Tag:Bill Belichick
Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:33 pm
 

Report: Schiano could tap Butch Davis for help

Greg Schiano will tap Butch Davis to help him coach in Tampa Bay (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

With Greg Schiano taking over the head coaching job in Tampa Bay, don’t be surprised if he brings back oldie-but-goodie Butch Davis to help him with his staff.

That’s the word from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, which writes that since Schiano worked as Davis’ defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and then coached the Browns from 2001-04, he’d be a good sounding board for the former Rutgers head coach.

Latest coaching news, rumors
It actually makes a bit of sense. Even though Davis ultimately failed in Cleveland, he knows the rigors of going from coaching college football to coaching pro football, and he can possibly help Schiano avoid some of the pitfalls he might have faced.

King also writes about how Patriots coach Bill Belichick helped get Schiano the job, calling Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik and saying that Schiano was NFL-ready. Schiano, I imagine, appreciated the gesture.

"We trust one another,” Schiano told King. "I think we see things the same way -- not schematically, necessarily, but principally.”

One other note from King: Schiano had to miss Joe Paterno’s memorial service last Thursday in order to finalize the Buccaneers deal. Considering Paterno was one of Schiano’s mentors, that was a tough decision for him to make.

"Thursday was one of the most exciting days of my life, getting this job, and also one of the saddest, because I missed Joe's service,'' he said. "I learned so much from Joe. Like, 'The only bad decision is indecision.' I can't tell you how significant a statement that is.”

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 6:58 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Belichick jokes about 4th and 2, Indy hospitality

By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick, by virtue of the rivalry between the Colts and Patriots, isn't a really popular guy here in Indy. But he said at his introductory press conference on Sunday night that he's gotten much more "Hoosier hospitality" ever since his decision to go for a now-infamous 4th and two call against the Colts in 2009.

"I've never had much hospitality here until I went for it on fourth and two," Belichick joked on Sunday.

The play he's referring to has been dubbed "The Call" -- on fourth and two from his own 28 against the Colts with just over two minutes remaining, Belichick went for the first down, but Melvin Bullitt stuffed Kevin Faulk after the running back caught a short pass from Tom Brady.

That gamble was analyzed a million times and it's absolutely considered one of the worst moments of Belichick's distinguished coaching career.

His joke on Sunday was indicative of the mood of Belichick's presser, as well as the rest of the Patriots. They seemed light-hearted and energetic.

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage] 

Tom Brady was asked if his telling Pats fans he hoped next week brought a bigger party than the one they saw in New England prior to departing for Indianapolis was indicative of his confidence for this game, and the quarterback was just as glib as his coach.

"It was a pep rally," Brady deadpanned.

Expect the Pats demeanor to frost up a bit as the week goes on. It's been clear throughout the postseason just how much bringing home the Lombardi Trophy means to them.

For now, though, they're clearly quite happy to be in Indianapolis with a shot at redemption for 2007. And maybe 2009 as well.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:18 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Super Bowl storylines

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Listen to the Championship Weekend Podcast Recap below and don't forget to
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Super Bowl Storylines

We have less than two weeks until Super Bowl XLVI is played in Indianapolis, and you need to be prepared for a slew of recurring storylines that will come forth over the next 14 days. Some are good, some are bad. Here are the biggest ones:

1. Playing in Peyton's House
No. 2 on this list will be the most talked about early on, but the biggest story of this Super Bowl is that this matchup takes place in the House of Peyton Manning. Peyton carved out a legacy as a sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterback in Indianapolis, and now the Colts quarterback is sidelined, unsure of his future in Indy, as he watches his most hated rival (Brady) battle his little brother (Eli) for a Super Bowl victory in the Colts stadium.

There's no telling how much face time Peyton will have to put in for the Colts over the next two weeks, and it could very well be minimal, but he's the city's most famous athlete (by a WIDE margin) and it's hard to imagine that he can just go underground while two guys whose lives are so closely parallel to his own prepare to do battle on his field.

2. 2007, All Over Again
Not sure if you heard or not, but the Giants beat the previously undefeated Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl. It was a pretty good game. A lot of the people who will play in this year's game played in that game. (The Patriots are so bitter about 2007 that they were likely rooting for the Giants against the 49ers, just to get revenge.)

This will be the predominant storyline, whether you like it or not, over the next two weeks.

3. Tom Brady's Legacy
Brady is one of four quarterbacks with three Super Bowl wins. Another one moves him out of a tie with Troy Aikman (three each) and into a tie with Terry Bradshaw and his boyhood hero Joe Montana as quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins.

There will be a discussion as to whether Brady warrants mentioning as the greatest quarterback of all-time if he wins a fourth Super Bowl. There will be plenty of chatter about how he matches up with Montana. And there will also be a discussion about what a second Super Bowl loss would mean to Brady: he could conceivably move to 3-2 in NFL championship games. That's not "bad" by any stretch of the imagination, but it's also not 4-1.

4. Is Eli Better Than Peyton?
We mentioned Peyton Manning already, but this is one that's going to get a lot of discussion: Manning's clearly established himself as a top-five NFL quarterback this season and he's putting together a ridiculous playoff résumé that is forging his overall legacy as an NFL quarterback.

In terms of raw statistical production, it's not even a contest right now, as Peyton's career numbers crush Eli's career numbers. Really, it's no contest. But Eli's also five years younger and has a shot at picking up his second Super Bowl, something Peyton doesn't have. Siblings can certainly be happy for one another when it comes to their respective success, but it's also going to be rough for both Peyton and Eli to find out how many times "Is Eli better than Peyton?" can be asked in a two-week span.

5. Brady and Eli in the Same Class
And our final quarterback comparison that will go down over the next fortnight: Brady and Eli. They'll go head-to-head for the second time in a Super Bowl over the past five years and this one has special meaning, and not just because Eli beat Brady the last time around. It's also because Eli said prior to the 2011 season that he belonged in the "same class" as Brady.

That's what any competitor should say, but Manning's spent all season long proving that he does belong on the same stage as Brady. A second Super Bowl win -- both over Tom Terrific -- would give Eli the last laugh if anyone asks him the same question before the 2012 season.

6. Bill Belichick's Best Coaching Job?
There's already a good argument that the 2011 Patriots are Bill Belichick's best coaching job in his career. That's a reasonable argument considering the Pats locked down the top seed in the AFC and made it to the Super Bowl despite continually starting Julian Edelman in their secondary.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, lots of people will point out that because of the defensive deficiencies and a number of other issues that a win cements this New England team as Belichick's finest work. They might very well be right.

7. Chad Ochocinco
The always-controversial wideout's been quiet this year and he was inactive for Sunday's AFC Championship Game after leaving the team to attend the funeral of his father. And though Chad fell in line with "The Patriot Way" this year, he's still an erstwhile celebrity, and he'll command some serious media attention over the next two weeks. Will he play? Will he make an impact? Can he play? Should he play? And so on and so forth.

8. Giants Defense
There's several different layers to New York's Big D. First of all, they're using the same formula as 2007, with a relentless pass rush. Secondly, you have to pressure Brady to stop him. Third, they run their mouths at an incredible (and awesome, if you're in the media) pace, and there's a decent chance we get a guarantee from someone (ahem, Jason Pierre-Paul and/or Antrel Rolle).

They'll be the difference-maker in this Super Bowl, because stopping Brady typically means stopping the Patriots, if you can provide enough offense to put some distance between the two.

Winners

Sterling Moore: With the Patriots already starting wideout Julian Edelman, Moore was signed off the street in September after being cut from the Raiders pratice squad. In the biggest moment of his life, he made the biggest plays, knocking the ball out of Lee Evans hands to spoil a Baltimore touchdown and then swatting a ball away from Dennis Pitta on third down to force a game-tying field goal attempt from Baltimore.

Eli Manning:
Manning became the first quarterback in NFL history to win five road playoff games on Sunday night. That's not just impressive, it's amazing: road wins aren't easy to pull off in the regular season but coming from behind and making clutch plays and winning in impossible/unlikely situations is just becoming Manning's modus operandi at this point.

Joe Flacco
: It never seemed realistic that Flacco could "win" if the Ravens lost, but he managed to silence his critics in the loss on Sunday night. There were things he could've done better, for sure, and he missed a pair of deep balls to Torrey Smith that might have given the Ravens a win. But he also put the Ravens in position to -- at worst -- send the game to overtime. Others screwed the pooch, not Flacco.

Giants Defense: Who do you want to give the award to on this side of the ball? Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka all registered at least half a sack against Alex Smith and that's precisely the reason why it's believable for the Giants to take down the Patriots in the Super Bowl one more time.

Alex Smith: Yeah, yeah, he lost. But it doesn't matter, because Smith played in horrible conditions against an insane pass rush on the biggest stage, and he played well. Sure, he didn't complete 32 passes like Eli. In fact, he only attempted 26. And only 12 of those were completions. But the dude made some plays with his legs (six rushes, 42 yards), and two of his passes were beautiful shots to Vernon Davis for scores, and Smith kept the 49ers in this game until the end.

Oh, Billy. Billy, Billy, Billy. (Getty Images)

Losers

Billy Cundiff: Can I just type "Ray Finkle" 50 times and call it a day? Cundiff's lack of range -- he was one of six from 50-plus yards in the 2011 regular season -- forced the Ravens hand on offense and then Cundiff shanked a potential game-tying field goal with mere seconds left.

Kyle Williams: It's not Williams fault that Ted Ginn missed a game that featured a ton of rain. But that doesn't mean he can go out there and muff a pair of punts to give the Giants the ball on the 49ers side of the field. Williams set the Giants up for a touchdown in regulation and a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Lee Evans: As noted above, Evans had a ball knocked out from his hands that would've been a touchdown. But it's pretty clear that he got lazy on the play -- hold onto the ball and the Ravens probably play in the Super Bowl. I'm sure his four passes caught in the regular season makes up for it though.

Ed Hochuli's Review Explanations: Four score and seven years ago, Hochuli faced the camera and began explaining why something happened in football. It took him -- literally -- a minute to explain the new playoff overtime rules, and he might've actually used 100 words to explain a false start at one point. Go back to being a gunshow.

Twitter: Aren't you guys rich enough to buy a server that doesn't crash during big NFL games?

GIF O' THE WEEK

Man, Vince Wilfork is steamed.


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Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Brady to return to Pats practice today

Brady

By Josh Katzowitz

On Wednesday, Tom Brady missed practice, though as CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson wrote, it was likely more a result of the team wanting him to rest as opposed to the left shoulder injury that’s been bothering him lately.

Well, good news for the Patriots, as Brady will return to practice today.

Patriots vs. Ravens Preview
Brady was asked about missing Wednesday’s practice, and Brady said (via the Boston Herald), "It’s not the first practice I've missed."

Luckily, coach Bill Belichick was more forthcoming earlier in the day about the reason Brady missed practice. “"He wasn't out there,” Belichick told reporters. “Hopefully, he'll be out there today."

Now that Brady will be, this story takes on a more “nothing to see here” feeling.

Besides, if Brady’s shoulder hurt bad enough that he couldn’t play quarterback with it, he always can contribute to the team in other ways.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Film Room: Patriots vs. Ravens AFC CG preview

Brady and Lewis will match wits in the AFC Championship Game. (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Tom Brady is right: the Ravens are the best team the Patriots have faced this season.

Cam Cameron’s offense poses problems for Bill Belichick’s defense, while Ray Lewis’ defense actually has a fighting chance against Brady’s offense. Here’s the breakdown.



1. Patriots formation versatility
Keep in mind, the Patriots, at least offensively, are also the best team the Ravens have faced all season. Their versatility is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Last Saturday they spent a bulk of the game in a no-huddle that featured tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and wideouts Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Julian Edelman. Remarkably, they were able to run effectively out of this personnel grouping, as Hernandez carried the ball five times out of the backfield for 61 yards.

Those runs are almost just gravy – something the defense must now respect. The real purpose of putting Hernandez in the backfield is the same purpose as all of New England’s other alignments: to get a potent pass catcher matched up on a linebacker. Even safeties have major trouble covering Hernandez and Gronkowski.

This game will be no exception, as Baltimore’s strong safety Bernard Pollard is simply not capable of doing it, and the Ravens are unlikely to remove Ed Reed from centerfield. Brady rarely throws in the direction of starting cornerbacks. Even when he goes to Wes Welker, it’s often when Welker has drawn a matchup against a backup slot corner or non-cornerback.

Because the Patriots don’t try to confuse defenses so much as force them into bad matchups, HOW the Patriots line up to play is almost more important than how they actually play. Most of the damage is done through crafty presnap alignment. (This is one reason so many of Brady’s throws come off three-and five-step drops; the decision of where to go with the ball is made prior to the snap.)

The Patriots frequently go up-tempo to prevent defenses from having enough time to regroup or alter matchups before the snap. The only sure way to take the chess match element out of the equations and force the Patriots to win with execution is to play press-man coverage across the board. Problem is, no defense, including Baltimore’s, has enough quality cover artists to do this.


After a win over the Texans last week, Joe Flacco and the Ravens will take on Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game. Watch the game on CBS at 3 PM ET. 

2. Baltimore’s response
The Ravens may not have enough cover artists to play the Patriots man-to-man, but they might be the one team capable of matching wits with them. Ray Lewis is arguably the smartest front seven defender in the league, while Ed Reed is arguably the smartest back four defender. Those two are capable of recognizing New England’s subtle tendencies and getting their teammates into the proper defensive play-call.

Of course, Brady and Bill O’Brien know this and will likely inject a few tendency-breaking wrinkles into the gameplan. Of course, the Ravens know that the Patriots know that they know this, and the Patriots know that the Ravens know that they know and ... you get the idea – this has the potential to be one heck of a chess match.

Look for the Ravens to do plenty of presnap communicating and disguising at the line of scrimmage. It helps that they’re comfortable playing a plethora of different coverages. The outcome may be decided by which side can bully the other into a reactionary position. The Patriots can do that by going hurry-up; the Ravens can do it by blitzing fervidly up the middle.

3. Ravens pass-rush
To beat Tom Brady, you have to rob him of the trust he has in his pass protection. Brady – like any quarterback – does not like pressure directly in his face. And though he’s as tough in the pocket as anyone in the game, he has a tendency to get just a tad jumpy after taking a few hits from edge-rushers.

Recent playoff history shows that if a defense can create pressure and doubt, Brady will eventually start eating up the play clock worrying about protections. That makes him a significantly less dangerous player versus when he’s hurrying things up and concentrating on his receivers’ routes.

The question is, can the Ravens generate a pass-rush? If they blitz, they likely can. But one of the best kept secrets in football is that this is generally a four-man rushing defense. Because the Ravens use so many 3-4 or 2-5 fronts, their four pass-rushers come from a variety of different spots, thus creating the illusion of a blitz:

The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

Above (click image to enlarge): Upon first glance, this appears to be a blitz featuring five, possibly six pass-rushers.

Below: The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

The Ravens’ four-man rush has seemingly evaporated over the last month. It registered a quiet five sacks over the final three weeks of the regular season and then got zero pressure on T.J. Yates in the divisional round. With talents like Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee, it’s imprudent to assume the pressure can’t suddenly return.

But worth noting is that the Patriots’ pass protection in the last month has also been as sharp as the Ravens’ pass-rush has been dull.

4. Dialing in on Ray Rice
Bill Belichick always builds his defensive gameplan around eliminating the opponents’ greatest strength. This season, no man has done a better job at eliminating Ray Rice than Cam Cameron. (Rice averaged less than 10 carries a game in Baltimore’s four losses.)

To be fair, Cameron has featured Rice most of the season, and the results thus far speak for themselves: 13 wins and Rice leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

But if Belichick has inside linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo shadow Rice, or if he brings safety Patrick Chung down in the box every play or has his linebackers sellout against the run, will Cameron have enough patience to stay with his superstar?

The Patriots run defense is coming together, while their secondary can be tempting to attack.

5. Baltimore’s passing game
It was virtually nonexistent against Houston, mainly because deep threat Torrey Smith was nullified by Johnathan Joseph. The Patriots don’t have a corner on Joseph’s level (or even in Joseph’s stratosphere).

If the Ravens want to take their deep shots with Smith, all they’ll have to do is block a mundane Patriots pass-rush (last week’s performance at Foxboro notwithstanding). Devin McCourty was serviceable as a nickel free safety against Denver, but it remains to be seen whether the struggling corner can suddenly play a new position when facing a strong-armed quarterback and polished play-action passing game.

In other matchups, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson were quiet against Houston but should be able to work the seams against New England. Anquan Boldin will be extremely problematic for the Pats. The thought of him working outside against Kyle Arrington seems patently unfair; inside is even worse, as the Patriots don’t have a true slot corner.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Championship games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:59 am
 

Brady's punt: disrespectful or pretty darn cool?

By Josh Katzowitz

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman pointed out in the immediate aftermath of the Patriots destruction of the Broncos on Saturday, the fact that Tom Brady punted late in New England’s 45-10 win seemed somewhat disrespectful.

Even though it was cool to see Brady take the shotgun snap and then use the short punt in such an old-school manner – plus, the punt went 48 yards and was downed at the 10-yard line! – was Patriots coach Bill Belichick trying to insult Denver with the maneuver (especially since the punt incited a short brawl between the squads)?

Pats dominate Denver
Not exactly, Belichick said in his postgame presser.

As ESPN Boston writes, “Belichick explained the team didn't want to face the various punt rushes the Broncos had on fourth down, so the call was for the unusual quick kick.”

Brady said the team has been practicing the play for seven (!) years and the hope was to land the ball inside the 5-yard line, especially since the surprised Broncos defense didn’t have anybody back to receive the punt.

The only other time Brady punted occurred in 2003 when his punt was actually downed at the opponent’s 1-yard line. That was nine yards better than Saturday’s attempt. So, basically Brady is regressing as a punter.

“I’m disappointed we lost that field position,” Belichick joked. “It’s funny, I mean that’s the kind of play we work on forever and you never know when it’s going to come up.”



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Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:26 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 2:07 am
 

Tom Brady's play emphasizes Tim Tebow's flaws

Brady's play and the Pats big lead exposed Tebow's biggest flaws. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

This isn't breaking news, but it really helps to have a good quarterback if you want to make a deep playoff run. And Tom Brady, in dismantling the Broncos defense during New England's 45-10 beatdown in Foxboro on Saturday, proved just that.

Brady wasn't perfect, per se, because he threw an interception and he "only" completed 26 of 34 passes.

But Brady did just about everything else, setting an NFL record with five touchdowns in the first half and tying an NFL record with six touchdowns in the win. If the Broncos had been remotely competitive, Brady would've destroyed any number of NFL postseason records while he piled on statistics at the end.

Instead, he had to settle for a 48-yard punt, the second of his career.

"We’ve been practicing it for seven years; a situation came up," Brady said after the game when asked about the punt on third down. "I was trying to get it inside the five but I needed a penalty to do that. I was happy about the call."


Brady punted because the Broncos couldn't generate anything remotely resembling a comeback, which is a direct result of having Tim Tebow under center. That's not to attack the Broncos quarterback; he had a fantastic storyline of a season and we assume there'll be some chatter about between now and the start of the 2012 season.

But Tebow's not built to hang with a guy like Brady in the playoffs. This is Tom Freaking Brady: he has 36 passing touchdowns in 20 career postseason games and has thrown for over 4,750 yards.

Tebow might have 316 working in his favor, but he doesn't have the pedigree, prestige or playoff performances of Brady. Although you wouldn't have known it heading into the game, when all the focus was on Tebow.

Pats throttle Broncos

After the game, Brady didn't directly say that said attention bothered him, but he came pretty close.

"I think that everyone focused on one player and I think all week we were focused on the entire Denver Bronco team," Brady said when asked about the attention Tebow got. "We knew what kind of challenges they presented. Tim is a very good quarterback, they have a good defense, great rushing team, make some big plays in the pass game like they did against Pittsburgh. We knew the threats; we understood the danger of not playing our best game. I thought we came out and really responded well."

That much is obvious: the Patriots had this game in the bag before the teams adjourned to the locker room. Tebow had three completions. Brady had five touchdown passes. What else do you need to know? Because it's not like this year's Patriots team is known for shutting down opposing quarterbacks.

But everyone knew there would be no comeback. And there would be no hope for a comeback. That's because of a clear difference between the two guys running the offense for each team. Tebow can do some crazy things -- and he did this year -- but coming back from a 28-point deficit just isn't on the old miracle to-do list.

Tebow might be the story everyone loves to hop on, but Brady's still the quarterback with a trio of rings on his hand. And he reminded everyone of that on Saturday night.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:08 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 12:21 am
 

Patriots serve championship notice in blowout win

Brady has three Super Bowl rings but had a record-setting performance against Denver Saturday. (AP)
By Will Brinson

Heading into Saturday's Patriots-Broncos game, there was plenty of concern about what kind of miracles Tim Tebow could work against a weakened Patriots defense. With a virtuoso, record-breaking performance against Denver in a 45-10 blowout win, Tom Brady and the Pats quickly dispelled that ridiculous notion.

Pats throttle Broncos

Speaking of ridiculous notions, we all need to get rid of the idea that the Patriots can't win a Super Bowl with their porous defense. Because they can. After winning eight-straight games to close the season, people still disrespected the Patriots; after all, they didn't beat a single team with a record above .500 in 2011.

And, of course, they had the second-worst defense in the regular season. But this isn't about the long grind of 16 games. This is about preparing for two more individual opponents and maximizing chances over the course of 120 minutes on the field, which is precisely what the Patriots excel at doing, as they showed on Saturday night.

"Once we found out who were were playing [after the bye week] I think these guys really did a good job of focusing on a target and they were obviously ready to go today," Bill Belichick said after the game. "I have to give the players all the credit in the world. They stepped up and made a lot of big plays."

In other words, once the Patriots figure out who they'll play in the AFC Championship Game, it would be foolish to believe they can't figure out a way to slow said team down. If you don't believe me, just ask the 2007 Indianapolis Colts.

That Colts team finished 29th in total defense. The idea that they could slow anyone down was laughable heading into the playoffs. But they did just that in limiting the Chiefs and Ravens to 14 points total, winning a shootout with the Patriots and then limiting the Bears to 17 points in the Super Bowl.

They gelled at the right time and it's possible the Patriots could be doing the same thing right now. No, the Broncos aren't the Packers. But you think the Patriots can't win in a shootout? Because they can. And if their opponent makes a mistake, they're infinitely dangerous -- we saw just that at the end of the first half against Denver when Brady tossed two (more) touchdowns in less than two minutes.


"That was huge," Belichick said of the two-touchdown swing to end the first half. "And then we got a stop to start the third quarter so that sequence there … was big for us. We had the lead but then the game got out of hand at that point. That was really well executed by our football team, especially offensively."

It's the kind of swing only a few teams are capable of pulling off, and the Patriots and Packers probably qualify as the only teams remaining with that much explosiveness. Broncos coach John Fox, given his comments after the game, likely agrees.
"They're better than us," Fox said after the game.

They are. And the Patriots are better than a lot of teams, even if the defense stunk all year and they didn't have a hard schedule.

Now they just have to be better than two more teams to get that fourth ring for Brady.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com