Let me start by saying that I understand that something cannot actually be both current and classic at the same time. However, I do feel safe in assuming that New England’s recent multi-comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens will likely be talked about fondly and for a long time to come, but probably only if they go on to win their next two games. But I get ahead of myself. Let us first take a look back at some of what made that game a potential high point in Patriots’ history.
“HEY, THAT WAS MY IDEA….”
I’ve yet to bump into anyone who resides in Patriots Nation who hasn’t taken at least some credit for the Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola 51 yard touchdown pass. Even Amendola claimed his share by announcing it was something that he and Edelman had been practicing for the last five years. Why it took Josh McDaniels so long to take advantage of the strong right arm of the former Kent State quarterback I’ll never know, but it certainly was well timed, tying the score at 28, bringing the Pats back from their second 14 point deficit, and setting “The Razor” to rocking.
Speaking of the young Mr. Amendola; in one of my preseason prognostications, I expressed my belief that he would stay healthy and become a major contributor to Pats offense. Well, I was right about him staying healthy, but unless you consider 27 catches for 200 yards and 1TD, to be a major contributions for a season, then I guess I’ll have to concede I was wrong. His 5 catches for 81 yards and 2 TDs, plus 5 kickoff returns averaging 25 yards a pop against the Ravens, did a go a long way towards redemption. Let’s hope he can keep that up against the Colts.
“EVE OF DECEPTION”
You would have to be old enough to remember the turbulent ’60’s (1965 to be exact) to catch my Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” reference, and although it may be a bit overly dramatic, I would contend that the “player ineligible” maneuver by Bill Belichick certainly helped to save the Pats season from destruction. I have to admit that I was surprised by how little negative reaction there was nationally by the blatant Belichick effort to gain an edge, and can well imagine coaches across the country whipping out their rule books in search of an edge of their own. I got a kick out of Ravens coach John Harbaugh complaining that it was nothing but “an act of deception”, and love that he got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against him. I have to wonder if Harbaugh has given any thought to what football would be like if you removed all the deception from it? Rugby, maybe?
“TB12: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY”
If you want to give a quick review of the game that Tom Brady had, the the trusty good, bad, and ugly approach could serve you well. He was in general good, throwing for 367 yards, going 33/50, with 3 TDs, and only one INT. Of course that one interception could count as the ugly as it was badly thrown and poorly timed. Coming in the closing minutes of the first half, it cost the Pats momentum and arguably resulted in a 14 point swing. I suppose I could just count the interception as both the bad and ugly and leave it at that, but I wanted to work in the fact that he actually “rushed” for a touchdown. What’s probably the funniest part of that is he tied the franchise record for rushing touchdowns in the playoffs at five, sharing the mark with Curtis Martin. (I’ll just let that sink in for a while….)
Although I doubt this game will be anywhere near as easy as was their first meeting, I expect the Pats will prevail and begin to prepare for the trip to Phoenix. Among my chief concerns is the loss of starting center Bryan Stork. The rookie has come along nicely in the ten games he has started and was a key to the improved play of their offense line. Ryan Wendell is a competent replacement moving from guard to center, but his fill in, Josh Kline is not. The Pats ran very effectively the last time they played (Jonas Gray, 201 yards) but I doubt they can duplicate that with Kline at guard. On the other side of the ball, I was definitely surprised by how much trouble the Patriots’ defense had stopping the run, and how effective the Ravens’ passing game was, especially in the first quarter. This is when we give thanks that the game is at home as New England usually finds a way to win, especially this time of the year. I trust that Brady will keep slightly better care of the ball, and that Rob Gronkowski will have a big game. In the end it will be Pats 34, Colts 20.
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016