I'm going to try and be short and sweet and expect this to get pushed down the post-season FanPosts.
Firstly, thank you Broncos for making this season much more than I thought it would be. You were inconsistent, but that's what young teams are. I have hope for the future.
I watched the game this morning in downtown Wan Chai, Hong Kong with a table of Pats and Bills fans. It was pretty tough - brutal actually. What I saw was team that was simply beaten by a team that was better doing the things that we've been doing well.
The Broncos have been a pass rush team - the Pats O-line gave Brady all day.
The Broncos O-line has been giving Tebow time for the majority of the year. On this day if he hadn't been able to break tackles, it's conceiveable that the commentators may have been talking about the potential for Tebow to have double digit sacks. Such was the pressure he was in all day.
The Broncos option game was basically a non-factor. The conventional running game was strong. I can actually see this style of play becoming a game by game proposition in the years ahead. Teams have become effective against it as they KNOW they need to game plan it. Next year, I'd like to see it become more of a surprise element depending on the team-by-team match up.
The Broncos receivers were good at dropping balls. The Pats defense was good at letting them drop their balls.
Overall, the Patriots were just better and good for them. But I think the Broncos are in a good position to become better. I hope the Broncos front office has seen enough in the 2011 year to justify to themselves that they should spend in free agency. The Broncos have a lot of good talent for the future. But not enough to cover their deficiencies. And their deficiencies are too many to cover with the draft alone. We now face two months of free agency MHR discussion, and three months of draft discussion. I won't go much into it here. But I do hope that we find significant upgrades in the areas where we are significantly undermanned:
Our WR core needs quickness. The quickness that Royal should be delivering but essentially isn't.
Our number 2 running back needs to be better than Lance Ball. He's not a bad number 3 or 4. But he shouldn't be taking a third of our snaps.
Our MLB needs to be a three-down player and a leader. "That is all" - easier said than done.
Our number 2 CB needs to be better than Goodman but Goodman is an average to good corner back. And just by delivering and upgrade and keeping Goodman, it will change our depth and make facing a team with a receiving core like NE, GB or NO easier to deal with.
And finally, as much as I respect the play of our D-Line, we need one game changing Defensive Tackle to go along with a team that retains Thomas and Bunkley and gets Vick and Warren back.
I realise that's a lot. And that it may take another 2 years. But we're young. And players that have been disappointing this year, like our young tight ends and safeties, may step up their game next year. Let's collectively cross our fingers for that, thank our team for playing their hearts out this year. And remain positive rather than negative about the way this year has finished.
I'm proud to have followed this team for 28 years. This year ranks up there with some of the better seasons. Go Broncos!!!