Tag Archives: AFC Championship

BST&N Road Trip Diaries – Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl

My first Super Bowl. My last Super Bowl. It was perfect.

During the third quarter of the AFC Championship game with the Patriots up three touchdowns vs Luck and co., I opened my laptop (something I never do during a Patriots game). I began to feverishly search for flights to Phoenix.

My girlfriend said to me “don’t jinx it, the game isn’t over” – the Patriots proceeded to go up a fourth touchdown. She said “you don’t even have a game ticket” – I told her things would work out and I owed my college roommate a visit.

With a plane ticket booked I proceeded to reach out to just about everybody in my network to let them know I was Super Bowl bound and was in the market for a ticket. I was hoping (against hope) that someone would come across a ticket and think of me.

Days went by and the prices on resell sites were going up and up and I had heard nothing from any of my friends, families, and long lost cousins (from Seattle).

My positive outlook was warranted as I got a call from a friend of mine asking if I would be interested in a ticket for face value. The answer, was obvious.

I was set – I had transportation, a place to stay, and THE ticket.

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Patriots Pulse: Can Danny Amendola Stay Healthy This Season?

The obvious answer is probably not, look at his injury history. Amendola has only played in all 16 games once in his career, 2010 with the Rams. While with the Rams he played in 14, 16, 1, and 11 games respectively. Last year with the Patriots he played in 12 games, he didn’t miss any of the same games Rob Gronkowski missed down the stretch, but Tom Brady did not look his way too often.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year's opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year’s opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Brady did not look his way at all in the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos where Amendola had no receptions as well as no targets. Amendola was brought in to replace the production vacated by Wes Welker but he did far less than expected. Julian Edelman who has had his fair share of injury history as well, stepped into the Welker role hauling in 10 passes in the AFC Championship. Edelman became Tom Brady’s favorite target and was fourth in the league in receptions with 105. Amendola only had 54.

Amendola has grown tired of hearing, as well as talking about his injury history. This offseason during a phone interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones, Jones asked Amendola a few questions relating to his injury history, Amendola was not too pleased and hung up on the phone interview. St. Louis is much different than New England. The comparisons to Welker are really unfair but now in his second year with the Patriots he should be expected to step up.

Amendola had a great showing in last season’s opener against Buffalo bringing in 10 passes for 104 yards, a game he was also injured in. After that he missed the next three games, and was not looked for often in the following games by Brady who was throwing passes to the likes of Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Austin Collie. Amendola did not bring in double digit grabs again until Week 15 against the Dolphins. He is surely capable of being a good receiver, he just needs to looks and to be healthy.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Danny Amendola’s injury history is well documented, but is it really his fault? Some might say it is bad luck. With new rules in place for defensive holding penalties, Amendola might be able to break out this season, splitting time in the slot with Julian Edelman while giving newly acquired receiver Brandon LaFell chances to get open. The real key to the Patriots offense has always been Tom Brady needs multiple weapons to throw to because once they double his favorite receiver where will he look? The AFC Championship Game last year was a prime example. Amendola will have to step up this season to silence his critics, myself included.

Tom Brady Still Better Than Peyton Manning When The Game Matters Most

The dust has settled on another football season, and like most years, it ended for Peyton Manning in the same manner. Despite being the best offensive player during the regular season, Manning let up in the most crucial game where it meant the most. Before the Super Bowl sports pundits discussed for two weeks how this game would be a legacy game for Manning, and Peyton did make a statement about his legacy. That legacy being that he is not a good playoff quarterback.

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The Super Bowl loss made his playoff record sub .500 again, like it had been until he defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship this year to reach .500 at 11-11. Now standing at 11-12 lifetime in the postseason with just one Super Bowl title, the discussion of Peyton being the greatest quarterback of all time can now be stopped. In three Super Bowls he’s now 1-2, and his first Super Bowl appearance didn’t come until his 8th season in the league.

Tom Brady, despite recent struggles, has the most playoff victories of all time with 18, and has just 8 losses. He hasn’t won a title in 9 seasons now, but he’s led the Patriots to 2 Super Bowls in that span, and only got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs twice. Even if Brady never wins another title, he’ll be remembered as one of the best playoff quarterbacks of all time, which is the opposite of Peyton. The only other quarterback to start 5 Super Bowls was Joe Montana for the 49ers.

If you compare Peyton and Brady, it’s important to also realize who each quarterback had as offensive weapons. With the Colts, Manning always had Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark, all of whom were elite receivers for Manning to throw to. When Brady won his three championships, he had relative unknowns he was passing to. Some of the biggest names Brady had was Troy Brown and Deion Branch. Had Brady had the core that Peyton did during his Colts days, he may have an extra championship or two. Read more

Patriots Off-Season Match-Up Mania: Coach BB vs. GM BB


I have no idea where Bill Belichick is going to be during the Super Bowl on Sunday. He may or may not watch the game, but I bet he’s already focused on the 2014 New England Patriots.

Lots of time has been spent since the AFC Championship Game congratulating BB for his coaching performance with his 13-5 club. I’m not terribly focused on where to rank this season in terms of his coaching resume except to say if it was a great coaching job then it means he created a flawed team as a GM that he had to coach up.

BB has a busy winter and spring ahead of him. Some ideas:

Changes are already under way within Bill’s coaching staff. Dante Scarnecchia and Pepper Johnson, two positional staffers who toiled under Belichick seemingly forever, or, since he became the coach of the NEP, are gone. Were they problems with the team? That answer could depend on how their replacements do in 2014.

Bill might need to coach up the coaches who stayed, honestly. I’m not the only person who was puzzled by some coaching decisions during the season. The Patriots didn’t react too well to the loss of Aqib Talib in Denver two weeks ago in the 26-16 conference title game loss and in-game adjustments have always been part of the Belichick aura.

Coaches, of course, need players to coach. This team faced a consistent challenge of keeping players on the field because of injury after injury. Yes, they reached the AFC Championship game despite injuries, but would a healthier team be in New York now prepping for the Super Bowl in place of Denver. Talib is just one of several names like Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola that failed to reach the end of the season intact. Long term, do the Pats need to be wary of players who can’t stay on the field? For example, does Talib deserve a big payday if he can’t finish the AFC title game every year?

Aside from injuries, the biggest issue all season was who could Brady throw to. Not signing Wes Welker and signing Amendola instead was not a success. Julian Edelman proved himself and is now on the open market. Rookies like Aaron Dobson were either unavailable or dropping passes for most of the year. Could BB be forced to choose between Edelman and Amendola?

This rumor/gossip about Larry Fitzgerald coming here seems unlikely to happen. Will the draft bring more young receivers for Tom Brady? Again, unlikely. But, draft experts expect the same. With a very young club, I’m expecting more veteran value roster moves we’ve come to expect from the Pats.


Unoriginal Broncos Fans Come Up With The New England Sucks Towel (PHOTO)


Denver Broncos fans aka mountain hillbillies are getting more and more under my skin. First it was the “Tom Brady Wears Women’s Underwear” bar marquee (yeah TB12 wears Gisele’s & you’re jealous) then it was Voodoo Doughnuts stupid Tom Brady donuts and now the most unoriginal slam of the New England Patriots…..

Copy Steelers fans much?

Jesus, Denver pretend like you have been there before, but you haven’t since 1998 when YOU cheated.

Next Game Up The AFC Championship: Patriots vs Broncos

The AFC matchup of Championship Sunday sees two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game go head to head once again as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots go on the road to take on the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos with a place at Super Bowl XLVIII at stake!

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The hype around this game is incredible as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning face off in the 15th installment of a quarterback rivalry that has lasted for over a decade. With both of these QB’s in the later years of their 30’s you would probably say that this could be the last time that these two face off with the stakes being as high as they are for tomorrow.

But as we know you should never count out Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Manning has finally got to where he wants to be and that is within reach of a third Super Bowl appearance; he is having a monster season having broken Tom Brady’s regular season record for passing touchdowns by throwing 55 and breaking Drew Brees’ passing yards record by racking up 5,477. These stats will count for nothing though if the season doesn’t end with Peyton hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the air.

Tom Brady is quite simply Peyton Manning’s kryptonite and there is no doubt about it because history doesn’t lie. Even in recent memory you only have to look back at the week 12 encounter at Gillette Stadium where Tom Brady and co wiped out a Broncos lead of 24-0 to win the game 34-31 in overtime. That victory gave Brady his 10th victory over Manning in their 14 games against each other including the postseason. Let us look at the stats between the two in the encounters:



Now I will be the first to point out that tomorrow’s game between Denver and New England is not just about these two men as it is between two teams who are both hungry to play in the biggest sporting spectacle on earth but whoever wins out of Brady or Manning will have their picture posted on websites across the world for the next fortnight. Brady’s 10-4 career head-to-head over Manning says it all and his touchdown to interception ratio shows his efficiency. Brady leads in all categories but one and has a passer rating that is higher by 11! The only category that he doesn’t lead in is passing yardage and you could argue that it is because Manning is behind in most games so his teams have chased the games meaning he passes more but enough of that.

No offence to Peyton Manning fans but they love to use statistics to fight their corner. I don’t want to take anything away from Manning because he is one of the greatest to play at the position but unfortunately for him if the Broncos lose tomorrow that leaves Manning on his own with a record that nobody wants and that is a quarterback with the most losses in the postseason. 12 losses when it matters lost is unprecedented and that does not look good on anyone looking to leave a legacy.

Brady’s legacy will be uncanny if he and the Patriots win the Super Bowl this year. The same applies for head coach Bill Belichick; he claimed his 19th victory as a coach in the playoffs when New England eased past the Colts last week which now leaves him tied in second place with Don Shula. If the Patriots win tomorrow Belichick will tie Tom Landry for the most playoff wins with 20 and if dare I say it the Patriots win the Super Bowl that would be the perfect way for Belichick to break the record and it will leave him on 21.

Back to Brady and his legacy; he is so close to being the greatest quarterback of all-time and if he guides an injury depleted Patriots side that has so many similarities to 2001 Super Bowl winning side it will be the perfect way to cement his name as the greatest to play the game. Brady is tied for Super Bowl appearances with John Elway having played in 5. He and Elway have both won 3 of those which leaves Brady just one shy of Montana and Bradshaw’s record of 4 Super Bowl wins. Brady holds the record for playoff wins by a quarterback with 18 so a win tomorrow against Denver and a Super Bowl victory would see Brady end the 2013 season with 20 playoffs wins, 4 Super Bowl victories and 6 appearances in the big game which in my opinion leaves no debate as to who is the greatest quarterback to grace the NFL.

As I have pointed out though this is a team game and it will take a big performance from the New England Patriots to topple the Denver Broncos tomorrow. The Patriots are playing up to the title of underdog and why not because it puts pressure on the opponents. Personally I feel that they are underdogs as despite the fact that Brady can pick holes in a vulnerable Broncos secondary he goes up against a Broncos run defense that has improved in weeks gone by and they know that they have to stop the likes of Blount, Ridley and Vereen in order to win this game. On the flip side Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense is firing on all cylinders and the likes of Welker and Decker along with Julius and Demaryius Thomas will pose problems for a New England defense haunted by injuries.

For Denver to win this game is to score early because taking the pressure off Peyton Manning is a must especially in a conference championship which sees Manning take to the field in a game of his magnitude for the first time since the 2009 season (Brady on the other hand is making is 8th conference championship appearance). Now this may sound silly as it always applies but turnovers are the decisive and key factor for me. My explanation is that if the Patriots turn the ball over I feel they can still win this game but if the Broncos turn it over it’ll cost them and they will lose. The more pressure on the Denver Broncos tomorrow and the more likely it’ll be that they fall.

New England’s defense is led by the defensive mastermind that is Bill Belichick and despite injuries to Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork the younger guy on the team like Chandler Jones and Hightower have been big for this team. Last week saw the emergence of Jamie Collins and he will be looking to build on his success from that win over the Colts. Rob Ninkovich and Dane Fletcher also deserve a mention too and then there’s the secondary which possesses the likes of Aqib Talib, Devin McCourty, Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan who can all hold their own against the firepower of the Broncos offense.

If the Pats defense can continue to force turnovers it will give them a very good chance of walking out of Mile High as winners tomorrow. Nobody anticipated that the Pats offense would become the ground and pound juggernaut that it has done in recent weeks led by LeGarrette Blount who continued wrecking havoc last week when he ran in for 4 touchdowns and 166 rushing yards which tied a franchise record. If the ground game gets going again with the one-two punch of Blount and Ridley it will open up Shane Vereen in the backfield for Tom Brady and also give him plenty of play-action opportunities which we saw tear Denver apart earlier in the season. Julian Edelman will obviously be crucial to any success the Patriots have tomorrow night and it is also the perfect time for Danny Amendola to step out of the shadow of Wes Welker by outplaying his opposite number. I could sit here night and day writing comparisons but the fact of the matter is that this New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos game will be one for the ages and a playoff game that will be remembered for years to come as well as possibly playing a critical role in deciding an argument that has gone on for years. Brady vs Manning part 15: Let the games begin!

Prediction: Patriots 31-30 Broncos

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