The Chowdah Bowl
by Brian Freedman (Chowdah)
vs. New England, a 2003 season comparison...
As the Patriots embark on claiming their 2nd Superbowl championship I thought I would take a little time to look back at a particular division rivalry against a particular team just west of Rochester. It is truly a tale of 2 cities!
Being a Patriots fan living in Rochester, NY has always been a challenging adventure. Rochester has always considered itself part of BiLLLLs country and the number of BiLLLL’s fans here seems endless! BiLLLLs Fans are an interesting breed as they seem to base their season predictions on how their team performs after week 1! Win a close game and they are talking playoffs. Win a blowout and they talk Superbowl!
So the season started with Lawyer Milloy’s shocking release and signing with the BiLLLLs and then followed with probably one of the worst efforts in the history of our franchise the Pats limped out of the “Ralph” with a 31-0 defeat handed to them! The BiLLLLs Superbowl bubble of delusion was growing to unprecedented heights!
My response to this mania that was gripping our fair city? I congratulated them on winning what would soon be seen as a meaningless game. I boldly predicted that Game 16 would be rendered meaningless as the Patriots would have a playoff spot wrapped up and the BiLLLLs would be out of contention! Well call me Nostra”Chowdah”damus! That BiLLLLs Superbowl bubble made a mighty big “POP”
By Week 16 all the Patriots had done was rack up an impressive 11 game winning streak and were the #1 seed heading into the playoffs while the BiLLLLs were on the verge of another losing season, shaking their heads and wondering what went wrong! How that game ended up being an exact opposite of week 1’s is amazing. At the least the Patriots know to get their bad games out of their system at the beginning of the season!
Let’s look at the tale of the tape between these 2 franchises!
Overall Record: Patriots 14-2 BiLLLLs 6-10
Conference Record: Patriots 11-1 BiLLLLs 4-8
Division Record: Patriots 5-1 BiLLLLs 2-4
BiLLLLs fans will lament that they finally had a good defense but that their offense failed them. While I would not disagree with this point I think if you take a closer look you will see that the Patriots defensive unit more than matches up with BuffaLLLLo’s.
Let’s compare the 2 team’s defensive units:
Total Defensive Ranking: Patriots 7th (291.6 ypg) BiLLLLs 2nd (269.6 ypg)
**Yards per game? This has to be the most meaningless defensive ranking in all of sports. What about turnovers and scoring?? You know the 2 elements that actually WIN games for you?
Total Points Allowed: Patriots 238 (14.9 p/game) BiLLLLs 279 (17.4 p/game)
Total Turnovers: Patriots 41 (+17 Net) BiLLLLs 18(-16 Net)
Int’s: Patriots 29 (Led NFL!) BiLLLLs 10
What about the impact of Lawyer Milloy’s departure? The net result of that move was that former charger Rodney Harrison took over Lawyer’s SS position while rookie CB Eugene Wilson was converted over to FS. How did their 2003 season stats match up to Lawyers?
Lawyer Milloy:16 games played, 0 Int, 2 FF(1 Recovered) 3 Sacks, 69 Tackles(48 Solo)
Rodney Harrison: 16 Games played, 3 Int 1 FF(1 Recovered) 3 Sacks, 92 Tck’s(66 Solo)
Eugene Wilson: 16 Games Played 4 Int’s, 0 FF, 0 Sacks, 47 Tackles(40 Solo)
Bottom Line: Rodney outplayed Lawyer by a wide margin and Eugene had 4 INT’s to Lawyers 0 and had almost as many solo tackles (85% of total tackles to Milloy’s 70%).
Considering that he was learning a new position on the fly I would give Wilson the edge as well! Another interesting point is that Lawyer has now gone 2 years without an INT!!!! Great pickup BuffaLLLLo!!!
When you add in the genius of Bill Belichick there is no comparison.
PATRIOTS RUUUULLEEE!! But enough about the Defense…..
Heres how the 2 teams stacked up in 2003:
Total Offense: Patriots 17th(314.9ypg) BiLLLLs 30th(271.8ypg)
Points Scored: Patriots 348(21.8 p/Game) BiLLLLs 243(15.2 p/game)
Touchdowns: Patriots 32 Td’s BiLLLLs 24 Td’s
Turnovers: Patriots 21 BiLLLLs 34!!!
When Drew Bledsoe was traded 2 years ago the reaction here in Rochester from the BiLLLLs fans was a mocking “What a mistake your team just made!” and “Thanks for handing us the Division” Well I’d like to ask those same BiLLLLs fans now who has the better QB? The Local Fishwraps around here were ready to ship him out!
I want to thank Doug of Murphy's fans for coining the very popular “Drew Bledsoe? Who said so?” Which we gleefully chanted at the Patriots 38-7 win over BuffaLLLLo @ the Ralph in 2002 along with the chants of “Thank you Drew!” every time he threw an INT!
Do I really need to compare Brady’s numbers to Bledsoe??
Sure!! Why not!!!!!
Do I really need to compare Brady’s numbers to Bledsoe?? Sure!! Why not!!!!!
Brady 317-527 60.2%, 3620 Yds, 23 td, 12 Int, 85.9 QB Rating
Bledsoe 274-471 58.2%, 2860 Yds, 11 Td, 12 Int, 73.0 QB Rating
Its funny how In 2002 Bledsoe was so hot and then for him to slip so far in 2003…Just for fun lets compare the 2 year totals for these 2 QB’s!
Brady 690-1128 61%, 7,384 Yds, 51 Td’s, 26 Int, 85.8 QB Rating
Bledsoe 649-1081 60%. 7,219 Yds, 35 Td’s, 27 Int, 79.5 QB Rating
So not only is Brady a SB MVP but he has outperformed Bledsoe since the trade occurred. Does anyone see this trend reversing? I think not!
On paper it will show that the Patriots and BiLLLLs have split their regular season series w/ a pair of 31-0 shutouts but un reality it was never that close!
Game left! Good luck Pats in SB XXXVIII!!!
Sing it with me!
Past Chowdah Bowls