After a grim loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10, Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots marched into San Francisco and struck it rich, returning to the East Coast with a golden win.
With this win, the worst record the Patriots could end the season with would still be .500, which means they would have to lose every single game until the end of the season, which obviously isn’t going to happen, but it is reassuring knowing that your team can’t be any worse than losing half of the season.
Tom Brady earned his 199th victory after he threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns, tying Brett Favre for the second most wins by a quarterback in National Football League (NFL) history.
Running back LeGarrette Blount led the team in rushing yards with 124, tallying 802 total yards on the season.
Malcolm Mitchell, Julian Edelman, James White and Danny Amendola all caught for one touchdown, spreading the wealth amongst the roster.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski completed 3-for-4 extra points, getting the Pats from 24 points to the magic 30 in the dominant 30-17 win.
The Patriots defense went to the Bay Area ready to dominate, and that is exactly what they did.
Between the defensive team, quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who may be known for his recent civil justice movements) was sacked a total of five times throughout regulation.
Patrick Chung led the Patriots defensive squad with seven solo tackles on the 49ers.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski was inactive in this game from the chest injury he sustained during week 10 against Seattle.
The Pats didn’t need Gronk unless it was to possibly break a few more records or run up the score on the 1-9 San Francisco team.
While this game was a sure-win, it just reassured me why I stay around watching this team week after week, and I am holding out for that ring in February.
Patriots back on a roll: two in a row
After 17 years and now 200 wins in the National Football League, you would think the Jets would learn how to stop Tom Brady.
Despite the win, this was quite an off day for the New England Patriots offense, which is usually as close to perfect as an offense can be.
After a rocky first half, the New England Patriots rallied and pulled out a 22-17 victory over the petty New York Jets, Brady tying Peyton Manning’s all-time record of 200 career wins by a quarterback. The Pats first down of the game and a timeout call from Brady, as well as the Jets challenging the first down call led to the ruling being overturned, which was a good synopsis of how the rest of the game would go.
After New England kicked off, myself along with all Patriots fans were holding our breath after Jordan Richards leg was twisted into a pretzel on a tackle.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous during the first quarter; Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was looking pretty strong, hitting all of his receivers, but luckily the only damage was a forced field goal, which unfortunately meant an early 3-0 lead for the NYJ.
The Pats started off looking pretty sloppy and the offense could not connect, but Brady missed two days of practice the week leading up to the Jets game with his knee injury, so early on, I wasn’t reading too much into it.
What made me more nervous, however, was when my semi-injured quarterback decided that lead-blocking for LeGarrette Blount was a good idea.
Any Pats fan knows what Brady looks like when he rushes and that in itself is scary enough; we don’t have to bring lead-blocking into the mix.
Early on, Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were having some trouble connecting, and I was honestly surprised to see Gronk on the field after the way his chest was crushed against the Seahawks. The Pats never got momentum and each offensive drive was stop-and-go.
The Pats were forced to punt three time in the first quarter alone and had me biting my nails, questioning my thoughts of a sure-win, especially when Gronk headed to the locker room.
One thing is for sure. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had an active first quarter as the NYJ led the Pats 3-0 at the end of the first.
The second quarter began with a touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall, his fifth catch of the game, making it a 10-0 lead for the NYJ.
After this, the Pats offense began to pick up once Malcolm Butler recovered a fumble and Brady tossed to wide receiver Julian Edelman, where Edelman made a beauty of a catch on the sideline.
The Pats then scored a touchdown, but not before Brady lost the ball on the snap, stayed completely poised, picked it up and threw a perfect ball to wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit the extra point, the Pats tied the game at 10 and just like that, my breathing returned to normal for the time being.
A blocked field goal by Alan Branch revved the team right before a missed field goal attempt from Gostkowski.
The Patriots undoubtedly had an off-day, but the fourth quarter offensive surge led by Tom Brady allowed the team to win their second in a row.
The worst the Pats can finish now is 9-7, and something tells me that we are more than in contention for another ring.
With a 9-2 record, the Pats in first place in the American Football Conference East and are out in front of the 7-4 Miami Dolphins.
On to Los Angeles.
Mary Curtin can be contacted at Mcurtin@kscequinox.com