AFC Divisional Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

With the New England Patriots squashing the Tim Tebow miracle out of the Denver Broncos with their 45-10 rout, Tom Brady and his Patriots accomplished in destroying the Broncos morale in the postseason. Denver Broncos coach John Fox was simply out-coached. The Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens fought each other tooth-and-nail, but the Baltimore Ravens defense stepped up when it counted to win 20-13. Now the Patriots will host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, and this Ravens defense will be put to their ultimate test against the offensive firepower of Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium nonetheless. It doesn’t look pretty for the Baltimore Ravens, but there’s a glimmer a hope.  If the 49ers can topple the offensive powerhouse of the New Orleans Saints, anything can happen.

Now to the top 10 list of the things we learned in the AFC Divisional playoffs:

  1. New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady is a Beast.  With six touchdowns against the Denver Broncos, he broke a previous postseason record, and he came out a 136.1 quarterback rating on that game.
  2. Denver Broncos Tim Tebow Was Out of His Element.  With the Denver Broncos going to the Patriots home, Gillette Stadium, you knew from the outset that it was going to be bad. How bad…how about 136 yards, no touchdowns and a pitiful 55.7 quarterback rating bad.
  3. Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox Was Outfoxed. Continuing from the previous, facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick alongside  the offensive coordinator-in-training Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox had too many chess pieces to contend with, no matter how prepared he was or how much he thought of Tim Tebow.
  4. Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens Are Fumble-Prone. Given that the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens both had three fumbles each, I would say ball security should be a focus in the postseason.
  5. Houston Texans Quarterback T.J. Yates Needs Some Work…A Lot of Work.  Replacing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart was difficult enough, but dealing with the Ravens defense was beyond this rookie quarterback.  Ending the day with 184 yards, 3 interceptions and a pitiful 28.8 quarterback rating won’t earn him a bonus this next season.
  6. Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is a Beast. Considering he dealt with the third-ranked defense overall during the regular season, he produced well with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  7. Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco Will Never Be Elite. Although he’s been at the helm of the playoff-driven Baltimore Ravens over the past four seasons, he has never developed into an elite quarterback.  Considering he had 176 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, he’ll never reach the elite status of either Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
  8. New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez is Versatile.  Considering he produced 61 yards on the ground and 55 yards and a touchdown through the air, Aaron Hernandez is definitely the iron-man of the New England Patriots.  His 61 yards surpassed both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead with their 28 and 25 rushing yards in their game against the Denver Broncos.
  9.  New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski is a Beast.  With his 145 receiving yards, he has shown he is one of the better tight ends in the league, if not one of the best.
  10. Defense Wins Games.  Again, like with the NFC Divisional playoffs, it’s the defense that ultimately wins games.  The Ravens capitalized on turnovers when it counted.

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots: AFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game Analysis

The miracle of Denver Broncos Tim Tebow will be put to the test against the New England Patriots third-ranked quarterback Tom Brady in terms of quarterback rating.  On top of that, the Denver Broncos defense will have to contend with two of the best in terms of passing yardage during the regular season with Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker ranked second with 1,569 receiving yards and tight end Rob Gronkowski ranked sixth with 1,327 receiving yards.  Playing at Gillette Stadium won’t do Tim Tebow any favors  as the fans of Foxboro will do anything to unsettle the young Tim Tebow.  The miracle of Tim Tebow will have to overcome these odds and tip the scales.  Can it happen? Yes.  Will it happen? Not if coach Bill Belichick will have anything to say about it.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • The New England Patriots veteran quarterback Tom Brady struck fast as he threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to his wideout Wes Welker with 13:14 into the first quarter.
  • With the fumble by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow on Denver’s 17-yard line, Patriots Tom Brady immediately capitalized on the turnover with a 10-yard touchdown reception by his tight end Rob Gronkowski.  The Patriots lead 14-0 over the Denver Broncos with 7:17 in the first quarter.
  • Capitalizing on the interception on Tom Brady by safety Quinton Carter, the Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee pounded the ball from 5-yard touchdown run and bring the game to 14-7 at the beginning of the second quarter.
  • Methodically moving down the field with the rushes of tight end Aaron Hernandez, running backs Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Tom Brady threw a touchdown reception to Rob Gronkowski again with 7:49 in the second quarter to bring the score to 21-7.
  • With 2:06 in the second quarter, Patriots Deion Branch scored on a 61-yard reception to up the lead 28-7.
  • Yet another touchdown reception by Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski from 19 yards out with 10 seconds left until halftime.  Tom Brady tied an NFL record with his five touchdowns in a half of a postseason game.
  • With a half-field to play, Patriots Tom Brady threw a 17-yard touchdown reception to his tight end Aaron Hernandez to bring the score to 42-7 with 11:53 in the third quarter.  Brady broke a postseason record with his six touchdowns and the Patriots 42 points in a postseason game. This is beyond amazing.
  • With 2:19 in the third quarter, Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked a 41-yard field goal to bring the score to 42-10.
  • On the Denver’s 2-yard line, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski boot an easy 2o-yard field goal with 12:44 in the fourth quarter.
  • After a 41-yard pass to Broncos wideout Dimaryius Thomas, the Patriots defense locked down and locked on Tim Tebow, and the Broncos failed to score.  Kind of sad. Really.
  • After a 3rd and 10 punt by Tom Brady, a hardy scuffle between the Patriots and the Broncos occurred with 3:10 left in the game.  The frustration of the Denver Broncos defense ignited the scuffle, and it didn’t look pretty.

The New England Patriots defense contained Broncos Tim Tebow and forced him to be a pocket quarterback in the first half.  However, this is not Tebow’s element as he was forced to rely on his running back Willis McGahee to release pressure again. Willis McGahee produced sufficiently with 68 yards and a touchdown, but the Patriots had a ringer in their tight end Aaron Hernandez.  Hernandez nearly produced as much yardage on the ground with 58 yards — and he also had 29 receiving yards in the first half.

The second half continued with the dominance of the New England Patriots over the hapless Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos.  Broncos coach John Fox could not stop the bleeding with quarterback Tim Tebow forced to throw deep.  Tim Tebow never developed as a pocket passer either with the Denver Broncos or the Florida Gators, and in this kind of situation, it was difficult to come back from.  The constant pressure of the Patriots defense didn’t help much either. The game ended finally with a 45-10 Patriots win.

Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will have to face either the Houston Texans or the Baltimore Ravens.  Either team have elite running backs in Texans Arian Foster or the Ravens Ray Rice who were ranked fifth and second respectively in terms of rushing yardage during the regular season.  Lastly and more critically, the Patriots will face the second or third-ranked overall defense during the regular season which should be intriguing either way.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

What an exciting AFC Wild Card weekend! Quarterback T.J. Yates and running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans thumped the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10.  And the thriller with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers…Steelers coach Mike Tomlin could have never predicted the Denver Broncos would have posed a problem as Tim Tebow was almost considered bench material.  Tebow struck, when it counted, in overtime with the 80-yard bomb to his wideout Dimaryius Thomas and won the game 29-23.

And to sum it up, the 10 things we learned from the AFC Wild Card playoffs:

  1. Don’t Underestimate Denver Broncos coach John Fox. He spotted the weakness of the Steelers, their thinned secondary, and exploited it.  He let Tim Tebow go after rushing wasn’t successful with either Tim Tebow or their running back Willis McGahee.
  2. Don’t Underestimate Tim Tebow’s Magic. Tim Tebow’s magic came back when it counted — in the playoffs.  Dimaryius Thomas helped him greatly. (The New England Patriots won’t make it that easy even with their porous defense.)
  3. Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is Still The Man. No doubt Arian Foster helped the Texans win as he had 153 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in the game.  His presence was felt, and he will be in their next game against the Baltimore Ravens.  A tale of two running backs in this divisional game, you bet.
  4. A Hobbled Ben Roethlisberger Didn’t Help the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Not just his mobility was off, but his accuracy was off as he had throw over the linebackers of the Denver Broncos even without the help of Brian Dawkins.
  5. Steelers Running Back Isaac Redman May Be in Line for the Starting Job.  Although not quite as strong as Rashard Mendenhall, he has the agility to break tackles.  Mendenhall may be looking in the mirror pretty soon.
  6. Broncos Wideout Dimaryius Thomas is Dangerous.  He was the savior for Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.  Tebow would have benched for Brady Quinn if it wasn’t for Thomas’ awesome performance of 204 yards and a touchdown in his game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers Number One Defense Counted for Nothing. Having the best defense in the league counts for little if they can get burned for long yardage.
  8. Texans Quarterback T.J. Yates Did Satisfactory in the Playoff Environment. He’s no Matt Schaub, but he has a future with the Houston Texans as their future quarterback.  If not there, then definitely somewhere else.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton Has Some Growing Pains. Dalton still needs some more experience in the NFL.  He has the talent and composure to succeed in the league, but he needs time.  He needs to learn that frustration does not breed success.  Ask Peyton Manning in his difficult games.
  10. Charles Barkley Shouldn’t Do NFL Halftime Shows. Ever. Seriously.  He shouldn’t.

Now Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will face the revived Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos.  Can Tebow bring the magic or will he fall to the tactics of Bill Belichick?  Two potent running backs, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice and Houston Texans Arian Foster, will face each other to decide who is the better running back.  Don’t underestimate the underdog in this match; as it won’t be the size of the dog in this fight as much as the sheer will.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos: AFC Wild Card Playoff Post-Game Analysis

With the first-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers facing the declining cult Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, this game doesn’t look pretty for the Broncos. Eighth-ranked Denver Broncos Willis McGahee might be able to change the face of the game, but he shouldn’t be a significant factor against a dominating defense. However, a hurt Ben Roethlisberger could be a factor for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and for that matter, the Denver Broncos defense.

Now the post-game analysis:

  • With the Pittsburgh Steelers first drive, they stalled, and kicker Shaun Suisham made the field-goal from 45-yards out at 11:19 in the first quarter to give them the 3-0 lead.
  • With the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaning on his running back Isaac Redman in this series, Shaun Suisham kicked another field goal from 38-yards out at with 27 seconds left in the first quarter to bring the Steelers to a 6-0 lead.
  • Denver Broncos Tim Tebow threw two successive bombs to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal.  With a 30-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal, the Denver Broncos take the lead 7-6 at 13:31 in the second quarter.
  • After a 58-yard bomb to Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos score again with a 8-yard rushing touchdown by Tim Tebow at 10:41 in the second quarter.  The Broncos upped their score 14-6.
  • At 9:54 in the second quarter, Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers sacked Ben Roethlisberger and aggravated the quarterback’s ankle.  After that incident, Roethlisberger threw an interception to Broncos safety Quinton Carter at the Steelers 27-yard line.
  • After the interception, the Broncos drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line.  Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked an easy 20-yard field to bring the score 17-6.
  • After a 40-yard strike to his tight end Daniel Fells,the drive stalled again at the Pittsburgh’s 10-yard line.  Matt Prater kicked another field goal to bring the score 20-6 at 1:08 until halftime.
  • With a 32-yard pass to Steelers running back Isaac Redman, wideout Mike Wallace rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown at 4:33 in the third quarter.  The Steelers closed the score 20-13.
  • Continuing their drive from the third quarter, Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked another field goal to bring the score to 23-13 at 13:14 in the fourth quarter.
  • After running back Isaac Redman’s 28-yard rush, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked for a field goal to bring the score to 23-16 at 10:03 left in the last quarter.
  • At 7:43 in the fourth quarter, Broncos running back Willis McGahee fumbled the ball on Pittsburgh’s 45-yard line. Capitalizing on McGahee’s turnover, Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Jerricho Cotchery 31-yard touchdown reception tied the score 23-23 with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter.

The first half was the battle of defenses as Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers brought pressure relatively easily on Ben Roethlisberger and Tim Tebow in the first few series in the first quarter.  However, Tim Tebow relaxed the Steelers defense by throwing bombs to his wideout Demaryius Thomas and other receivers.  Simply put, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow shredded the thin secondary of the Steelers in the first half.  With the aggravated ankle injury to Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, the Denver Broncos defense sensed it and feasted on the damaged quarterback.  The Steelers burned secondary, the driven Broncos defense and Roethlisberger’s ankle injury culminated in 20-6 Broncos lead into the half.

The second half began with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers surging at times. The Pittsburgh Steelers  defense performed well at stopping Tim Tebow’s drives in the redzone, and through sheer will and accurate passing, Ben Roethlisberger willed his Steelers to tie the game with the Denver Broncos.  Steelers running back Isaac Redman did his fair share in this game with 121 rushing yards during regulation.

This playoff game was the first playoff game with non-sudden death regulations established during the tumultuous off-season.  However, in an instant, Denver Broncos scored a 80-yard touchdown from Dimaryius Thomas to win the game 29-23.

Overall, Broncos Tim Tebow performed better than injured Steelers Ben Roethlisberger with his 125.6 quarterback rating on 356 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Broncos wide receiver Dimaryius Thomas was exceptional as he had 204 receiving yards and a touchdown in this game.

With some Tim Tebow magic in overtime, the Denver Broncos win the Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now Tebow will face New England Patriots Tom Brady with his third-ranked quarterback rating at 105.6 and second-ranked quarterback in terms of passing yards with 5,235. At Brady’s side is his wideout Wes Welker who had 1,569 receiving yards during the regular season and ranked second in terms of receiving yardage.  However, Wes Welker is recovering from an injury, and that may hinder Tom Brady slightly in their game against their game against the Denver Broncos.  Tim Tebow better bring some of his magic in the next game as he will face the New England offensive juggernaut.  On the bright side, both the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos defenses are average at best.

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The Fox in Elway’s House: John Fox Comes to Head the Denver Broncos

Now this is a particular arrangement and a beneficial one for the veteran head coach, as former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox will be in reigns of the better and more balanced offenses in the league.  He has both quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton, steady and versatile running back Knowshon Moreno and the stellar wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Fox had already stated that he thinks Tim Tebow may be the future of the Broncos, but his hiring manager and new chief of football operations John Elway may feel a bit differently.

Unfortunately, former coach Josh McDaniels came in too early to coach the Broncos, and it ultimately stifled the team.  With the management of the personnel, the trade of Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns and the filming of the San Francisco 49ers in London, Josh McDaniels ended his tenure as head coach for the Broncos.

With the current weapons at their disposal and under head coach John Fox, this team could potentially develop into a playoff contender, resembling more of a Baltimore Ravens-lite, if you will.  Although Knowshon Moreno is not the caliber of Ray Rice currently, he does have more consistency in scoring, although he is prone to injury.  The trade of Peyton Hillis to the Browns hurt this running corps tremendously.  Correll Buckhalter never had the talent to become a spectacular runner for the Denver Broncos, whereas Peyton Hillis did and he took advantage of displaying his running ability of the Browns early this season.  And Brandon Lloyd has more consistency than the Ravens Anquan Boldin and just as physical, if not more.

Coach John Fox has great potential for the Denver Broncos, although he did have tremendous swings while he was coaching the Carolina Panthers. In 2003, 2005 and 2008, he had at least a 11-5 record and got into the playoffs for those respective seasons.  However, since 2002, he’s had six losing seasons with the Panthers and a record of .507 as head coach.

This Fox may be in the Broncos stable for now, but he has to start out strong or otherwise he will be on a short leash in 2011 (or 2012, should the labor agreement fail). His conservative nature may not bode well for this offense in particular, as he would focus on the run more than the pass.  This team simply doesn’t have the speed of Jonathan Stewart, and Fox would love to run the heck out of Knowshon Moreno.  Moreno simply doesn’t have the durability to do that. The best option for the Denver Broncos would be to hire an offensive coordinator to direct the offense, much like the Chicago Bears do.  In light of all this, John Fox as  a Denver Broncos head coach is a good hire, but Fox will not bring fireworks for this offense.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Florida Gators: Outback Bowl Post-Game Analysis

Penn State Nittany Lions has been led by head coach Joe Paterno and its formidable defense.  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer has led his Florida Gators with the West Coast spread offense with John Brantley and their rotating quarterbacks.  And former Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow has become the starter for the Denver Broncos.  This game is one where one of the better offenses against one of the better defenses in the NCAA.

My observations for the game:

  • This has been a turnover-prone game for the Lions and the Gators, as they had a total of 6 turnovers.
  • Neither quarterback, Florida Gators John Brantley or Penn State‘s Matthew McGloin, played spectacularly.  McGloin had two interceptions heading into the second half. Neither of them is up to NFL standards in this game.
  • The Florida Gators defense stepped up the second quarter with a blocked punt by Solomon Patton and retrieval by Lerentee McCray for a touchdown changed the  face of the game.
  • McGloin’s pass to 44-yard pass to Derek Hoye to the 1 yard line was a great counterpunch for the Nittany Lions offense after the Gators special teams touchdown.
  • Gators wide receiver Chris Rainey’s run for 51 yards was great after the breakdowns in the Lions defense.  The Miami Dolphins quite possibly wished they had Rainey in their lineup about now.
  • Matt McGloin’s 2-yard rushing touchdown for the Nittany Lions in the third quarter was fantastic and it built the lead to 24-17 over the Gators.  However, his third interception wasn’t great into close of the third quarter.
  • Gators Mike Gillislee 1-yard rushing touchdown gave them the 27-24 lead.  This gave a chance in momentum in Gator’s favor, but McGloin’s questionable quarterback play near the end zone also helped.
  • The Nittany Lions defense held its own in the red zone with only permitting the explosive offense a field goal.
  • The interception by the Gators Ahmad Black sealed the game with a score of 37-24.

The Penn State Nittany Lions defense kept the potent Gators offense in check for most of the game, but the offensive weapons of Chris Rainey and the combination of rushers ultimately won.  McGloin’s horrible gameplay also helped.  Four interceptions won’t win a game, no matter how good the defense is.

With Meyer leaving the Florida Gators in relatively good shape, the Gators are poised for another run next season. The Nittany Lions ultimately lost 37-24, but they fought well…until the fourth quarter collapse.

Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow: Fantasy Football X-Factor

Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow finally gets his start with the Denver Broncos, and interim coach Eric Studeville has given him the final nod to close the season out.  Tebow lost against the Oakland Raiders, with a 138 yards passing, 1 touchdown and a 100.5 quarterback rating.  However, he will have to face against the Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers.  And it appears that Broncos running back Knoshown Moreno will be out for at least until  the season closes. Tebow should be able to do a solid QB2 performance against the Houston Texans.  Tebow should be a low-end QB2 at best, following into the fantasy football Super Bowls.  After he faces the Texans, he will face the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers defense is currently ranked 1st against the passing and 3rd against rushing yardage. Without a running game, unlike the Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis with Colt McCoy, he is a risky proposition in my opinion and should be no better than a very low-end QB2 at best.