Read on for the most complete W2W4 piece you will find in the New England Patriots mediaverse this morning.
Quick. Answer this question: when was the last game the New England Patriots won with defense and the running game?
Definitely not last year and that Week 17 debacle in Miami when they cost the team home-field advantage in the AFC Championship Game.
Any of their games against the Colts do not count because Tom Brady carved those defense up early then handed it over to the running game.
Week 17 in 2013 against the Buffalo Bills (the LeGarrette Blount 189 yards coming out party in New England) when the Patriots had over 250 yards on the ground? Nah, the defense did nothing that game and allowed Thad Lewis to drive the ball against them over and over again.
Really, it is back to the aforementioned Matt Cassel at quarterback in New England in 2008 grinding out tough wins against the Jets, Bills (twice), and the Rams behind Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, LaMont Jordan and BenJarvus Green-Ellis at running back.
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So was anyone really expecting the Patriots to morph back to that team with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback Thursday night against the Houston Texans? Nope, not me. But they did. The defense–after being carved apart in the second half of the week two win against Miami–did not allow the Texans’ offense to pass midfield until the fourth quarter. With rookie Jacoby Brissett throwing for just 103 yards but the ground game pounded out 185 yards to win going away.
There were big plays made by the special teams unit, a smothering defense, a virtuoso performance by the offensive line, smart quarterback play, and a punishing rushing attack as the Patriots defeated the Texans 27-0 on Thursday night.
Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan–emboldened by his team’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week–has already started his usual nonsense name-dropping former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan and doing a Bill Belichick impersonation. As the week goes on, Rex cannot control himself and the biggest mouth of the NFL continues yapping.
Forget Rex’s mouth–it has never won his teams a game–it is his defensive game plans that opponents need to worry about. So without further delay, let’s get to the match-ups, the keys to to the game, and a look at both teams in this pivotal early season AFC East match-up: