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Barnwell on Broncos/Pats

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Included is this analytic breakdown of the Steelers' game: "The formula here isn't anything new. Run the ball, run the ball, go play-action at an opportune moment and see if you can get a big play. It places a constant strain on the opposing team's safeties because it forces them to guess right, over and over again, until they exhibit clear tendencies. That's when a sound offensive coordinator can exploit the safeties. Once his team lost starting defensive linemen Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel to first-half injuries, LeBeau didn't believe that his front seven could stop the Denver running game. He had to bring extra help into the box, and that extra help was Polamalu and Mundy. He hoped that Taylor could handle Thomas one-on-one, but 204 yards later, it was clear that LeBeau's hopes were in vain." "The Broncos didn't punt once during the first 29 minutes of the game, and the only way the Patriots were able to stop them during the first half was through a series of unfortunate turnovers. With a 16-14 lead halfway through the second quarter, the Broncos promptly fumbled the ball away inside their own territory on back-to-back drives, spotting the Patriots offense the ball with a short field. Then, after the teams traded punts inside of two minutes, New England punted the ball to Quan Cosby with 14 seconds left. All Cosby needed to do was get out of the way for the game to go to halftime, but instead, he tried to field the ball inside his own 20-yard line and fumbled. The Patriots recovered all three of the fumbles and turned them into 13 points, giving them a 27-16 lead. Brady also recovered a bad snap on his own 11-yard line on the first drive of the third quarter, so the Patriots recovered four of what would eventually be five fumbles on the day, each of which had a dramatic impact on the game. That the Patriots were able to recover each of those four amounts to randomness, and there's no reason to think it's likely to happen again."

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