The Cincinnati Bengals walked in to Gillette Stadium licking their chops at the possibility of defeating the New England Patriots in their own back yard but walked out on Foxborough with the same deflated feeling that the Pats had experienced themselves last week. Defeat to the Chiefs 41-14 had raised many questions over the brightness of the future for the legendary duo of Brady and Belichick but the two executed the game plan brilliantly as they rallied to an early 14-0 first quarter lead against the Bengals.
Brady was back to his magical best completing 23 of 35 passing attempts for 2 touchdowns to Tim Wright who had a breakout night and Rob Gronkowski who looks to be back to his best which is fantastic news for the Patriots. I called for Timothy Wright’s breakout game to be last week but it came last night and whilst many have questioned the Logan Mankins trade which exposed New England’s offensive line problems after his performance last night everyone will be praising the genius of Belichick as Wright, the man who moved the other way as part of that trade with Tampa Bay, had an Aaron Hernandez type performance and had 5 receptions for 85 yards and one score.
This helped Rob Gronkowski get free and avoid double coverage throughout the game with the big man catching 6 passes from Brady including the catch which saw Brady eclipse 50,000 passing yards during his NFL career becoming only the 6th quarterback to do so; Gronk finished the night with 100 yards, one score and averaged 16.7 yards per catch. The fantastic performances by the two tight ends along with an inspired performance by the offensive line which helped Brady get his flow back in the passing game as well as also helping the team establish the running game, something New England fans have been crying out for.
|The 6th QB to reach the landmark for passing yards|
Josh McDaniels made the right play calls and used the one-two punch of Ridley and Vereen to devastating effect with the two combining on the ground for 203 rushing yards; Ridley had over 100 and got one touchdown. The effectiveness in the run game really did give the Patriots the balance they needed to win the game and is something they have been renowned for having over the years. The passing game had 8 different receivers haul in a catch from Brady with the efficient display on offense seeing them post 36 points with Stephen Gotskowski kicking all 5 of his field goals successfully.
The other touchdown was a fumble return by Kyle Arrington who had a brilliant night on the defense. The defense did what I and many people expected after last weeks humiliation if not better by bouncing back in style with Darrelle Revis having his best game in a Patriot uniform to date limiting AJ Green in the passing game. Coach Belichick gave him the freedom to match up with the receiver one on one with Revis winning the battle throughout the game; Revis also had a forced fumble on a night which saw the Patriots force 3 turnovers with Jamie Collins causing the other. The Patriots also managed to get a pass rush going which unsettled Andy Dalton at times who despite actually having a good night personally, 15/24 for two touchdowns, suffered as the rest of the team around him depleted.
The 43-17 victory is just the bounce back performance that the New England Patriots needed to silence the doubters and get their season back up and running. They now sit joint first in the AFC East with a 3-2 record ahead of two divisional games coming up against the Bills next Sunday and the New York Jets the following week on Thursday Night Football. Before the Chiefs game I sang the Patriots praises regarding their ability of performing under the lights of prime time television and while last week didn’t go too well for them they sure as hell did last night! Brady now owns a 13-8 record on Sunday Night Fooball and the Patriots are an NFL best 38-9 in the month of October since 2003 including a home record of 23-1 in that time which is very impressive.
|Brady was all fired up after guiding New England to victory|
Brady himself knows there’s a long way to go on the season but to beat a team that many had down as the most complete in the conference has to boost morale; this victory was New England’s 32nd straight regular season victory at home against AFC opposition. That record will definitely be put to the test in week 9 when they host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos which comes after the two divisional matchups mentioned earlier on and just after a home encounter against the Chicago Bears. That means that 3 of the Patriots next 4 games are at Gillette Stadium which could give this team even more confidence before they head in to their bye week come week 10.
So Brady and co are back with a vengeance with the quarterback’s career record after a loss now standing at 35 wins with just 8 losses (won last 9). As well as this since 2009 in 33 games Brady is 29-4 throwing 65 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions with a QB rating of 112. Anyone who questioned the Patriots will now surely feel foolish and the team will now have their road trip to Buffalo in sight as they look to take control of the division which this win many analysts and experts will expect them to do. This may have been just one game but it showed the heart as well as the spirit that this New England team has and that is something you cannot teach and will definitely come in hand throughout the long regular season and more importantly come playoff time.