January 12, 2014

PARCELLS SMILED:

Blount gives Pats a new blueprint (Jackie MacMullan, 1/14/14, ESPNBoston.com)

Coming into this game, the Colts were ranked 26th in the league in rushing defense, relinquishing a gaudy 5.1 yards per carry. So it was hardly a shock that New England decided to run the ball on a day when high winds and driving rain descended on Gillette Stadium.

But rushing it 46 times? For 234 yards and six touchdowns? For a team whose resident legend and future Hall of Famer just happens to be a quarterback? [...]

In the first half alone, the Patriots ran the ball 25 times and threw it just 11 times, yet the running backs' average was a modest 3.2 yards a carry. Who would have questioned offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels if he put the ball in Brady's hands more for the final two quarters?

"I wouldn't have blamed him if he went to Tom," Blount said with a shrug. "He's the best quarterback in the game."

Instead, McDaniels stuck to his game plan. He reminded Blount, Stevan Ridley et al that the 2-yard and 3-yard gains wear down the defense and eventually lay the groundwork for the crack in coverage that allows for the big gain.

"We always want to be the most physical team, so when we have the opportunity to go in there and really pound the rock -- McDaniels really likes to do that," explained tight end Mike Mulligan. "I really liked that he stayed with it and gave us the opportunity to seize the moment." On a night of big moments, none was more stunning than Blount's 73-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter when the Patriots were holding tight to a tenuous 29-22 advantage. Blount's bulldozed his way behind his stellar offensive line, cut right, found daylight and kept running until he reached the end zone, thereby setting a new Patriots franchise record of four rushing touchdowns in one postseason game.

Was, the best quarterback.  He might still be top 10, though that's debatable.  They don't have a tight end.  They don't have a significant receiver over 6'. What they do have is Belichick & Dante Scarnecchia. 
Posted by at January 12, 2014 7:35 AM
  
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