To put a cap on last Sunday's big win against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald highlighted the best and worst moments from the game. Ventura says the Patriots made a statement by committing to the run after getting dominated in the trenches in previous weeks. The team racked up 220 yards on the ground, which is more than double what they were averaging through the first month of the season.
Okay, now we're on to Buffalo.
In this week's matchup against the Bill, it's impossible to expect the same level of production on the ground. Buffalo has the best run defense in the league, but WEEI's Christopher Price says the Patriots should still try to enforce their will up front. He explains that when the Patriots run the ball, good things happen. New England has won 39 of its last 40 games when at least one running back gains 100 yards or more on the ground. Price believes that Shane Vereen could be in for a big game this week because he poses a multidimensional threat, which Buffalo has struggled with in the past.
Over the first four weeks of the season, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense looked sluggish. But following an embarassing performance in Kansas City, Tom Brady stepped up and delivered an inspiring performance as the Patriots got back on track against the Cincinnati Bengals. According to Chris Gasper of the Boston Globe, Brady rose up when the team needed him most.
"On the day when his quarterback contemporary, Peyton Manning passed for a career-high 479 yards and threw four touchdowns, including the 500th of his career, Brady displayed vintage form," wrote Gasper. "He guided the Patriots to points on eight of 12 drives, a maestro worthy of Symphony Hall"
The reality is, we shouldn't have been surprised by Tom Brady's performance on Sunday night. We've seen it time and time again -- when the team needs him most, Brady delivers. Former Patriots offensive lineman Ross Tucker explains why Brady is able to come up with inspiring performances year in and year out. He says that Brady's intensity is second to none and he has a unique ability to get the guys around him to play at a level they didn't even know they were capable of.
"I don't know if I ever played with another guy on my five teams in seven years that possessed his level of determination," wrote Tucker. "Couldn't you just see it Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals? It was in his eyes, it was in his body language and it rubbed off on the team around him."
But as good as Brady is at making the players around him better, it wouldn't hurt to have another star receiver to compliment Rob Gronkowski. According to M. Jussim of the Sports World Report, there are trade rumors swirling around Cardinals receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. While there's no telling whether the Patriots are or are not interested, Jussim notes that ESPN.com's John Weinfuss previously said the Patriots could be an option for Fitzgerald.
If the reports on the tension between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are true, then some people believe that Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, will have to choose between keeping one or the other. Troy Brown and Dan Shaughnessy joined Michael Felger on Comcast SportsNet's "Sports Tonight" to discuss this topic. Shaughnessy doesn't expect the Brady/Belichick tenure to end after this year, but Troy Brown admits that nothing would surprise him.
April 16: Bill Belichick's birthday and the day Tom Brady was drafted. Not a bad day in Patriots history.
"I've been around here a long time, I've seen a lot of things happen, a lot of things go down. Nothing is really going to surprise me about the way anything goes down around here, even with Tom Brady," said Brown.
In any case, it should be noted that Brady has said many times that there's no place he'd rather be than in New England. On Monday night, Brady reiterated this stance during a radio interview on Westwood One. Brady said that his goal is to stay in New England for the remaider of his career, but admitted that those things aren't necessarily in his control. ESPN Boston's Lee Schechter highted all the best quotes from the conversation, so make sure to check it out!