Monday, November 14, 2011

Patriots, Offense Bounce Back

The last month or so has been pretty rough on New England and its potent offensive attack, which had scored at least 30 points during its first five games but then failed to top 20 over its next three.  The Patriots rely so heavily on their passing game that they really struggled when defenses started keying in on Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco went AWOL and Deion Branch didn't pick up the slack.  Consequently, Tom Brady's numbers took a hit and more often than not the team found itself kicking the ball away or settling for short-range field goals.
New England is the AFC East at least

But last night marked a return to form for Brady and his bunch, who beat the Jets (in New York this time) for the second time this year to reinforce their 30-21 triumph at Gillette during Columbus Day weekend.  In front of scores of veterans Tom was terrific once again, needing only 26 completions to total 329 yards and a trio of touchdowns.  Rob Gronkowski, who leads all NFL tight ends in six-pointers since the start of last season, hauled in two of them (Branch snagged the other) while Ochocinco contributed 65 yards on just two catches.  Stephen Gostkowski banged home three field goals, including a beautiful 50 yarder to get the scoring started in the first.

New England only led 13-9 at the half, but proceeded to pour it on after the break.  They started pulling away in the third by tacking ten points onto their lead while the defense held Mark Sanchez (306 yards, 20/39, one TD and two picks) and the Jets scoreless.  New York trimmed the lead to seven early in the fourth on a Sanchez-Plaxico Burress connection, but the Pats responded with two touchdowns of their own to put the game away.  The defense does deserve some credit for keeping New York off the board in the first and third quarters, whereas New England scored in all four.

The 37-16 win vaulted New England (6-3) into first place in the AFC East and proved they, not the Jets nor Bills (both 5-4), are still the top-dog in the division.  The Pats return home for their Week 11 Monday night tilt with a thoroughly mediocre Chiefs squad (4-5) in their last game before Turkey Day.

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