BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots’ season came to an end Sunday afternoon after Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos dominated them in the AFC Championship.
Tom Brady and the Patriots offense couldn’t get any momentum going, and had to watch as Manning and his vast array of weapons picked apart the New England secondary. Brady missed numerous opportunities early, and the Patriots found themselves in a hole they couldn’t get out of.
Brady finished the afternoon with 277 passing yards and a touchdown, but that was nothing compared to Manning’s 32/42, 400 yards and two touchdown line.
This led to some talk of Brady being a bit washed-up. But whatever you do, don’t say that around WFAN and The NFL Today’s Boomer Esiason.
“Stop with that line of thinking, stop now!” Boomer pleaded on Monday’s Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Everybody is frustrated in New England, but you saw a 37-year-old quarterback, Peyton Manning, come back after four neck surgeries and play the way he played. The reason for that is look at that group of athletes he plays with and how he raises their game.
“Here is a great player in Tom Brady, who if he had the same athletes he would have the same impact on their game much like Manning. He is nowhere near finished,” said Boomer. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they win another division title and are deep in the playoffs. That’s how good they are.
“But in order to take some of the pressure off of him, you have to have more playmakers out on the field with him,” said Esiason. “The question is will they spend the money to support their Hall of Fame quarterback just like Denver has supporting Manning the last two years. He’s far from over, there is so much football left to be played, and they still have very, very good years ahead of them.”
Julian Edelman, Brady’s top target in 2013, is heading to free agency after a career year. Edelman led the way for the Patriots with 10 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and finished the season with 121 receptions (regular and postseason).
He’ll have a pretty high price tag attached to him on the open market, but Boomer says the Patriots cannot let him walk.
“There was a market for Wes Welker, there was a market for Danny Woodhead — there will certainly be a very hot market for Edelman,” he said, adding the Patriots will have to be aggressive with Edelman in the offseason. “He’s a tremendous football player, this new inside slot guy. He’s also good enough to play on the outside, but where he makes his money is inside. Tom Brady said they have something special, they know each other really well. I would hate to see yet another piece of Tom Brady’s success be removed from him.”
Boomer also talks about Aqib Talib’s upcoming free agency, the hit by Wes Welker on Talib in Sunday’s game, and his thoughts on the Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl: