New England Patriots Superfan Fitzy returns with a 2018 season music video entitled “Tom’s Plan”, a parody of the Drake hit single “God’s Plan”.
Check out the video below starring Francis from the NFL Fan Therapy series.
New England Patriots Superfan Fitzy returns with a 2018 season music video entitled “Tom’s Plan”, a parody of the Drake hit single “God’s Plan”.
Check out the video below starring Francis from the NFL Fan Therapy series.
On Saturday, The New England Patriots released the third episode of “Do Your Job”, a team produced four-part documentary series that provides a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the team.
“Go beyond the field and enter the world of Football Operations. In this third installment, we give you a behind the scenes look at how the 2018 New England Patriots were built and how the scouting department is already looking ahead to 2019. “
Episode three, narrated by special teams captain Matthew Slater, focuses in on the Patriots scouting department and their work during the 2018 NFL Draft and beyond.
Heading into Sunday’s match-up against the Chargers, the Patriots find themselves in somewhat of a unique situation compared to past seasons.
Normally, by this time of the year, most fans typically have had a good idea of what kind of team New England is heading into the postseason.
This season? Not so much.
In the past, the Patriots have traditionally started their postseason charge armed with a strong December run as the team has typically settled in and started stringing together some strong performances by playing their best football. They’re usually clicking on all cylinders and showing they’re capable of beating anyone, with Bill Belichick’s group usually coming into form and leaving behind whatever early-season flaws they might have shown while getting stronger as the weeks went on.
But that hasn’t happened this season. Instead, with a number one seed in play, New England lost 2 out of their final four games, both of which came on the road against the Dolphins and Steelers. The good news is, other playoff-bound teams also faltered down the stretch, helping them miraculously end up with the #2 seed despite an 11-5 record.
As a result, they found themselves with another bye and another home playoff game. Should the Colts win on Saturday out in Kansas City, the Patriots would then host the AFC Championship Game with a shot at going to Atlanta.
Business as usual, right?
It sure seems that way. However, the biggest difference with this season is, we really have no idea what’s going to happen this time around.
In the past, Tom Brady’s been playing at a championship level and the offense had usually figured things out at this point of the season. This year, that hasn’t been the case. They’ve been inconsistent at best and Brady’s had to make do with a hampered Rob Gronkowski, an inconsistent Chris Hogan, and an unusually drop-prone Julian Edelman, while also losing newcomer Josh Gordon to the same issues that plagued him previously before the Patriots took a chance on him. Critics have also started whispering about Brady, not realizing it’s been a variety of personnel problems that has kept the quarterback from putting up his normal totals.
Given all those problems, it’s been an unusual year offensively to say the least. They’ve been fortunate to have rookie Sony Michel have one of the best rushing seasons by a rookie in recent memory, which by the time this year is over could be one of the most important parts of the story they’re about to write. Michel’s production has quietly been one of the key parts of New England’s success, even though they’ve spent most of the year seemingly trying to figure things out week-to-week.
It’s been a tough year for Brady and the offense. (USA TODAY Images)
But otherwise, each week has been a mystery. We’ve had no idea whether they’d struggle to score, or if they’d spend the afternoon marching up and down the field at will.
They finished on a high note when the offense came alive against the Jets, with Brady throwing four touchdowns as New England put up 38 points. But that same woeful Jets group certainly didn’t seem to play with any urgency to close out their season and saw their coach get fired thanks to their abysmal 4-12 record. As a result, fans have no idea if the win was a sign of things to come, or if it was just the Patriots putting a beating on a bad football team.
On the other side of the football, the defense has actually been a bright spot over these final three regular season games. Despite the loss in Pittsburgh, New England’s defense held the Steelers to just 17 points, followed by 12 points to the Buffalo Bills and 3 points in the season finale against the Jets two weeks ago. They’ve also been forcing turnovers, totaling 8 takeaways over that same span. They forced and recovered 3 fumbles against the Jets, forced another fumble and recovery against the Bills along with 2 interceptions and also picked off Pittsburgh twice.
That’s how you can only hope the defense is playing at this time of year and it will likely be one of the biggest keys in determining how far they’ll go.
The defense has played well down the stretch. (USA TODAY Images)
Against the Chargers, it could go either way. Given their history against that football team and Philip Rivers, the logical belief would be that the Patriots will take care of business against a club they’ve previously had success against, especially in the postseason. They’re 2-0 in recent memory, beating them in the Divisional round in 2007 24-21 and then again in 2008 in the AFC Championship 21-12.
Obviously what happened 10 years ago won’t have anything to do with what happens on Sunday, but it generally sets the comfort level for those who know little about Rivers and Company, who quietly finished with a better record than New England. The Chargers finished the season at 12-4, winning five of their final six games, including beating Pittsburgh and Kansas City on the road. They’re also 7-1 on the road, with no fear of coming to New England and pulling off an upset.
As for the Patriots, they’re unbeaten at home this season and it’s where they’ve played their best football. At home, Brady’s completed 69% of his passes compared to a paltry 63% on the road. The defense has also looked completely different, looking championship-caliber in front of the home crowd at Gillette Stadium and shaky when they’ve been away from it.
But still, no one can really feel like they truly know how Sunday’s game will go. New England could go out there and look like they normally do in January, or this could be the year where they’re ripe for Rivers to finally get some redemption after being thwarted by this team for so many seasons.
We’d like to think we know how it will go down but even after 16 games, we still really have no idea.
That’s been the story during this long and unpredictable 2018 season and it remains the strange reality fans we’re all still faced with. Either way, we’ll find out the answer when it all begins on Sunday afternoon.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was awarded Israel’s 2019 Genesis Prize on Wednesday.
The award recognized Kraft’s philanthropy and commitment to combating anti-semitism.
The $1 million award, widely known as the “Jewish Nobel” prize, is granted each year to a person recognized as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through professional achievement and commitment to Jewish values.
“I am honored to receive the Genesis Prize and thank the Genesis Prize Foundation for its recognition and willingness to direct my prize money to such worthy causes,” said Kraft. “It is important that we continue to support organizations that focus on combating prejudices by building bridges and uniting people of different backgrounds.”
On Instagram, wide receiver Julian Edelman shared a personal congratulatory message to Kraft.
“Since I met Mr. Kraft in 2009, he’s been such an important part of my life. He’s helped me develop as an athlete, as a Jewish person and as a friend. He always puts others first and this prestigious Genesis Prize couldn’t go to a better person” Edelman said in a photo caption.
Following an extra week of rest and preparation, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can’t wait to face Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.
Speaking on WEEI’s Mut and Callahan Morning show Monday, Brady had nothing but praise and admiration for the veteran quarterback.
“I don’t know him that well. I know a lot of guys that have played with him and they all say great things,” said Brady. “He’s a great leader, he’s a great passer of the football. He’s incredibly tough.”
However there was one moment that stuck out most about Rivers to Brady.
“I remember we played him in ,” Brady recalled. “I mean the guy played on a torn ACL, and we played in 10-degree weather and he was still firing dimes out there. This guy’s got all the confidence in the world, and it makes for a great matchup.”
Historically Rivers has had a tough go of it against Brady’s Patriots.
Brady holds a 7-0 advantage against Rivers lifetime along with a 2-0 record in the postseason. Rivers sole win against the New England Patriots came in 2008, but against Matt Cassel.
The head to head overall statistics also greatly contrast one another.
However in both playoff matchups against the Chargers, despite winning both, Brady has struggled in those games.
–58.3 completion percentage
–4 touchdown passes
–61.1 QB rating
Brady and his offense will have their work cut out for them against a Chargers defense led by the Pro Bowl duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
On Instagram Sunday night, Brady shared a photograph of the two meeting up following the 2011 season opener at Gillette Stadium.
“See you next Sunday in Foxboro! Lets have some fun!” Brady said in an accompanying caption.
On Tuesday, sad news hit the football community when Purdue University student Tyler Trent passed away from a rare form of bone cancer. He was 20 years old.
Trent became a nationwide inspiration when his battle with
osteosarcoma came to light following a 2017 story written about him and a friend camping outside Purdue’s football stadium just hours after a chemotherapy session.
Trent was an aspiring sportswriter at the university and formed a close knit relationship with the football program and head coach Jeff Brohm over the next two seasons.
“He didn’t really tell me his story then. It was a joy just to meet him a couple of minutes,” said Brohm. “But then you start to find out more about him, his story and what was really going on.”
The team began visiting Trent during his tough days, later naming him honorary team captain and crediting him for wins.
“What gave him a sense of love and purpose touched all of us and inspired all of us,” Brohm said. “There was no quit in him. There was a lot of fight in him. It’s like you couldn’t get him down. While I’m sure he was in pain and suffering, he put a smile on his face.”
Former Boilermaker and New England Patriots 2018 fifth round draft pick Ja’Whaun Bentley shared a series of heartfelt messages over social media following Trent’s passing.
Bentley was a four year starter at Purdue, graduating after the 2017 season.
He returned to see Trent one final time in November.
The big question on everyone’s mind today and a legitimate one is how much can we really gleam from the Patriots blowout win over the Jets yesterday? I mean, it was obvious the Jets mailed it in, there was no fire in that team.
However, the Patriots had a lot to play for and what we were looking for from them was to look like a team that is getting ready for the playoffs. And in yesterday’s game, they appeared to be just that. A team that very much appeared to be the Patriots team we’ve all been accustomed to watching for quite some time.
So, check out our grades and see how the team fared in this week’s blowout win:
This week Tom Brady shook off his late-season doldrums and looked like… vintage Tom Brady. Hurt knee? Not from my vantage point. He looked like he was moved well in the pocket and stepped into his throws. Brady waited, slid in the pocket and rolled right to hit Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for a nine-yard TD.
Bailing early on his throws? Nope. He showed great patience on several throws and got lit up on one play by LB Jordan Jenkins as he let it go. On his 17-yard touchdown to James White, Brady gave the play time to develop and then waited as the pocket slowly collapsed before hitting White.
Noodle Arm? Child please. He zipped a laser to Edelman for 18 yards that should answer that silliness. He passed for 250 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs and had a passer rating of 133.8. The one pass he’d love to have back is the play where Chris Hogan was all alone in the end zone and he badly overthrew him.
As Tom Brady is fond of saying, when the offense is clicking it makes it hard for the opposing defense to cover everyone. And that was apparent on both the TD catches by Rex Burkhead and James White.
The Jets were in their base package to counter the two-back look and to stuff the run that they assumed was coming with Develin in the backfield But Brady had Burkhead split wide and the Jets looked unsure. He was mismatched with LB Avery Williamson and Burkhead had two steps on him running down the seam. Brady dropped a perfect pass in the bucket for an easy 18-yard score, that looked like the TD he had last year against the Saintes.
The running game was okay but not great. The Jets did a decent enough job up front but they were bringing a safety up at the snap to help with the run defense, sacrificing the coverage in the passing game.
Sony Michel had a decent game with 50 yards on 14 carries and was oh-so-close when he burst thru the line in the second half to breaking a long touchdown run, but was taken down with a shoestring tackle. Yesterday was a good effort all around and showed their versatility.
Yes Chris Hogan IS still on the team and for the first time in over 2 months was targeted more than twice. In fact, he was targeted 11 times and had six catches, he should have had another one where Brady missed him wide open in the end zone. Phillip Dorsett was targeted five times and made five catches including a nine-yard touchdown.
Julian Edelman had a very solid game with five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. He’s picked his game up a notch down the stretch. He and Dorsett did a nice job on the Jet sweeps, Edelman ran two for 24 yards and Dorsett ran two for 16, keeping the Jets’ defense off balance.
Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen were both good in the run blocking department, being able to handle the Jets edge players is a big positive and their value in the running game can’t be overlooked. On one play, Allen lined up as a fullback and crushed LB Neville Hewitt where Michel burst thru the hole for a big gain.
Gronkowski finished finished with just two receptions for 24 yards but his best play was called back for a penalty on Allen of all people. It was a catch and run for 30 yards and on that play, the big man looked like vintage Gronk.
But he wasn’t a big part of the game plan yesterday, he was only targeted twice, three times if you count the penalty.
The offensive line had an outstanding day overall in pass protection. Far too often for the Jets, Brady had time to survey the field and go thru his progressions and he made them pay.
Brady was sacked just once, by Leonard Williams where he just blew by Marcus Cannon. Trent Brown was solid but had another holding penalty and allowed one QB hit.
The OL did a good enough job in the running game, they still ran for 136 yards before Hoyer did three kneel downs at the end of the game. But credit the Jets for doing a good job of game planning on how to slow the running game down.
The Patriots defensive line had an outstanding, not good, outstanding game, dominating the Jets OL along the line of scrimmage. At one point in the first half, Elijah McGuire had nine carries for nine yards, one of which went for 17. That means his eight other carries went for -8 yards.
Danny Shelton easily had his best game in quite some time, he was the immovable object in the middle and blew up several running plays, he stuffed McGuire for a loss on one and on another, he blew it up which allowed the LBs to come in and clean it up. Maybe sitting him down for a few weeks lit a fire under him. He looked like a totally different player yesterday. If he can play like that in two weeks, the run defense will be in very good shape.
Lawrence Guy had a tremendous game, when playing next to a two-gapping run stuffer, he can (and did) make plays everywhere, including a sack. Trey Flowers continues his hot streak down the stretch with outstanding play. He punched the ball out of McGuire’s hands for a forced fumble that McCourty recovered. The Patriots scored soon after. He blew by tackle Brent Qvale for a third-down sack of Sam Darnold early in the second half. Even Derek Rivers got into the act, recording the first sack of his career.
Kyle Van Noy was all over the field, he set the edge on one running play, giving McGuire nowhere to run and Roberts flew in and dropped him for a loss. He did a good job of staying with the smaller, speedy Trenton Cannon on a wheel route deep down the sideline. In the same series, after Adam Butler knocked the ball out of Darnold’s hand, Van Noy alertly scooped it up and raced 46 yards for a touchdown.
Elandon Roberts was a heat-seeking missile in the running game. He had a tremendous game as he too was all over the field. When Roberts can play that downhill style, he’s incredibly effective and yesterday he hit McGuire at least five times at or behind the line of scrimmage. Dont’a Hightower flashed on a couple of plays as well.
Stephon Gilmore smothered Jets WR Robby Anderson. The Jets were short-handed due to injury and the Patriots matched up their best with the Jets best. Yesterday it was no contest. Gilmore was credited with two passes defensed but he blanketed Anderson all day and held him to just 3 catches for 24 yards and one of those wasn’t even on him. Anderson had averaged 104 yards per game in the last three weeks, but Sunday was Gilmore’s day. Darnold targeted him eight times.
UDFA J.C. Jackson continues his stellar play and is now firmly in the #2 corner slot opposite Gilmore supplanting Jason McCourty. Fellow rookie Keion Crossen was beaten for two big pass plays of 25 and 22 yards by Deontay Burnett but one of those was just a terrific catch by the Jets young WR.
The safeties were also very solid, holding talented TE Chris Herndon to just one catch for 8 yards.
At first glance it would appear Ryan Allen wasn’t at his best averaging just 39.8 yards per punt, but he was angling his punts toward the sideline, allowing the dangerous Andre Roberts nowhere to run. It was a good, solid job.
Stephen Gostkowski was perfect nailing all five extra points and his only field goal attempt. The return game was so-so with no KRs and four punt returns by Edelman for 28 yards. The coverage units were okay but did allow Roberts 32 yards on one kickoff return.
Bill Belichick had the troops ready for this one and they showed up ready to play and took care of business. He said it best when summing up the season when he said, “We won next week because we won today.”
Josh McDaniels called an excellent game, the Jets made it clear that they were going to bring a safety into the box for run support so he attacked their linebackers in coverage. The touchdown passes to White and Burkhead were prime examples of that. The only hiccup was the 4th and 1 run at the end of the 1st half. Since they were gashing the Jets in the passing game, that looked like a prime opportunity for a play-action pass against that green secondary.
Brian Flores kept things simple, the Jets were short-handed at WR, so he put Gilmore on their best wideout and once he was erased, everything else fell into place. They held Darnold to 167 yards passing and sacked him four times. Jets RBs gained just 76 yards.
The New England Patriots earned a 38-3 win over the New York Jets this past Sunday which secured the second seed and a first round bye for the 2018 playoffs.
The seeding marked the ninth consecutive season the Patriots have earned a playoff bye.
Relive the victory with audio and video captured by the Patriots team cameras from the Gillette Stadium locker room.
Video courtesy, New England Patriots YouTube Channel
The New England Patriots entered their week 17 match up with the New York Jets seeking to lock up a first round bye heading into the playoffs.
In the first quarter, Tom Brady got James White involved early and the Patriots got on the board first.
7-3 Patriots after one quarter of play following a Jason Myers field goal.
In the second, the Patriots began to pull away for good as Brady threw for two more touchdowns heading into halftime. This is 41.
21-3 Patriots at the half.
In the third, the defense got in on the scoring as Kyle Van Noy returned a football to the house for the second time in 2018. 28-3 Patriots through three.
In the fourth quarter, the defense continued to shutdown Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold as Stephen Gostkowski tacked on a 38 yard field goal to push the lead to 31-3 to open the fourth quarter.
Another week, another milestone for Brady.
With three minutes to go in the game, head coach Bill Belichick elected to keep his starters in a bit longer, as Brady found his trusty squirrel for his final touchdown pass of the season.
The Patriots concluded the 2018 season with a dominating 38-3 win over the Jets and the second seed in the AFC Playoffs.
The Patriots will have two weeks to prepare for the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 13th at 1:05pm.
We’re on to the bye week… isn’t it crazy how perceptions change? The Patriots are considered to have had a downer of a season. And yet they’ve won 11 games are getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs because of their thumping of the Jets this afternoon in Foxboro.
Yes, before any of Negative Nancy’s are quick to remind everyone, which I’m sure the hot take artists already are…the Jets mailed this one in. This had none of the intensity we’ve come to expect from the Patriots-Jets games, however, that isn’t what’s important.
What is important, is that the Patriots had a job to do today and that was they had to take care of business, win the game to secure a bye week for the team and then prepare for the Divisional Round. Check and check.
Bill Belichick was happy, he was giving much longer answers than normal and despite his normal dour expression, knew that the team performed exactly as they should have. He said it best when discussing the game in his post-game presser when he asked about the significance of the win and the season.
“There were some good things, and there were some things that could’ve been better – but in the end, we are where we are,” Belichick said. “Essentially we won next week because we won today.” Boom… mike drop.
We don’t know how far this team will go, but we say that every year because the playoffs are a one-game elimination where anything can happen, but in the end, as Belichick said, they are where they are. That is one win away from an eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game.
On Friday we posted our keys to the game and key matchups where we broke down the game positionally. And we hit on some and missed on others.
But here are our observations from today’s game:
That doesn’t seem like a big point because it seemed like he always did that. But lately, he’d been too locked into certain players. Not so on Sunday. There was a much more even spread to things and that ended up with one of Brady’s best games in a while.
Brady finished 24-33 (72.7%) for 250 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INTs with a passer rating of 133.8, which was his highest rating since Week 3 of 2017 against Houston. Other than overthrowing a wide-open Chris Hogan in the end zone, he was very sharp and made several really nice throws, his best was the touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead for an 18-yard touchdown.
Chris Hogan, who we were about to put on a milk carton, was rediscovered in the offense today and was targeted 11 times and had six catches for 64 yards. He was wide open in the left half of the end zone where Brady badly overthrew him from the 18, or his numbers would have been even higher. But today was a very welcome sight.
Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett each had five catches, James White chipped in four as the production was spread around pretty evenly. Rob Gronkowski had two catches for 24 yards but had a 30-yarder wiped out by a penalty.
We said we wanted to see the ball spread around more…and they did exactly that. And when they do that, this offense is much harder to game plan around.
The Jets had a sound game plan this week, they knew the Patriots were going to try to run the ball, as they did against the Bills last week. And with the passing game scuffling, they were going to take their chances there. So, they were bringing a safety up into the box at the snap and by bringing that extra body up, made it harder for the running game to find the room at the line of scrimmage. But it opened up room in the passing game, where Brady (as we mentioned above) was very efficient.
But regardless, Josh McDaniels kept things moving along and still found ways to keep the running game going. The Patriots were still able to grind out 131 yards on 30 carries and before three Brian Hoyer kneeldowns, they were averaging 4.96 yards per rush. That creativity is what they’ll need in two weeks and beyond.
While Sony Michel had just 50 yards on 14 carries, he once again came very close to breaking a couple of deep runs. He finished off a very solid rookie regular season with 931 yards rushing and that was with no preseason action and in just 13 games.
The Jet sweeps called by McDaniels were once again very effective, a total of four for 40 yards. Two by Julian Edelman for 24 and two by Dorsett for 16. James White added a really nice 21-yard run in the mix.
The Jets were banged up at wide receiver but Sam Darnold threw for nearly 350 yards and three scores last week against Green Bay. And regardless of who is on the field, you still have to make plays.
The run defense was solid all day, the only aberration was a scramble from Darnold that went for 28 yards. Elijah McGuire was bottled up for the entire first half, at one point having nine carries for nine yards, one of which went for 17, so he essentially had eight carries for -8 yards when the game was still in doubt. He ran better in the 2nd half but by then the Pats had gone to lighter fronts to get after Sam Darnold who was forced to throw more.
Darnold finished 16-28 for 167 yards with 0 TDs, 0 INTs and a passer rating of just 74.6. The Patriots were blanketing his WRs, especially Robby Anderson who was covered by Stephon Gilmore (3 catches, 24 yards). After that absolute stinker in Miami, the defense held Pittsburgh to 17 points, Buffalo to 12 (with a garbage time TD) and the Jets to three. That’s trending in the right direction.
Gilmore and Trey Flowers have had outstanding seasons. And the Pats secondary has been one of the strengths of the team this year. There is still some question about the middle of the DL in the running game, but with Danny Shelton back inside, we’ll see how that works out.
In the six games since they came off the bye, they’ve held all of their opponents (except Miami) to 17 points or less.
The defense has been pretty opportunistic this season forcing 28 turnovers (18 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries) the most the team has had since 2013. They forced three more on Sunday, Trey Flowers punched the ball out of McGuire’s hands in the first half, which they turned into a touchdown shortly after. Adam Butler knocked the ball out of Darnold’s hand which Kyle Van Noy scooped up and returned 46-yards for a TD (which will thrill a certain 2-6 radio show) and Jonathan Jones stripped the ball on the Jets final offensive play before Hoyer’s kneeldowns.
This is important because these things to tend to snowball one way or the other. When a defense isn’t getting any turnovers, they seem to go a long time without one. When a defense starts to get a bunch, that trend also seems to snowball…in a good way.
Another stat to consider is that the defense also had another 10 turnovers by stopping the opponent on downs.
The Patriots came out of the game relatively unscathed, Devin McCourty suffered a concussion, but he’ll have two weeks to get ready for whoever gets the nod, and that game will be here in Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 13 at 1:05 p.m.
The Patriots will play either the Texans, Ravens or Chargers, whoever is the highest remaining seed. The Patriots and the Chiefs get the bye and Kansas City, by clinching the top seed in the AFC will draw the lowest remaining seed.
The games should be interesting to watch this week, but we’ll be watching and trying to look at how this crazy 2018 NFL season continues to play out.
We’re on to the bye week…