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Who Remembers the '86 Playoff Loss at Denver?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PYPER, Jan 9, 2006.

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  1. PYPER

    PYPER Rookie

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    I'd like to create a thread for all of us who suffered through the heartbreaking loss at Denver in the '86 Divisional Playoffs. It'd be great if everyone would post their two cents.

    Here's my story.

    I became a Pats fan during the miraculous '85 playoff run. I was nine years old. I've always had a thing for the underdogs and there was no greater underdog than the '85 team. Plus I really like the red, white, & blue color scheme and, of course, the Pat Patriot helmets (although I now like the Flying Elvis better).

    Anyhow, although I became a Patriots fan in the '85 postseason, it wasn't until '86 that I became a true "DIE-HARD" fan. That's the year the emotional attachment was permanently forged.

    We went 11-5 in '86 and won the AFC East for the 2nd time in our franchises history. It was also the first time we'd ever qualified for the playoffs two years in a row.

    We were a very good road team that year. Our only loss on the road came in Denver in a game we blew a huge halftime lead (20-3 or 20-0). It was one of many losses we experienced at the hands of John Elway.

    Entering the playoffs, I really believed we had a chance to make it back to the Super Bowl. Eason had enjoyed a good season and Grogan filled in very well when forced to do so. The running game was terrible (dead last in the league) but the defense was very good.

    The playoff game against Denver was one of those games that went back and forth. The Broncos scored the games first 10 pts but the Pats came back to tie the game in the second quarter. After a Denver FG, Eason hit Stanley "The Steamer" Morgan for a long bomb to give the Pats their first lead of the game, 17-13. I remember going crazy and running all through the house when that happened.

    Later on in the 3rd, the Pats jumped offsides and stopped playing. Elway took advantage and threw a deep bomb to put the Broncos up 20-17.

    The 4th quarter was a defensive struggle. With about 5 minutes left in the game, the Pats faced a 4th and 1 from their own 40 yard line but Coach Berry decided to punt instead of going for it. I remember cursing that decision when it happened. I don't even think it was a full yard. In fact, as the years have gone by, the distance to that would be first down has shrunk to half a finger nail. That 4th down play has stuck with me for a long, long time. What if, what if, what if....

    Anyhow Denver managed a few first downs and by the time we got the ball back again, we were pinned against our own 2 yard line with about a minute or two remaining in the game. Eason was sacked for a safety and the great season of 1986 was over.

    It was the very first time in my life where my heart was absolutely broken. After the game my brother (a Steelers fan) rubbed it in pretty hard. I remember retreating to my room and actually crying. I wasn't the crying type either.

    A few years later ('88) we had another chance to make the playoffs. We were in control of our own destiny. All we had to do was win and we'd get in. Unfortunately, our nemesis, John Elway, stood in our way. We never did manage to beat that guy (0-11 vs Elway). Who knew that '88 would be our last competitive season for what seemed like an eternity.

    But times have changed. Today, our Patriots have become the greatest football team in all the land. The story dominating the NFL landscape revolves around the Patriots and their quest to do what no other football team before them has ever done. Win three straight Super Bowls and four in five years. It's not enough for us to become a dynasty. Our quest is to become the greatest dynasty of them all.

    On Saturday Night, we'll walk into Denver with a chance to avenge all the heartache those Broncos have caused us over the years. All I ask from this Patriots team is everything they've got. This is a real good Denver team. I don't know if we're good enough to beat them in their building but I believe that we can. I believe in this team. I believe in these players and these coaches. I believe in the story of the greatest dynasty of them all.

    I say we show this team our support and see them off when they leave for Denver on Thursday or Friday. We MUST beat the Broncos!!!!

    AAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

    That's my story.

    Tell me yours.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  2. Bronco Freak

    Bronco Freak Banned

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    Good story

    I was ten, and I remember was thinking Grogan is so old, and Elway is god. His hard count was money, you jump, and we are throwing it deep. To bad Dan Reeves was so conservative.

    Sorry to hear about all your sorry seasons after that loss, *not really, the Broncos have had 4 losing seasons in the last 30...

    lmao!!!
  3. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #17 Jersey

    Oh I remember it well, in their stadium - the laughing stock Patriot version of "The Drive" Eason style. Whatever happened tro Tony Eason anyway and why wasn't he in Foxboro for the '85 team celebration?

    Of course. all that has changed now - we are the dynasty, about to become the greatest dynasty of them all. Denver, hasn't been the same since their scandalous front office cap manuervings which tarnished their back to back titles.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  4. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Rookie

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    I remember the devastating sack by {Rulon Jones} that pretty much ended our final drive. Man...that was a heartbreaker of a game.
  5. PYPER

    PYPER Rookie

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    It's kind of sad actually. Eason has been treated horribly by Patriots Nation. I think he showed up for the 10 year reunion (1995) and was booed pretty heavily. That's one thing I've never liked about Boston fans. Way to cynical and negative. I understand that Eason was a bit of a disappointment. He had all the talent in the world but he apparently was too fragile for the NFL game.

    Still, 10-20 years later, its sad that people can't respect the fact that he did the best he could. It's not like he was an a-hole like Terry Glenn or Terrell Owens. He was just a guy that didn't live up to expectations.

    Anyhow, I doubt we'll ever see him in Foxboro again. Being that I became a "Die-Hard" fan in '86, Eason was actually one of my favorite players. But I'm pretty much alone in that sentiment.
  6. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Patriots were ahead 17-15 mid way through the FOURTH quarter of that game

    The offsides involved CONTACT...the whistle should have blown immediately...the whole world stopped on that play...THAT was an illegal play but then that's how Denver had it in those days...not only us but everybody in the league got shafted up there when Elway was their QB....the Mile High Stadium Rule...Denver gets ZERO penalties every home game and the visitors get at least TEN ....that is FACT and was bitterly voiced by Shottenheimer and Al Davis during those years.
  7. PYPER

    PYPER Rookie

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    Yeah, I hated those Broncos teams.

    Here's a few corrections for you though. The Patriots only lead was 17-13 and that was in the 3rd quarter. Denver's controvercial TD occurred late in the 3rd quarter. The safety occurred in the last few minutes of the game. I remember it like it was yesterday.
  8. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    my bad...thought they led in the 4th quarter

    yeah, I watched that freakin' game and got smashed afterwards...we HAD that one
  9. shakadave

    shakadave Rookie

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    Dave Henderson connection

    That year I was a student at UCLA. Somehow, I spent that game on an airplane flying from coast to coast. I think it must have been a day game. I don't even remember which direction I was flying --- west to east, I think, although if it was a January game it must have been east to west, as I was home in MA for the holidays. So whatever pain that game could have brought, was minimized by hearing only limited updates from the pilot.

    By the way, I had recently been at the game where Dave Henderson hit The Homer in Anaheim, October '86, and if I remember, that was the Patriots season where we won a game over the Rams with a miraculous TD catch as time expired.... AND THE BALL WAS CAUGHT IN THE VERY SPOT WHERE HENDERSON'S HR WENT OUT!!!!
  10. 24champbailey

    24champbailey Rookie

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    Mr. President Send The National Guard We Are Killing Them! :singing: :rocker:
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2006
  11. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rookie

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    Tony Eason happy feet

    I know Tony did some good things in 85 and some in 86. He was accurate and a good passer. He was not tough, the Bears took his manhood and the thing I remember about the Denver game was Tony's happy feet and his swiveling eyeballs.
  12. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Rookie

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    Eason was no Grogan, Grogan, won the game before to win the AFC East title, and maybee should have started..Rulon Jones took care of another trip to the super bowl.... Eason while accurate, was not tough at all..
  13. thebooradley

    thebooradley Rookie

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    I think it's disgraceful the way Tony Eason has been treated over the years by Patriots fans and the media.

    I seem to remember he started 0-6 in Superbowl XX before being replaced by Grogan, but one of those incompletions was a dead certain touchdown which was dropped IIRC by Stanley Morgan. That touchdown would have given the Pats a 10-0 lead and possibly transformed the game.

    Instead it seems his legacy has been sealed by a dropped ball and an O-line that made him a lamb to the slaughter that day.
  14. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I believe he won 6 straight to end that season coming off an injury, and led the pats to 3 road playoff wins, so yeah, he did some good things.
  15. sarge

    sarge Rookie

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    Just reading that felt like a punch in the gut. I remember that play well.

    I also remember a dropped int that would have easily been returned for a TD. And if memory serves it was also before the bears put any points on the board.
  16. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Never said I dont like Eason, he just was not Grogan.. And if you read tales from the patriots sideline... You have a different perspective on Eason, on how he did not want to play football long, because he was afraid of getting hit.. He also I heard did not come to the reunion 2 weeks ago, because he wanted so many tix for his family and friends... Eason was a good qb, just not a good football player, if that makes any sense...
  17. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey


    Wasn't it TE Lin Dawson who was having a breakout year and tore up his knee on that play?

    God, they looked like they were gonna compete in those first 5 minutes! How quickly that turned.
  18. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams pfadmins PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Still the only team EVER to make it to the Superbowl by winning three road games (@NYJ, @OAK, & @MIA)!

    I remember that playoff run in '85. Those were my first Patriot games viewed from the inside of a bar (I believe the drinking age back then had just gone up from 18 to 20 on it's way to 21).

    I just hate the fact that we are playing at Denver, whenever a Pats schedule comes out, I always count any game in Denver as a loss, Aside from the Monday night game with the intentional safety, I can't remember another Patriot win out there. However, I just can't see Jake Plummer beating Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs!
  19. PYPER

    PYPER Rookie

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    Here's an interesting Tony Eason stat.

    He finished his career with five postseason starts. In those five starts he threw 7 TD's against 0 Int's and had an impressive passer rating of 115.57.

    I don't know for sure, but I bet that 115.57 is an All-Time League record for guys with AT LEAST five postseason starts.
  20. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale Rookie

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    I remember that game, although the details are a bit fuzzy. I thought the Pats lead 17-3 after two TDs to Morgan and then the Broncos got back in the game (I remember it this way because I believe the Pats were up 14-3 in their regular-season meeting in Denver that year ...a similar score...only to give up that game in the 2nd half). On the key play in which Denver took the lead, Don Blackmon jumped offsides as Denver snapped the ball, so Elway took the free play by throwing deep...he's the best in NFL history at doing this...and yes, the rest of the D stopped EXCEPT the nickelback (#43?) who had coverage on the targeted receiver. The ball was underthrown, which allowed the receiver to adjust, catch and fall into the endzone for the lead. What killed Patriot nation about the Rulon Jones safety on Eason was that everyone KNEW it was coming. Eason was such a duck-for-cover QB* when the pressure was on that nobody was surprised he got sacked like that.

    Regards,
    Chris

    * For those of you too young to remember Tony Eason, imagine Tom Brady today getting pressure, but instead of using great footwork to step into the pocket or sidestep the rush as he always does, he ducks down awaiting the hit. That was Tony Eason vs. the better defenses. Now you know why the older Pats fans LOVE Tom Brady.
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