Five people who look the worst following the Patriots' evisceration of the Chargers

Alex Reimer
January 13, 2019 - 6:55 pm

Almost everybody who’s belched into a microphone over the last week looks foolish in the aftermath of the Patriots’ evisceration of the Chargers Sunday. Tom Brady delivered the ultimate vintage effort, completing 34-of-44 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown. His message in a postgame interview reflected the “F-U” nature of his performance. 

“It will be a good game. (The Chiefs are) a good team. We played them earlier in the year.” Brady told CBS’ Tracy Wolfson when asked about reaching his eighth straight AFC championship. “I know everyone thinks we suck and can’t win any games, so we’ll see. It will be fun.”

While Vegas favored the Patriots, few pundits were willing to give New England much credit heading into their Divisional Round matchup against the Chargers. We heard all about Los Angeles’ excellent road record (8-1) and superior talent on both sides of the ball. Some even said they would rather have Philip Rivers under center than Brady. 

It took just 30 minutes of football for those folks to be proven wrong. The Patriots scored five touchdowns in the first half of their 41-28 victory.

This is a long way of saying it is hypocritical of me, who thought this would be a field goal game, to shame other members of the media for their now-laughable proclamations. But fraudulence has never stopped me in the past, and it won’t this time, either. The five people who look the worst now that the Patriots’ Dynasty has been extended for another week are below:

Max “Cliff” Kellerman: Kellerman should be at the top of every list about silly Patriots haters, because of his proclamation in July 2016 that Brady was nearing the proverbial cliff of his career and would be a “bum in short order.” Even more embarrassingly, Kellerman lied about his awful take earlier this season, saying he never meant Brady was going to be a “bum” –– even though that’s exactly what he said.

This week, in an apparent effort to top himself, Kellerman declared he ranks Brady fourth among all remaining AFC quarterbacks. Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck, who spent their Divisional Rounds getting bullied by the opposing front-seven, did their best to make Kellerman look even dumber than usual.

With all of that said, don’t expect Kellerman to offer any mea culpas on “First Take” Monday. If his Twitter feed is any indication, he solely credits this Patriots win to Bill Belichick. 

The Mut Man: Michael “I’m not a tout” Mutnansky’s pick for this game lived up to his laughable reputation as a sports handicapper. Mut picked the Chargers to win and said they’re better in every facet of the game. He also called us “honks” on the air Friday for saying the Patriots running backs were better than Los Angeles’.

New England out-gained the Chargers 155-19 on the ground. I would rather be a “honk” than lose my son’s college fund at the Sportsbook.

marC “Phony Michel” James: The argument can be made that marC James doesn’t need Sony Michel to score three touchdowns to look stupid. That is true. But nobody this side of Tony Massarotti has hammered Michel more all season than marC. The Patriots’ first-round pick responded with 129 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns –– including an incredible effort through a wall of Chargers defenders on his five-yard TD run to finish off the first half.

Michel is not Todd Gurley or Ezekiel Elliott, but the Patriots wouldn't be here without him.

Anybody who dismissed Julian Edelman: There is a contingent of commentators who keep talking about Edelman’s down season, even though the numbers show otherwise. Edelman caught 74 passes in 12 games, which put him on pace to match his 98-catch output in 2017. 

He was a beast in this game, leading all receivers with nine catches and 151 yards. Edelman also pushed past members of the Chargers’ secondary for first downs on multiple occasions in the first half –– including Desmond King, who had a putrid day. 

It looked like Edelman was making his last stand with each yard-after-the-catch.

Rex Ryan for calling Gronk "slow and stiff": Sexy Rexy is far from the only person who’s questioned Rob Gronkowski this season. But he’s fun to mock, so he's on this list. 

Gronk only caught one pass Sunday, but it was an impressive 25-yard grab that featured him dragging defenders across the field on his back in throwback style. He also played a huge role in the blocking game, opening up holes for Michel and Rex Burkhead on his walk-in touchdown run.

Gronk is a force even when he doesn’t have the ball. He's diminished, but far from a stiff.