The New England Patriots certainly gave fans a great ride during the 2010 regular season. Unfortunately, that ride to Dallas and the Super Bowl stopped short. Even still, there are plenty of fond memories and big moments we can re-live. I put together a list of the 10 best moments of the 2010 regular season, and it’s a non-ranked list. I put the events in chronological order starting in Week 2. I also tried to stick to purely game moments, though there were a couple of off-the-field moments that sneaked onto the list.
Randy Moss’s one-handed grab over Darrelle Revis Week 2 at the Jets
WR Randy Moss’s 2010 was short-lived on the Patriots, but his catch Week 2 with Darrelle Revis in coverage was nothing short of spectacular. It may have been one of Moss’s all-time best catches. It was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, his mouth ran him out of town after Week 4.
Pat Chung blocks a punt, a field goal, and returns an interception for a touchdown Week 4 in Miami.
S Patrick Chung was almost a one-man show during the Week 4 divisional match against the Miami Dolphins. Chung’s two blocked kicks set up scores on a night where the offense did very little. Of course, it didn’t need to, with the special teams taking over most of the scoring. If Chung hadn’t gotten injured during the season, we may have seen him in the Pro Bowl instead of Brandon Meriweather (I think we should have anyway).
Patriots win a thriller in OT vs the Ravens in Week 6 for Deion Branch’s homecoming
I gave serious thought to making the Randy Moss trade to Minnesota and subsequent trade for Deion Branch from Seattle its own moment, but I finally decided on parlaying them all into the following week’s win over Baltimore in overtime. There were major questions as to whether the offense would be able to move the ball without Randy Moss. There were also questions about what impact Branch would have after having an injury-riddled stay in Seattle. Those questions were answered when the Pats were able to score on the tough Ravens defense. Branch also answered questions, catching 9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Logan Mankins returns to action Week 9 after an 8-week holdout.
The Patriots’ best offensive lineman was not present for the entire offseason and the first 8 weeks of the regular season due to a contract dispute with the team. He returned Week 9 amd his impact could be felt immediately. His play didn’t miss a beat as he returned as dominant as he left. Though the Pats lost Week 9 to Cleveland, that game and Mankins’ return were the springboard that lead to the team’s amazing surge through the rest of the regular season.
Pats put 39 points on the NFL’s top defense and eventual AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots began their offensive domination Week 10 against the Steelers, who had the NFL’s best defense in 2010. The Patriots scored 39 points during this Sunday night contest. Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, all to rookie TE Rob Gronkowski, and rushed for a touchdown. S James Sanders also returned an INT for a TD, which was a sneak preview of the following week’s game.
James Sanders intercepts Peyton Manning to seal a Patriots victory over the Indianapolis Colts
Just like the previous week, S James Sanders recorded an INT. However, during this Week 11 game, it sealed the game for the Patriots. The Pats jumped out to an early lead, but Manning led the Colts on a comeback and were within striking distance of taking over the game. It was looking like a replay of the heartbreaking loss in Indy during the 2009 season. This time, the defense (namely Sanders) were able to make a critical stop and prevent Manning from scoring.
Patriots embarrass the Jets on Monday Night, 45-3
After a week of Rex Ryan running his mouth (wait that’s every week), the Patriots laid a beat-down on the Jets on Monday Night Football Week 13. Tom Brady was phenomenal, going 21 of 29 for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns. Former Jet Danny Woodhead made some big plays in the passing game, catching 4 passes for 104 yards, including 50 yarder. Too bad they didn’t save some points for the playoffs!
Patriots handle the elements and win 36-3 in snowy Chicago
The Patriots headed into Chicago to play the NFC North champion Bears on a snowy, gusty afternoon Week 14. The pundits thought the elements would ground the Patriots’ prolific passing attack, but it was just the opposite. The passing game flourished, with Brady going 27 of 40 for 369 yards, throwing 2 touchdown passes and posting a QB rating of 113.4. Deion Branch and Wes Welker had stellar games, catching 8 passes for 151 yards and a TD, and 8 passes for 115 yards, respectively. The defense was phenomenal as well, intercepting Jay Cutler twice and holding Matt Forte to under 100 total yards.
Patriots hold on against eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay in a Sunday Night thriller
Despite facing a backup QB, the Patriot defense struggled against the Packer offense. The offense, though it never seemingly got into a rhythm, put up points, aided by Kyle Arrington’s interception returned for a touchdown. It was also aided by guard Dan Connolly’s “thrilling” 71-yard kickoff return. The defense was able to hang on, in part due to a botched two-minute drill where backup QB Matt Flynn couldn’t get a play call in Patriot territory before time expired.
Wes Welker gets his feet wet in comedy routine at Rex Ryan’s expense
I couldn’t help but include this. While the playoff game itself was a disappointment, and Wes Welker had to sit for the first offensive series, his press conference earlier in the week was priceless. He found a clever way to reference feet or include foot metaphors 10 times. This of course was poking fun at Rex Ryan’s “alleged” foot fetish videos. As a fan, it was nice to see one of the Pats respond to constant barrage of negative comments from Jets players, and it was even nicer to see it done in a clever way.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens Danny Woodhead Deion Branch Green Bay Packers James Sanders Logan Mankins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patrick Chung Patriots 2010 Regular Season Pittsburgh Steelers Randy Moss Rex Ryan Tom Brady Wes Welker