There’s a reason why over the last decade, the New England Patriots have been such a dominant force in the league. In eight of their last ten seasons, they’ve finished first in their division, and they’ve won three Super Bowls in four years beginning in 2001.
Most of the credit can be put on the stringent football mind of Bill Belichick and on the arm of superstar quarterback Tom Brady.
The Patriots continue to dominant the sport this year with a 10-3 record, but it’s their outstanding offense that has put them at that mark. The Pats are 3rd in points per game averaging 30.5 points per contest and their passing attack is ranked 2nd in the game. Their pass defense, however, is ranked last in the league.
Tom Brady is 2nd in QB rating only behind Aaron Rodgers and he seems to be getting better as the years go on.
“Everything that he does, he does well,” Wes Welker said of his quarterback. “His accuracy, getting us in the right play, understanding what the defense is trying to do. He continually gets better, year after year.”
Brady has passed for 4,273 yards with 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions through 13 games. His best year came in ’07-’08 when he threw for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s on pace to break that record in terms of passing yards.
“He’s got great passion for the game, he’s a great student of the game,” John Fox said. “He didn’t come in this league with a silver spoon. He’s mastered his trade.”
The big key to the Patriots offensive success has been their steady and unique receiving corp. Little guy Wes Welker is leading the league in receiving yards and big guy Rob Gronkowski is leading the league in receiving touchdowns at the tight end position. Not to mention, Deion Branch is always a threat downfield.
The Patriots are averaging 22.0 points through the first three quarters while the Broncos are averaging 9.0 points lately.
“They’re a very potent offense,” Fox said. “They’re a very good football team. That’s why they’re 10-3. They’ve got World Championships, they’re well coached, they’ve got outstanding personnel. There’s no doubt it will be a big test. I’d say that’s kind of concerning.”
The thing that has stumped teams is how to slow down Gronkowski. He already set the season record for touchdowns (15) by a tight end. He’s a huge guy to cover a 6’6″, 265 lbs., but he’s agile and speedy.
“He’s got the versatility to get down the field, can take short passes and break tackles, and turn them into long runs,” Belichick said. “He’s got a good skill set, he runs well, he’s big, he catches the ball well, and he’s smart. We can do different things with him.”
Aaron Hernandez is the team’s other tight end, and he’s having a big year as well with over 600 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns.
“Aaron and Rob, they’re great tight ends,” Welker said. “I think from day one they stepped in and showed that they were going to be a force on our team. They continually get better and continually work hard to get better. Then on Sundays they go out there and prove. They play like some veterans.”
With Gronkowski and Hernandez being big targets for Brady, it’s no wonder why Wes Welker is leading the league in receiving, and Ochocinco doesn’t even need to be out on the field at this point.
This proves once you understand Belichick’s system and fit into it, the sky is the limit.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how the Broncos plan to defend this potent offense.