Winning The Close Ones
--Patriots' fans have had it pretty good for the past
decade, so much so that they've begun to treat close, nail-biting
victories like they were losses. Welcome to what every other team in
the NFL deals with on a weekly basis.
Sure, not every win is pretty, but the fact is New
England continues to find a way to win, even if pedestrian quarterbacks
tear the secondary to shreds on a weekly basis.
Sunday, it was Rex Grossman and the bottom-feeding
Redskins trading blows with Tom Brady. The Patriots didn't seal this
one until Santana Moss flubbed an easy catch in the red zone, leading
to a game-clinching interception by tight end Jerod Mayo. Had Moss
caught the ball, the Redskins would've had one last chance to tie the
game on fourth down; instead, the Patriots held on for a 34-27 win, a
far cry from the "60 minutes of football" Brady has been asking for all
"We are capable of putting a lot of good plays
together. We just need to do it consistently for 60 minutes," Brady
said. "I think that is what you see out there. We had opportunities to
make plays. For one reason or another, we were just a little off. We
are still working at it. There is nothing perfect in football, unless
you are the Packers."
This team is a far cry from the 13-0 squad in
Green Bay knocking on destiny's doorstep. Sunday, the Patriots wasted
three golden scoring opportunities in the red zone, the third resulting
in an interception in the end zone when Brady failed to connect with
Emotions boiled over. Brady gave Underwood an
earful, and then offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien gave his
quarterback a taste of his own medicine. No harm, no foul, but it's
become clear everyone is frustrated with the team's inability to play
consistently on a weekly basis.
"If you make bad plays, you are supposed to get
yelled at by your coaches," Brady said. "This is not the first time and
probably won't be the last. You can't do that in that situation and it
was just a stupid play by me."
The accountability helps, but consistency would be
even better. The Patriots are 10-3 and will most likely wrap up the AFC
East in a matter of weeks. They'll possibly get the No. 1 seed in the
conference, too, but there are still issues to be worked out before the
playoffs begin. These next few games will continue to serve as a trial
"Coach (Bill Belichick) has high expectations for
us," Brady said. "He challenges us every week to play better and more
consistently. At times we do it and other times we don't. We are still
looking to put together 60 minutes of football."
--The Patriots won for the 10th time this season
New England has now won 10 or more games 10 times in the last 11
seasons, including the last nine seasons, joining San Francisco (16)
and Indianapolis (9) as the only teams to accomplish the latter.
--TE Rob Gronkowski extended his NFL record for
overall touchdowns in a single season by a tight end and established
the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end with his
14th receiving touchdown on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in
the first quarter Sunday.
Vernon Davis (San Francisco in 2009) and Antonio Gates (San Diego in 2004) had 13 touchdown catches in a season.
Gronkowski added a 37-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and
now has 16 total touchdowns this season -- the highest number of
combined touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history, which included
Gronkowski's 2-yard touchdown on a lateral two weeks ago against
--QB Tom Brady has 33 touchdown passes through 12
games and is on pace for 41 touchdown passes.
If Brady reaches 40 touchdowns, he will be just
the second player in NFL history to have two seasons with 40 or more
touchdown throws. Dan Marino had 48 touchdowns in 1984 and 44 in 1986.
Need To Improve Slow Start
- Broncos Draws In The Commish
About More Than Tebow For Brady
Gridiron Report Week 15: Broncos
Patriots - Broncos Preview
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Notebook: Patriots Winning The Close Ones
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