Who Wins the Game Ball for the New England Patriots in Week Five?


Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback

Tom Brady

(12) at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. New England Patriots defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 43-17. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

After a blowout loss on Monday night, the New England Patriots desperately needed a bounce-back win in convincing fashion on Sunday night. A 43 to 17 victory later and the Patriots had not only rebounded with a big win but they regained the necessary momentum by beating an undefeated Cincinnati Bengals squad that came in with the top-rated defense.

Each week there is one player who stands out above the others on the field. In Sunday night’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots had multiple players who stood out on the field and on the statsheet.

Running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen shredded the Bengals front seven with 203 yards on 36 combined carries and a touchdown. Ridley set the tone with 27 tough carries for 113 yards while Vereen added 90 yards on just nine carries (all statistics from NFL.com unless otherwise noted).

Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end

Rob Gronkowski

(87) reacts after scoring during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of dynamic duos, the thunder-and-lighting two-tight-end offense returned to New England. All-Pro Rob Gronkowski hauled in six passes for 100 yards and a touchdown while newly acquired tight end Tim Wright played just 19 snaps but finished with five receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown.

The offensive line as a unit stepped up and kept quarterback Tom Brady upright as the only sack allowed was a protection breakdown that had tight end Rob Gronkowski blocking veteran defensive end Robert Geathers one-on-one. The line made space for the running backs as rookie center Bryan Stork, tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, and guards Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly pushed around a strong Cincinnati front seven.

On defense cornerback Darrelle Revis stepped up to the challenge of locking-up All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green and neutralized him with his best performance to date in a New England uniform.  Also in the secondary, second-year safety Duron Harmon stepped in for an injured Devin McCourty and filled in seamlessly. Add in some strong play by cornerback Kyle Arrington and the revamped New England secondary had a strong performance.

Finally, veterans Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo had a big game playing strong in the middle of the defense. The Patriots struggled last season on defense without their two veteran run-stuffers and the defensive tackle and linebacker spent the day disrupting the dynamic running back for Cincinnati, Gio Bernard. Wilfork occupied blockers and Mayo cleaned it up just like they draw it up in the defensive playbook.

However, for week five, the game ball goes to … quarterback Tom Brady.

Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after a touchdown by tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

No player faced the scrutiny in the press that the future Hall-of-Fame passer faced this past week. After playing probably his worst game since…playing Cincinnati last season…the Bengals and their trio of cornerbacks Adam Jones, Leon Hall, and Terence Newman were hardly the desired matchup to break a slump. All Brady did was lead two signature touchdown drives to open the game and then continued mounting drive after drive finally topping 500 yards in total offense.

Only punting three times and not turning the ball over, Brady led the offense on scoring drives of 10, 6, 11, 5 (last minute before halftime leading to a field goal), 10, 9, 9, and 8 plays as he helped control the clock for almost 39 minutes. Brady finished 23 of 35 for 292 yards and two touchdowns and a 110.7 passer rating for the game.

For this display of leadership and leading the Patriots to victory while becoming just the sixth passer in NFL history to reach 50,000 yards passing, Tom Brady is awarded the game ball.