This week’s sign of how good the defense is, our defensive tackle intercepted a shovel pass. Just when you think that an up-ended offensive tackle, accidentally kicking the ball away from his own running back for a scoop and score touchdown the other way is the wildest play you’re going to see all day, Jonathan Jones says “Hold my beer and watch me run down one of the top rushers in the league and peanut punch the ball loose.”
And then, AND THEN, on the very next Browns play, Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker’s Mayfield baked me a turnover as fast as he can. Instead of rolling it or passing it, he marked it with a T, as in TO, as in he tossed the ball to Lawrence Guy as you would a Nerf ball to your 3-year old. One of the most ridiculous 3 play stretches you will ever witness, although it really feels appropriate just days before Halloween for a unit that has called themselves “the Boogeymen”.
(One of my favorite new developments of the 2019 season, you know beyond the fact that our defense looks like the love child Buddy Ryan and Bear Bryant had before the start of World War II. So I guess that would make this my second favorite development; after the Pats’ defense makes a big play they blast “I’m your Boogie Man” by KC and the Sunshine Band at Gillette Stadium. Whoever thought of that deserves a game ball.
Speaking of game balls…
Bill Belichick won his 300th career game (regular season and playoffs). Only 3 coaches have ever reached 300, Don Shula and George Halas. It was a touching moment in the locker room post game as Robert Kraft made the entire team aware of this stat and handed Coach Belichick the soaked pigskin used to vanquish the only other team he has ever presided over.
Odd to say in a 27-13 victory in week 8, but there were moments on offense that reminded me of the 2015 AFC championship game in Denver when Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolke were anticipating the snap count and had a step on both Patriots’ tackles. Today Marshall Newhouse and Marcus Cannon had all they could handle (and more) trying to keep Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon off #12. Vernon had a big game, but replays showed that both were a step ahead of Cannon and Newhouse. Cannon I thought had a solid effort as he typically does against elite pass rushers, but Newhouse got molly-whopped like Notre Dame at the Big House Saturday night.
As we approach the trade deadline, NESN was reporting Sunday afternoon that the Patriots were still in pursuit of another big name pass catcher. If I had an office at 1 Patriot Place, I’d refuse to get off the phone with Redskins’ GM Bruce Allen until he traded me Trent Williams. Whatever it takes, pay the price, the Patriots need a left tackle and this is the last chance to get one, unless Isaiah Wynn is able to return from IR. (And that’s a big UNLESS!)
Hard to judge the offense under the stormy conditions, but they held onto the football and I actually thought the running game looked vastly improved from the last two weeks. Michel seems to be finding his legs and nice to see James White have one of those prototypical James White games. (Most underrated Patriot by a mile!)
Sunday’s tilt in Baltimore will be the second big test the Patriots have faced in 2019. (I’m counting Buffalo, you forget they’re 5-2.)
To be 9-0 heading into the week 10 bye week would be huge. Currently the Pats have a two game lead on the next best teams in the AFC, Buffalo, Indy and Baltimore are all 5-2 with KC and Houston at 5-3. I still think KC and Houston are the biggest threats to the Patriots inside of the conference, KC going down swinging without Patrick Mahomes. There’s no competition for the Cheifs in the abysmal AFC West.
The rematch of last year’s AFC title game is still on, but the path there will likely go through Foxboro. Already having 8 wins in the bank and finishing up the season at Cincy and home for Buffalo and Miami, feels like 11 wins in guaranteed for New England. Meaning that during the tough upcoming stretch, the Patriots only have to go 3-2 to lock up home field advantage.
By Sterling Pingree
Massive Patriots fan