Pats nearly blow a blowout
A win is a win is a win. That’s what I’m going to keep telling myself after that one. The repeated statement loses some of its luster when that win is by just seven points over the now 0-12 Indianapolis Colts, who proved in the fourth quarter this past Sunday that they are definitely tanking their season on purpose to get Andrew Luck. (We have a word for that, and its classless. Better organization? Patriots. No question.) Another slow start by the offense had the score at 3-0 after the first quarter, and it was 10-7 when the Patriots took over at their own 36-yard line with 1:34 to go before half.
Then Tom Brady and the Pats marched down the field and scored on an eight-play drive that was capped off by “The Law Firm” BenJarvus Green-Ellis smashing it in from the two-yard line to make it 17-3 at the half. New England then took the opening kick of the second half and drove 77 yards for another touchdown. 24-3 New England. Game over. But unfortunately it wasn’t. Brady and the offense finished a productive day with 362 total yards. Brady threw for 289 yards and two TDs (although he had a third TD ruled a lateral for which he did not get credit) and no picks. Wes Welker was once again the leading receiver with 11 catches for 110 yards, surprising precisely no one. After that game, however, I have come to the conclusion that Rob Gronkowski is not a human being; he is some sort of robot developed by the CIA to combat terrorism that escaped and now plays football. He had only 65 yards this week but produced three total TDs, tying the NFL record for TDs in a season by a tight end in just his second year. This guy is just an absolute freak, and there is no other way to describe it.
The Pats kept it under control for the remainder of the third quarter and were in control 31-3 going into the fourth. The reason I had to do some breathing exercises before writing this article came in that final quarter, though. The Indianapolis Colts (as in the 0-11, score 13.5 points per game Indianapolis Colts) outscored the Patriots 21-0 in the fourth quarter and almost made a huge comeback in a game that should have been over before the quarter even began. Yes, their last TD came with just 36 seconds to go, but Indy scored on three of their four possessions in the final 15 minutes, and the vaunted Pats’ offense went three-and-out all three times it had the ball.
Dan Orlovsky (never heard of him? He’s the guy who was the Lions’ starter in 2008 when they went 0-16) threw for 353 yards. He had two TDs and looked like he owned the game for the entire fourth quarter. Allowing 24 points and over 300 yards passing to Dan Orlovsky and the Colts is absolutely pathetic. The defense had been making progress, but this is three huge steps back.
Next week the Pats travel to our nation’s capital to take on the lowly Washington Redskins in another game that figures to be a romp. After this week, I’m not predicting a loss, but if the spread is 10, they won’t cover. This defense needs to step up its game big-time if the Patriots want to figure into the Super Bowl discussion come playoff time. They will make the playoffs, yes, but the luxury of being the best-run organization in the NFL is that anything less than another Lombardi Trophy would be a failure. If Bill Belichick and Tom Brady want number four, the coach must step up his defensive prowess. The defense showed up for three quarters and played Belichickian bend-but-don’t-break defense, but then they broke repeatedly in the fourth, and that won’t beat the Steelers, Ravens or Packers of the world.