I posted this in the Jets game thread right before the game got started. I got a bit wordy, and I ended up writing a pretty big wall of text, so I decided to make it a FanPost as well, to preserve it in perpetuity.
It’s games like this that I look back and enjoy all the success we’ve had as a team this year.
We came in with mixed expectations. Nobody knew how well Welker was going to come back. We lost our best corner from last season before opening kickoff. After getting embarrassed by the Ravens at home in the playoffs, Moss and Mankins were unhappy with their contract situations, Brady had a tough situation with his and the negotiations were revolving around what Peyton’s numbers were going to look like after this year. The team was an odd mix of rookies and veteran hands.
At first, the defense struggled mightily, surrendering 24, 28, and 30 points in the first three games. It appeared that the Pats were going to have to do what they did last year and win shootouts to stay above water. The defense gradually improved, and they won tight games against good competition after the departure of Randy Moss. The Chargers and Ravens pushed this team to its limits, but they came out on top. The Browns whomped the Pats, but it proved to be a warning shot. The Pats came out of that warning and blew away the Steelers, made the clutch plays to avenge their loss to the Colts in 2009, and came back to beat the Lions.
Then the Jets came to town, and our Patriots destroyed them. Absolute domination like I hadn’t seen all season from any team. Rex Ryan even looked flabbergasted, and could only offer feeble threats of revenge.
Four games later, here we are once again, with the Jets stepping foot within our coliseum of football, brash words on their tongues seeking to cloak the wounds the Patriots so mercilessly left on their hearts and souls that cold December night. For one team, there will be victory and a chance to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLV. For the loser, there will be cold crow served on a plate of disappointment.
Win or lose, however, our team has given us a season to remember. There are teams in this league that have never won 14 games in a season, never had a league MVP, never tasted a playoff home game. We may not pity them, as they are so often our team’s opponent, but we can appreciate what we have, and what this team has given us. And we can look to the future. With Brady still playing like he’s 25, a young defense that has quickly come of age, and two young tight ends that have completely flipped the script on what it means to play the position in a passing offense, as well as our bevy of draft picks that will shore up areas of need, we could be looking at the spark that gives birth to the next dynasty.