The New England Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night to advance to their 3rd straight AFC Championship Game.
The game stayed close through 3 quarters, but in the 4th, after Jamie Collins interception, the Patriots put the game away and won, 43 – 22.
Read on to find out what I took away from the divisional round win.
1. The Patriots offense has a running game
– The Patriots run offense is legit. It’s comforting knowing that they can run first and when they have to, pass the football with that great QB back there. It’s nice knowing that finally the Patriots don’t have to put everything on Tom Brady, but when they need too, he can get the job done.
This is the mot balanced Patriots attack I have seen in years.
2. The defense is good enough
– I wouldn’t want this defense to have to make one last stand because I still don’t think they can do it, and I worry about them facing the great Peyton Manning in Denver, but they are a solid bunch.
The secondary is good, Talib, Dennard, Ryan, and Arrington is a solid bunch, but against the Colts they gave up the most deep plays than they had all season. Dennard had a good game but got burnt a few different times as well as Ryan. That can’ t happen next week.
The pass rush when they blitz is good but the defensive line can improve. Jones and Ninkovich are not consistent pass rushers by any stretch and was getting owned for almost the entire game.
While the Patriots still don’t have a pass rush they do have creative blitzes, good linebackers, and great secondary play so far. If they can continue to bend but not break and play solid defense they can help New England reach their goal this year.
3. The Patriots are physical
– The Patriots have become a physical team. They use to get beat by physical teams all the time but now they have morphed themselves into a physical team. They can beat finesse teams so they match up well next Sunday with a finesse Denver team.
The offensive line is playing better, it can definitely continue to become better and better but they are playing much better. The line is pushing people around and creating space for the runningbacks and giving Brady enough time.
The backs are running tough and hard to bring down and the defense is pushing receivers around.