One of the biggest moments in the AFC Championship Game was the second quarter collision between Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker and Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib.
Talib was covering Demaryius Thomas on a crossing pattern and ran into Welker as the pass fell incomplete. Talib hurt his knee and didn’t return to the game, leaving Thomas to other members of the Patriots secondary who gave up some big plays to the Broncos’ big receiver en route to a 26-16 loss.
Welker wasn’t penalized for the hit and said after the game that he wasn’t trying to hit the Patriots cornerback.
“It was one of those plays where it’s kind of a rough play, and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,” Welker said, via WEEI.com. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that. I hope he’s OK — he’s a great player and a big part of their defense.”
The play appeared to be a variation on the pick plays that most teams use to free up receivers, so Welker wasn’t trying to hit Talib as much as he was trying to impede him from being in close pursuit of Thomas. It happens all the time, although the result for the Patriots wound up being much worse than an open receiver in the middle of the field.