Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are a team that seems to love domes. It is a known fact. Before this Halloween eve, the Patriots were winners of nine straight games under the big top with Tom Brady at the helm. Tonight, they looked to be destined to continue that dominance and bring their record to 10-0 and they did it in powerful fashion.
This evening was no different for the boys in silver and blue. The Patriots looked crisp, sharp and dominating right from the starting gun. Tom Brady showed signs of old spreading the ball all around the field to many different receivers. On the other side of the ball, the defense of the Patriots was quick and very efficient holding the Minnesota offense to zero points in the first half.
One of the most impressive stats was Tom Brady throwing 17-25 for over 200 yards in the first half. Wait, wasn't this supposed to be a corps of receivers that would never amount to anything? Three receivers with over 60 yards receiving in the first half is a good way to shut some of the critics up out there. Brady threw to 8 different receivers in the first half and looked efficient in his football endeavors with the exception of an acrobatic interception by Minnesota's D. Sharper.
In the second half with a three and out by the Patriots, a punt return for a touchdown by Viking M. Moore seemed to turn the tides in the game. The crowd was noisy and thunderous. The dome was almost inaudible then a shocking hush fell over the crowd when rookie sensation Laurence Maroney ran a kick off back for 77 yards only to be stopped by his own player. Then the offensive unit completed three quick passes and entered the end zone again with ease.
Another key moment in the second half was the fumble by Caldwell going for his ninth reception and the Vikings were looking to gain momentum. Then, as they had done all night, the defense stepped up again and shut the Vikings down. Everything they attempted to throw deep downfield was stopped.
This team looked like they had a mission tonight and followed through with it.
Now, the Patriots needed a game like this to prove that cliché phrase you hear so often in "Taking each game one at a time." How easy would it have been for the team to look ahead past the Vikings to the home game against the undefeated, AFC rival Colts? It could have been such a typical 'trap' game but wasn't indeed. As usual, Bill Belichick had the team prepared for anything to be thrown their way. "We're happy to win but it doesn't get any easier against the Colts next week" said the coach after the game. I think again, it is the "don't get too high and stay grounded" mentality.
In the game tonight, against the number two running back in the league in C. Taylor, they needed to shut them down and keep them at bay and succeeded in doing so.
You will hear from many Viking fans tomorrow around the water cooler complaints about the officiating crew this evening. If you look at the overall commanding performance by New England, they had no effect on the outcome of this game. They were successful in many aspects of the game tonight. Their defense made Minnesota quarterback, B. Johnson look confused and lethargic at times.
Key players of the game:
T. Banta-Cain with two sacks almost had a trifecta in the third quarter. He looks like a very promising young talent at linebacker who is looking to take over the reigns for some of the aging defensive players on this team.
Mike Vrabel. Seven tackles including some very key 'drive stopping' ones in the second half.
Tom Brady. Well, what else can you say? With a day of almost 400 yards passing and four touchdown passes, there wasn't much else he could have done that was that far from perfect. Tom Brady posted a season-best 115.6 passer rating, completing 29-of-43 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. This young quarterback posted an increase in his passer rating for the fifth straight game in a row. He is gaining momentum to make a run for the playoffs.
These are the statistics of Tom Brady just something to think about.
· 10-0 in indoor stadiums
· 19-1 on artificial turf
· 20-4 against NFC opponents
· 34-1 when posting a passer rating of 100.0 or higher
· 55-2 when leading at halftime
· 60-1 when leading after three quarters
· 74-22 in regular season and playoff games
If the Patriots can play defensively like they did tonight against the Indianapolis Colts next week, then it is going to be one heck of a fight like it should be.
Shane is a lifelong Patriots fan who grew up in Worcester, MA. He showed his Patriots spirit representing his home team all over the world while in the military and attending games regularly through the years. He now resides in Bangor, ME where he roots for them from afar. He stands firm in his belief in the team and regularly makes the 500 mile round trip trek to watch them whenever he can.