beaverboard probably covered it, but the general idea is that while Moreno ran for more than 200 yards, he did it about 6 yards at a time whereas if you let Manning complete 35 passes, you're doomed regardless of the weather.

posted by yerfatma at 04:38 PM on November 25

As an aside to anyone who sat through the whole game, did you find the constant shots of turkey farms weird?

posted by yerfatma at 04:49 PM on November 25

the general idea is that while Moreno ran for more than 200 yards, he did it about 6 yards at a time whereas if you let Manning complete 35 passes, you're doomed regardless of the weather

With the way the Patriots played run defense Broncos should have just run the ball all game. Yes, they have Peyton Manning as their QB, but nearly every running play the Broncos backs were untouched before they had gained 3 to 4 yards. The only time the Broncos were stopped was when they threw the ball early in the down count and stopped themselves.

Pretty much looked like 2 playoff teams with only their B games last night neither playing well enough to win.

Brady's earned the poster gig this year

+1 on that.
Have only seen 3 Pats games this year but the same act every game, and it`s getting old. It`s fine to question an official and acceptable to be mad at a call or non-call. Prolonged diva fits are beyond acceptable; they are a no class act we don`t expect from Brady.

posted by cixelsyd at 06:44 PM on November 25

Prolonged diva fits are beyond acceptable; they are a no class act we don`t expect from Brady.

I think it's the expectation that's the issue. Of course Peyton Manning argues calls -- "everyone" knows he's an angry demigod who exists only on the field and therefore may smite any mere mortal who dares challenge his perfection. And of course Tony Romo argues calls -- "everyone" knows he's a whiny choke artist. But "everyone" knows that Tom Brady is the smiling aw-shucks sixth-round draft pick who just feels gosh-darn lucky to be there and listens to his coach and just tries real hard, y'know? So when he bitches out the ref, it's counter to "everyone's" expectations, and it feels weird, so we notice it more.

posted by Etrigan at 10:35 PM on November 25

Whither Phillip Rivers? I feel like any Romo/Brady/Manning competition in ref-yelling is merely for second place.

posted by LionIndex at 01:01 AM on November 26

As an aside to anyone who sat through the whole game, did you find the constant shots of turkey farms weird?

I didn't notice that, I was sucked in by the 90's playlist though. Good lord. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones? And You're Unbelievable??

posted by phaedon at 01:04 AM on November 26

Whither Phillip Rivers? I feel like any Romo/Brady/Manning competition in ref-yelling is merely for second place.

Which comes back to my point - who's whiniest often comes down to whose team or which quarterback you just don't like. You start from a position and use confirmation bias to fill it in. It's human nature.

Nearly 1/2 of the QB's in the NFL don't have the cachet to argue calls at all - they're either injury replacements, young guys, or guys who are just trying to hold on to their job week to week. The other half are, depending on who you cheer for, all whiners or chronically dealing with bad calls.

It also irks me that the two terms used here - "prima donna" and "diva" - are gendered insults, of the "man up" variety.

posted by dfleming at 08:09 AM on November 26

It irks me to be told the only reason I hold my opinion is because I don't like Brady and the Pats. Close the window you've opened in my soul. You're letting in a draft.

Contrary to your mind reading, I like the Hoodie and his team. There's so little consistent excellence in the league that I appreciate being able to watch the Pats on any given week to see good-to-great football. Lord knows I'm not getting that with Jacksonville and Dallas.

But liking the Pats doesn't blind me to Brady acting like a sourpuss who is too old for this bleep. He's like Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies and the receivers are his obnoxious new partner. All he wants is to get through the final weeks before his retirement without being shot by South African drug dealers with diplomatic immunity.

posted by rcade at 08:57 AM on November 26

Rivers is going to be a certified latter day Craig James at the studio desk when his playing days are done.

In hindsight, I guess there's something to be said for Drew Bledsoe's "aw shucks, gosh darn the luck" approach to life's struggles on offense. Although when he was in his prime, I prayed that someone would sneak some gunpowder into his sports drink.

posted by beaverboard at 09:20 AM on November 26

But liking the Pats doesn't blind me to Brady acting like a sourpuss who is too old for this bleep.

And that's fine. Like you said, I don't know you, and I can't read your specific mind.

But - the Tom Brady as a whiner shtick has been around for years - and where people set the line as to it being "too much" from Brady, but not not too much from other QB's, is completely arbitrary.

I'm not saying Brady isn't a whiner - he is - but you opened this line with "he complains too much to the zebras and to his teammates."

And what I'm saying is that the "Brady is a whiner/Eli pouts when things don't go his way/Peyton emphatically shows his disappointment when a receiver drops a pass/Rivers basically dies when he's contacted" themes are ones that when it's in the ethereal, you notice it more.

It took the Pats playing the Giants more for me to start noticing Eli's tantrums - and now I see it all the time. Does he do it empirically more than anyone else? I have no idea. Do I notice it more than I do Drew Brees? Sure.

posted by dfleming at 09:26 AM on November 26

If a player is on your favourite team, he "cares about winning, and is a gamer".

If a player is not on your favourite team, he "whines too much, and is a brat".

The best example is the complete disconnect between (most) Yankees fans and everyone else regarding the actions of Paul O'Neill.

posted by grum@work at 10:08 AM on November 26

But - the Tom Brady as a whiner shtick has been around for years -- and where people set the line as to it being "too much" from Brady, but not not too much from other QB's, is completely arbitrary.

You shouldn't assume that because an opinion here is voiced by other fans elsewhere it comes from the same motivation. There are a lot of dumb sports fans and homers in the world. They say dumb things for dumb reasons. There's little of that here because we actively weed it out.

Personally, I never noticed the whiner knock on Brady. I was surprised by his game 1 tantrum, and I thought it would portend to a long disappointing season. He didn't seem very happy with the receiving corps he'd been left with after the Welker departure and the Hernandez arrest.

I did not expect to see him run 10-15 yards to yell at a ref over a pass interference non-call. That long run to protest doesn't happen often, from any quarterback, in my observation. It shows a lack of composure on his part.

People keep mentioning Romo, but as a Cowboys fan I've seen more of the opposite complaint over the years. If he looks unperturbed in a situation that's making fans angry, people think he doesn't care.

posted by rcade at 10:33 AM on November 26

I'm now remembering that the absolute king of bitching at one's teammates was Dan Marino late in his career. Hobbled and sputtering at someone after almost every play from scrimmage. I wondered how an offense could function effectively with that much ongoing vitriol in the atmosphere. If he and Cowher ever got into a spitting contest, it would have to be refereed by Lou Holtz.

posted by beaverboard at 10:55 AM on November 26

The last question here provides some insight on the final play of the game and who should shoulder the blame.

posted by yerfatma at 12:38 PM on November 26

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