A lot of people expected the Patriots to take down the Steelers on Sunday, especially in and around New England. Overall, the Patriots were the more talented team and successfully executed their game plan. Simply put, if the Patriots follow the game plan set forth by Bill Belichick, they will more than likely win the football game.
To start the game, the Patriots took the football and punched the Steelers right in the mouth. If it was not for a Malcolm Mitchell dropped pass, the Patriots would have scored a touchdown, but settled for a field goal. Right from the coin flip, it was clear that the Patriots were going to try and expose the young Steelers secondary, rather than trying to run the rock up the middle. Brady was often in shotgun with five receivers spread out across the field.
While many had commented on Brady's past two mediocre playoff games, this performance was far from average. On the day, Brady went 32-for-42 for 384 yards and three touchdowns. While I was watching this game, I sat back for a moment and realized all of us, Patriots honks like myself or an average football fan, were witnessing the best player to ever grace a football field in his natural habitat. We aren't going to have Brady forever, so enjoy this, folks.
Offensively, we saw Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman put in masterful performances, as both eclipsed 100 receiving yards. Surprisingly, the Patriots did not utilize the run game at all. LeGarrette Blount was nonexistent aside from a few runs at the end of the game, as he rushed for 47 yards on 16 attempts. James White and Dion Lewis were also MIA, but that is understandable because of the obvious pass-first game plan against a truly putrid Steelers secondary.
On the other side of the football, we saw the Patriots play the "bend-but-don't-break" defense that many have taken as a term of endearment. The Steelers were able to move the ball with some level of relative ease, but when in the red zone, the Patriots did not let them score touchdowns. Aside from a garbage time touchdown at the end of the game, the Patriots effectively held the Steelers to nine points. NINE POINTS. We were talking about the Steelers defense in the same breath as the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
If the Patriots could take down the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were the consensus second-best team in the AFC, what will they be able to do to the Atlanta Falcons?
While this is all exciting, it is important to appreciate the Patriots right now. This team has become one of the most dominant franchises in all of professional sports. Football is different, folks. NFL teams don't usually have dynasties. Any team can win on any given Sunday, but the Patriots have been the model franchise in all of professional sports since Tom Brady came into the league and won a Super Bowl in 2001. Take it all in...