As we close in on the end of 2019, the Patriots will wrap up their second decade of dominance over the NFL. New England has a league-best regular season record of 123-32 since 2010, a 79.3 win percentage that is the best of any NFL team in any decade.
The playoff wins are easy to remember because of their importance, but when we expand the field to the regular season there’s an overwhelming number of outstanding games. This includes impossible comebacks, last-second wins and forceful blowouts. No matter your definition of what makes the best games, there’s something for everyone over the last ten years of the New England Football Machine.
2013 wasn’t a banner year in New England but featured some of the most incredible games, like the original impossible comeback against the Broncos and last-second wins over the Browns and Saints. Or how about the 45-3 blowout of Rex Ryan’s Jets in 2010? Then there’s impressive, hard-fought wins over rivals like 2014 against the Broncos and 2017 against the Steelers. The 2015 embarrassment of the Colts in the wake of Deflategate was pretty satisfying too. There are a lot of options to choose from.
This week’s Samsonite Make Your Case question is…
What is the best regular season Patriots game of the 2010s?
Mike Dussault says…
2014 blowout of Denver
Comebacks are fun, but usually mean that your team played like junk early on requiring a major late-game turnaround. That doesn’t necessarily make for the best game in my book, so I’m choosing Peyton Manning’s final sendoff from Gillette Stadium, a dominant 43-21 win in 2014.
The Week 9 victory saw a number of outstanding plays to knock off the defending AFC champs and signal the Patriots were back as Super Bowl favorites. After a disappointing loss to Manning and the Broncos in the 2013 AFC Championship, this was a monkey-off-the-back win that was an impetus toward New England avoiding a potential return trip to Denver in the playoffs and the eventual Super Bowl 49 title.
Some memorable moments from this one include the best catch of Gronk’s career, an 84-yard punt return touchdown by Julian Edelman and two interceptions of Manning. This wouldn’t be the end of the Patriots troubles with Manning and the Broncos as they’d lose the following season again in the AFC Championship in Denver, but it was the perfect last game for Manning at Gillette Stadium and as gratifying a regular season win as the Pats have had.
Huge exciting plays and a meaningful and impressive win over a legendary rivalry make this win the best of the last decade for the Patriots for me.
Paul Perillo says …
2013 comeback over Denver
This Week 12 matchup featured two of the league’s true heavyweights in Foxborough as the 7-3 Patriots hosted the 9-1 Broncos on Sunday Night Football. The game lived up to the hype.
After turnovers allowed Denver to race to a 24-0 halftime lead, the Patriots mounted an epic second half comeback inside blustery Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady opened the third quarter with a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman, then a Broncos fumble set up another quick score. Soon it was a 21-point third quarter and the place became electric.
Brady found Edelman again to give New England a 28-24 early in the fourth quarter. A field goal upped the margin to 7 and Peyton Manning’s Broncos looked dead. Until they weren’t. Manning’s TD toss to Demaryius Thomas tied the game late to send it to overtime, where Bill Belichick opted to take the wind instead of the ball.
After both sides had two possessions, a punt made contact with Broncos up man Tony Carter and Stephen Gostkowski ended things with a field goal.
The game had everything from turnovers, big plays, controversial coaching decisions and most importantly an epic comeback featuring the two best teams in the conference. As far as regular season games go, it’s tough to top this.