"It." Whatever "it" is, this team has it. These guys are playing for eachother, not themselves. It is awesome to watch. I kept waiting for the life to be deflated out of me during the one play that ends the pats season. I kept waiting, and waiting. The pats kept making mistakes, keeping the ravens in the game. Then the defense helped Flacco look like Montana on the Ravens' last drive. Then the sort of destined luck that had usually gone against the pats the last 7 years, finally went our way. The Ravens forced us to play their game, brute and physical, making several mistakes, and this team still gritted out a victory. Doesn't this team just feel like it's destined to win the superbowl? It sure feels that way.
Thoughts after the jump.
1. What a gut wrenching, physical, emotional game. I literally did not sit down the entire game. It seems like this team truly believes that each game just comes down to a couple of plays, and those couple of plays went in their favor (The moore swat, the cundiff miss).
2. Vince Wilfork. On a team where they preach no star status, win and lose as a team, he was a one man wrecking crew. He singlehandedly destroyed the interior of Baltimore's offensive line. With an extremely quiet day from our outside rushers, Wilfork took control. What a beast, what a leader.
3. Play calling. Hindsight is 20/20, but i was really confused by the offensive play calling. It was clearly a slowed down possession game, evident early on. Everytime the pats ran they ball, they had huge success. Why did they keep stopping? Brady kept forcing throws into nickel and dime defenses when they should have kept running the ball down their throats.
4. Brady's decision making. This is usually where he is heads and shoulders above every other QB in the league. I'm not sure what was going on today, but he made too many questionable decisions. The first pick, throwing a deep fade to the 5'8 edelman, the 5th receiver on our depth chart? Come on. and while i still believe his second pick was a bad play call (after the turnover, they had been driving on the Ravens all second half, just grind off some clock and get a few first downs), i've watched the replay 50 times now, and the play was actually there. Tom just made a bad throw. Polloard was inside of Slater, and Slater was turned outside expecting the outside shoulder pass. He had separation and was open. Brady threw it inside. If you're going to miss, at least miss outside. Brady had a rough game, and there really wasn't too much pressure on him.
5. Team finally bails out Brady. This is what i love about this team. Tom has been carrying the team for so long, they required him to have a good game to win against good teams. The team carried him today, and it was an awesome sight to see (it's been a while).
6. Ways to win. This team can win any type of game, and they know it. Shootout, slugest, mistake prone, injuries, it doesn't matter. They know they'll be in it in the end. They did everything they could to lose this game (settling for FGs, 3 turnovers), but somehow still won it in the end.
7. Reversal of roles. Doesn't it seem like its the giants who are cocky now? They are expecting to win, and the pats will sit quietly in the background, knowing that they've got a great shot.
8. Enjoy the ride. It's crazy to think that this team made it this far. This team is so young, and a defense that includes so many castoffs, backups, special teamers, and even WR cornerbacks, they have an opportunity to go all the way. The scariest part? This team is going to be even better next year, and probably even better the year after that. Brady/Wilfork are the cornerstones, but all of our budding superstars are so young (gronk, herndo, mccourty, spikes, chung, mayo).
9. BJGE pointing to the MHK patch after his TD. This is destiny, folks. I just feel it. I told my wife before the Denver game, that they either are gonna come out flat, and the monkey is gonna stay on their back, or they are gonna fire away, kill the Broncos, and win the superbowl. This is not in anyway overconfidence. Just a feeling. How can you disagree after Cundiff misses the chip shot?
10. Superbowl matchup - The two biggest things that immediately cross my mind are gronk and victor cruz. How bad is Gronk's injury? If he's ok, i really think the pats learned a lot from their offensive struggles in the first meeting. Plus, i think the O-line is much improved, and light/mankins are still fuming from being beasted in 2007. Victor cruz - how do we stop him? Edelman is our best slot corner, which is scary as hell. I'm glad BB has 2 weeks to game plan, but i think we'll double cruz, and hope for the best on throws to the outside for manningham and nicks.
I'm thinkin 33-27 pats.