DENVER -- In Week 12, the Broncos pressured Tom Brady on nearly half of his dropbacks, but that stat comes with an asterisk. No Edelman. No Amendola. James White not yet a factor. The Pats offense was stuck in neutral then, and for many weeks to follow.
That all changed Saturday in the Divisional Round playoff game versus the Chiefs.
Brady averaged an eye-opening 1.94 seconds from snap to release on his 42 passes. That can neutralize even the best of pass rushes, which is something the Broncos possess.
“You said two seconds? Sometimes I only need like one,” said Von Miller to a room that soon filled with laughter. “It’s quick. We have to be tight in the secondary. That little window that we get, we—me, [OLB] DeMarcus [Ware], [DE Derek] Wolfe and [DE] Malic [Jackson] – have to get there. [OLB] Shaq [Barrett], everybody, we just have to get there. This is one of those games where you can’t make excuses. We have to get our hands up, bat some balls down and we just have to get there, plain and simple.”
“It means that I have to get off the ball a little quicker,” said DeMarcus Ware, who didn’t play the first times these two teams met, “and I need to get to him in 1.8 seconds, to be honest with you.”
But Ware, who’s been around for a mighty long time, saw just how impotent the Chiefs pass rush was against the Pats with Brady getting it out that quickly.
“If he’s getting the ball off in 1.9 seconds, nobody is ever going to get to him,” he admitted. “You can see that from the Kansas City game, in which they had [Kansas City LB] Tamba Hali and they had [Kansas City LB Justin] Houston and they still couldn’t get there. You have to be able to have those corners to buy you just a little more time to get to him.”
Julian Edelman is grinding.
The New England Patriots receiver, who is recovering from an ACL repair surgery that ended his 2017 season, shared a quick video from his workout on Tuesday. Edelman is shown running with a resistance band and a trainer in-tow.
Edelman has posted a few tidbits on social media to show encouraging signs during his recovery since he got surgery in October after suffering an ACL tear in a preseason game. He was spotted around the locker room a few times during the final weeks of the 2017 season.
"Rehab is a [expletive]. It sucks," Edelman said in November on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast." "You go in and you’re feeling decent and then you warm up, you beat it up and then you get stiff again. I mean it’s just a process and you go in six days a week and you’re going into work it, work on everything — your flexion, your extension."
Steelers tight end Jesse James is glad the Patriots' Super Bowl pursuit is done -- mostly because he played a big part in helping accelerate it.
In the final moments of the game, James failed to catch the ball during a Week 15 contest between the Steelers and the Patriots. The non-catch was a controversial one.
James told Centre Daily Times' Josh Moyer he finally felt relief on the morning after the Super Bowl when the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33.
“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” James told the Daily Times. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”
James' play was initially ruled a touchdown before the referees overturned the play, and took the lead away from the Steelers in the final moments of the game. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception a few plays later. By winning, the Patriots took a huge step in locking themselves into the AFC's top seed with a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they rode into the Super Bowl.
But of course, they couldn't finish their Super Bowl pursuit -- to James' satisfaction.