For the 8th time in the 16 years that Tom Brady has been a healthy starting quarterback for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick as his head coach, the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Let that sink in. It’s amazing, astonishing, and sounds impossible, but it’s true.
The Patriots beat the #1 passing defense in the AFC Championship game, 24-20 to advance to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis where they will take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles after their rout of the Minnesota Vikings.
All week, the media was talking about two things: Jacksonville’s defense and Brady’s injured throwing hand. Despite the 12 stitches at the base of this thumb, Brady was able to engineer his 11th game winning drive to seal the Patriots’ victory.
Once again, the Patriots walked into Miami the odds-on favorite and came out losers. Although the score doesn’t adequately reflect it, it was an ugly Monday Night Football game. One the Patriots lost to the division rival Miami Dolphins 20-27.
It was a game where quarterback Tom Brady didn’t look like Tom Brady. It took 2 1/2 quarters of football before a Patriots wide receiver (Danny Amendola) caught a pass. And New England went 0 for 11 on 3rd down conversions.
Let that sink in, folks…the Patriots could not convert a single third down. The last time the Patriots were that inept at converting on third downs was in 1991. I remember those days – back when the Patriots were really bad – they hadn’t won more than 10 games since 1986 and this particular season, they went 6-10. Does anyone remember head coach Dick MacPherson? Nah…me either.
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: