|Patriots beat up Jets at Gillette|
by Dean Nicosia
The Patriots may not seem like the powerhouse of the past two years, but they are starting to look like the team that nobody predicted would win the Super Bowl back in 2001.
That team got hot down the stretch, and saw close games won by players that were then unknown. They came together behind a second year quarterback that was a backup for most of his college career, and their defense only boasted a few stars. It was a team that nobody saw as a serious contender, yet it was a team that shocked the football world, and won the Super Bowl after losing their 100 million dollar QB to injury.
This team could be that team, at least if they keep playing the way they did today. They have tons of injuries, and they have rookies and castaways playing in key spots, but just as that 2001 team did, they are starting to jell. They are coming together as a team and finding ways to win. Sure they aren't 10-2 right now, but 7-5 isn't bad in this division, and if they win the next two games, they could clinch a spot early.
That's when the fun begins. The planning and the strategy of Belichick and his coaches goes into effect. And just like in 2001, they are working with no expectation, so anything goes. They can conjure up just about anything that they want, and the other teams won't know what to expect, out of this years version of unknowns. Sure we have starts like Brady and Seymour, but there are a bunch of guys starting for the Patriots that other teams will have a hard time scouting. That leaves the doors open for the coaches, to come up with a game plan week by week to climb their way back into contention.
They have the experience of 3 Super Bowl wins in their veterans and the enthusiasm and hunger to win, in their young draft picks and castaways from other teams. Anything can happen, if they make the playoffs.
So today was a big win, towards that goal of making the playoffs. And if they do make the playoffs they will once again go against the trend of Championship teams, in this era of free agency, not being able to win year after year. They will have bucked all odds and crazy injuries to once again have a shot in January.
If they make the playoffs...
Today they ran well at times, and passed well at times in tough Foxboro winter weather. But more importantly they put a ton of pressure on the opposing quarterback, and didn't give up any crucial big plays on defense. They started looking once again like that little team in 2001 that line up against Goliath (the Rams) after nobody thought they could even get there, and took him down.
That team won a bunch of close game off the foot of Adam Vinatieri with just enough on offense, at the right times and a crazy attack on defense.
This team is much more lethal on offense, and now they are starting to attack on defense. "Bend but don't break, and create turnovers" was the motto of that team in 2001, and that's what they will need to do it this time around. Which is why is was a relief to see them play defense today.
Don't buy into the thinking that "this was just the Jets, and they stink" because it was a division rival, and they had nothing to lose. The Jets played tough and we passed the test, and took that next step towards greatness.
See you in Buffalo...
God Bless and Go Patriots!!