Tag:Denver Broncos
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 1:38 pm
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Despite blowout, Tebow/Brady 2.0 gets big ratings

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Saturday night's Broncos-Patriots game didn't end in a climatic way: New England steamrolled Denver 45-10, and the drama was out of the game by halftime. But that didn't stop people from tuning in, as the CBS Saturday night affair brought in big-time ratings.

The average overnight rating/share for the game was 20.6/34, making it the highest-rated NFL divisional round game in primetime on any network in 11 years. (By contrast, when the two teams met in the regular season, the game drew a 19.5/36 overnight rating/share.)

It was the second-highest rated AFC divisional game in 18 years, trailing only the matchup between the Los Angeles Raiders and Buffalo Bills in 1994.

The peak ratings for last night game between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET, which shouldn't be a huge surprise. That's right about when the game was still competitive and right about when Tom Brady decided to unleash a pair of touchdowns to send the Pats into the locker room with a 35-7 lead.

Considering the vast differential in the score and the blowout factor, it's a real testament to the drawing power of Tim Tebow's Broncos and Brady's Patriots, especially when pitted against one another.

That, and the NFL's constantly growing popularity.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:50 pm
 

Casserly: NFL will look into Broncos-Pats fight

Brady's punt fired up the Broncos players on Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Saturday night, as the Patriots were wrapping up a 45-10 blowout win over the Broncos, Tom Brady took the ball on third down and ... punted. That didn't sit well with the Broncos players; Von Miller got a shot in on Dan Connolly's back, Matt Light took umbrage and the result was a skirmish on the Patriots sideline.

CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported on Sunday morning that the NFL will examine the tapes of the fight on Monday and determine whether or not folks will be fined.

"I talked to the league this morning and they told me that tomorrow they're going to look at the tapes of [the fight] and decide who, if any of the players, should be fined," Casserly reported on The NFL Today.

Miller, the Broncos rookie linebacker, is almost a sure bet to be fined: he hit Connolly in the back and instigated the entire thing. It'll take a further look at the sideline action to determine if anyone else is getting fined, but it's entirely possible that some Patriots players could be fined as well.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:07 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 11:48 am
 

Nolan drafts deserve more credit than McDaniels'

McDaniels is now getting credit for taking Tebow and Thomas but Niners drafted better under Nolan. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

During the last month or so of the regular season, before John Elway and John Fox had committed to Tim Tebow for 2012 but long after Tebow believers were convinced that he was the second (football) coming, another young rising star was the unexpected beneficiary of Tebow's NFL success.

Josh McDaniels, the Broncos head coach for 2009 and part of 2010, was run out of town after winning six straight to begin his career only to lose 12 of his next 17. He left Denver amid another videotaping scandal (McDaniels was on the Patriots staff during the whole Spygate saga) and with a shoddy record as a personnel evaluator.

Divisional Round Recap
McDaniels had been responsible for trading Jay Cutler to the Bears in April 2009, and a year later, he traded three picks to move up and draft Tebow in the first round. Both moves were heavily criticized.

But as the Broncos and Tebow surged this season, so too did McDaniels' reputation. While his coaching abilities have never been questioned, maybe he knew how to put together a roster, too.  In addition to Tebow, the Broncos also drafted Demaryius Thomas (1st round, 2010), Zane Beadles (2nd round ,'10) and Eric Decker (3rd round, '10) on McDaniels' watch.

But after what the 49ers did to the Saints Saturday, CBSSports.com assistant managing editor Eric Kay tweeted this: "If McDaniels is getting credit for drafting Tebow, best we all tip our hats to Mike Nolan and his 2005 draft savvy."

It's a solid point, particularly since Nolan's tenure in San Francisco is better remembered for Reebok suits than anything the 49ers accomplished on the field. (The 49ers were 18-37 under Nolan from 2005-08, his best year coming in '06 when the San Francisco went 7-9.)

We live in a world where the latest is often confused for the best; maybe time has helped repair McDaniels' reputation in Denver but we could be focusing on the wrong former head coach. Yes, Tebow and Thomas are good young players, but some of the names San Francisco drafted under Nolan now serve as the foundation for not only the NFC West champs but legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

(Note: below we've included players taken in the top four rounds as well as notable late-round selections)

Josh McDaniels, Broncos head coach 2009-2010 (GM: Brian Xanders, 2009-present)

2009
RB Knowshown Moreno (Round 1, pick 12)
DE Robert Ayers (1.18)
DB Alphonso Smith (2.37)
DB Darcel McBath (2.48)
TE Richard Quinn (2.64)
DB David Bruton (4.114)
G Seth Olsen (4.132)

2010
RB Demaryius Thomas (Round 1, pick 22)
QB Tim Tebow (1.25)
G Zane Beadles (2.45)
C J.D. Walton (3.80)
WR Eric Decker (3.87)
DB Perrish Cox (5.137)

Thomas, Tebow and Ayers have played well, but critics thought Moreno was drafted too high and those sentiments haven't changed after two seasons. He struggled with effectiveness and injuries before the Broncos eventually gave most of the carries to 30-year-old Willis McGahee. The Broncos traded a 2010 first-round pick to select Alphonso Smith who was such an unmitigated bust that he was shipped to the Lions for the other Gronkowski, Rob's brother Dan.

Mike Nolan, 49ers head coach 2005-2008 (GM: Scot McCloughan, 2005-2010)

2005
QB Alex Smith (1.1)
G David Baas (2.33)
RB Frank Gore (3.65)
T Adam Snyder (3.94)

2006
TE Vernon Davis (1.6)
LB Manny Lawson (1.22)
WR Brandon Williams (3.84)
RB Michael Robinson (4.100)
LB Parys Haralson (5.140)
TE/FB Delanie Walker (6.175)

2007
LB Patrick Willis (1.11)
T Joe Staley (1.28)
WR Jason Hill (3.76)
DE Ray McDonald (3.97)
DE Jay Moore (4.104)
S Dashon Goldson (4.126)
CB Tarell Brown (5.147)

2008
DT Kentwan Balmer (1.29)
DB Reggie Smith (3.75)
C Cody Wallace (4.107)
WR Josh Morgan (6.174)

Nolan, McCloughan, and the personnel department hit on a ton of talent -- from first-rounders to late-round picks. Of the players drafted from 2005-08, 14 are still on the roster and 10 started against the Saints Saturday. Amazingly, Nolan never managed to do anything on the field with a roster he helped build (and neither could Mike Singletary) but Jim Harbaugh certainly has. And now the 49ers are one game away from returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season.

As luck would have it, McDaniels, back where it all started in New England, is on his way to a conference championship game, too. The Broncos, meanwhile, are headed home with plenty of questions.


Harbaugh on wild win: Alex Smith completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with nine seconds left after Drew Brees had put the high-powered Saints ahead, and the 49ers capitalized on five New Orleans turnovers for a thrilling 36-32 playoff victory Saturday.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:59 am
 

Brady's punt: disrespectful or pretty darn cool?

By Josh Katzowitz

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman pointed out in the immediate aftermath of the Patriots destruction of the Broncos on Saturday, the fact that Tom Brady punted late in New England’s 45-10 win seemed somewhat disrespectful.

Even though it was cool to see Brady take the shotgun snap and then use the short punt in such an old-school manner – plus, the punt went 48 yards and was downed at the 10-yard line! – was Patriots coach Bill Belichick trying to insult Denver with the maneuver (especially since the punt incited a short brawl between the squads)?

Pats dominate Denver
Not exactly, Belichick said in his postgame presser.

As ESPN Boston writes, “Belichick explained the team didn't want to face the various punt rushes the Broncos had on fourth down, so the call was for the unusual quick kick.”

Brady said the team has been practicing the play for seven (!) years and the hope was to land the ball inside the 5-yard line, especially since the surprised Broncos defense didn’t have anybody back to receive the punt.

The only other time Brady punted occurred in 2003 when his punt was actually downed at the opponent’s 1-yard line. That was nine yards better than Saturday’s attempt. So, basically Brady is regressing as a punter.

“I’m disappointed we lost that field position,” Belichick joked. “It’s funny, I mean that’s the kind of play we work on forever and you never know when it’s going to come up.”



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Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:26 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 2:07 am
 

Tom Brady's play emphasizes Tim Tebow's flaws

Brady's play and the Pats big lead exposed Tebow's biggest flaws. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

This isn't breaking news, but it really helps to have a good quarterback if you want to make a deep playoff run. And Tom Brady, in dismantling the Broncos defense during New England's 45-10 beatdown in Foxboro on Saturday, proved just that.

Brady wasn't perfect, per se, because he threw an interception and he "only" completed 26 of 34 passes.

But Brady did just about everything else, setting an NFL record with five touchdowns in the first half and tying an NFL record with six touchdowns in the win. If the Broncos had been remotely competitive, Brady would've destroyed any number of NFL postseason records while he piled on statistics at the end.

Instead, he had to settle for a 48-yard punt, the second of his career.

"We’ve been practicing it for seven years; a situation came up," Brady said after the game when asked about the punt on third down. "I was trying to get it inside the five but I needed a penalty to do that. I was happy about the call."


Brady punted because the Broncos couldn't generate anything remotely resembling a comeback, which is a direct result of having Tim Tebow under center. That's not to attack the Broncos quarterback; he had a fantastic storyline of a season and we assume there'll be some chatter about between now and the start of the 2012 season.

But Tebow's not built to hang with a guy like Brady in the playoffs. This is Tom Freaking Brady: he has 36 passing touchdowns in 20 career postseason games and has thrown for over 4,750 yards.

Tebow might have 316 working in his favor, but he doesn't have the pedigree, prestige or playoff performances of Brady. Although you wouldn't have known it heading into the game, when all the focus was on Tebow.

Pats throttle Broncos

After the game, Brady didn't directly say that said attention bothered him, but he came pretty close.

"I think that everyone focused on one player and I think all week we were focused on the entire Denver Bronco team," Brady said when asked about the attention Tebow got. "We knew what kind of challenges they presented. Tim is a very good quarterback, they have a good defense, great rushing team, make some big plays in the pass game like they did against Pittsburgh. We knew the threats; we understood the danger of not playing our best game. I thought we came out and really responded well."

That much is obvious: the Patriots had this game in the bag before the teams adjourned to the locker room. Tebow had three completions. Brady had five touchdown passes. What else do you need to know? Because it's not like this year's Patriots team is known for shutting down opposing quarterbacks.

But everyone knew there would be no comeback. And there would be no hope for a comeback. That's because of a clear difference between the two guys running the offense for each team. Tebow can do some crazy things -- and he did this year -- but coming back from a 28-point deficit just isn't on the old miracle to-do list.

Tebow might be the story everyone loves to hop on, but Brady's still the quarterback with a trio of rings on his hand. And he reminded everyone of that on Saturday night.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:08 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 12:21 am
 

Patriots serve championship notice in blowout win

Brady has three Super Bowl rings but had a record-setting performance against Denver Saturday. (AP)
By Will Brinson

Heading into Saturday's Patriots-Broncos game, there was plenty of concern about what kind of miracles Tim Tebow could work against a weakened Patriots defense. With a virtuoso, record-breaking performance against Denver in a 45-10 blowout win, Tom Brady and the Pats quickly dispelled that ridiculous notion.

Pats throttle Broncos

Speaking of ridiculous notions, we all need to get rid of the idea that the Patriots can't win a Super Bowl with their porous defense. Because they can. After winning eight-straight games to close the season, people still disrespected the Patriots; after all, they didn't beat a single team with a record above .500 in 2011.

And, of course, they had the second-worst defense in the regular season. But this isn't about the long grind of 16 games. This is about preparing for two more individual opponents and maximizing chances over the course of 120 minutes on the field, which is precisely what the Patriots excel at doing, as they showed on Saturday night.

"Once we found out who were were playing [after the bye week] I think these guys really did a good job of focusing on a target and they were obviously ready to go today," Bill Belichick said after the game. "I have to give the players all the credit in the world. They stepped up and made a lot of big plays."

In other words, once the Patriots figure out who they'll play in the AFC Championship Game, it would be foolish to believe they can't figure out a way to slow said team down. If you don't believe me, just ask the 2007 Indianapolis Colts.

That Colts team finished 29th in total defense. The idea that they could slow anyone down was laughable heading into the playoffs. But they did just that in limiting the Chiefs and Ravens to 14 points total, winning a shootout with the Patriots and then limiting the Bears to 17 points in the Super Bowl.

They gelled at the right time and it's possible the Patriots could be doing the same thing right now. No, the Broncos aren't the Packers. But you think the Patriots can't win in a shootout? Because they can. And if their opponent makes a mistake, they're infinitely dangerous -- we saw just that at the end of the first half against Denver when Brady tossed two (more) touchdowns in less than two minutes.


"That was huge," Belichick said of the two-touchdown swing to end the first half. "And then we got a stop to start the third quarter so that sequence there … was big for us. We had the lead but then the game got out of hand at that point. That was really well executed by our football team, especially offensively."

It's the kind of swing only a few teams are capable of pulling off, and the Patriots and Packers probably qualify as the only teams remaining with that much explosiveness. Broncos coach John Fox, given his comments after the game, likely agrees.
"They're better than us," Fox said after the game.

They are. And the Patriots are better than a lot of teams, even if the defense stunk all year and they didn't have a hard schedule.

Now they just have to be better than two more teams to get that fourth ring for Brady.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:35 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 12:55 am
 

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Tebow's season ends ingloriously in New England. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

We joked last week, days after Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards (including an 80-yard pitch-and-catch to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime to beat the Steelers in the wild-card matchup), that the big losers coming out of that game were John Fox and John Elway. Because given the way Tebow threw the ball, there was no way either could go back on their earlier promise that he would be the team's starter in 2012.

New England throttles Denver
And while neither Fox nor Elway has explicitly said that they'd prefer a conventional quarterback running a convention offense, neither has come out and fully supported the guy Josh McDaniels selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, some seven months before he was fired.

Complicating matters, at least in terms of Tebow's tenuous hold of the starting gig: the option isn't quite the novelty of the wildcat, but it's also taken less time to crack. Whereas the wildcat required an offseason of film study before defenses were keen to what was going on, the read-option's run has been much briefer.

Denver decided to abandon their original playbook in favor of the offense that made Tebow a high school phenom and a Heisman Trophy winner. The results: a six-game winning streak to get the Broncos to 8-5. And then they ran into the Patriots before the Bills and Chiefs had seen enough film of the option to properly defend it. Denver scored 17 points in the final two weeks of the regular season and even the hardcore Tebow supporters were having doubts.

But then Pittsburgh happened; the Broncos' offense manhandled the NFL's top-rated defense and Tebow looked like a real live passing quarterback. His performance solidified his spot on the depth chart heading into 2012, especially since a) Denver had a playoff win for the first time since 2005, and b) Tebow would have the entire offseason to work with coaches on everything from reading defense to improving his footwork and accuracy.


Tom Brady threw six touchdowns passes, five in the first half, and put the New England Patriots into the AFC championship game after roughing up Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos 45-10. CBS Sports' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have the recap.

Then Tebow reverted to his old form, throwing late and wildly in a lopsided loss in the divisional playoffs against the Patriots. By the time it was over, Tebow was 9 for 26 and suffered five sacks. And while he wasn't solely responsible for another sputtering offensive performance, he is the quarterback; if the running game isn't working, he has to make something happen through the air … except that if the Broncos aren't facing the Steelers, that's a problematic proposition.

Which leads us to this: will Elway and Fox reconsider their quarterback situation this offseason? We're guessing they have to. In fact, we've previously speculated that the next few months will go something like this: Tebow will be promised "a chance to win the job," the front office will sign a veteran quarterback to compete for the starting gig, and come training camp, there's a decent chance that said veteran will be given every opportunity to start.

We've seen this movie before -- last August. Tebow thought he'd enter 2011 as the starter -- the Broncos seemed to confirm as much -- right up until training camp when Kyle Orton was again atop the depth chart. Tebow didn't help himself with abysmal preseason efforts, but that's not his forte. He's at his best when he can improvise, something that doesn't translate well during meaningless preseason snaps against third- and fourth-teamers.

So, who are some early QB candidates? Here's the list of soon-to-be free agents:

* Matt Flynn. We've called him the next Kevin Kolb, which is wholly unfair because Flynn has actually played well as a backup. We can't imagine the Broncos go after him although if they do it's a clear indication that Tebow Time was a one-year deal.

* Alex Smith. Dude's benefitted from Jim Harbaugh's presence and the 49ers head coach says he wants Smith back in San Francisco. Smith will probably get some interest in free agency should he hit the market but his best chance at success is if he stays put.

* Jason Campbell. This seems reasonable. So much so that Campbell could return to Oakland and supplant Carson Palmer as the starter there.

* Kyle Orton. Stranger things have not happened.

* Drew Brees. If he doesn't get a new deal he's getting franchised, but we wonder if Tebow's most ardent supporters would concede that Brees would be a better choice.

Other names (courtesy of Footballsfuture.com):

Chris Redman (ATL)

Derek Anderson (CAR)

Shaun Hill (DET)

Drew Stanton (DET)

Brady Quinn (DEN)

Luke McCown (JAC)

Chad Henne (MIA)

Sage Rosenfels (MIA)

David Carr (NYG)

Mark Brunell (NYJ)

Kevin O'Connell (NYJ)

Kyle Boller (OAK)

Vince Young (PHI)

Charlie Batch (PIT)

Dennis Dixon (PIT)

Byron Leftwich (PIT)

Charlie Whitehurst (SEA)

A.J. Feeley (STL)

Josh Johnson (TB)

Rex Grossman (WAS)

The Broncos' offseason begins now and how things unfold in the next eight months are anyone's guess. But whatever fate awaits Tebow, it's worth remembering that he helped lead this team to the division title and a playoff win. That doesn't guarantee him the starting job, but despite his unconventional style, he's done something right.

"I was really proud with where (Tebow) started and where he brought this team," Fox said after the Patriots game. "You know, we're a work in progress -- we've got a lot of work to do, that hasn't changed for some time. And as I mentioned earlier, the two matchups we had against the New England Patriots it's evident we have work to do."

Fox was then asked if he'd bring back the read-option in 2012. 

"I think every year has its own personality," he said. "We're officially starting our offseason now and we'll do whatever it takes to get better."

And we believe Fox when he says this.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:58 pm
 

Brady breaks TD record in first-half blowout

Brady throws five first-half touchdowns, three to his tight end. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Will Brinson

All week long, there were rumblings that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was as focused and as intense as he's ever been. After watching him toss an NFL record five touchdowns in the first half of a 35-7 beatdown of Denver in New England, that sounds about right.

Brady's hasn't been entirely flawless, going "only" 18 of 25 with a pick, but 246 yards and five touchdowns are numbers you'd love to see from a quarterback over the course of a game, much less a half.

Denver's got no answer for the Patriots on defense, and haven't gotten a sniff of pressure on Brady throughout the first half. So with plenty of time to throw, he spent 30 minutes of football time breaking records and getting Rob Gronkowski a playoff-record three touchdowns in the first half as well.

Tim Tebow's not having quite as much success, going 3/10 for 28 yards and rushing five times for 13 yards.

It's not that he's just not showing up in the coldest game of his career though; the Patriots defense is playing at a surprisingly high level. Even if the Broncos aren't the most potent offensive team, it's a friendly reminder what can happen if a defense has a superstar on the other side of the ball and starts clicking at the right time.

Although if Brady plays like he did in the first half for the rest of the playoffs, the defense can probably do whatever it wants. As CBS Sports Dan Marino pointed out at halftime, the only way the Broncos are coming back is if they convince Brady to swap uniforms.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com