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Patriots Over Come Slow Start to Beat Cincinnati 35-17 at Gillette Stadium

Monday, October 17, 2016


Tom Brady throws three touchdown passes in Patriots win

Tom Brady played his first home game since returning from suspension and led the New England Patriots to a 35-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. 

"I was glad we could do a a lot better there in the second half, finish the game strong, we got off to a little bit of a slow start, but finished the game with 35 points so that was pretty good," said Brady after the game. 

Brady finished the game completing 29 of 35 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. He now has six touchdown passes in two games. 

The Patriots move to 5-1 on the season, while the Bengals drop to 2-4.

Patriots Offense Rolls in Second Half 

Trailing 14-12 after linebacker Dont’a Hightower forced a safety, the Patriots offense went on a five play 68 yard drive ending with Brady connecting with tight end Rob Gronkowski on a four yard touchdown pass to put New England up 19-14 with five minutes left in the third quarter. The touchdown was Gronkowski's first of the season.

After the Patriots defense forced a three and out, the Patriots offense continued to roll. 

Brady hit Gronkowski for a 38 yard pass down the right side getting New England to the Bengals 15 yard line. On the next play Brady hit fellow tight end Martellus Bennett over the middle for an 11 yard pick up before capping the drive with a four yard touchdown pass to running back James White to give the Patriots a 25-14 lead. The touchdown would be White’s second of the game. 

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski would miss the extra point.

The Bengals would kick a field goal early in the fourth quarter to get within eight, but Gostkowski would seal the game with a 31 yard field goal with six minutes left to give the Patriots a 28-17 lead. 

Patriots Grab Half Time Lead After Slow Start

The Patriots offense took the ball trailing 7-3 with 3:10 to play in the half, but like much of the first half, it did not start good. 

On first down, Brady’s pass over the middle was incomplete and on second down he was sacked for a loss of eight yards. Brady was sacked twice in the first half. 

It all changed on a third and 18 when the Bengals were called for illegal contact, giving New England an automatic first down. 

Six plays later, Brady hit White for a 15 yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a 10-7 lead. 

Prior to that, the Cincinnati Bengals took their first lead of the game with 3:15 left in the first half when quarterback Andy Dalton ran it into the end zone from two yards out putting the Bengals up 7-3 after a Mike Nugent extra point was good. 

Dalton completed 13 of 16 passes for 143 yards in the first half. 

Second Half Chippiness 

Rob Gronkowski catches seven passes for 162 yards and a touchdown

The game got chippy in the second half after Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict went low on Bennett. 

A couple of plays later, on a first and ten from the Cincinnati 20 yard line, Burfict attempted another hit on Gronkowski but missed. After Gronkowski picked up 12 yards on the play he went back at Burfict, taunting him. Gronkowski was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play and the Patriots were moved back 15 yards. 

"It was on the other side of the field so I didn't really see what happen there, but bottom line, we need fewer of those," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the game. 

Gronkowski came off the field following the play and had a brief conversation with Belichick. 

Running back LeGarrette Blount also got into the action. 

After scoring a touchdown on a fourth and one with 57 seconds left, pushing and shoving ensued and Blount was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty. 

Cause for Concern 

With the missed extra point on Sunday, Gostkowski has now missed three field goals and an extra point this season.

He has missed a total of six kicks going back to last season's playoffs. 

His field goal to give the Patriots the 28-17 lead squeaked just inside the left post. 

The Patriots signed Gostkowski to a four year deal prior to the 2015 season. 

The Stats 

Gronkowski caught seven passes for a career high 162 yards and a touchdown, while Bennett hauled in five catches for 48 yards. 

White had eight catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns. 

Next up 

The Patriots return to action on Sunday, October 23 when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. 

Following that game, the Patriots will visit the Buffalo Bills who defeated the San Francisco 49ers 45-16 on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. If both the Patriots and the Bills win their respective games next week, the game in two weeks would be for first place in the AFC East. 


Related Slideshow: The New England Patriots - Greatest Team Ever

The New England Patriots have won their fourth Super Bowl in the Brady/Belichick Era by defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28 - 24 in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. With that win, the Patriots have now put themselves in the conversation as being the greatest team ever in NFL history. 

Here are ten reasons why they are in fact the greatest team. 

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 Free Agency/Salary Cap Era Dominance 

Since the beginning of the free agency and salary cap era in 1993, no coach and team has been more well-known for shrewd moves to stay under the salary cap and bringing in free agents to supplement the talent on his team, and win at the same time, as the New England Patriots. 

In 2001, coach Belichick brought in free agents David Patten, Larry Izzo, Mike Vrabel, Antowain Smith, Bryan Cox and Roman Phifer. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl. 

Belichick continued to bring in major free agents for the Patriots’ other Super Bowl runs. Whether it was Roosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison in 2003 or trading for Corey Dillon in 2004. 

Belichick has also not been afraid to let star players walk. This includes allowing Ty Law to leave in 2005, Willie McGinest and Adam Vinatieri to leave and trading Deion Branch in 2006 or letting Asante Samuel leave in 2008.

Belichick has also not been afraid to pull the trigger on major trades just prior to the season starting. Trading players like Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour and Logan Mankins less than a month before the start of those respective seasons. 

Despite all of these moves, the Patriots have continued to win year in and year out. 

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12 Straight Seasons of At Least 10 Wins Or More 

The New England Patriots have had at least 10 wins in a season for 12 straight seasons. The last time the Patriots didn't have at least 10 wins in a season was in 2002 when they went 9-7 the year after winning a Super Bowl. 

In this stretch, New England has won 16 games once, 12 games four times, 14 games three times, 13 and 11 games once, and ten games two times. 

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As the Game Changes, The Patriots Still Win. 

When the Patriots started this incredible run in 2001, the game was much different then it is today. 

The running game was still emphasized and defense's were allowed to be much more physical then they are in the game today. 

Today's game features rules that are structured to help the offense score more points and teams, including the Patriots, have had to change the way they play defense and the way they hit, due to the emphasis on concussion prevention. 

Through all the rule changes that the league has undergone, the Patriots have still won, year in and year out. 

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14 Consecutive Winning Seasons

In Bill Belichick's first season in New England, 2000, the Patriots went 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. Since then, the Patriots have not had a losing season, not even a .500 season, they've had 14 straight winning seasons. 

One of the most impressive seasons still remains the 2008 season. Tom Brady got hurt in the first game and was out for the season and Matt Cassell stepped in to replace him. 

The Patriots went 11-5 that year but missed the playoffs due to a tie breaker that they lost. 

That particular season has to be one of Bill Belichicks greatest jobs in his time here. Nobody saw the Patriots going 11-5 that season after Brady went down. 

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12 Division Titles - 6 Straight

The New England Patriots have now won 12 AFC East titles in 14 years and are currently in the middle of a stretch in which they have won six straight. 

With the rest of the AFC East still a disaster, one has to believe that the Pats will be adding a few more titles before the Belichick-Brady era is over. 

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9 Conference Championship Appearances 

In the Brady/Belichick era, the Patriots have been to nine AFC Championship games and have won six of them. 

New England is currently in a stretch in which they have gone to four straight championship games, three of which were held at Gillette Stadium. 

To put this in perspective, Peyton Manning has lost in the first round nine times in his career and the New York Jets have only ever been to four Conference Championship games in franchise history since the AFL - NFL merger. 

To be a final four team in nine of 14 seasons is pretty impressive for the New England Patriots, or for that matter, any other team. 

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6 Conference Championships

The Patriots have been the best team in the AFC six times in the 14 year run of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. 

Of the six games the Patriots won, they were favored in four of them and four of the six games were played at Gillette Stadium. 

The six conference Championship wins are as follows:

  • 2001- At Pittsburgh - Pats win 24-17
  • 2003- vs. Colts - Pats Win 24-14 
  • 2004- At Pittsburgh - Pats Win 41-27
  • 2007- vs. San Diego - Pats Win 21-12
  • 2011- vs. Baltimore - Pats Win 23-20
  • 2015- vs. Colts - Pats Win 45-7

Photo courtesy of Au Kirk, Flickr

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4 Rings - 6 Appearances 

In the Patriots six appearences in the Super Bowl, they have come out of it with four championships, including a stretch of three in four years. 

The Patriots Super Bowl Wins are as follows: 

2001 vs. St. Louis Rams - Pats Win 20-17 
2003 vs. Carolina -  Pats Win 32-29
2004 vs. Philidelphia- Pats Win 24-21
2015 vs. Seattle - Pats Win 28-24

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Tom Brady - Greatest QB ever

Tom Brady now has four Super Bowl rings in his career tieing his boyhood idle Joe Montana and is 4-2 in the Super Bowl and has three Super Bowl MVP's. 

Brady is the all-time leader in playoff passing yards with over 7,000 yards through the air and is the all -time leader in playoff wins with 21. Brady is 21-8 in the playoffs all-time. 

Brady also has the most touchdown passes in Super Bowl history with 13  and has the most touchdown passes in playoff history with 53. 

Brady is in the top five in career passing yards with over 53,000 and has a good chance to be in the top three by the time his career is over. 

Tom Brady has 45 career game winning drives, which is tied for fourth all-time, and Brady is also fourth with 35 come from behind wins, 9 of which came in the playoffs. 

The New England Patriots are the greatest team of all-time because they have the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. 

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Bill Belichick - Greatest Coach Ever

The number one reason why the New England Patriots (2001-14) are the greatest team of all time is because they have the greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick. 

Belichick now has four Super Bowl Rings which ties him for the most all-time with Chuck Noll, who did it with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-91. However, Belichick gets the edge because he has done it in the salary cap/free agency era,  where his teams have undergone significant changes on a year to year basis. 

Despite the various roster changes from year to year, Belichick has still won and is by far the most dominant coach of this era. 

Bill Belichick has 22 playoff wins which is already more than any other coach in the history of the league and is 103 games over the .500 mark (212-109) in his coaching career. 

Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of the greatest team of all time. 


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