November 19, 2007
Patriot Machine Turning Into A Howitzer
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- If this does go 19-0, expect Nineteen Games To Glory from NFL Films in February. Just three wouldn't be worth the money.
What you all are watching thus far this year is beyond staggering. The entire United States of America, thanks to NBC, got to see firsthand what many people are calling the greatest football team they have ever seen. The Patriots are playing all non-Colt teams like they are Amherst College. It's beyond "not even close". It's like you need to make a new league for the Patriots and leave all others out except perhaps the Colts.
On Sunday night in western New York, the Patriots dropped 56 points on the Buffalo Bills and perhaps did not break a sweat. The 56 points tied for the most in franchise history, the other time coming in a 56-3 rout at home of the Jets on September 9, 1979. The Patriots walked off the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf with a 56-10 win, one where the Patriots really didn't run up the score, but rather that Buffalo could really do nothing to stop what happened.
If there was anything adverse for the Patriots, it was the touchdown they gave up in the first quarter. A sure Jarvis Green sack/fumble turned into a 14-yard completion, and two plays later J.P. Losman hit Roscoe Parrish for a 47-yard touchdown bomb where Ellis (Humble Pie) Hobbs mistimed his leap and gave up an easy score.
Other than that, the Patriots were brutally in control for the entire game. It was like how the Soviet Union was supposed to have defeated the United States in hockey at Lake Placid in 1980.
The numbers are mind-boggling. Tom Brady finished 31 of 39 passing for 373 yards, five touchdowns and a rating of 146.1. His third scoring toss made him the all-time leader in Patriot history in touchdown passes, surpassing Steve Grogan. During the telecast, John Madden was moved to say "Tom Brady is playing better than Joe Montana ever did!" Brady now has 38 touchdown passes for the season, eleven behind Peyton Manning's record with six games to go.
Randy Moss had ten catches for 128 yards and four touchdowns, and set a few records of his own. His four scoring catches all came in the first half, the first time that had happened in the NFL since Roy Green of the Cardinals in 1983. He now has 16 touchdown receptions, which is a new Patriot record (Stanley Morgan had 12 in 1979). His four touchdowns in a game set a Patriot record for most scoring catches in a game.
The Patriots had eight offensive drives and scored touchdowns on the first seven of them. The eighth touchdown came on a fumble recovery by Hobbs in the fourth quarter which he returned 35 yards for a touchdown to complete the scoring. Chris Hanson did come in for one punt in the fourth quarter, a mercy kick where, if the game were close, the Patriots would have gone for it on fourth and one at the Buffalo 31. The Patriots had the ball offensively for nearly 35 minutes and amassed 510 total yards of offense.
Lost in the shuffle was a great defensive effort by the Patriots other than that one drive in the first quarter which resulted in the lone Buffalo touchdown. Randall Gay returned an interception 21 yards to end the first offensive possession of the Bills on the evening. Losman was sacked four times, two and a half of them by Adalius Thomas, who was filling in at outside linebacker for the injured Mike Vrabel. Anthony "A-Train" Thomas, who was filling in for the injured Marshawn Lynch, managed only 31 yards on 11 carries.
Losman, meanwhile, was 15 of 26 passing for 173 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 74.7. Without Lynch to worry about, the Patriots were able to smother Lee Evans and Josh Reed (seven combined catches for 84 yards), despite Rodney Harrison and James Sanders doing a nice job helping out in the box on run defense.
But the main focal point of this game remains the Patriot offense, and what can be done to stop it. The remaining six Patriot opponents can only sit back and shudder.
With two weeks off following the only tough game of the season at Indianapolis, the Patriots came out and moved the ball absolutely at will against Buffalo. Aaron Schobel, the one defensive player the Patriots consistently worry about on this Buffalo team, was a total non-factor. It wasn't as if the Patriots might score. As long as Brady was in at quarterback, not scoring was not an option or even a question.
This is now nine out of ten games where the Patriot offense has been this effective, with Sunday night being the latest high water mark. Hanging 52 points on Washington three weeks ago was nothing like this. It is becoming more and more apparent that the Patriots cannot be stopped. Even the 9-1 Dallas Cowboys gave up 49 points at home to the Patriots. Only the Colts were able to somewhat slow the Patriots down, but if the Patriots have to play them again in January, Dwight Freeney won't be there and the Patriots can concentrate more on neutralizing Robert Mathis.
Through this all, the Patriots have been their trademark complacent and respectful. You don't hear any clownish interviews or any bonehead predicting a win. Even though some teams have grumbled about the Patriots running up the score, the general consensus is that it's the defense that has to play better, not the Patriots needing to play more gentlemanly. That's really extraordinary, when you can bombard the league with seemingly more points than necessary for a victory, and it's the opposing defenses which are being brought to bear.
The Patriots now stand six regular season wins and three postseason wins away from the first 19-0 season in NFL history. All six games remaining on the regular season schedule are winnable. "On any given Sunday…" will always be in the back of everyone's minds, but if things stay the course and the Patriots avoid any catastrophic injuries (translation: Yo, Tommy, don't get hurt), it is becoming more and more a likelihood that the 2007 Patriots could very well become that first team to run the table in a 16-game season.
Next up are the Eagles, the last Super Bowl opponent for the Patriots. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is one of the best defensive minds in the game. With all the smarts Johnson has, one has to wonder if he has the material to pull off what would be a colossal upset.
Madden perhaps said it best: "To beat the Patriots, you gotta try and take away Moss. But even if you do, you still won't beat ‘em!"
Site-specific editorial/photos Copyright 2001-2004 PatsFans.com. This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school, team, or league.