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Six Takeaways From The Patriots 43-22 Victory Against The Colts

Here are my six takeaways from the playoff victory for the Patriots against the Colts. I generally want this to be a balanced post, but in this game there are more positives than negatives so you will see that reflected in this article.

The Positives

1.The Patriots got ahead early, and that was a factor in the victory. I talked about this in my last post, that it was important for the Patriots to get up on the Colts, and have quarterback Andrew Luck feel the pressure of playing from behind.

Luck certainly made plays that hurt the Patriots, but establishing that early lead might have changed the approach the rest of the game for the Colts. Not that the Colts were going to establish the run, but being down fourteen points early saw Luck really concentrate on getting the ball down field.

The Patriots never relinquished the lead, and by getting up early I feel put serious pressure on this young team. Luck got his points, but his need to score quickly probably was a factor in the interceptions he threw. The early lead was a factor in the victory.

2.The power running game is becoming a serious weapon for the Patriots now and moving forward. The media has concentrated on the running of LeGarrette Blount, but this was a team effort, as Stevan Ridley also contributed nicely in this victory.

Blount ended the day with 166 yards, and a 6.9 yards per carry average. Ridley ended with 52 yards, and a 3.7 yards per carry average. Even though it didn’t look pretty at times, committing to running the ball paid off as the game progressed.

It is funny to look back at history, and hear fans talk about the lack of a deep threat for the Patriots. Well, I am here to tell you that the Patriots won three Super Bowls with a power running game, and complimentary receivers that could get down the field when called upon, but the passing game was more about possession then. The Patriots have that right now, and it is a very good sign moving forward.

3. The Patriots for the most part kept Andrew Luck in the pocket. Keeping Luck contained in the pocket was a huge key, and except for one run, the Patriots got it done.

Not only that, the Patriots really put some decent pressure on him, and made him uncomfortable. The Patriots had three sacks in this game, but it was more about keeping him contained, and throwing his timing off with this pressure. Luck had four interceptions, and this pressure was a factor in the turnovers. Keeping Luck contained in the pocket was huge for the Patriots on Saturday Night.

 4. Linebacker Jamie Collins was all over the field. This was a breakout performance for Collins, as he did a nice job blanketing tight end Coby Fleener in pass coverage, but also made tackles, and got after the quarterback.

He ended his day with an interception, one sack, and six total tackles. I think we have only scratched the surface with the potential of Collins, and that is a great sign for the future.

The Negatives

1. Special Teams were a problem against the Colts. Lately, this unit had been a strength, but in this game they gave up a few penalties on punt returns which hurt field position, and they also had the issue on the punt that went over the head of punter Ryan Allen. The Patriots are fortunate that these mistakes did not hurt them more in this game.

2. The Patriots gave up too many big plays on defense in the passing game. I grant you that a couple of these plays were defended well, but moving forward, this is unacceptable against really good quarterbacks that will punish you.

The pressure against Luck was pretty good, but in a few instances the coverage was just a step late. Some might think I am being too critical, but the secondary can do better I feel.

Overall, this was an impressive win as the Patriots really dominated the game from the beginning to the end. They let the Colts hang around too long, but in the end, they put them away like very good teams can do.

If you are a Patriots fan, you should feel confident heading into the AFC Championship Game, because your team is putting it all together at the right time. It might not look perfect, but they are playing very well as a “team”. They are now in position to do something special, and I wouldn’t bet against them to do just that.

Five Things To Look For: Patriots vs. Colts

The Patriots are back in the Playoffs to face the Colts. Here are Five Things for you to look for in this match-up.

1. Can the Patriots score points early and often against the Colts? The Patriots struggles scoring points early in games this season is well known. However, they showed against the Ravens, this ability to score early, and take off from there.

The Colts are coming off of a dramatic 45-44 victory, and have shown the ability to come back from a huge deficit. However, the Colts will be doing it this time on the road, and if you can get up on them, I don’t see this team having the defense to stop the Patriots.

I don’t see the Colts being able to have two come from behind victories back to back. So with that said, getting up on this team by a few touchdowns early, could really put the Pats in the driver seat towards victory.

2. Can the Patriots win the turnover battle against the Colts? The Colts and the Patriots are both excellent in the turnover ratio with the Colts being at a +13 differential, while the Patriots were at a +9 differential.

The turnover differential doesn’t always indicate who wins and loses, but it sure can help. The Patriots defense with all of the injuries this season, could really benefit with creating turnovers in this game. I feel it would increase their margin for victory more in their favor.

3. Can the Patriots commit to the run like they have done the last two games? The Colts were 26th in the NFL in rush defense this season giving up 125.1 yards per game.

The way the Patriots are running the ball lately with LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley, the offense has a great opportunity to control the game on the ground. A great running attack will also benefit quarterback Tom Brady in the play action passing game. If the Patriots can run the ball effectively, it could a huge key in this game.

4. Can the Patriots defense contain wide receiver T.Y. Hilton? This receiver had 82 receptions this season, and was the key weapon for quarterback Andrew Luck against the Chiefs.

I don’t know if the Patriots will put Aqib Talib on Hilton, but regardless this player needs to be bracketed all over the field with two players. If the Pats defense takes him away, the Colts could find it very difficult to move the ball.

5. Can the Patriots defense keep quarterback Andrew Luck in the pocket?  Luck is on his way to being one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He is not only dangerous throwing the ball, but has the ability to make plays with his legs.

The Patriots cannot let Luck break containment, or they could be in trouble. The Patriots struggled against quarterback Cam Newton containing him in the pocket, and Luck while not the runner of Newton, can make plays running the ball.  

In concluding, the Colts are going to be a team to deal with in future seasons, but they just don’t have the team yet to really contend for a title. I think the Patriots have too much on both sides of the ball, and will pull away to the victory in the second half.

If you are looking for more of an extensive preview of this game, please take a listen below to Patriots Fourth And Two.

Listen To Football Internet Radio Stations with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on BlogTalkRadio

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast: Patriots vs. Colts Preview

In this episode, we previewed the upcoming Playoff game for the Patriots against the Colts.

Listen To Football Internet Radio Stations with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on BlogTalkRadio

The latest Episode Of The Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast

In this episode, we looked back at the last two games for the Patriots. We also talked about the upcoming playoffs for the Patriots.

New Football Podcasts with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on BlogTalkRadio

Six Takeaways From The Patriots 41-7 Victory Against The Ravens

Here are my six takeaways from this latest Patriots game. I generally want this to be a balanced post, but in this game there are more positives than negatives so you will see that reflected in this article.

The Positives

1.The offensive line stepped up in the running game, and also protecting quarterback Tom Brady in the passing game. The Patriots ran the ball for 142 yards, and the offensive line opened up great lanes for the running backs throughout the  game.

Going into the game, with an offensive line missing a few starters, there was a good reason to be concerned. However, they gave Brady plenty of time to find the open receiver. This unit deserves a good amount of credit in this game.

2. Rookies Logan Ryan and Jamie Collins step up on defense. With the defense dealing with several injuries before the game, and during it, these two players did their jobs very well.

Ryan did a very nice job at cornerback, as he had two interceptions, and deflected a fourth down pass away. His progression is continuing to show itself throughout the season.

Collins was often seen covering tight end Dennis Pitta, and did a very nice job in this game. I have been hearing for several years that the Patriots need a coverage linebacker. I think Collins is that player.

3. Running back  LeGarrette Blount does his best Corey Dillon impression in this game. Blount continues to impress me from game to game. In this game he ran for 76 yards, with a 4.8 yards per carry, and two touchdowns.

It was brought to my attention by a friend that he reminded him of Dillon late in the game, and I have to agree with that. With Blount, the Patriots have a closer.

 4. The Patriots rush defense steps up in this game. Now, I know the Ravens are not having a good year running the ball, but you have to give some credit to the defense for limiting them on the ground in this game.

Running backs ran for only 82 yards on 23 yards per carry. You can criticize the defense when they get gashed against the run, but you should praise them when they get the job done. Against the Ravens, the defense stepped up stopping the run.

The Negatives

1. The Patriots suffered more injuries in this game. During the game, running back Shane Vereen went out with a reported groin injury. Cornerback Devin McCourty left the game with a reported head injury. The positive is that the players that replaced them stepped up. The negative is that we will have to monitor their status moving forward.

2. I question the offensive play-calling early in the second half. The Patriots ran the ball more than they passed in this game which is unusual. However, I wished that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called more running plays in the third quarter.

I get that they were trying to get that touchdown to put the game out of reach, but you could have done that with running the ball. The Ravens could not really stop the Patriots on the ground.

Overall this was a dominating performance for the Patriots, and they beat a team that desperately needed the victory. I am hearing excuses on the radio and on TV for how bad the Ravens played. Well, the Patriots made the Ravens look that bad, and that is the bottom line in this game.

It Is Time To Appreciate Now The Brady Years

No one wants to talk about it, but the years of the Patriots always being in the hunt for the Super Bowl probably have a limited amount of years left. It could be a few more or it could be five more. As long as Tom Brady is the quarterback, the Patriots will be in the mix. However, I think it is time to appreciate now the Brady years.

Regardless of what happens this Sunday or into the play-offs, we have witnessed an incredible run of football from the Patriots. Brady says he wants to play into his forties so we have an idea of how long the run could last.

If the Patriots never win another Super Bowl, or even make it to the big game again, this has been a monumental time not only in Patriots history, but also in professional sports. All dynasties do come to an end, and this one will as well. Yes, I am still calling it a dynasty because it represents an entire period of time that began in 2001 and still goes on.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls, lost two of them, and made it to the AFC Championship Game twice. Just think about all that has been achieved since 2001 for just a minute.

We are fortunate to have seen this in our lifetime, and may never see a stretch like this from any other professional sports team in Boston.

I am honestly content with the Patriots never winning another Super Bowl ring. I have been lucky enough to experience seeing my team which I have followed for over 40 years win multiple championships.

Obviously I would like to see another Championship, but I can deal with it not happening. I think it is time to take a step back, and appreciate what we have witnessed and continue to see.

The Boston sports media in general is extremely negative, and I am not going to accept their view of the Patriots. My view is of a dynasty that will continue until Brady retires.

Matt Chatham On The Latest Episode Of Patriots Fourth And Two

In this episode, we first looked back at the Patriots victory against the Browns. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Dolphins.

We also played an interview done earlier with former Patriots player Matt Chatham, who currently writes for the Boston Herald, can be heard on WEEI, and be seen on NESN.

In this episode, we first looked back at the Patriots victory against the Browns. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Dolphins.

We also played an interview done earlier with former Patriots player Matt Chatham, who currently writes for the Boston Herald, can be heard on WEEI, and be seen on NESN.

More Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on BlogTalkRadio

Despite Loss of Gronkowski, This Season Is Far From Over

I have seen many things in my years of watching Patriots football, but seeing an impact player like Rob Gronkowski continue to have significant injures over his short career with the Patriots is new to me.  Here are my thoughts on this latest injury though my eyes.

With the Patriots once again playing a very poor first half of football, I really had no doubt they would come back in this game as the second half began. However, this miraculous comeback by the Patriots was overshadowed, because aspirations of fourth Super Bowl trophy were downgraded significantly when Gronkowski got injured.

My first thought after the hit by T J Ward was that if we saw the cart, the season for Gronkowski was over. When he was taken off on the cart, my next thought then was the Patriots cannot overcome this injury to win a Super Bowl.


It won’t be easy, but despite losing tight end Rob Gronkowski New England still has a shot heading into the postseason.
(USA TODAY Images)

Now, Adam Schefter is reporting that Gronkowski has torn his ACL and MCL which means his season is over. So, do I stop watching the Patriots because of this injury? The answer to that question is absolutely not as I am a Patriots fan, and will enjoy the rest of the season coming up.

The journey to win a Super Bowl is a hard one, and injuries can change your chances. However, the 2001 Patriots showed us that anything is possible if you play together as a “team”.

The Patriots offense will not be the same without Gronkowski. The opposing defense generally has a game-plan to stop Gronkowski which opens up opportunities for other players. Well, the job of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels just got much tougher, and he needs to figure out a way for the offense to adapt and change once again.

We saw this movie last season without Gronkowski in the play-offs, and it was not pretty. However, that loss to the Ravens had much more to do with the loss of Aqib Talib to an injury in the first half than missing Gronkowski, but he was a factor.

Right now, the Patriots have dealt with a significant amount of injuries all season, and the task seems large as we head towards the play-offs. So, can the Patriots overcome the injury to Gronkowski and win a Super Bowl?

Well, their chances got much tougher, but when you have Brady and Belichick, you always have a fighting chance. Also, the desire to win from this team is huge, and the victory yesterday was just one of several games this season that saw the Patriots find a way to win.

When you play as a team and never give up, you do give yourself a chance to win. In other seasons, I would tell you that there would be no chance for that fourth ring, but the competition in the AFC, and the league is down.

I have already seen the Patriots beat the Broncos, and with or without Gronkowski, I still think the Patriots have a chance to get to MetLife Stadium, and win the big game. I know how much more difficult it will be, but based on the victories this season, this Patriots team is up for a fight.

In a season of bad injuries, the latest one to Gronkowski is devastating, but did it end their quest for a fourth Lombardi Trophy? Many think so, and I have a serious doubt on the quest, but do not count them out just yet, because they have plenty of football left to play, and there is always a chance to see a team defy the odds like the 2001 Patriots did to win the organization their first ring playing together as a team.

Five Things To Look For: Pats vs. Browns

The Patriots are back in action Sunday to face the Browns. Here are Five Things for you to look for in this match-up.

1. Can the Patriots get off to a fast start? The team has struggled for a few weeks now in the first half, and opponents have gotten up on them early.

I do think it is important to play from ahead in this game, because when you are playing a team that is 4-8, you need to give them no hope, and the best way to do that is score early.

I would be in favor of the “hurry up” offense early to set a good tempo that could lead to points. A fast start by the Patriots could really do damage to a Browns team that has struggled this season.

2. Can quarterback Tom Brady spread the ball around to his receivers? In seasons past, when Brady has just found the open receiver, the offense has been tough to stop. Last week, in the second half, Brady spread the ball around to several receivers, and the offense carved up the Texans.

Defenses key on Rob Gronkowski, which could lead to opportunities for other players, and we saw that last week against the Texans. On the touchdown reception to Shane Vereen, the Texans had three players covering Gronkowski. The more receivers Brady gets involved on Sunday, I think the better they will be on offense.

3. Can the Patriots get after the quarterback on defense? Right now it is unclear who will be the Browns quarterback, but regardless there is an opportunity to set the tone, and possibly force turnovers in this game. One of the best ways to cause turnovers is putting pressure on the quarterback.

4. Can the Patriots defense contain wide receiver Josh Gordon? Right now Gordon leads the Browns with 64 receptions, with 1249 yards, and seven touchdown receptions.

I am hopeful that cornerback Aqib Talib is healthy enough to cover Gordon one on one. You might want to regardless give him help to cover Gordon, as he might be one the player that can hurt you on the Browns offense.

5. Can the Patriots stop the run in this game on defense? I think this is very important for not just this game, as the Pats defense is really struggling to stop the run. Also, a great way for a team to stay in the game is to run the ball, and control the clock.

The Patriots are currently 31st in the NFL in rush defense, but the Browns are 28th in rush offense so something has to give. This game is a perfect opportunity to see if the Patriots can improve their abilities to stop the run.

If you just go by the records, this game should be a mismatch, but you still have to win the game on the field. I am expecting the Patriots to start fast, and take care of business on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots win this game by three touchdowns.

If you are looking for more of an extensive preview of this game, please take a listen below to Patriots Fourth And Two.

Greg Bedard On The Latest Episode Of The Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast

In this episode, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Texans. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Browns.

In between these segments, we had a great interview with Greg Bedard who is now a Staff Writer for The Monday Morning Quarterback With Peter King.  This is an interview you are going to want to listen to, as Greg shares his thoughts on the Patriots and the rest of the NFL.