With the Patriots on their bye, sitting at 5-3, and at the midpoint of their season, what better time to look back at the first half and give out some midseason awards. The first half wasn’t what most people expected considering the team lost three games, and some didn’t have the team losing three games all season. The silver lining was the three losses were by a combined four points. Sitting at 5-3 the Patriots have their best football ahead of them. It should be an exciting second half of the season with games against some of the elite teams in the league in the Texans and 49ers as the team gears up for a playoff run.
Here are a few awards looking back at the first half of the year:
Offensive MVP: Tom Brady
There really isn’t any second guessing this as Brady had an outstanding first half of the season despite some criticism for his failing to perform well in the fourth quarter of close games and his ability to win close games. The 35-year old has thrown for 2,408 yards, 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He is on pace for his second-best season in terms of passing yards, as no single season will ever top 2007, and also for his second least total for interceptions. Despite the criticism Brady has performed quite well and at times put the offense on his back and led them to five wins.
Chandler Jones made much more of an impact than many expected in the first eight games of his professional career.(FILE:USPresswire)
Defensive MVP: Chandler Jones
The rookie out of Syracuse has made an impact right away on the defensive side of the ball. He has given the unit a consistent pass rush, which they have been without for quite some time. Jones has totaled 33 tackles and six sacks in the first half of the season. He also has forced three fumbles. While it was expected Jones would make some contributions in his first season, having such a major impact wasn’t.
Most underrated player: Rob Ninkovich
For a player who joined the team as a backup long snapper in 2009 has emerged into one of the most underrated pass rushers in all of the NFL. Ninkovich has recorded four sacks and 27 tackles thus far and also forced four fumbles, while recovering two. In this first half of the year he has had a knack for making big plays at critical times, including a sack of Mark Sanchez in overtime to clinch the win over the Jets. He is definitely a player to watch in the second half as the team will need him to make big plays when they need them most.
Best game: Patriots 45-7 win over St. Louis
Although it may not have been the most suspenseful or exciting game of the first half, it was the best overall game for the Patriots as it was the only complete, 60-minute game the team played the entire first half. Every grouping contributed to the win. Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns. They also ran for 152 yards, including 127 from Stevan Ridley. Rob Gronkowski had his best game of the year hauling in eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Patriots didn’t allow any points after the first drive and was the first game all season where the Patriots played aggressive on defensive, blitzing on multiple occasions, which proved to be successful. This was a win the team will hopefully build on for the second half.
Best celebration: Rob Gronkowski’s first TD vs. Rams in London
Not much of a surprise for this one. Classic Gronk.
Click here to watch. (Had trouble embedding video, sorry!)