Here is this week’s New England Patriots stock watch:
After signing a big contract a few years ago to replace Wes Welker, Amendola has struggled in New England. However he had a huge game for the Patriots last night, as he continues to prove his worth down the stretch in 2014-15. His first touchdown was pure effort, as was his big third down conversion late in the fourth quarter, and he was also the beneficiary of the tremendous double-pass from Julian Edelman.
If you want to say Joe Montana is still the best until Brady gets his fourth ring, I’m completely fine with that. But if you want evidence of Brady being the greatest ever, all you have to do is watch this game. Brady was phenomenal after a rocky start, as he personally led the Pats back from two separate 14-point deficits, and added another game winning drive in the postseason to his resume. Big day for number 12.
Gronk catch ball. Gronk dominate. Gronk is great.
After missing New England’s final two games due to a concussion, you would think Edelman would be a bit behind in his return to the field, but it was the complete opposite. He was tearing up Baltimore’s mediocre secondary all night long, catching eight balls for 74 yards. Of course that pales in comparison to his biggest play of the night, which was a beautiful 51-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the third quarter (which I called a few days ago, by the way).
Sebastian Vollmer/Nate Solder
Coming into this game the top storyline for the Pats’ offense was the pass rushing duo of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, and how they could potentially wreak havoc for Tom Brady and company. But Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder completely took them out of the game, in what was arguably their best performance of the season. The guys on the interior struggled, but the tackles were excellent.
After getting a brand new contract earlier in the week, Chung may have had his best game as a pro last night. He made a few nice stops in the running game, he was good in coverage, and his play to break up a potential touchdown in the end zone in the fourth quarter was one of the plays of the game for this defense. I am excited to have Chung on this team for the next few years.
The defense struggled to open the game, and while they tightened it up in the second half, the reason this contest was so tight was because of the defensive unit (in a bad way). And the group primarily at fault? The big boys up front, who were dominated for the majority of the game. Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch, and Chandler Jones all had little to no impact on Baltimore’s offense, and when you combine that with Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins not filling holes as they should have been, the Ravens ran wild.
When rookie center Bryan Stork left the game in the first half with a knee injury, Ryan Wendell moved over to center, which forced Josh Kline into the game at right guard. Kline was bad in the regular season, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see him struggle against the Ravens. He almost single-handidly cost the Pats a shot at taking the lead following Devin McCourty’s interception when he missed his block which blew up the long play-action bomb. Hopefully Stork’s injury isn’t serious enough that he will miss next week’s AFC Championship game.