By: Ian Logue
Patriots head coach is generally pretty reserved when it comes to handing out any individual accolades about players.
He’ll generally tell the media that it’s “a team effort” and that it’s “not about one individual” player.
But Belichick likely knows what fans witnessed on Sunday doesn’t happen very often. Trailing 16-13 with just under 3-minutes to play the fate of his football team rested in the hands of Tom Brady, who had spent the majority of the afternoon trying to decipher what Cowboys head coach Rob Ryan had been throwing at him all afternoon.
Sunday’s game played out exactly as advertised. Ryan’s defense was the last one to shut down the Patriots back when he was a coach out in Cleveland, and most thought that could likely be the case on Sunday when his Cowboys came into Gillette Stadium.
Ryan’s bunch did just what fans feared they would. They stymied the Patriots offense and were able to put points up against a New England defense that’s still coming together during the first quarter of this season. Leading 16-13 in the fourth quarter all Dallas needed to do was shut him down one more time.
But there’s a reason why Brady’s considered to be one of the best to ever play the game. It’s one thing to have a coach who puts you in a position to win, and an even bigger one to be able to execute the game plan. On Sunday Brady and Belichick won their 116th game as a quarterback-coach tandem, which put them in a tie with Dan Marino and Don Shula for the most since the AFL-NFL merger.
Belichick and Brady are one of the most successful duos of all time in the NFL. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
From the time Brady took over, Belichick has already talked about the fact he knew the former sixth round pick out of Michigan was special. He talked about the fact that when Brady first started out he could always break down exactly what he saw on the field, and even as recent as last week talked about how good he is about adjusting to what he’s faced with.
It’s no secret Belichick knows what he has. He’s fully aware that he’s got a special guy who’s going out each week and is even making the game plan they’ve drawn up that much better. Belichick said as much last week after their win over New York, and that’s likely one of many reasons he didn’t hold back again on Sunday when he let everyone know just how special Brady is after watching him send Ryan’s team home with a frustrating loss.
“There’s no other quarterback I’d rather have,” said Belichick. “I’ve said that before, there’s no other quarterback I’d rather have. I’m not going to get into the ranking and all that, but I’m glad he’s our quarterback.”
Vince Wilfork echoed those sentiments after the game.
“I see this guy work every day,” said Wilfork. “He wants to be perfect. It’s hard to be perfect, but the way this guy strives in practice, and the way he approaches practice, and his work, he can’t do anything but carry everyone else with him.
“He’s probably one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever seen, especially from a quarterback standpoint. He’s just a tough individual. He’s going to try to put the team in the right situation at all times.”
Clearly he’s doing something right. Sunday’s win marked New England’s 30th straight regular-season win at home, and put them in sole possession of first place in the AFC East heading into their bye week.
When they come back in two weeks they’ll take on a tough Steelers team in what will likely be another tough road game. For now they’ll spend the next two weeks taking a look at what was done that limited their effectiveness on Sunday, and try and make sure they’re better prepared heading into the remainder of the season.
“You know I’m glad we’re going to come in this week and you’d rather learn from your mistakes and win than learn from your mistakes and lose,” said Brady. “When you play good football teams, they’re going to make their share of plays and we’re going to make our share of plays and are there things that we could have done better? Certainly. And we could have done things better in each of these games this year.
“It’s not even November yet and we’re still building on what we set out to. We’re nowhere near where we need to be and nowhere near where we’re going to be in a couple of months. We’ve just got to keep working hard and keep being mentally tough and keep doing what our coaches tell us to do and try to go out there and win these games. ”