From the Armchair: New England Patriots, Week 12
If they can stop shooting themselves in the foot – just like last week against Carolina – maybe it would not have had to be a franchise record comeback. The turnovers have got to stop if they plan on playing deep into the playoffs. That being said, Tom Brady had a solid outing. Rob Gronkowski is very much the straw that stirs the drink and Julian Edelman allowed Belichik to give the ultimate middle finger to Wes Welker. I’m not sure what happens to Stevan Ridley from here, but three fumbles in three games is not good. For that matter though, all the backs have had their moments hanging onto the ball.
The early scores being partially a product of gifts from offensive turnovers gives this group a partial pass. They did play better in the second half than the first. Perhaps it was the game plan to make the Broncos beat them on the ground, but Knowshon Moreno had a monster day. How they miss big Vince Wilfork clogging up the middle. With so many key players missing on defense others have had the opportunity to step up and further their development and future roles. Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Chris Jones, and Joe Vellano are getting better by the week.
Belichick made a gutsy call by deferring the ball and choosing to have the wind at his back during overtime – a move that worked exactly as planned. While no one wants to win because of the punt hitting Tony Carter, sometimes it’s nice to have to ball bounce your way when you need it most.
The road ahead:
The Patriots head to Houston next Sunday for a 1:00 game. Hopefully there will be no let down this week because as of right now, they have a first round bye. With Denver and Kansas City facing each other again they could get home field throughout the playoffs which would be a considerable advantage for this team.