The Pats hung 35 on Cincinnati yesterday, but I expected that. The Bengals suck. They went to Dallas last weekend and got trounced by a pair of rookies, they just weren’t standing up to the Patriots.
I wanted to react like this
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) October 16, 2016
But I was more like this
Don’t get me wrong, yesterday was awesome. Tom Brady returned to Gillette and lit it up. 29-35 for 376YD & 3TD? I’d say that’s a good day. 5,000th career completion? Decent accomplishment. But I’d be lying if I told you I’m over-the-top excited.
Call me a spoiled Pats fan, call me whatever, but wins like this are ordinary. I’ve seen the Patriots dismantle teams like this so many times that it’s old news at this point. I love seeing it, and it brings me endless amounts of joy, but it’s just so common.
So instead of bringing some fiery, pumped up game reaction, I’ve got a couple of “I told you so’s” to deal with.
#1. James White Can Get It Done
Before you read any further, go back and read my offseason piece on James White.
Cool. You’re back.
I told you James White would do this. I told you Sweet Feet would play a huge role in this offense. Sure, it’s one game, but as you just learned in my other article, this type of production is sustainable for White.
In eight games last year, he produced just like Dion Lewis, and since Brady’s return to action, he’s producing again. After struggling to find his groove with Garoppolo and Brissett at the helm, White has caught twelve balls for 110 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came yesterday.
— Binge Sports (@BingeSports) October 16, 2016
Are those numbers anything to write home about? Probably not. But are they perfect for the Patriots’ offense? Absolutely. When they’ve got guys like Gronk, Bennett, Hogan, etc… stretching the field, a guy like White coming out of the backfield is hugely important. It was obvious last year when he scored four touchdowns through the air, and it’s obvious this year when he’s already got half of that in just two games with his quarterback.
There’s certainly the possibility that White’s role diminishes when Dion Lewis comes back, however for now, they’ve got Sweet Feet firing on all cylinders and I can assure you they’ll continue to utilize him.
#2 GRONK BACK
Here’s something I can get amped for. Robert Gronkowski is back to terrorizing defenses and I’m so damn happy.
He tore Cleveland to shreds. Put up 109YD on only five catches. That was the Browns, though. They’re trash. I thought Cincinnati would be a bigger, and harder, test.
I was wrong.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) October 16, 2016
Gronk went out there and killed the Bengals too. Had a career day. 162YD, a career high. Moved into 4th place on the Pats’ all-time receiving yards list with 5,837, and third place in all-time 100YD games by tight ends with 22.
But his impact on yesterday’s game isn’t the most important part of his performance. It’s that he’s back.
Throughout the first couple of weeks, I said numerous times that the Pats were keeping Gronk in the garage for a reason, that they’d rather have him healthy for Tom Brady instead of getting him hurt with a backup, and it looks like I was right.
Rob Gronkowski is back to being the most dominant, most dangerous player in the NFL. No one’s covering him, and when he catches the ball, no one’s tackling him alone. I don’t need to sit here and swoon over him, you all know what he is, a monster, and that monster is back.
I know the rest of the NFL is terrified. It’s one thing to have an angry Tom Brady leading a team, but it’s another to have angry Tom Brady leading a team that features a 6’6″ 265LB TE who runs a 4.68 40 and can catch anything. (And a carbon copy of him on the other side, but that’s besides the point.)
#3 Vontaze Burfict Is A Scumbag
I wasn’t writing for PatsMilitia during last season’s playoffs, but I still made my thoughts known about Vontaze Burfict.
I don’t like the guy. He’s a dirty player. He does things to hurt people. Whether it’s trying to rip Cam Newton’s ankle off, decapitating Antonio Brown, or taking Martellus Bennett’s knees out, he’s always got the intent to injure. There’s something to be said for a football player having some nasty in him, but what Burfict does week in and week out is so much more than that.
Let’s take a look at that Bennett play.
— Will D. (@WAD1980) October 16, 2016
I just don’t get it. Bennett’s standing there, ball flying by him, and Burfict comes from behind and dives at his knees. Just a stupid play, and a dangerous one, too.
Sure, Tom Brady pumped towards Bennett,
Video: On Vontaze Burfict low hit on Martellus Bennett, Tom Brady pump faked to Bennett. (Via CBS broadcast) pic.twitter.com/Nbyyz2xb14
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 17, 2016
but he then pulled back, reloaded and threw to another receiver. Burfict hit Bennett after all of that. It’s not like he was coming in hot on Bennett and couldn’t pull up. He could have. He just didn’t. He’s a scumbag. Plain and simple.
Yeah, he apparently apologized and declared his action unintentional, but that’s what he has to. A guy like him can’t afford to have any more slip-ups. He’s already been in trouble so many times, anything he does will just land him further in shit. And honestly, I hope that’s where he ends up after this. He’s a great talent, but there’s no place for this in football. It’s a violent game, hitting dudes is necessary, but the way Burfict does it, is not.
Also, Gronk standing up for his fellow tight end was SICK.
Burfict’s always looking for a fight, but does Gronk back down? HELL NO. Put his face right in Burfict’s and let him know what’s up. He’s Gronk, he’s killing your defense, and he’s riding for his teammate. Landed him a 15-yarder down the road, but a remarkable act of camaraderie by one tight end for another. Love it.
#4 The Dagger…
Not really an “I told you so” but necessary to mention.
Up 28-17 with a couple minutes left & what do the Patriots do? Put the nail in the coffin. That’s what.
I’ve seen so much crap about the Patriots running up the score yesterday. That’s trash.
In 2007, after beating Washington 52-7, Bill Belichick had this to say about running up the score,
“I’ve been coaching too long,” Belichick said. “I remember being on that side. When I was coaching defense it was my job to keep the score down, not theirs. When you’re playing defense it’s your job to stop them. It’s not (the offense’s) job to not score. It’s like I tell the offense, what the (bleep) do you think I send you guys out there for? To punt? We have a punt team for that. That’s not your job. Your job is to go out there and score points. If you come off the field and you haven’t scored points you haven’t done your job.”
Those words still reign true today. It is not their job to stop themselves. This game is cutthroat, the offense’s job is to score points. That’s what they did. End of story.
For not being overly excited about yesterday’s game, I guess I had a lot to say. James White, Rob Gronkowski, and Vontaze Burfict all proved me right and I needed to talk about it.
I needed to talk about how the Patriots have, and will continue to beat teams into the ground. You love it, I love it, we all love it.
And I need to talk about how the Revenge Tour is on. Tom Brady is pissed. You can see it. He’s playing pissed and tearing the heads off teams. That’s going to continue. I watched other NFL teams this weekend, and it’s not going to look good for them when the Pats come to town. They’re the most complete team in the league rallying behind their fearless leader. Look out.
P.S. How about this woman at Gillette?
True story: Woman at the Pats game is told by the doctor she's having a heart attack. She responds, "I can't leave – it's Brady's return!"
— Claire Atkins (@claire_atkins) October 16, 2016
If I could have a heart attack and tough it out for Tommy, I would.