Brady Wins #201, Gostkowski’s Back (Kinda), & A Whole Bunch Of Other Stuff, Too.

Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia

Let me start by saying this: I love Tom Brady. Seriously, I really do. Yesterday when he took that final kneel down to seal his 201st victory, my eyes welled with tears of joy. I know it’s weird, and probably kind of ridiculous, but hey, the Patriots are legitimately the most important thing in my life and he’s the captain of the ship. I can’t control how I feel, it’s just how it is. And even though I already posted a blog about him becoming the all-time winningest quarterback in NFL history, I’m going to give you some more about Brady & #201.

And here’s a video of his absolutely BEAUTIFUL throw to Chris Hogan (pretty good catch, too) for his one and only touchdown yesterday.

For that, I say you’re welcome, but from here on out, this will be exclusively about the other guys and how important they were in yesterday’s win. So yeah, here we go.

To begin, LeGarrette Blount partook in LeGarrette Blount things.

Then nearly got his head ripped off…

But got up and caressed Jeff Fisher’s face, so I guess everything is all good.

Moving on.

Julian Edelman is back. He’s been averaging over ninety yards per game since the bye week and looks like he’s regained full Minitron status. I know that his beginning of the season was lackluster, but he’s hitting his stride at exactly the right time. I said during the preseason that he is the key to this offense, and I still believe that. His ability to get so open, so quickly, is uncanny and it’s no secret that Tom Brady loves feeding him the ball. That’s going to be pivotal down the stretch, especially without Gronk out there.

Also, good to know dude is still a lunatic.

You know who else is kind of a lunatic, too? Malcolm Mitchell.

I’d never expect a guy who published a children’s book to constantly be fighting on the field, but Mitchell is seriously ’bout that life. From the Week 4 game against the Bills where he tried to fight the entire Buffalo secondary on behalf of Jacoby Brissett, to his couple of tiffs yesterday, Malcolm’s always out there mixing it up.

Now normally, I’d be opposed to that. It’s not exactly what you would call ‘The Patriot Way’ but hell, if players are going to get in Mitchell’s face, I want him to go at them. As long as he’s not starting shit, I do not care at all. And if he’s going to keep producing like he has been, I’ll care even less. Yesterday, Mitchell caught eight balls for eighty-two yards, and over the course of the last three games (including yesterday), he’s recorded 17 receptions for 222 yards and three touchdowns. That’s legit NFL production and exactly what this team needs from a perimeter wideout, especially one the Patriots used a draft pick on.

But, what this team needed more than that, was a dominant defensive performance, and that is exactly what they got.

Logan Ryan, Rob Ninkovich, Shea McClellin, and Chris Long, yes, that Chris Long, all recorded sacks. And both Malcolm Butler and Kyle Van Noy picked off the 2016 first overall pick, Jared Goff.

Let me talk about Kyle Van Noy a little bit.

First of all, peep this catch on that pick.

And second, check out his reaction.

I’ve used the word lunatic twice already today, but I’m going to use it a third time. After every big play, Van Noy was AMPED. Absolutely going nuts out there. Lunatic-type stuff. I love it. This guy was incorrectly used in Detroit for a long time and is finally in a system that works for him and it’s paying off.

Jabaal Sheard is, too. After being benched for the San Francisco game, he’s picked it up and is playing much better. He had two tackles, two assists, and three PBUs yesterday and is re-gaining the confidence of Bill Belichick.

I said that this defense’s Week 12 performance against the Jets would be a confidence booster. They finally put some pressure on the quarterback, forced some turnovers, and finally looked like a championship-caliber defense. However, what they did yesterday put Week 12 to shame. Yes, I understand the Rams have the worst offense in the league, but they’re paid to play football just as the Patriots are, four sacks and two interceptions is nothing to shake a stick at.

Moreso than needing a dominant defense, though, the Patriots have needed for Stephen Gostkowski to get it together. He’s missed a ton of kicks (by his standards) this year, and honestly, has been the most concerning part of this team. But yesterday he went out there and drilled four field goals, three of them from 45+. Obviously I can’t be sure if he’s out of the woods yet, but for now, I feel pretty good about it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Go Pats.