Aqib Talib was knocked out of the AFC Championship Game early on after being picked by Wes Welker on a crossing route the Denver Broncos ran in the second quarter, costing the New England Patriots one of their key defensive stars.
The Broncos ran several short drags and crossing routes early in the game and used their receivers to pick off New England’s defensive backs. On the play in question, Welker collided with Talib, knocking the Pats cornerback out of the game.
Talib was taken to the locker room for examination and later returned to the team’s sideline, though he did not go back into the game. The injury was initially said to be a rib injury, but the Patriots later said it was a knee injury. Whatever the case, the Patriots were without their best defensive stopper, which left them extremely vulnerable against Denver’s stellar passing game.
Many people were wondering whether Welker’s hit on Talib was legal, and FOX NFL rules guru Mike Pereira explained that it was.
People asking about thej hit on Talib. That is not a foul. Ball was touched by 88 about the same time as contact, Can't be OPI.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) January 19, 2014
The Broncos were expected to move the ball whether Talib was in the game or not, but it certainly hurt New England being without him.
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