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Long Island EFL SPOTLIGHT: Week #7 Game: Denver Broncos (5-1) vs New England Patriots (3-3) and New York Jets (2-4) vs Philadelphia Eagles (1-5)

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Broncos (5-1) - Patriots (3-3) We have some players in this league that are hard to ignore. This game is going to be a great coaching matchup! 

Right now Paddy Brannigan's Denver Broncos (5-1) have the best defense in the AFC going into this game against the New England Patriots (3-3). New England is one of the best teams in the AFC, according to the coaches who've played them. The Patriots want to win now, and we have to credit coach Levi Vick for their success. Vick began the rise last season when he made some big and risky adjustment from the LIEFL loose player base pool of thousands of bases.

In 2022, the Patriots finished as the AFC East Champion, losing in the first round of the AFC Wild Card Game in the playoffs against Buffalo, 31-24! After that game, Vick methodically pounded the pavement until he found what he thought were the animals he needed who could compete this season, and so far his strategy has been working. Levi Vick and Ed Viggs teamed together by Viggs allowing Vick to take the Chargers to be the benchmark for a new Patriots front line, and find player bases compatible with them. That's how he made the Patriots improved who they are today. The one missing link for New England is the running game. That's why Vick is so adamant about securing a star like Carolina's Greg Jones, because he knows with Jones, Miami and Buffalo would meet their greatest competition. Coach Vick has played all of his cards right with this team. They have a few missing pieces to the puzzle, but they are fierce competitors. 

New England has not had an easy schedule. In fact, they have played some of the toughest teams in the game, beginning with Miami, who they lost to in their season opener 17-14, but then they beat the Chargers 10-7, in week two for their 70th career win in dramatic fashion! That win against the Chargers proved that the Vick-Viggs connection was a great one! Then New England lost to Buffalo in Week #3, 24-17, in a terrific game at Buffalo. In Week #4 the Patriots upset the Philadelphia Eagles 7-6, on Philly's home turf. That game was a huge statement to the league that New England could win on the road. The Pats put the LIEFL on notice that they will be competing to the death! That's all a league could ask of a coach, to compete and never quit!  They won two in a row between the Eagles and the tough Indianapolis Colts, 10-7. Last week New England lost to the undefeated Washington Redskins 10-7, but it was a very close battle, and that brings us to this game today against the top defense in the league the Denver Broncos, who've given up just 55 points on defense to lead the AFC.

The two soft spots for the Patriots this season have been Rob Gronkowski and Laurence Maroney. Gronk had 22 touches for 1,260 all-purpose yards, with five touchdowns, including three 100-yard touchdowns last season. This year defenses have caught up to him. Gronk has just 743 all-purpose yards on 13 touches, with just two touchdowns, both 100 yard kick returns. Maroney had his player base changed and his numbers are low. He has 34 carries for 127-yards with just two touchdowns.  If the Patriots can't get Greg Jones, coach Coach Ed Viggs may give up Lance Alworth's player base for a number #1 draft pick in February, and that would be a significant upgrade for the Patriots. Alworth isn't the experienced player that Jones is, but in the seven touches he has this season, he has created havoc for defenses with seven touches for 423 all-purpose yards, with two touchdowns, one of them for 100-yards.
The Broncos have been criticized for having a light schedule, and they haven't had the stiff competition compared to the Patriots, but last week the Broncos really buried the highly competitive Chicago Bears, beating them 15-0, showing just how resilient their defense is. LIEFL All-Pro Broncos running back Terrell Davis broke 1,000 all-purpose yards again! Davis has 54 touches for 1,085 all-purpose yards, but 42 of those touches are in the rushing department with 330-yards. Compared to last season, Davis had 67 touches for 1,708 all-purpose yards, with ten touchdowns, including four 100-yards kick returns for touchdowns! Since, 2019, Davis has torn the league up with 4,487 all-purpose yards with 34 touchdowns, including (14) 100-yard touchdown returns! How would you like a proven player like that on your team? Davis is the playmaker, and the biggest reason why the Broncos are (5-1). Now he has another threat playing next to him which makes the Broncos offense lethal. Receiver Ed McCaffrey has four touchdowns with 204 receiving yards and he is Paddy Brannigan's go-to guy in the air. 

This game was one explosive battles of the year, which will become a rivalry, and the Broncos may have just eliminated the Patriots! As expected, both defenses played better than good, they were terrific! The Broncos took the Patriots to the last ten seconds of the game on the road in New England,  showing championship caliber football by both coaches and teams.pats5ART.thumb.jpg.6431a3bb0fe7156962e2a9f2fec5ef8b.jpg

The first half was slow with Coach Levi Vick working the clock and trying to get his ground game going for New England, but the Broncos defense showed up again, after last weeks beating of the Chicago Bears 15-0, Denver held New England to a field goal, 3-0 Patriots!  In the trenches is where the battle was until special teams arrived late in the game with some surprises. First, Denver pressured the Patriots, but the Patriots line held their own, and that is what makes New England so dangerous. They can play with anyone in the league.

pats1(3)art.thumb.jpg.752a15ccbcf4c94f12636250b4aec2d4.jpgOn the most defining offensive surge for the Broncos on the ensuing kickoff, Terrell Davis exploded on a 49-yard return to start the second half. Davis then took it from there exploding on a 31-yard run, followed by a 49-yard touchdown scamper into the end zone as we watched Davis use his power to blaze down the right sideline to give Denver the lead 7-3!
It was all fireworks in the second half. The bombs began with Rob Gronkowski running back a 41-yard kick return, and then on first down, Laurence Maroney took an end-around down the left sideline, scoring on a spectacular 54-yard touchdown run as New England took back the lead back,10-7!pats3(1)ART.thumb.jpg.eb578b0e0cc0e0c0830f2e2215b6b306.jpg
The Broncos could do no wrong after an ensuing 68-yard kick return by Terrell Davis. Davis was piling up the yardage on offense for Denver. He then ran for four yards until Coach Brannigan decided to air it out and connect with his favorite receiver Ed McCaffrey, who took it 40 yards into the end zone to give Denver the lead 14-10, with less than 5 minutes to go in the game.
The Patriots were not going to give up. On the next kickoff, Rob Gronkowski ran an electrifying 100-yard touchdown to put the Patriots ahead 17-14, and it looked like the game was over with just 1:30 remaining on the game with the Pats in the lead! What an epic performance by two playoff driven teams in a showdown!
On the last play of the game, Broncos star Terrell Davis ran back a stunning and heroic 100-yard touchdown run in one of the most incredible and electrifying finishes of Denver's season, to win the game in dramatic fashion for the Broncos 21-17, as time ran out in a heartbreaking loss for the Patriots and Coach Levi Vick!
What a spectacular finish. This game is what it should be to end a season, a battle to be remembered in a competitive league with both teams leaving it all on the board right to the end! Both teams went back and forth the entire game with New England winning, then Denver winning on the line, but it was enough for the Broncos to stop the Patriots 21-17, in a stunning upset!
EFLLOGO.jpg.2bf4199ff3284556dab620f33c75f7a3.jpgJets (2-4)- Eagles (1-5). The Jets and Eagles are a great matchup because they have some of the most exciting players in the LIEFL. Jets running back Le'Veon Bell has been terrific this season. Bell has been a steady top five back in the AFC. Coach Joey Pizz was singing, "Mama sita, We gonna Beat ya" ... Bell has 36 rushes for 493-yards with 8 touchdowns! New York hasn't seen those numbers since 2008 when Bruce Harper used to run the ball. Also, tight end and return man, Don Maynard has played BIG! Maynard has 13 touches for 720 all-purpose yards with three touchdowns, all 100-yard kick returns!  The Jets will be challenged against an angry Eagles team who fell short of their goal to make the playoffs again this season. Pitting an NFC East team against an AFC East team is a montage of two teams who are the epitome of the wholeness of this exciting league. 

We can't ignore the disappointment of the two teams however in where they landed this season, but there have been bright spots for both. Eagles return man Harold Carmichael has 19 touches for 1,059 all-purpose yards with three touchdowns, two of them for 100-yards! Eagles running back Keith Byars is having an off year, ranked 8th in NFC Rushing with 34 carries for 351 yards with six touchdowns, one of them, a 65-yard touchdown run behind lineman Hugh Douglas and Company!  

jets4(2)ART.thumb.jpg.c2031f56af2c19a5ddfb4c4166884f7e.jpgFrom the first play of the game to the last play of the game, it was all Philadelphia beginning with a 49-yard kick return from Harold Carmichael. The Eagles dominated on the front line as Keith Byers launched a 31-yard first down on his first run of the game, followed by a 3-yard run, and then a 17-yard run into the end zone to give the Philadelphia Eagles the 7-0 lead over the New York Jets!

When the Jets returned their first kickoff Don Maynard blasted off for 79-yards, and then the Jets were stuffed by a tough Philadelphia Eagles defense. Jets running back Le'Veon Bell had nowhere to run and the Eagles D E F E N S E sealed all holes. The Jets killed the clock but they had to settle for a 55-yard field goal on 4th down, with the Eagles still in the lead 7-3.

Coach Pizz realized at that point it could be a long day for his Jets against the Byars-Carmichael offensive Eagles dou. jets2(8)RT.thumb.jpg.c8bd49898702dc4e37c87a331886a601.jpg
On the ensuing kickoff, Harold Carmichael exploded for an electrifying on 84-yard kick return to set up Keith Byars on the next series for the Philadelphia offense. On 1st and 2nd downs, the Eagles were shut down by the Jets defense with the fierce play by Marvin Powell, Mark Gastineau and Marty Lyons. And then on third down, coach Matt Zoo-York threw a rocket for 21-yards to Philly receiver Irvin Fryer, bringing the ball to the 4-yard line of the Jets. One play later, it was Keith Byars who scored on his second touchdown run of the game from one-yard into the end zone giving the Eagles the 14-3 lead.
The Jets didn't give up. Don Maynard returned the Jets next kickoff 45-yards on the ensuing kick, and then it was Le'Veon Bell who ran for 5 yards and then 10 yards for another first down. Coach Joey Pizz decided to put the ball in the air, connecting with Don Maynard for a 40-yard touchdown to make this game 14-10!
The Eagles would get one more kick return for 40-yards by Carmichael who was stopped by a swarming Jets defense, ending the game and out of time as the Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) beat the New York Jets (2-5) of a final score of 14-10! Carmichael finished the day with three touches for 173 all-purpose yards, and Keith Byars had 55 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Jets rising star Don Maynard finished the game with three touches for 164 all-purpose yards with a 40-yard touchdown play. Both teams will have heavy picks in the February LIEFL Draft.


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