Recap of the Patriots – Colts AFCCG

Could not be happier at the way the Patriots played last night!

Privately, I thought this could happen. I did not want to temp karma too much but only true Colts homers would’ve thought they had a realistic shot at winning last night. The Patriots are better everywhere. Better QB, RB’s, TE’s, OL, DL, CB’s, LBs, Kicker and Punter and they had an almost unfair coaching advantage. We are SO fortunate to have Bill Belichick as the coach of this team.

First Quarter: Getting off on the right foot!

When the Pats D gets a 3 and out to start it’s usually a very good sign they are on their game and tonight was no different. Of course, the Pats couldn’t immediately convert that into points but it was clear that they should have as Brady missed a wide-open Edelman on a deep crossing route that would’ve put the ball deep in Colts territory. No matter, the D continued to hold the fort and New England then was able to drive down and get 7, effectively ending the game. When they score first at home, they have a record that is hard to believe. I do not have the stats at this moment, but I can only think of a game or two in which they have lost at home when scoring first or leading at halftime.

Second Quarter:  Missed chance at an early TKO

While the D was still doing well, the offense had a good chance to put the team up 21 and effectively ending the game. However, Tom did what Tom sometimes does and that is forcing the ball to Gronk. The covering LB clearly did not bite on play-action (good by him as the run game was working) and stayed with Gronk who was clearly the larger threat. It’s an understating it to say that Brady is uber-prepared but sometimes I think that works against him as he’ll make a throw purely based on the look he gets and doesn’t adjust when the defense adjusts. Also, the Colts get credit (and that Pats coaching staff should get some of the credit too) for holding the Pats to 3 late in the half. 7 there would’ve also spelled their doom but it was as it turned out merely a weak attempt at holding off the inevitable.

Half-Time:

The Patriots were clearly worried, so they decided against making adjustments and went straight to the equipment managers area and as a team, started deflating balls.

Third Quarter: Nothing short of a tour DE force performance.

Total dominance. Offense, Defense, special teams.

Forth Quarter: Icing on the cake that almost turned out to be a crap pie in the face

As they continued to dominate, Josh and Billy got a little cute, and THE FRANCHISE was hit dangerously in the knees, THE FRANCHISE is fine, but THE FRANCHISE was put in that spot because sometimes Billy Boy and little Josh don’t know when to quit. It’s why we are good, and why Patriots and their fans are hated on. Good with the bad I suppose.

Advertisements
Standard

Divisional Round: Baltimore Ravens @ the New England Patriots

 

First, I am sorry for the complete failure to post for the last 6 weeks or so. The holidays with an infant, as well as being an Athletic Trainer are exhausting and draining and something had to give and blogging was one of those things.

Secondly, FINALLY! We are on to the playoffs and this years divisional round will be no patsy like the previous 3: Tebow-led Denver, Sorry Matt Schaub led Texans and the well quarterbacked but ultimately lousy Colts.

This year brings in the big, bad Baltimore Ravens which is a team I hate, but they basically embody everything you need to win in the playoffs:

1) Battle tested QB who can make plays.

2) Good if not great OL and dangerous running game.

3) Physical, smashmouth defense

4) Confidence that they are indeed one tough team that will not be pushed around.

One of the best FA signings of last year was their signing of Steve Smith. He’s a perfect Raven: Tough, extremely physical, a playmaker and also a total asshole. I really wanted NE to get him but he’s where he belongs.

The Ravens do have a new offensive scheme thanks go Gary Kubiak, and it seems to have fit Justin Forsett to a tee. What that also means is that there will be a lot of cut blocking by the Ravens and Patriots’ defenders are going to have to have their heads on a swivel for some borderline cheap-shots in the run game.

As for the Patriots, they are FINALLY healthy and have almost all of their players for once in the playoffs. The only one their missing however is one that is tailor-made for this game and that is Jerod Mayo. He’s great in these trench-warfare type of games.

So, since they are healthy for the most part, and have home field advantage they should win this game right?

One would think so, but this game will come down to nothing but a willingness to jump into the pig pen with the pigs (Ravens) and love the dirt and mud more than they do. They want a steel cage match, fist-fight, what-have-you…the Pats have to prove they can because that’s what it takes to beat the Ravens this time of year.

Keys: Offense
1) Our O-Line/TE’s and RB’s be better than their front 7.
2) Tom Brady needs to be willing to take shot after shot and keep standing in their and firing bullets because I don’t think we’ll stick with the running game long enough to see it be effective.

Keys: Defense
1) This is the game we got Browner and Revis for. Flacco is going to take shot after shot downfield and it’s absolutely imperative that we do not allow them big plays.
2) Win in the trenches. I like our chances because we have 3 big NT’s in Wilfork, Branch and Sealger. If our end’s and OLB’s can set the edges…Collins and Hightower should be able to clean up the cutback lanes.
3) Pressure Joe Flacco. Last time we played, when we had Talib for the first half our D which was much less talented was able to slow them down to the point of holding them to 7 points at half and that was with no pass rush, whatsoever. This year I expect Flacco to be under much more duress than in any other time he’s faced NE in a playoff game.

Keys: Special Teams
1) Most crucial is not allowing Jacoby Jones to get started. He’s a massive weapon and while our guys are good, occasionally, they have lapses and that cannot happen today. He’s too good.
2) No turnovers on returns. Sometimes Edelman takes chances…and most of the time that’s a good thing but he and Amendola are not big, and prone to putting it on the deck. I think they are really going to try and wipe out Amdendola on KO’s so I am not sure I wouldn’t put Blount back there and let him pound away.

At the end of the day, this is all about which team is more physical over 60 minutes. If the Pats play to their ability, they will win this game and they might even blow them out. If they are reactive, and are forced into mistakes they will lose again like they have 2 of the last 3.

Patriots 27
Ravens 21

Standard