Patriots certainly look unbeatable after Sunday night
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Time to go back in time, but not vs. time.
Twelve years ago, the New England Patriots had vastly upgraded their offense, were solid on defense, and had blown out the New York Jets on the road in their season opener.
A reported a couple of days later asked New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick about his team looking like it would go through the regular season undefeated. He scoffed at the question. The Patriots went 18-0 before losing in the Super Bowl.
Here we are, 12 years later, and the Patriots are showing, off a 33-3 season opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, a lot of that same 2007 firepower. And Monday they officially added an emotional diva-like wide receiver. In 2007 it was Randy Moss. In 2019 it’s Antonio Brown.
The rest of the NFL has got to be shaking its collective head. Here are the Patriots, toying with one of the alleged few good teams in the AFC, and they’re about to get better.
As quarterback Tom Brady said early Monday morning in his post-game press conference, “We’ve got a lot of players that are talented and we’ve just got to figure out how to make it work.”
Could they run the table? Doubtful, given the odds. And remember, results from the first month of an NFL season rarely tell the real story. But it was hard to ignore what happened Sunday night, as another contender proved vastly unworthy to mount a challenge to the Patriots. As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, “We weren’t ready for prime time.”
How is that possible, as when the schedule is announced in April, teams and their coaching staffs pour their resources into prepping for that season opener. It looked like one team did and another didn’t, although Patriots safety Duron Harmon said the focus of the veteran in the preseason was improvement. Well, OK.
“Well in all honesty, we were so locked in on the moment in the preseason,” Harmon said. “We knew when we had the opportunity to play the Steelers, we were going to be ready and do everything we could to prepare for them the right way. But during the preseason games and training camp we were literally just working on getting better.”
Hard to imagine they could be better than they were on Sunday night, although they did go 0-for in the red zone. That is probably where the Patriots will look to try to improve.
They tried to talk up their tough history down on Miami in looking to their Week 2 encounter, but of course they know that the tanking Dolphins were smoked 59-10.
It’s just too scary. The rich get richer while the poor get either stupid or just plain poorer. Consider the fact that troubled wideout Josh Gordon is back on the roster after last year’s suspension, and things just keep falling into place.
“It feels goodto know that we put together somewhat of a finished product this first week and we were ale to maintain,” Gordon said. “Now we want to be able to build upon it.”
“Whether it’s running the football or throwing the football, whatever it takes,” Patriots back James White said. “We got a good offensive line, good receivers, good backs, good quarterback and tight ends. We’re just doing what it takes to win.”
Some of that could be debatable. Ryan Izzo is learning on the job at tight end, and after losing center David Andrews in the preseason, the Patriots may need to replace right tackle Marcus Cannon, who had his left arm in a sling after the game Sunday night.
So all is not perfect. But consider the defense kept the Steelers out of the end zone without one of its best players (linebacker Kyle Van Noy, wife having a baby), and rushed for ‘only’ 99 yards (took what the Steelers gave them) and they still won by 30 points, it shows how weak the competition really is.
“It’s a long year,” Brady said. “It’s the beginning of a long marathon and the NFL’s very competitive and it’s going to be a great challenge, but I think we’re all looking forward to it.”
Fasten your seat belts, fans, the ride is just beginning. And many of you remember how fun it was for the 2007 regular season.