CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason  made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to the Ravens in Sunday’s AFC championship game.
“There’s something else going on here,” Esiason said of the Ravens’ emotional playoff run. “I still believe that the Patriots are a better team. But those words probably ring hollow to a lot of people this morning, simply because the Ravens, in the second half especially, really played a whale of a football game.”
Added Esiason: “I understand there’s a frustration that you lose a home game, especially when you’re 67-0 at halftime if you’re Tom Brady , and somehow you inexplicably lose this football game a beat-up older Ravens football team that really, in my estimation, when I look at it, I’m still a little bit surprised that this took place yesterday.”
The Patriots mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, settling for a field goal after wasting about 12 seconds.
Said Esiason: “It looks bad, and it gives me the idea that there’s something amiss, there’s something not right there. ‘¦ That particular play right there told me all I needed to know.”
Wes Welker  had a key third-down drop in the third quarter, igniting another discussion about whether the team should sign him to a new contract.
“The guy’s a great football player,” Esiason said. “And he and Tom have got something special going on. I would hate to break that up, personally. I know when you look at one play here, one play here, maybe a drop in the Super Bowl  last year — that in my estimation the ball could have been thrown better, although most people would tell you he’s got to make that play if you want to be an elite receiver. And then the third-and-7 yesterday. But even when you watch that third-and-7 yesterday, he had to turn his body. It hit him in the chest, I know that. But if that ball’s out in front of him maybe it’s a little different. …
“Would I want to break maybe the greatest duo in pass receiving in the history of the NFL when you look at their numbers back-to-back? It’s really amazing what those two have accomplished together. ‘¦ The question is can you afford to pay Wes Welker that kind of money, and are you going to get that same production from him. And if you do give him a long-term contract, can you expect that production to come over the next 2-3-4 years that you’re going to be paying him. So, there’s a lot of variables that go into this.”
Bill Belichick  turned down CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker for a postgame interview, drawing heavy criticism from CBS studio host Shannon Sharpe . Esiason said he criticized Belichick for similar behavior after the Patriots’ loss to the Colts in the AFC championship game in 2007.
“Unfortunately it’s not in Bill’s nature,” Esiason said. “For all those people who want to have a reason to hate Bill Belichick, well, he gives it to them. And I can understand why Shannon said what he said. I’ve been down this road before. I’ve come to expect it.”
Looking at the Super Bowl, Esiason gives the early nod to the younger Harbaugh brother.
“I think San Francisco is the best team between the two,” he said. “I really thought San Francisco was one of the top four teams throughout the NFL season this year. Many people probably had them going to the Super Bowl this year based on last year’s performance, and that was with Alex Smith  as quarterback. Now, with what you saw yesterday with Colin Kaepernick — if the week before was breathtaking at home against a Green Bay defense was suspect in which he ran for 181 yards, yesterday, with the laser-like, pinpoint throws was even more impressive to me. Because now, all of a sudden he did it like you’re supposed to do it, if you will. He didn’t run as much as he did the week before. So, I still think that San Francisco is the team to beat in this Super Bowl. ‘¦ I see a really solid, top-notch, top-to-bottom, explosive quarterback, good, solid coaching, football team in San Francisco, and hence why they’re favored going into the game.”