One week after scraping out a narrow win against the winless Colts, the Patriots made it intersting again today against the Redskins, who have won one more game than the Pats have lost this season, in the nation's capital.
Both teams put on offensive displays throughout the first three quarters before running out of gas in the fourth. After three it was 34-27, New England and it stayed that way when neither side managed to score after that. Before today, New England had never beaten the Redskins on the road.
The aerial attack was more of the same from Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker. Brady wasn't as efficient as he usually is (15 incompletions and an end zone interception to Washington cornerback Josh Wilson halfway through the fourth), but at the end of the day you can't really argue with his three TDs. He hit Gronkowski for a pair of six-pointers (Gronk's 14th and 15th, breaking the single season mark for touchdown receptions by a tight end) and a career high 160 yards on six catches before firing the pivotal go-ahead touchdown to Welker late in the third. Tom Terrific also kept Aaron Hernandez involved, and the trio of receivers accounted for all but 27 of Brady's 357 passing yards. But it was Vince Wilfork, of all people, who kicked off the scoring with an end zone fumble recovery.
New England's defense allowed Rex Grossman and rookie Roy Helu (126 rushing yards) to inflict some serious damage, and so the blueprint for this game seemed patterned after all the others; defense struggles, but Brady, Gronk, and Welker lead the team to victory. 10 wins prove this formula has been working, but I don't see how it could possibly take them to a Super Bowl victory.
The Patriots have now won five in a row, and they travel to Colorado to play Tim Tebow and the Broncos in Denver for their last road game of the season.