One of the worst games ever played by an NFL team

Tonight was maybe the second or third NFL game I’ve watched in its entirety in the last 20 or 30 years. But it’s hard to imagine that any NFL team ever did as poorly in a post-season game as the Broncos did tonight. It was strangely compelling viewing, in a negative way. The Broncos didn’t do anything right. They didn’t have a single outstanding or even good moment. Most importantly, they had no offensive line. On almost every play, the quarterback Tebow was instantly besieged and rendered helpless in the backfield. Was it that the Patriots’ defensive line was so overwhelming, or that the Broncos’ offensive line was so poor? I think it was more the second than the first. And even when Tebow didn’t seem besieged, he didn’t accomplish anything. Half the Broncos’ offensive plays seemed to consist either of Tebow running around behind his line of scrimmage trying vainly to escape the rushing defensive linemen who were all over him, or Tebow boringly handing the ball off to the running back number 23. There was no force in the Broncos’ play, no imagination, no nothing. Meanwhile the Patriots with quarterback Tom Brady’s sharp passing pulled ahead by 28 points by the end of the first half, and brought their lead to 35 points by the end of the game.

I would say that 85 percent of the game was played in the Broncos’ half of the field, with the Broncos typically starting a series at their own 15 yard line, failing to get first down, kicking off to the Patriots who would end up with the ball at about their own 47 yard line and would either drive for a touchdown or kick off back to the Broncos who would get their first down at their own 15, and the same meaningless miserable three-down slog to nowhere would start all over again.

From beginning to end, the Patriots had The Force, and the Broncos were up the creek without a paddle. Their playing was fascinating in the same way that an unbelievably terrible movie can be fascinating.

I can’t think of any cultural significance the game had, except that Tebow’s famed magic deserted him utterly.

- end of initial entry -

January 15

Irv P. writes:

The Patriots coaches prepared the team to stop all of the Broncos’ tendencies. The Broncos did not come into the game with any new wrinkles to their offense. Their plan was to run the ball and kill as much time off the clock as they could to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. It didn’t work and they had no plan “B.”

Brady may be the best quarterback ever to play the game. He is on a level that few have ever approached. He demoralized the Broncos. He cut them into shreds.

You haven’t been watching football much. Trust me, Brady’s performances are almost always at the level of last night.

LA replies:

Right, no plan B, and barely even a Plan A. The Broncos had NOTHING. They kept running the same boring, uninteresting plays. And the Patriots’ offensive line so overwhelmed the Broncos that Tebow himself couldn’t do any running.

Jon W. writes:

I just read your accurate summary of the Patriots/Broncos game.

New to watching pro football after playing football in high school in the ’50s, I got caught up in Tebow mania and was drawn to watch the entire games with the Steelers and Patriots.

It seems likely that the storm of Tebow preoccupations dampened the esprit de corps of the team on the critical occasion when the Patriots were at the top of their game—or made to look so by the hapless Broncos.

With what seems to be Tebow’s overall sterling qualities, it strikes me as unfortunate that he did not also have the extra measure of maturity and insight to tell his team and convey to media something like this:

“Hey guys, what’s going on out there is crazy and distracting. The favor of God thing and all. It’s a game. We wouldn’t be here without all of us having done our best. Lose this game and we’ll all be in the dumper. Win the game and this mania will subside as they all do and become last month’s thing. As you can see, I’ve done nothing to cause the flare up besides continuing to do what I have always done or tried to do with you guys making it possible.”

I can’t say I know he did not get caught up in the media moments, but I don’t think he did anything consciously.

David B. writes:

As Irv P. says, that was a typical performance for New England QB Tom Brady. Did you know Brady was the 199th player picked in the 2000 draft and that six quarterbacks were picked ahead of him? It is interesting that two of the six were black, one of whom, Tee Martin, I saw play several times for Tennessee.

Nowadays, football coaches (an exceedingly stupid bunch) look for arm strength and “athleticism” rather than passing accuracy, the skill Brady always had. It was thought that the old-fashioned drop back pocket passer was a thing of the past. As you saw last night, nothing could be farther from the truth. Brady drops back, moves around in the pocket when he has to, finds the right receiver, and hits him with a catchable pass.

Tee Martin only played in a few games before being released.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 15, 2012 12:00 AM | Send

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