1. Wes Welker – The savage Patriots fan base, which like with all Boston teams, has a way of kicking athletes in the groin on the way out of town, will pummel Welker for his crucial third-down drop in the third quarter. I choose to focus on the positive for the now free-agent. Welker fought double-teams all night, took a ferocious pounding and still managed to catch eight passes for 117 yards and a TD. Bill Belichick had the 31-year-old Welker returning punts, too, and he delivered a 14.0 yard average on four returns. I will be livid if this football team has the guts to let him walk. He is their heart and soul.
2. Aaron Hernandez – Professional night from the hybrid Hernandez, who caught a team-high 9 for 83 yards. Showed guts as the Ravens were laying the wood out there. Never backs down. Still, can he stay healthy?
3. Brandon Lloyd – Again, made plays when called upon. There was no shame in his seven-catch, 70-yard effort.
1. Tom Brady – What a disappointment! He moped. He moped early. He moped late. And he whined, never kick-starting himself or the offense. The good-bad playoff Brady fell to 7-7 in his last 14 playoff starts. The NFL’s all-time winningest QB, by percentage, can’t climb over .500 in the playoffs after 2004. The Sanchez-ian 62.3 passing rating wasn’t his worst ever, but it might as well could have been. Our leader failed miserably.
2. Vince Wilfork – He should have stayed as quiet as he was on the field. Instead, post-game he made the mistake of heading to the podium after being totally eviscerated by Matt Birk in a 0-tackle performance.
“We’re probably one of the most consistent NFL teams that has a chance to win,” said Vince.