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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

One Last Note On Denver-New England

Since half the world seems to be crying softly to themselves over Tom Brady losing, it's interesting to note the form that the sour grapes have taken.

Half of the internet (and several people I've spoken to) seem to believe that, absent that one pass-interference penalty, New England would have somehow managed to win the entire game. As if, without that penalty, Denver would have been forced to give up. So let's look at the game up to that point.

On Denver's first drive, they were killed by a dumb false-start penalty. On their second drive, they got to midfield before being stopped, and pinned the Patriots deep in their own territory (the 4 yard line). Incomplete, run, incomplete, punt. Denver then drives to the New England three. To this point, the Broncos have had no trouble at all moving the ball on the Patriots - and feel confident enough going for it on 4th and 1 from the 3. It fails, and the Patriots start another drive at their own endzone. Three runs, and they're forced to punt. Broncos move the ball incredibly easily (again) and a sprinting interception by Samuels saves a probable touchdown catch by Lelie. New England gets a 51 yard reception, followed by a stop and a field goal.

At this point, New England is up 3-0, but for the grace of God. Two huge plays have kept it from being 14-3. Denver has had NO trouble passing (Plummer has like 120 yards on 9 completions and 12 attempts.) and New England is incredibly lucky to be in it. So Broncos punt, next posession, Courtney Brown forces a fumble. Denver ball, 1st and 10 at the NE 40. Plummer throws deep, pass interference on Samuels. This is the play everyone freaks out about - but if it doesn't get called, guess what? 2nd and 10 at the NE 40. Even assuming they move it 15 yards, and get a field goal instead of the TD, there's a net point difference of about 4. So New England loses by 10 instead of 14.

People always fixate on one play where their team lost, and if it's a call by the referee, all the better. Then they can pretend they got screwed, instead of playing a sloppy game against an underrated defense and a special teams that kept the Pats backed up the whole first half and unable to do anything offensively. New England badly lost the field position battle; that's why they didn't win. They turned it over because they were playing from behind. Hell, they hardly got away from their own end zone. In the Rose Bowl, people blamed the Vince Young lateral, as if that was the whole reason. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, got screwed by the refs more than any team I have ever seen - and yet, they managed to win - because they were the better team. So, Patriots fans: sorry, your team lost. Get over it.

cranked out at 9:53 AM | |

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