Wes Welker helped Tom Brady try to beat Peyton Manning many times when Welker was a member of the Patriots, but no one expected him to do it when he returned to New England as Manning’s Bronco teammate.
It wasn’t intentional, but that’s just what happened on Sunday night in overtime. Welker was back returning a punt because of Trindon Holliday’s fumble earlier in the game and he backed away from Ryan Allen’s kick because of the number of players around the ball. One of those players was Broncos safety Tony Carter, who ran into the punt to create a live ball that the Patriots recovered to set up the winning field goal. The ball hit Carter, but Welker took full responsibility for the blunder after the game.
“I just felt like there was a lot of traffic, it was a high ball, [I] basically didn’t want to get into a situation where somebody’s running into me or anything else, and ended up with a situation that I didn’t want to happen in the first place,” Welker said, via CSNNewEngland.com. “I gotta do a better job of getting up there and getting those guys out of the way, and making sure it doesn’t hit them. I gotta get to him earlier and tell him, and get those guys out of the way if I’m not going to make the catch. I was a little bit in between and you can’t be that way.”
Welker also regretted his inability to come up with a third down catch before the Broncos punted in overtime, giving him plenty to think about on the long flight back to Denver. He wasn’t the only Bronco in that position after an epic second half collapse, but his history in New England made his late game foibles stand out in the crowd.