The Patriots entered Monday Night without a road victory over an over .500 team since 2008, with Matt Cassel at the helm. Their only road wins since 2008 were against the Buffalo Bills, which isn't much to brag about. In almost every game, with the New Orleans Saints game as the only exception, the Patriots were in the game in the second half of the game, or even had the lead as the game clock winded down.
Except the lead was never safe. The Patriots lost every one of those games. After a heartbreaking loss in the Meadowlands in Week 2 against the New York Jets, most Patriots fan threw their hands up in disgust. They knew it was coming. How else would a road game turn out? The Patriots would challenge for the first half of the game, only to see the game fall between their fingers for the rest of the game. The same way no pre-2004 Red Sox fan was comfortable with a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs, no Patriots fan felt safe with a three score lead.
That demon was exorcised last night.
I don't want to get ahead of myself- the Patriots have only won one real road game- but doesn't this victory feel good? Seeing Tom Brady doing a first pump at the end of the game just seemed right. In fact, it's as if he should be doing that after every game. This game was one gigantic collective sigh of release for Patriots fans everywhere.
Continued after the jump!
The Patriots won on Monday night to the tune of 41-14. Not only did the Patriots win on the road, it was also a second half blow out. The Patriots outscored the Dolphins 35-7 in the second half. That's only 6 points fewer than the total sum of second half points from their past 8 road games. Digest that for a second. They nearly matched their previous 8 road games' second half production total.
The Patriots didn't just get rid of that monkey on their back. They sent that monkey back to the jungle and ate all of its bananas.
This is how the Patriots should be playing the rest of the season. They played well not just against any team. They did it against a divisional rival. They did it against a team that game the Jets a run for their money. They did it against a team that was heralded as a potential Super Bowl contender. The Patriots did it against a good team.
With a devilish stretch of upcoming games after next week's bye, the Patriots need to be running at 100% swagger. They face a gauntlet of the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings, [Browns], Steelers and Colts. After Thanksgiving against the Lions, they face the Jets, Bears and Packers. That's a list of 10 games against 8 playoff caliber teams. Let's hope the Patriots can play complete games the rest of the season.
Let's hope the Patriots can stay strong in the second half on the road.
Let's hope we just witnessed the end of "here we go again."