Monday, December 13, 2010
THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED
I was wrong about the Bears and the weather being something to worry about. The Patriots seemed to thrive in the snow, while the Bears wallowed in it. The Pats became the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff berth, and took huge strides toward winning the AFC East.
Since halftime on Thanksgiving, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 116-17. That's simply staggering.
Last night, Brady had a few tipped passes that could have been intercepted, and a few field goals could have easily been touchdown drives. But I'm nit-picking. You just have to sit back and say that over the last 10 quarters, the Patriots have played amazing football.
Brady threw for a season high 369 yards, in the snow, in the wind.
Wes Welker is back to 100%. We were all worried that without Moss, he'd struggle. His 8 receptions for 115 yards disputes that notion. He's caught 36 passes in the last 5 games, and is back to being a favorite target of Brady.
Branch is the other favorite target. He also had 8 catches, for 151 yards and a TD. He's caught 4 TD passes in the last 3 games.
The most important thing the Patriots did last night was protect the football. 35 rushing carries, 27 receptions, 3 returns, and 0 fumbles. In weather like that, it's very impressive. BJG Ellis hasn't fumbled in his NFL career. Nor did he fumble in college. I can't find his high school stats, but I doubt he was a fumbling machine back in St. Augustine HS (New Orleans).
On defense, the Pats were all over the Bears. They held them to 185 total yards, and only 47 on the ground. They hauled in two picks, and recovered two fumbles. The Bears were only 3/8 on 3rd downs, so even when Chicago held onto the ball, they struggled to move it. The defense was a big reason why the Patriots dominated time of possession 39:41 to 20:19. That's essentially 2 to 1.
The Bears are fraudulent. The Patriots are currently the best team in the NFL. With the Jets getting "tripped up" by Miami, they now have a stranglehold on the division. They can clinch the AFC East, as well as a 1st round bye, with a win, and a Jet loss next week.
The Packers come to town on Sunday night, possibly without Aaron Rodgers. Though Green Bay does have the #1 scoring defense in the League, and the weather may once again be dicey.