Division rival Miami Dolphins came to Foxborough Sunday to take on the Patriots. The Patriots, who had won six in a row, were returning from their win over the Raiders in Mexico City. Division games are always difficult. They’re heated and emotional. Even though the Dolphins were without their starting quarterback Jay Cutler, Matt Moore is one of the better back up QBs in the league. All week I heard about Moore’s great connection with wide receiver Kenny Stills. It still wasn’t enough to beat the Patriots.
Thanksgiving is a day for family, food and football – and though I’m thankful for all three, they go hand in hand. I’m a New England Patriots fan, born and raised. And every football season, I’m thankful for my team. But it wasn’t always this way.
The New England Patriots brought three generations of Sarkisians together: my grandfather, my father and me. My grandfather had season tickets for several years before he died in 1994 when the Patriots played at the old Schaefer and then Sullivan Stadium. Although we never got to go to a game together, the 3 of us, we all shared the same love of football and our team. He sold them shortly before he died, but we had suffered 5 losing seasons in a row, and I think he thought it was time. If he’d only had an inkling of the seasons to come, the Kraft Era – the Brady Era.
Denver has always been a daunting place to play a football game unless, of course, you’re the home team. But the Broncos don’t look like the championship caliber team they normally are. There have been lots of changes since Peyton Manning retired and although the defense is pretty much intact, the offense is lacking, especially at the quarterback position.
Still, coming into this game the Broncos were 3-1 at home. Tom Brady’s Patriots have been 3-4 in Denver in the regular season, and an abysmal 0-3 in the playoffs, so this game wasn’t a sure thing for the 6-2 Patriots coming off of their bye week. But the Patriots played well in all three phases of the game and completely dominated the Broncos. At the end of the 4th quarter, Tom Brady was taken out and recently acquired Brian Hoyer subbed in. As the Broncos’ fans filed out of Sports Authority Field, chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” could be heard in the celebratory voices of the remaining Patriots’ fans.
Traci McCartney is a mother, grandmother, wife, full-time professional and a sports addict. She is a New Englander transplanted to the California desert, obsessed with the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.
Growing up, Traci’s father shared his love of sports with her, and through that they forged an unbreakable bond watching basketball, hockey, football and baseball on TV and in person. One of her favorite memories was one year when she went home to Connecticut for Christmas. She and her dad went out and bought a picture in picture TV so that they could watch more than one football game at a time. It drove her mother insane!!
They loved watching football together. She remembers loosing a lot when she was younger. ESPECIALLY losing Super Bowl XX to the Bears. Those were not good memories! But she is very thankful for all the good times now.
This is Traci’s second season covering the Patriots as an official fan reporter.
Sunday’s game was the highly anticipated rematch of Super Bowl LI’s Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, to be held at Gillette Stadium.
Everyone has always assumed that the lighthouse and fog horn were just there for ambiance, but on Sunday night they might have actually proved helpful. The fog rolled into Foxborough and clouded visibility from the NBC cameras and coaches up in the booth as well as some fans, but it didn’t seem to bother the Patriots. They scored another win bringing their record to 5-2 and finally dominated their visiting opponent the way they’ve been expected to all season.
With a final score of 23-7, the Patriots sent the Falcons home without the win they had been vying for after losing the Super Bowl to New England in overtime last February.
The Patriots went into the Meadowlands Sunday with a record identical to their opponents’, something no one could have predicted at the start of the season. The media had been talking about an 0-16 season for the Jets, but coach Todd Bowles, quarterback Josh McCown and the rest of the team have proved the media wrong. Whoever came out on top in this game would lead the AFC East, but this didn’t look like 2 good teams fighting it out for the division.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first – the defense, especially in passing, looked awful. I would have never predicted that the Super Bowl Champions would return and deliver the 32nd ranked defense in the National Football League, but here we are. They have given up an average, an AVERAGE of 440 yards of offense per game. Most of that, of course, through the air.
Thursday Night Football has historically not provided us with entertaining games. Two teams, both usually on a short week, duke it out on the nationally televised stage. After a heartbreaking loss at home to the Carolina Panthers last week, mainly credited to the poor performance of the offensive line and communication issues on the defense, the New England Patriots headed to Tampa Bay to take on Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
The Patriots emerged the victors, and there were definitely some good elements to the game, but there is still a lot of work to do to make this team better. The Patriots, who are used to being at the top looking down in the AFC East division standings, are in a 3 way tie for first place with the Buffalo Bills, who have been playing good football, and the New York Jets. Some thoughts from the Patriots’ win over the Buccaneers:
There was a time when a victory at Gillette Stadium for quarterback Tom Brady was almost guaranteed. That time has passed. Brady’s record at home before this season for regular season games was 101-16. So far this season, the Patriots have played at home 3 times – and lost twice. They lost their second home game of the season to quarterback Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers doing what Brady normally does: running out the clock and putting his time in a position to win the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
After a disappointing, dismal appearance in a week three loss to the New Orlean Saints, the Carolina Panthers seemed to get it together against the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in week four.
Film study, stout defense, and a patient offense proved to be a difference maker on Sunday. The Patriots entered the game as the worst defense in the league and likely remained the same. Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula showed balance with his play calling, 29 rushing attempts and 29 passing plays.
Quarterback Cam Newton dissected a struggling Patriot defense going 22 of 29 passing, for 316 yards, four touchdowns touchdowns (including one rushing), and one interception. Running backs Jonathan Stewart, and Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Damiere Byrd along with Newton himself added another 140 yards on the ground.
In a game where both the offense and defense seemed to struggle, the Patriots pulled out a win on yet another quarterback Tom Brady game winning, game ending drive (the 50th in his career). Brady connected on a 25 yd pass to speedster wide reciever Brandin Cooks, who made a spectacular catch to put the Patriots ahead 36-33 after the successful 2 point conversion attempt, leaving the Texans with 23 seconds left for Houston Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to make something happen. It wasn’t meant to be.
This wasn’t one of the Patriots’ best games, and as I mentioned last week, the Texans’ defense is tough – they’re big and they’re fast, and even with their starting secondary depleted, they managed to give Patriots receivers a difficult time. Thoughts on this game….
The Offensive Line needs to do a LOT better than they did this week. Brady was sacked 5 times in the game on Sunday for a loss of 41 yds, and honestly, every time Brady caught the snap, I was afraid for him. Tackle Nate Solder especially seemed unable to block the quick Texan defense. Not only was Brady sacked, but he was hit 8 times, including a hit taken when guard Joe Thuney was run over on the pass to Cooks for the touchdown.
Running game was virtually shut down by the Texans’ defense. Only 59 yds rushing and no rushing touchdowns. Offensive line play definitely contributed to the problem here.