Tag: New England Patriots
There comes times in football when all you need to do is avoid making those huge mistakes that ultimately costs games. Keep the ball in your hands, complete the pass, make the catch, avoid getting sacked, the principles of football: it just wasn’t happening for the New York Jets on Sunday. The Patriots, on the other hand, finally managed to win a game in the final minutes, under pressure and when it matter most. Things got a bit scary for a moment there for the fans at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, as once again New England seemed to be losing control of the game in the final minutes. With a 2-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski with 2:39 to play in the third quarter, the Patriots took a 13-23 lead going into the fourth.
But Rex Ryan, the Jets head coach, started to move his lines and after three consecutive scores, the Jets were back on the lead with Nick Folks 2nd 43-yard field goal that gave them a 26-23 lead. Then came Tom Brady. He got to work and was able to set up Stephen Gostkowski for a 43-yard field goal as time expired to force the game into overtime. It wasn’t a good felling. At least not until they managed to turn things around in overtime: after all, Pats fans were all well aware of the fact that up to that point, New England had played three games that were decided in the final two minutes this season. And they had loss all of them. But not this time, not against Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets: this time it would be the visiting team making all the mistakes and basically handing the win to the Pats when Rob Ninkovich knocked the ball out of Mark Sanchez’s hand in overtime and recovered the fumble. That was it; the Patriots took a 29-26 win at home against the Jets and took a hold of the first place in their division.
Before the games started the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills and the Jets and the Patriots were all tied in at 3-3. With the win over the Jets, the Bills loss to the Tennessee Titans and the fact that the Dolphins were on their BYE week, the Pats are now leading the division. Sure enough the Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows that there’s plenty of work to be done and that at 4-3 for the season, improvement is a must for this squad. “There’s a lot of football left to be played,” Belichick said. “I don’t think anybody clinched anything today.”
Rex Ryan, on the other hand, had to recognize one thing: they gave the game away. They were sloppy with the football and despite the huge effort they made to get back in the game, they just couldn’t get it straight down the line. “We made too many mistakes but we had our opportunities,” Rex Ryan said. “It just stinks being on this end of it.” It sure does. There are still plenty of internal issues with the Jets. They have yet managed to make Tim Tebow a factor in the game and Mark Sanchez has been as inconsistent as you could wish for. Let’s see what Ryan can make of this mess in the next few weeks.
At 2-2 for the season, either the Denver Broncos or the New England Patriots are really living it up to their expectations. On the one hand, we have to cut some slack and give Peyton Manning a little more time to get used to his new teammates and work out his game strategy with head coach John Fox. After all, we are talking about a guy who spent 14 years in Indianapolis and that missed the whole last season as he was recovering from his 5th neck surgery. So considering everything Manning has been through, 2-2 is really not that bad.
Now, for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, well, that’s a whole different story. Sure enough the Patriots have been quite dominant behind Brady for over a decade now, but things this season have been a bit sloppy. Fortunately for us, this means that Brady is going to have to go all-out on Sunday to defend his home field advantage. The Pats are well aware of the situation: they can’t let Manning win at Foxboro.
For the Broncos this is certainly a whole different story. Last season, their miraculous and Tebowmania-filled trip into the NFL Playoffs ended abruptly at the Gillette Stadium. Sure enough Tim Tebow had turned things around for the Broncos late in the season and he had managed to pull off the upset in their first postseason game in 5-years against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then came Tom Brady and the Patriots and Tebow was nowhere to be seen. He finished off the game with 9 of 26 passing for 136 yards; Brady on the other hand passed for 363 yards and 6 touchdown passes as he guided New England to a 45-10 crushing of the Broncos. Now, this trip to the east coast is going to be a big different for Denver. Now they have NFL Hall-of-fame worthy talent behind Peyton Manning. And he seems to get better grip of the team after every game.
The Broncos head coach, John Fox, has been trying to get his team to adapt as quickly as possible to Manning game. Sure there were some sloppy moments but he appeared to fit right in with Denver last week in the Broncos 37-6 rout of Oakland. After completing only half of his passes in a loss to Houston on Sept. 23, he was 30 of 38 against the Raiders for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns. The important thing here is that this was more than just Manning been Manning. This was a true team effort. His defense was able to control the Raiders pas rush and managed to keep him safe. He wasn’t sacked for the first time this season, and that allowed him to take the extra split second to secure his pass. This is the third time so far this season that he finishes a game without throwing an interception.
“The key that I’ve said all along is just trying to keep making progress somehow,” Manning said in a press conference earlier this week. “That doesn’t always show on the scoreboard — you’d like to win every game as you’re feeling your way and learning about your team and learning about yourself a little bit.” Well, he’s working hard to figure it out. Let’s see what he can throw against the Patriots.
After three games in the season and facing a 1-2 record for the first time in more than a decade, the New England Patriots knew very well that a win at Buffalo was of utter importance. Not only would that keep them from reaching a 1-3 record this early in the season, but it would help them built up some much needed momentum. For a moment there, however, it really seemed as if the Buffalo Bills were going to pull of an upset at home, and that it would be them taking the win. With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills starting quarterback, connected a 68-yard pass to Donald Jones to make take a 21-7 lead. The home crowd was static. It seemed as if for the third time in almost 12 years, the Bills were going to take a win over the Pats. Just for the record, consider that with this win New England improved to 17-1 in its past 18 meetings against Buffalo, and 22-2 dating to the 2000 season.
Sure enough the Bills had a 14-point lead coming into the third quarter and the Patriots just seemed out of it as Tom Brady couldn’t find his helmet in one of the plays and Bill Belichick had to pull of a punt return. It was a bit embarrassing. But that didn’t really keep Brady from digging deep inside and finding the right weapons. The Pats needed a quick answer. Time was limited and playing on the road was not helping at all. That’s until Tom Brady responded with an eight-play, 80-yard drive by hitting Danny Woodhead for a 17-yard touchdown. After tying the game with a 4-yard run, Brady capped a five-play 63-yard drive by hitting Gronkowski with a 28-yard touchdown pass. And then there was simply no looking back.
Brady completed 6 straight touchdown drives to close off a record-breaking second half and give the Patriots a well-deserved 52-28 come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills. New England generated 580 total yards, including 340 passing yards via Tom Brady who finished the night with 22 of 36 passing, with no interceptions, 3 touchdown passes and a running score. The Patriots defense, guided by the hard hitting Brandon Bass forced six turnovers, and simply shut down the Bills for the better part of the second half. With their fantastic second half effort, the Pats avoided their first three-game losing streak in 10 years.
“Down 21-7 and on the road, backs against the wall, and I thought we showed a lot of heart,” Brady said in the postgame press conference. “That’s what this team is made of. And we’re going to battle until the end, I know that.” And they showed just that. The main issue behind this is not only how well things worked out for the Patriots. But also, how easily the Bills sunk. Buffalo combined for two first downs and 31 yards on their final four drives of the game. Two of which ended with turnovers. Ryan Fitzpatrick went for 22 of 39 passing for 350 yards with 4 touchdown passes. But it was ultimately his 4 interceptions that cost him the game.
After only three games in the regular season, it seems to me that it is a bit early to set off the panic alarm in the New England Patriots locker room. Then again, this is the first time since 2003 that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fall behind .500 in the season. It wasn’t looking that bad at all for the Patriots at first. Truth is that the visiting team managed to build up a 13-point lead before the Ravens could actually get their offensive game together. But then it got really complicated. Baltimore kept on finding ways to get back in the game.
Just to get the record straight, consider for a moment that the New England Patriots led 13-0 after the first quarter and 30-21 with 14 minutes left. And yet the Ravens always managed to catch them and get back on the lead. The game looked a lot like their previous matchup, down to the details of the last minute field goal that would decide the outcome. This time however, Rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Ravens a 31-30 win.
It was a great rematch of the 2010-2011 AFC Championship game. Last January it was also a last minute field goal that would decide the winner. Sure enough the odds at stake were much higher back then, but in a little turn of fate, the Ravens took this one. In the previous meeting, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds. He not only missed the goal, he also missed the chance to roll into the Super Bowl. This time however the first-year-pro Justin Tucker managed to keep the kick just inside the right pole. Little turn of fate: Tucker took the job away from the veteran Cundiff during training camp just a few weeks ago. But the biggest story of the night came from none other than Torrey Smith, who had a phenomenal game despite playing under some of the most emotionally challenging circumstances.
After less that 24 hours since getting notified that his 19-year-old brother had died in an accident, and after extensive travel to see his family and then return to Baltimore on time, Torrey Smith gut the chance to get out on the field and pays his respects doing what he knows best: play football. There was very little time between meeting his family and getting back to the camp in time. As a matter of fact it was unclear whether he would be able to play just a few hours before kickoff. But he went out to the field and play with his heart and soul as he scored two touchdowns and caught six passes for 127 yards. “It was tough. I didn’t know until 4 o’clock if I was going to play,” Smith said.
“I only had like an hour of sleep. Emotionally, I didn’t know how I was going to hold up.” But he did just fine. A moment of silence was observed before the game for Smith’s brother, 19-year-old Tevin Jones. “When I came here, the more I was grounded. The more comfortable I began to feel,” he said in a press conference after the game. “I’m glad I came back up here. It helped me out a lot.”