The Patriots are coming off their most impressive victory of the season defeating the now formerly undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and second-year phenom quarterback Patrick Mahomes by a score of 43-40. Even with the close score and game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski as time expired, the game never seemed as close as the score made it out to be.
The Patriots got out to a big lead in the first half taking a 24-9 lead in to halftime. Mahomes got off to a rocky start and looked like the bright lights of playing against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in Gillette Stadium in primetime with the whole country watching may have been too much for him. Mahomes missed some easy passes that led to three Kansas City first half field goals, as well as a first quarter interception that went directly to Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower. For the Patriots the offense seemed to click almost from the very start. After turning the ball over on downs following a missed fourth down conversion on the offense’s first possession of the game, the Patriots scored on four straight possessions which included two Sony Michel rushing touchdowns and Julian Edelman’s first receiving touchdown of the season in his second game back returning from his four-game suspension.
The Chiefs came out firing in the second half and put on an offensive clinic much like they have all season. On the Chiefs first possession of the third quarter Mahomes connected with running back Kareem Hunt for a 67-yard touchdown after beating Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty down the sideline, a play that game Patriots fans flashbacks of last season’s opener against Kansas City where Hunt ran free all over the Patriots defense in his NFL debut. While the Chiefs offense came out hot, the Patriots came out quite the opposite only putting up three points in the third quarter. It appeared that the Patriots and Tom Brady were trying to get wide receiver Josh Gordon more familiarity in the offense as Brady appeared to be looking for Gordon a lot in both the first and third quarters, and at one point had more targets than both Edelman and Rob Gronkowski had combined.
The Chiefs speed again appeared to give the Patriots defense problems in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill left Patriots safety Devin McCourty in his tracks as Hill ran around the end zone until becoming open for a one-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes which gave the Chiefs their first lead since the beginning of the first quarter. The Patriots then drove down the field to retake the lead on a touchdown from Brady who scrambled out of the backfield and dove across the end zone for a 37-33 lead. Following a Patriots field goal that made it a seven point game the Chiefs got the ball back with a little over three minutes left to play looking to march down the field and tie the game. Tyreek Hill’s speed appeared to be too much for the Patriots defense again as Mahomes connected with Hill for a 75-yard touchdown on the team’s first play wasting only 12 seconds of the game clock. With three minutes left on the clock and the game on the line Tom Brady did Tom Brady things, leading his team down the field for a game-winning score. Brady connected with Gronkowski to get the ball deep into Chiefs territory to set up a 28-yard game-winning field goal for kicker Stephen Gostkowski, which he made with ease.
The Patriots will have another tough battle this upcoming week against the Chicago Bears, who despite losing to the Brock Osweiler led Miami Dolphins in overtime, have one of the leagues top defenses led by all-pro Khalil Mack.
The Patriots schedule has been released for the 2017 regular season and the Super Bowl champs will take on the Kansas City Chiefs to start off the season. Let’s take a look at the rest of the schedule and see what we could prepare for from the reigning Super Bowl champs this season.
The Pats will raise banner number five against the Chiefs on Thursday Night September 7th and can fully expect the Patriots and the Gillette Stadium crowd to be as fired up as ever and come out with a win over the Chiefs. The Patriots will follow up by traveling down to New Orleans to take on Brandin Cooks now former team the Saints. As of now the Saints have only taken a step backwards with trading Cooks to New England and still has a lackluster defense that the Patriots offense should carve up. There’s still some chance that cornerback Malcolm Butler could be traded to the Saints before next week’s NFL Draft and even so I would fully expect the Patriots to come out with a win against the Saints.
The Patriots will then travel back to Foxboro for back to back home games with the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. New England has had Houston’s number over the past several years and it hasn’t been close. The Patriots will come out and win this game easily. Carolina suffered a Super Bowl hangover last season following their embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos and had a down season. Carolina struggled on both sides of the ball last season following the departure of cornerback Josh Norman and average play by quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina was fairly quiet this offseason, even trading defensive end Kony Ealy to the patriots for relatively nothing. New cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s big frame and physical style of play should be a good matchup against Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the Patriots should come out this game with a win.
The Patriots then travel down to Tampa Bay for a Thursday Night matchup against the Buccaneers. This could be a game the Patriots struggle in for a few different reasons and one that may be overlooked by some. Thursday Night games are always tough with it being a short week, especially for the away teams who have to travel. The Buccaneers also made a big signing this offseason in wide receiver DeSean Jackson who should pair up nicely with one of the best wide receivers in the league in Mike Evans and give quarterback Jameis Winston another deep threat. This could give New England’s defense some problems trying to cover the two wide receivers all game. Tampa Bay’s defense though still isn’t very good and shouldn’t be able to stop the Patriots high powered offense. This should be a very good, close game and give the Patriots their first real test early on in the season.
The Patriots then travel to New York to take on the Jets. With how good this Patriots team should be and how bad the Jets are going to be the Pats could drop 50 on the Jets and win this game easily.
Then the matchup were all going to be waiting for, the Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons as a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl of all-time. I don’t see the Pats losing 28-3 at one point but do expect a truly great game as both teams have only gotten better since the end of the season. This could be a potential game the Patriots could lose going up against another great team in the Falcons, but with it being at Gillette and what the atmosphere is going to be like the Patriots should win this game.
The Patriots will stay at home for a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Whenever I watched the Chargers last year my respect for Phillip Rivers only got higher as he made that Chargers team average with not much around him. Should be a fairly easy win for the Patriots heading into the bye week.
Following the bye week things will get interesting as the Patriots will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos and then Mexico City to take on the Raiders. These will both be tough games for the Pats traveling to the west coast. While Denver isn’t quite the team they were a few years ago they always play the patriots well, and the Patriots always struggle in Denver. Last year Marcus Cannon was the complete opposite of what he was again Denver in the AFC Championship game from the year before when Von Miller kept blowing by him like he was a revolving door. With a new coach in Vance Joseph and no more Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator the Patriots should be able to pull out a win in Denver where they tend to struggle. The Patriots then head down to Mexico City to take on the Raiders in what could be an AFC Championship game preview. The Raiders are one of the best young teams in the league with a great young quarterback in Derek Carr, who I love as a player. The Raiders have a great offensive line and two very good receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and could be getting Marshawn Lynch to come out of retirement to handle the teams running back duties. Oakland’s defense was average last year even with the great play of Khalil Mack. The Raiders will have to look to address their secondary in the draft to get better. The Patriots offense shouldn’t have too much of a problem against this Raiders defense and should be a great game. Due to the travel and tough competition the Patriots going 1-1 in this stretch isn’t out of the question.
The Patriots will then head back home for a game against the Miami Dolphins, who made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008. The Dolphins have a pretty good, young talented roster with wide receivers Davante Parker and Jarvis Landry, who said the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots, and running back Jay Ajayi who had a big emergence in the second half of the season last year. Should be a good, tough AFC East matchup that I expect the Patriots to win at home.
The Patriots then have a three game stretch of away games against Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh. The Patriots have tended to struggle some against Tyrod Taylor and his mobility over the past several seasons but always come out with a win. The Patriots then travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins for the second time in as many weeks. The Patriots have had a history of struggling against the Dolphins in Miami and seeing the teams in as many weeks the teams should be prepared for each other’s game plans. This game could mean more for Miami fighting for a wild card spot than it does the Patriots at this point in the season. After that the Patriots travel back up the east coast to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Championship game rematch, where the Patriots just completely dominated the Steelers. I don’t expect the Steelers to come out as flat as they did in January and make this an actual game against the Pats. Pittsburgh has a very talented offense with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, who are some of the top guys at their positions. The past few years the Steelers have seemed to come out flat against the Pats and the Pats have gotten the better of the Steelers. Possible AFC Championship game preview in what should be a good game. The Patriots going 2-1 on a three game road stretch could definitely happen, I think that loss could come against Miami as the game could be the difference if making the playoffs or not for the Dolphins.
The Patriots then wrap up the regular season at home with back to back games against AFC East opponents Bills and Jets. These should both be two easy wins for the Pats to finish the season off with headed into the playoffs. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me though if the Patriots rest everyone week 17 against the Jets and the Jets win and screw up their spot in the draft in classic Jets fashion.
Overall, I think the Pats will finish the regular season at 13-3 and the number one seed in the AFC. Of course I want to say 16-0 but outside of the 2007 season it just something that doesn’t happen and I would rather be realistic. I expect the Patriots to drop one of the two tough road games on the west coast against good opponents and tough places to play. The three game road stretch at the end of the season is also tough and a lot of travel which could affect the team. There will then be one game where the patriots come out flat against a team they shouldn’t, it happens every year. Ultimately the Patriots finish up as the number one seed in the AFC and Super Bowl favorites.
As the 2015 season wound down, Bill Belichick made some decisions that, looking back, turned out to be questionable (I know, that is heresy in New England, but look at the results). After winning their first eleven games the Patriots started to wilt. With a bunch of walking wounded, a beat up Tom Brady and the play-offs with home field in game-one guaranteed, he rested some key players and went to a non-existent running game against the J-E-Ts and Dolphins. For the 1st time in may years the Patriots seemed to be playing not-to-lose.
Well, as we all know (so why am I reminding you????) the Pats lost both those games and went into the play-offs having lost four of their last six games. They never completely recovered from those decisions. After winning a home play-off game against the Chiefs (27-20) they traveled to Denver and lost to the ultimate Super Bowl Champion Broncos (20-18) in the Conference Championship game.
How Different Is 2016?
Now, with two games remaining in the 2016 regular season, New England faces the same two teams, NY J-E-T-S and Miami, in a similar situation. The J-E-T-S are out of the race, but always give the Patriots a good fight…and the Dolphins continue to fight for a play-off spot.
So…why does it feel so different? Here are 5 reasons:
The 2016 Patriots are now playing their best football of the season, unlike 2015, when they were unsure if the defense or offense could hold up
Tom Brady won’t be going into these games already bruised & battered thanks to Dante Scarnecchia and a rejuvenated OL (yeah, I know he’s back to limited practice & on the injury list…but he’s still in better shape than last year)
The running game is at it’s peak, with LeGarrette Blount rushing for 15 TDs and over 1,000 yards…a healthy Dion Lewis..a solid #3 with James White and the impressive blocking of James Develin. Last year neither Blount nor Lewis were playing due to injuries
The defense is #1 in points against in the NFL. I’ll say that again, the defense is #1 in points against in the NFL
Bill Belichick seems completely confident in all aspects of the Pats game. He’s willing to trust his defense (say what?), offense or special teams to make the crucial play at the end of the game. That’s something that has been missing for many years
Same Decision = Different Results
So, that said, what if Belichick makes the same decisions this year that he did in 2015? If he does, the results should be completely different.This team is tough and in no way resembles the 2015 version of the New England Patriots.
They don’t have Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola and both are big losses. However, they do have a bruiser in Blount, a quick Lewis plus new heroes in Chris Hogan (highest yards-per-catch in the NFL) and the speed of rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell. Add in tough TE Martellis Bennett and, oh yeah, a well rested Tom Brady!
With a defense that is starting to click without Chandler Jones or Jamie Collins…but is lead by Trey Flowers, always reliable Rob Ninkovich, Chris Long and, suddenly rejuvenated Jabaal Sheard, Malcolm Butler, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and a host of others…they are a formidable bunch.
Congratulations to Brady, Slater, Hightower & McCourty on their selection to the 2016 NFL Pro-Bowl. Hopefully none will be able to play as they prepare for the Super Bowl
Condolences to Malcolm Butler, Blount and Marcus Cannon (can’t believe I’m saying this), who all deserved a shot too
The NFL is always fair & objective…just look at their recent “punishment” to the Giants & their Head Coach for being caught cheating! #Integrity
This has been an outstanding year for Patriot Coaches Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Scarnecchia
Tom Brady is being penalized again! Many are saying he doesn’t deserve the MVP because he has played 4 fewer games than the others in the running. King Goodell strikes again
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL who have not lost a road game this year. Despite that, the advantage of playing in Foxborough in the playoffs is huge.
Hard to believe, but, 14 games down (12-2) with just 2 more before the real season begins. This season has flown by.
Patriot fans had mixed emotions as the hated Pittsburgh Steelers played the arch-enemy Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. Who to root for? That was the issue. Pittsburgh wins and the Pats play one more game at Gillette. Denver wins and the historic Brady-Manning debate begins again.
And The Winner Is…True Football Fans
With Denver’s late comeback win over the Steelers, it’s on to Sport Authority Field at Mile High. C’mon now, admit it. The thought of one more Manning – Brady battle is intriguing. This is it…the probable last chance for these two great QB’s playing in a crucial play-off game…just one step from the Super Bowl. Both are approaching the end of their football journey, one with a whimper (Manning) and the other with the roar of a lion (Brady).
Have the reports of Peyton’s demise been exaggerated
Can Brady, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s evil villain, once again defeat America’s favorite pizza/insurance/ESPN etc, etc, etc spokesperson
Is the home field advantage enough to propel Denver, a flawed team, into the awaiting arms of Arizona or Carolina
Will the emotional return of Julian Edelman for a second game carry over and allow the weak offensive line of New England to actually keep Brady upright long enough to use his weapons in victory.
More Questions Than Answers
Unlike the NFC contest between the clear-cut favorites, Arizona Cardinals & Carolina Panthers, this AFC duel is somewhat surprising. Most “experts” raved about the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers (who backed in when the J-E-T-S choked) as the “hot” picks as the play-offs got underway.
KC had won 11 straight when they travelled to Gillette and were pummeled by New England. Pittsburgh overcame adversity and headed to the Mile High City after a back-yard brawl in Cincinnati, to lead for most of the game before falling to the Manning led Broncos.
The Patriots and Broncos both stumbled into the bye-week with a sigh of relief. Denver was debating who their QB would be, while New England was hoping their long list of critical injuries to key players would heal enough to field a representative play-off team.
Yet here they stand, still with serious questions, on the precipice of the AFC Championship Game. Denver, a late Sunday victor, ready to prove they have a great defense that can carry them to Super Bowl 50 despite the health of their eventual Hall-Of-Fame QB…and New England, the team other team’s fans love to hate, trying to once again rise above the noise and win their 5th ring during the Brady-Belichick era.
This Week In The Media
All week leading up to Sunday you will read about the history of these two teams and their great QB’s. There will be a plethora of articles filled with facts and opinions (probably write one myself) on why New England/Denver should/will win and go on to glory in the 2015/2016 Super Bowl. Meanwhile…..
Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob
…and enjoy the banter. On Sunday, January 24th at about 6:30 PM the AFC questions will be answered and fans will be either on the edge of their seat, or grumbling at the dog, while waiting to see who the opponent will be from the NFC.
The last time the Patriots played them, New England came out on the losing end. They weren’t supposed to be the Patriot’s opponents in the divisional round. Out of every possible outcome, this match up was the one that was least favorable. New England can’t sleep on this team. The Patriots have had a bye week but their opponents are still looked at as the scrappy team that will possibly rid the playoffs of the “hated” New England franchise.
Do you recognize these statements? These were things said by many NFL analysts and pundits during the 2015 playoff run, but obviously instead of referencing the Kansas City Chiefs they were clearly talking about the Baltimore Ravens. Both the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City style of play is very different. Last year Baltimore’s quarterback Joe Flacco, although capable of the run was mostly known as a deep ball, pocket passer. The somewhat reliable but inconsistent Alex Smith went all of last season without a passing touchdown and can be a running threat. Kansas City has more of a complete defense where as last year’s Ravens had a subpar secondary. What makes both playoff scenarios so completely different yet so similar? Beyond the obvious, lose and your season is done, the Kansas City Chiefs are the team that the Patriots NEED to face in order to be successful in the postseason.
In football, statistics and past performance often mean little when a team can pull it together and play a balanced game. Last year’s Ravens team was a tough and gritty team which constantly stayed ahead of the Patriots and for most of the divisional playoff game, seemed unstoppable. Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, was able to battle back and help bring his team to victory, after two fourteen point deficits. Beating a team like the Ravens showed that the Patriots were ready for the Super Bowl regardless of the opponent. It was that particular show of determination and resiliency that gave insight to the Championship team the 2014 New England Patriots would eventually rise up to become.
This Saturday, the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champions must rise to the occasion once more. The Kansas City Chiefs, as previously stated, are not the Baltimore Ravens of last year. The Chiefs are currently riding high on an 11 game winning streak leaving their five game losing streak feeling as though it were another season entirely. The last time these two teams met seems like a life time ago but rest assured it wasn’t. The famed Arrowhead loss of last year allowed the 2014 Patriots to hit rock bottom. The New England Patriots were beaten, humiliated and left for dead. No matter how special winning last year’s Super Bowl was it doesn’t erase the events of September 29th, 2014 and the horrible fit of despair that day left in each player on that roster. If this year was meant to be the “Revenge Tour” of sorts for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this is the team they must defeat. The Chiefs annihilation of the 2014 Patriots is an albatross from last year much like the joke that became Deflategate. Call it destiny or coincidence but for things to have played out like they have thus far one thing’s for certain, this is where the Patriots need to be.
Had New England gained the first seed they would be challenging a bruised, broken and battered Steelers Team. No this is not the same Pittsburgh team from week one, it would have left no real way to find out what the Patriots were truly made of. The Bengals and the Texans both showed that they were begging for a reason to meltdown. Playing “tomato cans” does not enrich your chances for further offseason success, playing legitimate contenders does. Kansas City is the only AFC team that presents a real significant challenge and a chance to show just how resilient the 2015 Patriots can be. Yes, if the Patriots make it past the Chiefs they still (more than likely) have Denver at their home field to deal with; on paper that is no easy task. Let’s be honest, if the Patriots have both their health and were able to display the resolve to hold off a team steamrolling along like the Kansas City Chiefs, do the inconsistent Denver Broncos truly present that big of a hurdle?
Like last year, this game means something much more than just advancement in the playoffs. With Kansas City’s star wide receiver Jeremy Maclin injured, the Patriot’s front seven have the chance to be the difference maker. The Patriot’s offense, if healthier than we are led to believe, can make a statement this Saturday. How the Patriots handle the Kansas City Chiefs will tell us everything we need to know about this team. Other than a potential Super Bowl, this divisional playoff game is the most important game of the Patriot’s season, there is no doubt in the mind of Patriot Nation that they will prevail.
I am a Patriot fan and have been since the original Boston Patriots came into existence in 1960, so now you know I’m REALLY old. Hell, I remember when Elvis was still The King. Those following this now great franchise are as loyal as you will find anywhere, and more so than most.
Now that I have that out there, I have to admit that I’m getting tired of the whining. A team of mostly battered and bruised players at almost every position (I know, no player in the NFL is 100% healthy right now) in a meaningless game, an offensive line (and, yes it is offensive!) that can’t block, one of the youngest defenses in the NFL and a usually reliable group of special teamers gave away two games they should have won. As a result many (not all, but a lot) Patriot fans are ready to hang the officials, blame Roger (Mr. Integrity) Goodell and, worst of all, start doubting the team.
Hey, they are 10-2 and still control their destiny. New England is positioned to get a bye throughout the play-offs by winning their last 4 games against teams they should beat. Calm down…Sunday was about as bad as it will get. Bill Belichick said after their worst loss in Kansas City last year…It’s “on to Cincinnati” … this year it’s “on to Houston.”
Worst Loss Of The Belichick Era?
This was perhaps the worst loss of the Bill Belichick era. No, not in term of importance of the game, but just how bad the coaching was, lack of adjustments made and overall team performance. At least the loss to the Chiefs last year was against a decent team. Not the case Sunday. The Eagles were ready to cave when the Patriots went up 14-0. And then something happened that had occurred a few times early in the season. The Pats decided they needed to pour it on and the world turned upside down (someone please explain to me what that means…but it seemed to fit here).
The Turning Point?
Tom E. Curran of CSNNE disagrees, but the game changed when the Patriots decided to try a play that rivals that used earlier this year by Indianapolis in their loss to this same Patriots team. Their blunder was a fake punt, our was a fake kick-off!
At that time we mocked the Colt coaching staff for their ineptitude and were thankful our Patriots wouldn’t and couldn’t do anything that dumb. Well, guess what? Bill Belichick just took a step back into the crowded list of coaches who do really dumb things that look horrendous when they don’t work…which is usually the case (ergo the word dumb).
A few weeks back it was an onside kid that the Patriots were lucky to recover (again when up 14-0) and we all laughed and said…smart move. Go for the knock-out punch. Sunday the brain trust on the sideline decided to try…are you kidding me…a drop kick by Nate Ebner, and it was the beginning of the end.
Up 14-0 and having the Eagles ready to concede the game, the brilliant minds of New England’s football team gave them hope…and the ball in great field position. Before you could blink (well, maybe not that fast, but it sure seemed like it) the Eagles had tied the game 14-14.
The botched kick (BB said after the game it wasn’t an on-side kick) and a missed assignment that led to a blocked punt resulted in two TDs for an Eagle team that had been inept up to that point. If it wasn’t an on-side kick than was the attempt being made to give the Eagles a chance? Sorry, not buying it Bill.
Second Half Adjustment?
Throughout this season I have praised the Patriots for their ability to adjust on the fly. Well, for yesterday’s game, I take it back. Any adjustments they made were either wrong, or just plain arrogant. It seemed like the strategy was, as in last week’s loss in Denver, let’s throw the ball long and let our fleet-footed (huh!) receivers outrun a poor Eagle secondary.
Forget the fact that Brady was being hammered in the pocket and long passes take time to develop
Who cares if the Eagles are 26th in rushing defense, let’s fool them and pass-pass-pass…Brady threw the ball 56 times.
With the score knotted at 14-14 the Patriots continued to look like the Detroit Lions (that’s about the worst thing I could say), only worse. New England usually owns the second half, especially at Gillette Stadium. Shoot, when they get the kick to start things off after the break fans know something good is going to happen.
Forget that “score at the end of the half and starting the 2nd half” strategy that has worked all year. This time it was, let the Eagles score five (yes, 5) straight TDs without scoring a point and see if you can come back.
How The Eagles Scored
This isn’t pretty, so take a deep breath:
Botched on side kick = TD. Coaching blunder
Blocked punt = TD. Missed blocking assignment
99 Yard interception = TD. Brady throws into a crowd and looks really foolish trying to tackle Malcom Jenkins as he runs through the entire Patriot team (see featured photo)
83 yard punt return for Daryl Sproles = TD. Patriot special teams part the waters as he scrambles to the end zone.
Bradford to Matthews for 10 yards = TD. Once again Tom Brady was intercepted on an up-for-grabs long pass intended for Brandon LaFell which was nowhere near him. Wrong route? Bad pass? Only the Patriots know, but bottom line another Eagle TD.
Every Eagle score was a result of a Patriot miscues. The only impressive offensive drive by Philadelphia was after Brady’s second interception. They took over with 2:10 left in the 3rd quarter and marched 80 yards, scoring with 11:14 left in the game to make it 35-14..
Despite the big lead in the 4th quarter the Eagles still were ready to
give the game away (this is a terrible team folks). After the Pats went three and out following the Eagles final score, the defense stepped up and forced a Philadelphia punt with 7:54 left in the game. Brady marched the Patriots 71 yards, culminating with a Brady to Scott Chandler 14 yard TD as the clock ticked down to 5:33. 35-21 Eagles
This time the Patriots successfully executed a regular on-side kick and recovered the ball on their 45. Nine plays later Brady scored on a 1-yard run and it was 35-28 with 3:02 left.
Many in the Gillette Stadium crowd had already left, but those headed to the exits at this point stopped in their tracks and scampered back to their seats.
Another Brady Miracle Finish?
The Patriots 3rd on-side kick almost worked again, as Philadelphia muffed the kick, but the ball went out-of-bounds as the Eagles took over on the NE 46.
The Eagles again tried to give the game back when, after getting to the Patriots 25, Jamie Collins (he’s back) forced a fumble. It was all in the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history. Well, actually, it was in the hands of the receiving corps, who, after getting 1 first down, had 3 drops and the game was over. Eagles win 35-28.
If my memory is correct the Patriots last drop kick was an extra point by Doug Flutie against the Dolphins in his last game in the NFL
James White was finally given a legitimate chance to make a
difference and he took advantage of the opportunity with 10 receptions (on 13 targets) for 115 yards and a TD
The running game, when given a chance was effective. Despite just 13 carries, LeGarrette Blount averaged 4.2 yards per touch while bowling his way to 59 yards.
Danny Amendola made a difference with 7 receptions (13 targets) for 62 yards and a TD
It looked like Brandon LaFell cut off a long route on Brady’s 2nd interception. He ended up with 9 targets and a poor 4 receptions for a measly 24 yards…and he was the intended receiver on most of Brady’s long throws
Brady was sacked 4 times while the Patriots only got to Bradford once. Tom has already been sacked more times than he was all of last season
Scott Chandler had one of his better games (that’s not saying much) since joining the team with 4 receptions (7 targets) for 61 yards and a tough TD catch
Jamie Collins returned and led the team with 7 tackles
Of the Eagles 5 TDs, 1 was on defense and 2 were by special teams
Brady, pressured all game, was 29/56 for a deceptive 312 yards, 3 TDs, 2 int’s and a rating of 71.4. Bradford, with little pressure went 14-24 for 121 yards, 2 TDs, 0 int’s and a 99.3 rating
Get the Philadelphia fiasco out of your head now. Don’t dwell on it, it will just give you a headache. It’s on to Houston to face the Texans, who are suddenly playing some very good football.
Early in the season this looked like a no brainer. When they were crushed by the Dolphins Patriot fans set them aside as a non-entity. That’s just not the case anymore.
Despite losing to the Bills yesterday 30-21 the Texans are in the hunt in the weak AFC South, tied with the Colts for the division lead at 6-6. In case you missed it, the game has been moved to Sunday Night.
Today was suspension Friday in the NFL, as Roger Goodell handed down three different suspensions. Chief’s cornerback Sean Smith, Bronco’s defensive end Derek Wolfe, and Viking’s cornerback Jabari Price were all given some sort of suspension today.
Sean Smith was suspended three games for a DUI, which he pled guilty to in April. Smith is a first time offender, which is designated for a two-game suspension by the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, but the policy does leave some wiggle room for special circumstances like property damage. Smith struck and broke a light pole, which is what led to him getting caught, and added an extra game to the suspension. Smith is just one of many cornerbacks the Chiefs have, and it should not be a huge blow to the team.
Derek Wolfe was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Wolfe, a former second round pick, gave the standard player-suspended-for-PED-use answer, saying he didn’t realize what he was taking was on the banned substance list, ho hum. Wolfe is one of three defensive ends that looked to be in the Broncos rotation as they transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4, along with Vance Walker and Malik Jackson. Of course, the Broncos have plenty of pass rushers at outside linebacker, such as Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and first round draft pick Shane Ray.
Jabari Price, much like Smith, was suspended two games after pleading guilty to a DWI in April. Price is entering his second year in the NFL, and was a seventh round draft pick in 2014. He is primarily a special teams player.
Adam Schefter reported all three suspensions on Twitter today, in three separate tweets. In the last two, he also mentioned that on suspension Friday, there was still no Brady news. It shows you what NFL fans are looking for right now. The NFL can dump all theses irrelevant suspensions right now, and no one will care. Famous Boston sports fan Bill Simmons put everything into perspective on Twitter, saying, “AFC Title Game: 1/18, Wells Report: 5/6, Brady Suspension: 5/11, NFLPA Appeal: 5/14, Brady/Goodell meeting: 6/23, Today’s date: 7/24 27 WEEKS.” You can see why the NFL is king; they know how to control their news. They don’t want a bunch of suspensions to be a big deal, so they’ve dragged deflategate out for 27 weeks, giving them a 27-week news dump period.
Wednesday was the deadline for all player’s given the franchise tag to sign a long-term deal.
The deadline came and went yesterday, and when the dust settled all major players aside from Jason Pierre-Paul signed. Justin Houston, a pass rusher for the Kansas City Chiefs, signed a six-year $101 million deal, the biggest contract for a linebacker in NFL history.
The two deals that everyone is more interested in are for the two wide receivers, Dallas’s Dez Bryant and Denver’s Demariyus Thomas. Both signed nearly identical five-year $70 million deals, Bryant’s with $45 million guaranteed, Thomas’s with $43.5 million guaranteed. There were four observations I had from what went down wednesday.
Bryant’s threat proved to be empty. The Cowboys were able to sign him for $2 million less a year than Calvin Johnson, even though Bryant had better production last season. Like I said Monday, deadlines have a way of making both sides more reasonable, and that’s just what happened today. The Cowboys have their top receiver locked up for his prime years now.
The second observation was the fact that the two deals for Dez and Demariyus were nearly identical. Both teams were in similar situations. They had two top talents at the wide receiver position. They wanted to sign both to long-term deals. They also both wanted to be cautious about how much they paid each, because both have young talent that they want to be able to sign down the line. The Cowboys want to keep their young offensive line together, particularly second-year guard Zack Martin, who was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season. The Broncos’ top pass rusher, Von Miller, is entering a contract year, and will likely be given the franchise tag at the end of next year. Neither team wanted to let deals made with these receivers affect their ability to resign their other young players down the road.
Also remember that earlier this week, there were reports of collusion between the Broncos and Cowboys. Notice that these deals were exactly the same, yet they were signed within about an hour of each other. The NFLPA said on Monday that if the two players didn’t sign long-term deals by today, they would move forward with the collusion charges. However, the similarity of these contracts shows that there was likely collusion not only between the two teams, but likely between the two agencies that represent each player. And by the way, this isn’t a bad thing, as it creates a fair market value for two players who are at almost equal levels at this point in their careers.
The third observation I had comes from a unique perspective I have of each player. I live in Denver, and I go to school in Dallas, so I see how each fan base view these respective players. Dez Bryant and Demariyus Thomas are essentially the same player. They were both drafted in 2010, Thomas 22nd overall, Dez 24th. Demariyus has played 69 regular season games in his career, and has compiled 351 receptions for 5,317 yards and 41 touchdowns in five seasons. Bryant has 381 catches for 5,424 yards and 56 touchdowns in 75 career games. Each has played a full 16 games over the last three seasons. Thomas is 6’3 229; Bryant is 6’2 220. They’re both big, physical receivers who are excellent at using their unique combination of size and speed.
However, Bronco fans are nowhere near as supportive of Demariyus Thomas as Cowboy fans are of Dez Bryant. Bronco fans are extremely hesitant to put Demariyus in the same class as Bryant and Calvin Johnson. They will never hesitate to bring up the fact that Thomas didn’t seem to give 100% effort against the Colts in a playoff loss last year. The best explanation I can give for why is this: Cowboy fans have another scapegoat in Tony Romo, whereas Bronco fans worship at the feet of Peyton Manning, and need to find another scapegoat when things go wrong. Both have given almost identical production throughout their careers, and Bryant has definitely had more off-the field/immaturity issues than Thomas has; yet Cowboy fans appreciate Dez as a top-of-the-line receiver, and Bronco fans like to criticize Demariyus. The explanation that makes the most sense is that the Cowboys have Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and a terrible defense to point the finger at for any failures, while Bronco fans would rather kill a family member than blame Peyton Manning or John Elway for anything, even after a horrible performance by Manning against the Colts in the postseason last year. It’s a lot easier for Bronco fans to blame John Fox, or Demariyus Thomas for their shortcomings.
The last observation I have is not only because of these three deals, but also for the big contracts that have been signed over the last few years. If you can play quarterback at a high level, if you can protect the quarterback, if you can tackle the quarterback, or if you can catch the football thrown by the quarterback, you can make a lot of money in the National Football League. Teams have made it clear, that quarterbacks, receivers, left tackles, and pass rushers are the most valuable positions in this league. The Dolphins and Bengals gave fat contracts to their quarterbacks who have all kinds of question marks, yet the Patriots refused to overpay cornerback Darrelle Revis, despite being a vital piece to their Super Bowl run, and the Seahawks traded away one of the best centers in the league for a tight end coming off a bad year. There are four positions where the money is in football, and today’s deals reflected that in a big way.
Note: All stats are courtesy of ESPN
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