And the AFC Still Belongs to Thomas Brady

Before we get into how awesome the Pats are, and how clutch Brady is, I want to give massive props to Patrick Mahomes. New England shut down Tyreke Hill and Travis Kelce for the majority of the game, and Mahomes still cooked. Trailing by ten to Tom Brady in the fourth, he led Kansas City to 24 fourth quarter points, and had he won the coin toss we’re probably talking about this game differently. Whenever the Patriots decide to stop winning football games, Mahomes and Kansas City are up next. This team is too good not to be. Now that we got the sportsmanship out of the way….

THOMAS EDWARD PATRICK BRADY. Last week I said this is a game that Tom needs to lay the law down and reestablish the pecking order. It goes Tom Brady, then everyone else. Yes, the pick he threw on the one was horrible, and the offense looked a smidgen lost in portions of the second half, but those last two drives in regulation and those third down conversions in over time were simply beautiful. Kansas City threw their best punch in the second half and New England took it and smiled. The game plan was simple; control the clock, control the game. In the first half it worked flawlessly. Kansas City went three and out twice, and it was the first time they were held scoreless in the first half during the Andy Reid Era.  Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Sony Michel had yet another 100 plus yards on the ground, and continues to be very good at sports. Throughout this season many people have questioned taking the rookie in the first round, but all those naysayers look real silly after these last two games. James White looked great per usual, and despite Rex Burkhead having maybe the worst 4th and 1 attempt in history, he drove through the goal line late in the fourth and in over time as well. The three headed running attack looked phenomenal again this week, and one can probably expect that again in Atlanta.

However, this game, as most do, came down to Tom Brady on third down. Four times in overtime on third and long, twice to Edleman and twice to Gronk, he got the ball into windows that seemingly didn’t exist. Once it became apparent Kansas City was going to score, regardless of how much time was on the clock, Brady had to get points on the board. In his last three possessions, he looked as good as he’s ever looked. His final stat line was 30-46, 348 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 picks. Dummies will focus on the two picks, and a third one that got over turned on a Kansas City off sides, but the real impressive number here is the yardage. If Brady goes for over 325 yards, that means the offense is moving well, and while that may seem obvious, it’s really been this offenses only problem this year. Last night was a perfect example of that. Kansas City jumped back into the game after two stagnant New England drives. If the game plan is long drives, and taking short amounts of yards at a time, any drive that stalls out early is back breaking. Fortunately, there wasn’t many of those as Brady got the ball out quick for the majority of the night. Also, while it wasn’t part of the game plan, his bomb to Dorsett was incredible.

gronk berry

Last week I said blocking Gronk is great, but we need the old Gronk. It was pretty nice to get both. Any time he was in single coverage the ball found it’s way into his hands. Poor Eric Berry, who’s a hero and shouldn’t be viewed as anything else, had his hands full all night. The two third down conversions that I mentioned early felt like Gronk had hoped out of a time machine. Brady threw it up and Gronk was too fast, strong, and nimble to guard. Then on the last play in overtime, he put on his left tackle hat and bullied defensive lineman. Reports of his retirement this off season seem to be very credible, and if this is really his last run, he’s leaving it all out there.

The one negative about this game was McDaniels in some spots, namely the aforementioned 4th and 1. Taking Develin out, to run our third best running back behind no one was the worst decision he has made since the Edleman 4th and 2 screen four years ago. Aside from that though, everything went perfectly. In the moment it obviously didn’t feel that way as my heart was in my throat, but the game plan was flawless. Ultimately, if Tom Brady has the ball in his hands for 44 minutes, I like our odds. Onto the Super Bowl, again, where McVay and the Rams wait. I’ll have more on that next week, but for now let’s enjoy one of the best non Super Bowl wins ever. Patrick Mahomes will have to get in line with Andrew Luck, because this conference still belongs to Tom Brady.

tom brady gif

Hit the Music.

Last week I gave a shout out to Stephon Gilmore for being great at not letting guys catch passes, and he was again last night. This week I want to give out three. Kyle Van Noy had linemen spinning all night and was stunting at will, but the MVP’s of the defense last night were the McCourty twins. Together they shut down the leagues most consistent deep threat, Tyreke Hill, holding him to 1 catch for 42 yards.

-Eric Rufo

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