Patriots Clinch AFC East

The New England Patriots 2019 campaign has been a confusing one.

The wins don’t feel as good as they should and the losses hurt more than they ever have.  From starting the year with seven weeks of utter dominance to getting blown out by the seemingly unstoppable Baltimore Ravens, to barely edging out the Eagles and Cowboys in back to back weeks, this season has had its fair share of highs and lows.

A late-season game against the Buffalo Bills rarely has serious playoff implications, but yet that’s exactly where New England found themselves. The big brother going toe-to-toe with the younger sibling that they beat up on for so many years who finally mustered the confidence to defend themselves. Both sides came ready for war and after the final shot was fired, one team stood tall, as they have for the last 11 years

Make no mistake about it, in a season full of murky waters, this win is the lighthouse that the team can use to go on another deep playoff run.

This game was a litmus test to see just where this team is and one thing is for certain; Tom Brady clearly isn’t “done.” Although every so-called expert would tell you until they’re blue in the face that this ominous Father Time has finally caught up with the 42-year-old, it’s just not true. While Brady’s 26-of-33 for 271 yards and a touchdown is certainly a solid outing, realizing that this was done against the second-best defense in the league makes it even more impressive. Oh, and his 111 quarterback rating is the highest Buffalo has allowed to anybody all season. Not bad for a 42-year-old.

And how many times do you see aging, broken down quarterbacks do something like this?

That’s Pro-Bowler Tre’Davious White, who Tom Brady took out to spring his wide receiver for a big first-down run. That doesn’t look like a guy who has lost his love for the game or isn’t invested in his team.

Brady looked like he finally found his groove and was hitting any and every receiver he could. Whether it be his younger teammates in N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers or linking up with his security blanket Julian Edelman, there were few things to critique when it comes to his performance.

It’s funny what happens when this team can get some semblance of a credible running game going. When defenses have to worry about Sony Michel or Rex Burkhead coming out of the backfield, that opens up some passing lanes for Brady. And during a year where his entire receiving corps has trouble getting open, that’s a welcome sight.

When it comes to the defense, this may be the first game where they weren’t the most successful side of the ball. For a defense that prides themselves for not letting up the big play, they continued to get gashed up and down the field by the big arm of Josh Allen. As the second quarter wound down, the Pats had only allowed 46 yards of offense. They gave up over 50 yards on one drive by the Bills to close the half ending in a touchdown.

But in a game where the defense couldn’t turn the ball over, the offense picked up the slack and carried this team to another Division Title. And that was a great sign.

It seemed like the entire receiving corps (other than Mohamed Sanu) were cured of their case of the drops. Jakobi Meyers made an impressive grab while simultaneously getting hit by a closing defensive back.

Seldom used tight end Matt LaCosse showed shades of his predecessor Rob Gronkowski when he went up and over a corner to snag a touchdown in the first half.

Of course, this is just one game, but it was a game against an elite defense with potential playoff implications looming. And instead of looking disjointed and tense, every facet of this team did their part, which has been the farthest thing from the norm so far this season.

The Bills put up a good fight, but sometimes David just doesn’t beat Goliath.


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