New England Patriots Links 10/19/10 - Confidence Is Rising

Forget the sack, Coach Belichick just paid you and me a compliment in his press conference yesterday!

Jackie MacMullan notes Sunday's win over Baltimore shows the Patriots are on the right track.

Yet in the wake of New England's stunning 23-20 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, a team many projected as the best in all of football, there were three lessons learned: Never count out a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady; don't bury the Patriots' work-in-progress defense just yet; and don't underestimate the skill set of Branch, who proved to be as redoubtable as ever when it came to getting open and catching the ball in the clutch.

Wilfork is right. It's only one game, only one win. There's a long season ahead. But, suddenly, it doesn't seem nearly as daunting.

Tedy Bruschi offers six observations from New England's OT victory.

Defense tightened up late in the game. The defense forced punts on each of the Ravens' final five drives and one thing I noticed was that the Ravens went away from the play-action pass, probably because the Patriots were doing a good job against the run. The Patriots defenders got good depth when in coverage, so Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco saw the defenders deep and then checked down to Ray Rice or to a short, crossing wide receiver. What helped the Patriots is that they tackled well on those plays. There were no broken tackles by Rice that added an extra 10 to 15 yards after the catch. Once the ball was caught, the ball carrier was brought to the ground, whether it was by Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo or someone else. They played deep to short and made the Ravens earn it.

Ron Borges sums up Sunday's game nicely.

Tom Brady came through for the 30th time, a revamped defense came through for the first time and Deion Branch came through like it was old times. Added together it led to a 23-20 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in what was a thoroughly enjoyable football game unless you hail from Maryland.

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