The Hooded One Cometh

Julian Edelman finally found something to put his fingerprints on; a punt return for a touchdown.

To be honest last night did not start out the way the Patriots wanted. Tod Haley threw everything he had at the Patriots in the first quarter including a surprise onside kick which luckily the Chiefs didn’t recover due to an illegal touching penalty. (Officials have denied that Julian Edelman had anything to do with this incident). The Chiefs defense did a great job getting pressure on Brady and made the Patriots normally unstoppable offense look not just ineffective but awful. At the end of the first quarter the Chiefs led the Patriots 3-0 and seemed to be outplaying the Patriots in all phases.

Then the second quarter came and the Pats realized they were playing a 4-5 Chiefs team at home against a quarterback who has spent a little more time playing NFL football than I have over the past few years. New England then rolled Kansas City putting up 34 points and walking out of Foxborough like they had just gone through a light film session.

All season the Patriots have been talked about as a Super Bowl contender because of their offense, then just a mediocre team because of their atrocious defense. Then when the defense started playing better some hope has become restored and then dashed when the offense stumbled slightly. However one thing that has remained consistent; Bill Belichick is still coaching this team. Belichick is one of

GRONK SMASH!

the best coaches at making adjustments during games and he did it again last night and has really been doing it all season. (He is especially dangerous when he puts on that grey hoodie like he did last nigh)t. Last night the Chiefs didn’t give Brady a lot of time in the pocket so they went to a lot more screen passes and quick passes out of bunch formations.

The defense may not have given up a ton of yards but they made plays in the red zone and only allowed three points. They waited for Tyler Palko to make mistakes and he did (throwing three interceptions including three in the red zone). Kyle Arrington may not be able to cover and receiver but when it comes to picks he might be the next coming of Ty Law. (Although one was tipped right into his hands). Maybe Belichick has known what he’s doing this whole time. He knows his defense isn’t going to dominate you like the 49ers do so he puts his guys in position to limit the damage on the scoreboard. After all that is the most important defense stat; points allowed. How could we all have forgotten the bend don’t break defense? Our lack of faith(or mine) as Patriots fans has been disturbing. Not many coaches could pull together this intramural flag football squad of a defense and allow three points to an NFL team. Even it was quarterbacked by a long haired nobody from Pittsburgh.

Belichick has also throughout his time in New England has made it a habit of making guys play different positions and be expected to be abl to fit in seemlessly when they do. Well Julian Edelman really grabbed hold of that opportunity last night. (Alright last groping joke) Edelman had a 72 yard punt return for a touchdown that was really the knockout blow to the Chiefs. On top of that he was asked to play in the Patriots depleted secondary and although he might not have been Rodney Harrison, he shed some blocks and collected a couple tackles. Just another example of a guy stepping up and filling whatever role is asked of him. There a reason the Patriots seem to have so many folk heroes. Because you don’t become a hero by just playing one position but by doing anything and everything to help the team win a la Danny Woodhead, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk.

There may be no bigger folk hero in Boston right now than Rob Gronkowski. Gronk grabbed four balls including two touchdowns, one in which he tip toed the line after running by a Chiefs safety. Then there was the emphatic spikes. Who has done more to bring back the spike, the oldest football celebration there is, than Gronk? The guy just plays all out every single play. Also isn’t about time we start calling him the ebst tight end in football. I’m tired of hearing about Jermichael Finley and Jimmy Graham. No doubt hose guys are good but they’re not blowing up ESPN every Sunday or making safeties look like Santa’s elves trying to tackle a bulldozer. You can say Welker isn’t the best receiver because he can’t out jump guys like Calvin Johnson or say Rodgers is playing better than Brady right now. Fine, I’ll allow that begrudgingly but right now Gronk is the best tight end and that’s just how it is, plain and simple.

The Patriots are now 7-3 and will travel to Philly to play a dangerous (and improving?) Eagles team but other than that the Patriots don’t face one team that they shouldn’t beat. They should get home field advantage right now and honestly there really isn’t anyone in the AFC that is hands down better than them. Pittsburgh is good and did beat them but how would they fare playing in Foxborough? The Ravens have been solid all year but have also put up some ducks. Who else is there? Houston? Oakland? Tim Tebow? New England has  No team with a winning record on their schedule the rest of the way plus a rematch with the Bills in week 17. We all know Belichick likes one thing as much as adjustments; revenge.

-Phil

Thoughts on the New England through 10 games?Are the Patriots the team to beat in the AFC? Sound off on Twitter (@seeuinoctober) or in the comments.

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