Tom Brady had a field day against Denver once again.
Passing for five touchdowns in one half is something no one could have predicted.
But Brady still managed to do it. And he did it against a defense that came in confident in its game plan and skills.
Abandoning the primary defense of a truly elite pocket passer—sack the quarterback—Denver's defense instead relied on pass coverage against two of the best tight ends in the league.
Once again, as in Week 15, the defense was embarrassed.
One of the biggest questions entering the week was whether Aaron Hernandez could duplicate his great game from Week 15 or if Rob Gronkowski would return to the spotlight and run a muck in the Denver secondary.
Unfortunately for Denver, both of these Pro Bowl-caliber tight ends managed great days and made every makeshift pass defender Denver could muster look foolish.
The mismatches were out of control.
Linebackers and defensive ends were covering two of the best tight ends in the game.
Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman seemed lost in their own backfield as receivers, running backs and tight ends ran circles around them. Soon after running circles, they promptly ran with the football into the end zone.
The pass rush accounted for a total of zero sacks.
The secondary managed only one interception—coming by way of a terribly overthrown pass by Brady.
Denver's leading tacklers, Joe Mays and Ryan McBean, managed only four tackles apiece.
There were no superstars, no gamers and no big playmakers.
This defense accounted for no energy in this game and played deflated for an entire 60 minutes.
To top it all off, when the game was entirely out of hand in the fourth quarter, the defense responded to Brady's third-down punt with violence. A fight broke out—started by rookie Von Miller—and spilled onto the sidelines before being broken up by the officiating crew.
Were it not for the one interception Quinton Carter pulled in, Brady would have most likely thrown for seven touchdowns in this game.
If Belichick and Brady had never pulled their feet off of the gas pedal, that offense would have easily put up 60 or more points on Denver on Saturday night.
This defense lacked a solid and reliable game plan, executed whatever plan it did have poorly and ended the night in shame on the sidelines.
And for all of this, joining the offense, it receives an F.
Denver has a lot to work on this offseason. There is no one position that requires work more than any other.
Hats off to John Fox and crew for getting this team two weeks further into the postseason than anyone could have imagined back in September. It's back to the drawing board for what will surely be a critical draft for this team.