The New England Patriots came back in thrilling fashion to defeat the Cleveland Browns yesterday evening.
The Patriots were trailing until the 1 minute mark when Brady connected with Amendola on a touchdown pass that gave the Patriots the one point lead and the win.
The Patriots did lose Gronkowski – their best weapon, for the season. Another major blow to the Patriots Superbowl hopes.
But Tom Brady still scored two touchdowns in less than 2 minutes to give New England the win and a chance to stay in the race for the number 1 seed in the playoffs.
I took away 3 big things from this early December match.
1. Gillette Stadium is magical.
– It just seems like Gillette Stadium is magical this year because the Patriots keep winning in improbable fashion. Take the way they came back against the Saints, Broncos, and now the Browns. Who knows maybe Tebow sprinkled some Tebow Magic before he left Gillette.
We all saw how Auburn has become the team of destiny in college football and now I’m thinking New England may actually be the team of destiny in the NFL. The way they have won at home has been incredible, and even on the road, the Pats have been in every game this season with chances to win at the end. This team fights and claws for 4 quarters and they are extremely hard to beat.
Even without Gronk this team will be tough for anyone to handle in the playoffs especially if they have to travel to New England.
2. Julian Edelman is the new Wes Welker
– Edelman has really come along this year.
He was having a great year last year before injuries took over and this year he has broken out in a big way. He is out from the Welker shadow of years past and this year I really thought he would be in Danny Amendola’s shadow and a backup to him but Edelman has taken over and put Amendola in his shadow.
Julian Edelman has become a big part of this offense and now with no Gronk he will become an even bigger part of it.
3. The defensive problems are becoming a worry
– It has been a few weeks since I have seen a complete game from the defensive side of the ball. The secondary shut down Denver’s elite passing game but against the Browns they had all sorts of trouble.
I’m surprised New England won giving they were letting the Browns two best weapons beat them for most of the game. WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron both had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
It wasn’t Talib’s best game yesterday. He got burnt bad for the better part of the game against Gordon but yet shut down Demaryius Thomas. Does he struggle with speedy guys like Gordon and Smith? Maybe it is his hamstring that isn’t 100% yet. Who knows but here lately we have been getting doses of good Talib and bad Talib. Now I worry which one will show up on Sundays.
The run defense has it moments and games. They were great against the run heavy Panthers and awful against the Broncos but that had more to do with scheme but still. They were not the best against the Texans but much better against the Browns. I think scheme plays a big part of how the run defense does from here on out and who they play.
Still I’d like to see the defense roll into the playoffs getting hot. If New England makes the SB now they need their defense to keep them in games and make the stops at the end.