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Revisiting the 2001 Patriots

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Oct 31st

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TheRainMaker

The face of success
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That’s the insane thing, he actually did play the next drive (3 and out but still!). Dude was a warrior. Still remember the comebacks against Miami and buffalo in 97 with the broken finger
That's right he did go in for another drive.

Those other games were in 1998. What a roller coaster season that was.
 

scott99

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I was at the Moe Lewis game. Game 2 vs the Jete. Despite the fact that I saw lots of TFB at Smithfield (between jobs that summer) and seriously thought TB was better than Drew, as Drew left the field I thought about our o-2 start (Drew lost game one to a crap bungles team) forgetting everything I'd seen all summer, I said "Season's over!" Nobody could ever be so wrong.
To show the depth of my analysis, after Brady led the Pats to their victory over the Clots the next week, I was all in. I'm not to be trusted.
I was a Pat’s fan for 26 years by the 2001 season, I had seen them go from decent, to good, to bad, to awful, to decent, to good again, and then start to falter again. I was actually unhappy with how much we had to give up for Belichick, and then he goes 5-11 his first season, starts 0-2, and in doing so, loses Bledsoe. I wasn’t expecting even a 5 win season at that point, especially with a 6th round rookie QB (basically). I also thought Belichick was a great defensive coordinator, but seemed like a bust as a head coach. 5-13 to start his Pat’s career.

That win over the Colts that you mentioned, the Colts were 2-0 and the Pats were 0-2. That game was franchise changing. And then by the Raider’s playoff game, I was thinking, man let’s just be competitive in this game, wasn’t expecting much. Then the magical game tying field goal in a driving snow storm, by the legendary Vinatieri, followed by the game winner. I was thinking, man this is exciting. I was living in Cali back then with the ex wife, and she didn’t give a **** about the Pats. Thankfully her mother was there, so I went in the bedroom to watch the game by myself. Had nobody to high five lol.

The Steeler’s game was so bizarre. The Pats dominated in the 1st half despite Brady getting hurt. But was amazed once again that they pulled it off. Not gonna rehash the SB, we’ve been through that a million times.
 

Actual Pats Fan

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I thought about our o-2 start (Drew lost game one to a crap bungles team) forgetting everything I'd seen all summer, I said "Season's over!" Nobody could ever be so wrong.
I totally understand your frustration. I don't begrudge the legions who worship Bledsoe, it's okay to be a fan. However, I knew all along we were never going to win anything with him. Drew's a one inch taller Eason.
I saw lots of TFB at Smithfield (between jobs that summer) and seriously thought TB was better than Drew
And he was. You were right.
To show the depth of my analysis, after Brady led the Pats to their victory over the Clots the next week, I was all in. I'm not to be trusted.
You see reality. So did Belichick. Unfortunately, Berry didn't.
 

PATSYLICIOUS

Pro Bowl Player
That's right he did go in for another drive.

Those other games were in 1998. What a roller coaster season that was.

youre right, 98. That was a wild season. Too bad we had roll into Jacksonville with Zolak in the wild card, that game was actually winnable. In fact if Zolak didn't miss an open Shawn Jefferson for a TD early in the 4th quarter wed have taken the lead then.
 

Patsfanin Philly

Pro Bowl Player
This season was incredible. I vividly remember feeling like I was going to puke in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl when the Rams tied it. SB 36 is still, and always will be, my favorite of the 6.
Agreed. We got invited to a Super Bowl party but declined ( I remembered the Bears debacle in 86 and didnt want a repeat). When they won, I sat there shell shocked and my wife walked in, saw my face and asked if they lost. I said no and she asked why I wasn't jumping up and down and I told her I was stil in shock at the call, " The Patriots are Super Bowl champions."
 
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Patsfanin Philly

Pro Bowl Player
Steelers were c0cky going into the AFCCG, so much so they were told to pack their bags and fly out to head to the Super Bowl right after the game. There was no two week gap as a result of not playing the week after 9/11 and they couldn't move the date of the Super Bowl so they went right from championship game to Super Bowl.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
My main issue with the retrospective of 2001 and even 2002 and sometimes 2003 is people forget the impact of Brady. There is so much talk about how he wasn't a great QB early in his career. That he became great later and was carried early. To me this is misremembering history and a bunch of non-sense. He was raw early, sure. He wasn't as good as he was going to be. But in 2001 he was already one of the top 10 QBs in the NFL. And it didn't take long either.

The issue usually comes down to looking at his stats from 2001 and not finding them impressive enough. They were actually very good considering the era. People make this mistake because they compare him to Peyton Manning and the Rams offense, as those are the things they remember. Those things were huge outliers back in the early 2000s. Brady in his 14 regular season starts averaged 200 YPG. That isn't a lot, even for back then. But it isn't like that was bad. It puts him right about in the middle of the NFL. It looks even better if you take out his first two starts, when he was admittedly a little carried and figuring this out a bit. From that point on he averaged 247. Though this does keep in his biggest game of the year against SD. But you can't just ignore that game either. That puts him right in line with many of the most elite QBs at the time. Putting up anything above 240 that year was huge. Only 3 QBs managed to do that. And they all had STACKED offenses.

A lot of people also fondly remember the 2001 Patriots offense. This to me is just not reality. They didn't have anyone all that good. Yes, they had a lot of nice pieces, and Brown had a pretty damn good year and was a GREAT return man. But being a great return man doesn't make you a great WR. Devin Hester and Brian Mitchell are arguably the best return men of all time. And neither was a very good player outside of that role.

Who did they really have on offense that was a difference maker? Troy Brown? David Patten? Antowain Smith? Glenn? Let's not get silly. Glenn was barely on this team during Brady's run. He had that great game against SD, but was gone after that. So he wasn't on this team for much of Brady's tenure. Smith was a good RB, and he made some big runs. He also made a lot of runs that didn't go anywhere. He was a workhorse, but not a terribly efficient one. 4 YPC was his average that year. That isn't so great. It's not bad. But it's not great. We remember the big runs he broke, but not the ones that went nowhere. And who did this team have besides Patten and Brown to catch the ball? No one. No one else who was on this team besides them (after Glenn left) was that good. No one else even had 200 yards that year.

Faulk was still a bit in the doghouse, due to his fumbling issues the first two seasons. And wasn't used like he should have been. Are we really going to talk about Wiggins and Patrick Pass like they were great players? They made some key plays that year, they also had long periods of time when they did nothing. We elevate these players in hindsight, but they honestly weren't that good.

As for Patten and Brown, they had nice stats that year and were good players, but part of it was because the ball literally had to go somewhere. Patten will always be remembered for his amazing game against the Colts. Fantastic game! No question. Outside of that game, was he fantastic? Or was he just a good big play option who wasn't able to get open all that much (compared to Glenn at least). Patten was a solid to good, but not great WR. He had a hugely memorable game, against the Colts. That doesn't mean the rest of his season was particularly impressive. As for Brown, I don't want to play down how good his season was in the least, but his stats were a bit inflated due to lack of options to catch the ball. He was clearly the best WR they had, and the ball went his way 142 times because of it. That isn't unheard of obviously, but it hard not to have good production when you are given that many looks. It isn't like he didn't do anything good with them mind you.

I'm not trying to say there weren't good players on this side of the ball. I'm not trying to say they all sucked. This was a huge team victory all around. But let's be honest. This was not a great offensive cast Brady had to work with. And he put up good numbers for what was a fairly mundane cast on offense. He made the pro bowl that year and rightly so imo.
 
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sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
My main issue with the retrospective of 2001 and even 2002 and sometimes 2003 is people forget the impact of Brady. There is so much talk about how he wasn't a great QB early in his career. That he became great later and was carried early. To me this is misremembering history and a bunch of non-sense. He was raw early, sure. He wasn't as good as he was going to be. But in 2001 he was already one of the top 10 QBs in the NFL. And it didn't take long either.

The issue usually comes down to looking at his stats from 2001 and not finding them impressive enough. They were actually very good considering the era. People make this mistake because they compare him to Peyton Manning and the Rams offense, as those are the things they remember. Those things were huge outliers back in the early 2000s. Brady in his 14 regular season starts averaged 200 YPG. That isn't a lot, even for back then. But it isn't like that was bad. It puts him right about in the middle of the NFL. It looks even better if you take out his first two starts, when he was admittedly a little carried and figuring this out a bit. From that point on he averaged 247. Though this does keep in his biggest game of the year against SD. But you can't just ignore that game either. That puts him right in line with many of the most elite QBs at the time. Putting up anything above 240 that year was huge. Only 3 QBs managed to do that. And they all had STACKED offenses.

A lot of people also fondly remember the 2001 Patriots offense. This to me is just not reality. They didn't have anyone all that good. Yes, they had a lot of nice pieces, and Brown had a pretty damn good year and was a GREAT return man. But being a great return man doesn't make you a great WR. Devin Hester and Brian Mitchell are arguably the best return men of all time. And neither was a very good player outside of that role.

Who did they really have on offense that was a difference maker? Troy Brown? David Patten? Antowain Smith? Glenn? Let's not get silly. Glenn was barely on this team during Brady's run. He had that great game against SD, but was gone after that. So he wasn't on this team for much of Brady's tenure. Smith was a good RB, and he made some big runs. He also made a lot of runs that didn't go anywhere. He was a workhorse, but not a terribly efficient one. 4 YPC was his average that year. That isn't so great. It's not bad. But it's not great. We remember the big runs he broke, but not the ones that went nowhere. And who did this team have besides Patten and Brown to catch the ball? No one. No one else who was on this team besides them (after Glenn left) was that good. No one else even had 200 yards that year.

Faulk was still a bit in the doghouse, due to his fumbling issues the first two seasons. And wasn't used like he should have been. Are we really going to talk about Wiggins and Patrick Pass like they were great players? They made some key plays that year, they also had long periods of time when they did nothing. We elevate these players in hindsight, but they honestly weren't that good.

As for Patten and Brown, they had nice stats that year and were good players, but part of it was because the ball literally had to go somewhere. Patten will always be remembered for his amazing game against the Colts. Fantastic game! No question. Outside of that game, was he fantastic? Or was he just a good big play option who wasn't able to get open all that much (compared to Glenn at least). Patten was a solid to good, but not great WR. He had a hugely memorable game, against the Colts. That doesn't mean the rest of his season was particularly impressive. As for Brown, I don't want to play down how good his season was in the least, but his stats were a bit inflated due to lack of options to catch the ball. He was clearly the best WR they had, and the ball went his way 142 times because of it. That isn't unheard of obviously, but it hard not to have good production when you are given that many looks. It isn't like he didn't do anything good with them mind you.

I'm not trying to say there weren't good players on this side of the ball. I'm not trying to say they all sucked. This was a huge team victory all around. But let's be honest. This was not a great offensive cast Brady had to work with. And he put up good numbers for what was a fairly mundane cast on offense. He made the pro bowl that year and rightly so imo.
I actually think Smith's impact was really underrated here in 01 and his presence was a real help to Brady's development. Was terrific in SB36 (18/92 against a top 3 run d). I wouldn't say he was Kareem Hunt or Kamara good as a receiver but he had 10.1 yards per catch that season which is nothing to sneeze at for a RB, that was a higher YPC than Deuce Staley and Priest Holmes.

As for Brady... people talk about what if Brady played in a different era of the league.. but he actually did, before the 04 Polian rule changes.
 
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RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
PatsFans.com Supporter
I actually think Smith's impact was really underrated here in 01 and his presence was a real help to Brady's development. Was terrific in SB36 (18/92 against a top 3 run defence). I wouldn't say he was Kareem Hunt or Kamara good as a receiver but he had 10.1 yards per catch that season which is nothing to sneeze at for a RB, that was a higher YPC than Deuce Staley and Priest Holmes.

As for Brady... people talk about what if Brady played in a different era of the league.. but he actually did, before the 04 Polian rule changes.
They don't make the playoffs without Antowain Smith.
 

TheRainMaker

The face of success
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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Those things were huge outliers back in the early 2000s.
Yep! Most teams established the run to set the pass up given the ability to beat up WR’s. In fact, going in shotgun was pretty much reserved strictly for 3rd and long’s. It was suicide for QB’s to put themselves on an island like that repeatedly.
My main issue with the retrospective of 2001 and even 2002 and sometimes 2003 is people forget the impact of Brady.
Pats team was bad in 2002. Brady led the league in TD’s and led his team to many victories. They were a sub .500 team without him. However, in 2003 he struggled a bit, but aside from the Redskins game, he came through when it mattered. With that being said, I still considered him a top QB at that time.
A lot of people also fondly remember the 2001 Patriots offense. This to me is just not reality. They didn't have anyone all that good.
Yep! Very pedestrian. Troy Brown was not supposed to be your #1 after Glenn was out of the picture. They had to establish the run to loosen up the D and used a ton of gimmicks.
Smith was a good RB, and he made some big runs. He also made a lot of runs that didn't go anywhere....4 YPC was his average that year. That isn't so great. It's not bad. But it's not great.
Yep. Smith was a nice pickup, but 4 ypc was pretty average. However, decent RB’s were really hard to find given how they were valued back then.
Priest Holmes.
While I didn’t think he’d blow up like he did in KC, that’s the guy I wanted over Smith. Pats were rumored to be interested in trading for him after Edwards got injured, but I don’t know why that fell apart.
 

Ochmed Jones

Pro Bowl Player
Brown’s catch late in the 4th quarter of the super bowl was amazing. That is when I knew Brady had the “it” factor!
 

TheRainMaker

The face of success
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Belichick was close to making Brady the opening day starter in 2001 and he said he regrets not doing so
I don’t believe that rumor for a second. Kraft would not allow that after just signing Bledsoe to $100M contract. Bill also was coming off of a 5-11 season so he really didn’t have the clout he has now.
 

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