Take an elite pass-rushing team like the Denver Broncos and couple it with an inept offensive line, a missed extra-point attempt and some questionable no calls and what do you have?
The recipe for humble pie — that’s what.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High has not been kind to quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In fact, the Patriots are a staggering 0-3 in Denver.
My prediction was that the Patriots would win the game 31-20 — well, I was right about one thing, the number of points Denver did score in the 20-18 game.
Patriots fans who booked their trip to Santa Clara, California, can just enjoy the festivities as Broncos’ and Carolina Panthers’ fans will roam the streets outside the grand blue jean — I mean, Levis’ Stadium.
New England lost that game the moment it stepped on the field. Denver had all the makings of a fairytale ending with Peyton Manning emerging from the grave two weeks ago and visiting the fountain of youth. But, it did not help matters that Brady had handed the ball to the Broncos defense twice — one ball was thrown into double coverage.
But if you look back at the video of the game, what else was he to do?
The left and right tackles looked like turnstiles at the MBTA Station — except that the Broncos were evading payment of their fares. Too quick off the ball.
Brady was hit hard and often.
Patriots fans have been spoiled with four Super Bowl titles, five straight AFC Championship appearances and an elite quarterback in Brady who has surprisingly continued to improve.
The “revenge tour,” it was dubbed in the media, following New England’s off-season surrounding the suspected deflated footballs during last season’s AFC Championship.
Commissioner Roger Goodell did not even show up to New England’s opener with Pittsburgh when the team received its rings as a result of the ongoing investigation.
Then the Patriots opened the season at 10-0 looking like world-beaters, wanting to stick it to the commissioner and all the doubters.
But then something happened — they lost to who other than Denver? In Denver, Brady’s nemesis Manning — scratch that — enter backup quarterback Brock Osweiller. Osweiller used some Mile High magic to defeat the Patriots in overtime.
Sunday’s game was not for the faint of heart. As I exited the establishment where I was watching the game, dejected by the way the team was playing, I flipped on my radio. Patriots were driving and still had a chance late in the game — not once, but twice.
But Brady’s pass was tipped and fell incomplete to the turf on the crucial game-tying 2-point conversion attempt. An attempt that would not have been needed if kicker Stephen Gostkowski did not hook his first extra-point attempt wide right.
Gostkowski shouldered the blame in the locker room following the loss for the miss, but the fact is, that is not what lost New England the game.
The refs did not seize the game from the Patriots and Goodell was not hitting a magic button every time it looked like the Patriots were starting to gain momentum.
How about accepting the fact that the Broncos downright beat you. Face it, the Patriots are mortal. At the end of the day, it is just a game. Players and fans alike need to understand how to be gracious both in defeat and victory.
Brady and coach Bill Belichick were just that following the game. But if you look across Twitter and Facebook, Patriots fans were very quick to blame the refs. It is like the kid who does not want to stop playing a video game until he beats his friend because he hates to lose. Losing is a part of sports, so is winning. Well, except in soccer, ties are acceptable … never quite understood that.
Open wide Patriots fans, here comes a piping hot slice of humble pie.
Your chef for the evening: the Denver Broncos.
Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.