The Patriots season has come to close. They fell to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game Sunday, 26-16. Peyton Manning had himself a day to remember as he threw for 400 yards while tossing two touchdowns in route to earning a Super Bowl birth.
His absence was exploited by Manning. Demaryius Thomas had 134 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. The Patriots could not contain him with Talib sidelined.
Coach Bill Belichick sited the injury to Talib as being a key turning point in the football game, obviously favoring Denver.
Talib said in a postgame interview, “If I could’ve played I would.”
LeGarrette Blount was a non-factor. He was held to just 1-yard rushing. Tom Brady missed a few big passes down the field, but all in all, he was not to blame for the loss. Brady racked up 284 yards passing and two scoring strikes.
New England fell behind 20-3 in the third-quarter and their lack of offensive weapons finally caught up to them. Denver’s defense eliminated the Patriots rushing attack, in turn forcing them into a one-dimensional offense. It was a deficit far to great to overcome with what Brady had to work with.
Give the Broncos credit. They accumulated 27 first downs and their two touchdown drives surpassed 14-minutes. This all while Tom Brady watched from the sideline.
The Patriots pass rush was invisible. Manning had all day to make plays and many he made. Added pressure was placed on the Patriots secondary and they crumbled.
Manning and Brady are now even as the two both now hold a pair of AFC title game wins opposite one another.
For the Patriots, focus now shifts to rebounding and gearing up for next season. The Broncos will prep for a Super Bowl date with either the Seattle Seahawks or the San Francisco 49ers.