|There were no fireworks when Master (right) and wannabe protégé (left) met for a handshake yesterday afternoon. (Courtesy of NFL.com)
The Pats are 14-0, can’t beat that. They are now only the second team to reach the 14-0 mark in NFL history, tying only the champagne loving 1972 Dolphins. Here’s what we learned in Sunday’s win over the Jets:
- THE PATRIOTS CARE ABOUT ONE THING OVER ALL OTHERS, WINNING: If the conditions were right, the Patriots would have probably tried their best to slaughter the Jets into submission. Instead, the wind blew at 40 mile an hour gusts and rain was a factor throughout the half. So instead of throwing it 40 times and running just nine times as they did against the Steelers, the Pats used the ground game to grind out yards against the 30th ranked Jets rush defense. For the first time all season, Brady didn’t throw a TD pass and Donté Stallworth didn’t sniff a catch all afternoon. But they did what they needed to secure the win, which matters most. Don’t mistake me, despite what they say the Patriots coaching staff and players are very interested in obliterating personal and team records which they are close to, but in the end, they would all sacrifice personal achievement for another W on the schedule. That’s what makes the Patriots the greatest team of our generation.
- LAURENCE MARONEY ISN’T WASHED UP AFTER ALL: Maroney ran for more than 100 yards for the first time this season and allowed the Patriots to control the clock for most of the game. He was able to run inside and outside behind above average blocking on a day where Tom Brady couldn’t find a rhythm in the conditions. I agree with a lot of people in saying Maroney has been a little disappointing since arriving at Patriot Place last season but do remember that he is only in his second season, never was the premier back in college and at 22 years old is still among the youngest Patriots on the roster. Though against a porous Jets defense, it was great to see Maroney put his shoulder down and punish defenders.
- BELICHICK FINALLY TOOK THE HIGH GROUND: It’s easy to see why most people outside of New England are not fans of Bill Belichick. I myself get frustrated at some of his press conferences (especially after losses) when he seems like it’s the last thing in the world he wants to do (this is the only area where I’d take Celts coach Doc Rivers over Sir Bill). Belichick effectively put the Spygate mess to rest yesterday when after the game he had a congenial handshake with Eric “the rat” Mangini and the words, “Great game. Awesome.” There was no shady looks, no pushing of cameramen (no pun intended) and no vulgarities spewed from the three time Super Bowl winning coach. Belichick finally took the high ground, enjoyed his victory over a hated opponent and pumped his fist after the handshake with Mangini. This was meant something to Belichick and you’d be crazy to think he was disappointed because they didn’t win by 50.
- THE PATS ROAD TO 16-0 IS A CAKEWALK: Okay, so the Dolphins won a game, and it happened to be the game where the aformentioned ’72 ‘phins were honored. Big deal. Brian Billick should have resigned before leaving the field yesterday. Any complaints on that front? Either way, as long as the weather stays dry, Brady and the Pats might break a few records next week against the 1-13 Dolphins. My attention is already on the Giants game. In the past few weeks it’s looked as though the Giants would have already locked up the fifth seed in the NFC by the time the 15-0 Pats strolled into the Meadowlands. But with a 22-10 home loss to the ‘Skins last night, the Giants are still in need of a win to make it into the post-season. Some Pats fans might feel a little uneasy that the Giants might have something to play for. But the loss just shows me that the Giants are so inconsistent that even if they have a playoff berth on the line, the Patriots shouldn’t have a problem with them. When you lose to a mediocre division opponent at home on prime time TV with a playoff spot on the line, how are you going to beat a 15-0 team at home on prime time TV with a playoff spot on the line?
Check back throughout the week for coverage of the Pats game against the 1-13 Dolphins.
Tags: Bill Belichick, Donte Stallworth, Eric Mangini, Laurence Maroney, New York Jets, Patriots, Tom Brady