For a second there you almost thought the Patriots were going to lose back to back games. You thought this was the year the Steelers finally got that monkey off their back. Jesse James had scored to put the Steelers up 3 with only 30 second left. Then the good lord stepped in, the stars aligned and the football world returned to normalcy. And just like that, all was right in the world again. The Patriots clinched the AFC East for the 9th time running. Tom Brady improved his record to 11-2 against the Steelers. And the Patriots returned to their rightful position at the top of the American Football Conference.
At this point you almost have to feel bad for Steelers fans though. Although the no-catch call on the field was probably correct by the letter of the law, we can all agree the letter of the law is stupid. But we aren’t here to argue about the finer points of the NFL’s catch rules, we are here to bask in the glory of another legendary Patriots win.
- Not only did Gronkowski not get injured but he put on an absolute clinic. All in all I think the Steelers made the right decision changing from zone to man coverage but I don’t think they accounted for Gronk in that equation. The last drive perfectly sums up what Gronk means to this offense. Down 5 with 2 mins to play and you need to go 76 yards. I’ll let the image speak for itself:
For those keeping track at home, he had a total of 69 yards on that final drive. Nice. The one catch that sticks out was his shoelace grab to set them up with 1st and goal. He makes a couple of these every year and boy do they get me all hot and bothered:
And in case you thought he might have also matured into a thoughtful, articulate athlete able to transcend sports with his words, I present to you his post-game comments:
“I love being in that zone. It feels good. I wish I could be like that 24/7, every week, every day. That would be cool.”
- Dion Lewis looks like he is officially back to his 2015 form (pre-ACL tear). He has had 67+ yards from scrimmage in each of the last 5 games and is averaging a whopping 6 yards per carry over that span. The most surprising aspect is how well he is running between the tackles. He even brought out the bicep flex celebration after one of runs last night (the guy is 5’8” 195 lbs). Remember in the preseason when the Mike Gillislee hype train was in full steam and people were openly wondering whether the Patriots might actually cut Lewis? Ya, well Gillislee has been a healthy scratch since week 8 against the Chargers. Tell ‘em what you think Dion:
- Tony Romo is awesome. Anyone that is butt-hurt about him being “too giddy” during a game has an old man dump in their pants. Watching football is supposed to be fun and Romo seems to be having fun watching football. My favorites are the veteran media members (Brent Musburger) criticizing him for not being professional enough. Nobody knows how to take the fun out of sports like the old school traditional media.
- It has become so routine that another Brady 4th quarter, game winning drive is almost a footnote on this game. Well not here at Patriotsdynasty.info. On this blog we shout that fact from the mountain tops! My promise to you is that Tom Brady will make the “Positives” list EACH and EVERY time he leads the Patriots on a game winning 4th quarter drive. I have accepted the burden of responsibility and I shall not sleep another night until Tom Brady is appropriately recognized for his efforts. If we are being picky though, he really should have taken a little more time of the clock while he did it.
- Ben Roethlisberger’s decision making, demeanor and general appearance. He did throw for a ton of yards but it was inexcusable to make that throw when a chip shot FG sends you to overtime (at home no less). With Peyton Manning retiring I think Big Ben has taken the throne as my favorite player in the NFL to hate. It has to be his face that makes me hate him so much. I mean just look at it:
That truly is the face only a mother could love. And of course I mean his mother because my mother thinks he is a “big f****ing pompous asshole.”
NOTE: Interesting that she thought “f****ing” was worth censoring but had no trouble typing “asshole” in a group chat with all her children.
- Antonio Brown getting injured definitely changed the game. It is an interesting dynamic when an opposing team’s best player gets hurt. As a fan, your mind is so trained to react positively to anything that will help your team win a game but at the same time you never want to see someone get hurt. Anybody that wants NFL football without a healthy Antonio Brown doesn’t really love football. I guess what we got (reportedly) was an ideal situation. An injury that keeps him out of for the remainder of the game but nothing that will make him miss any significant playing time. Here’s to hoping he’s healthy again for the Steelers loss to Jacksonville in their first playoff game.
- Last week the 3rd down offensive efficiency was the problem and this week the 3rd down defensive efficiency was the problem. The Steelers were 7 for 9 in the first half and 10 for 16 for the game on 3rd down. Typically you can point to a lack of pass rush when a defense struggles to get off the field and I think it holds true for this team. The front seven are starting players I didn’t even know were on the roster (Ricky Jean Francois had 6 tackles) so I suppose it isn’t all that surprising. Trey Flower seems to be the only legitimate pass rusher and he is still working his way back from injury. If you had to point to a weakness on the team, pass rushing has to be at the top of the list.
- My blood pressure is already dangerously high (thanks a lot Romano’s) and this game certainly didn’t help my cause. Three separate 50% swings in basically the last 3 mins of the game?
The only similar Patriots game that immediately came to mind was Super Bowl 38 against the Panthers and really the trends aren’t that far off:
You can criticize the Patriots for their pompous attitude, their liberal approach to the rules, and their asshole fans but you can’t tell me that they don’t bring the entertainment in big games.
Other Week 15 NFL Notes
- Is Jimmy Garappolo the second best QB in the NFL? The way he has SF competing almost makes you wonder if trading him was a bad idea. Then you watch Brady lead the Patriots to his 52nd game winning drive in the 4th quarter. Also, the nickname “Jimmy Grapes” needs gain traction (h/t Meatah). Not that it makes any sense but it really does just roll off the tongue. And any nickname where you can insert an emoji in its place will get the millennials talking.
- Having NFL games on Saturday are bad for my health and for my social life. I have already come to terms with sacrificing every Sunday for 17 weeks in the fall. I can fit MNF and TNF into my schedule because they are on work nights and you typically aren’t going to have any plans anyways. But if somehow Saturday afternoon/night games become a regular thing I am fucked. Of course I am going to keep watching because the NFL runs my life but I will NOT be happy about it.
- The NFL needs to get rid of the rule where a fumble into the end zone results in a touchback for the defending team. The Patriots were on the winning end of one against the Jets in week 6 and we saw it again in the SNF Raiders/Cowboys game. You want to talk about win probability percentages? The Raiders went from 62.7% to 0.5% as a result of that play. The rule just makes zero sense. Any fumble that goes out of bounds in the regular field of play gets spotted at the spot of the fumble right? I don’t know if I am missing something here but why wouldn’t that rule apply the same way for a fumble out of the end zone? I would say they should change it, but I think I’ll wait for it to benefit the Patriots in a playoff game somewhere down the road.
There was so much great/funny content on the internet (specifically Reddit) after the win so I thought I would compile some of my favorites:
Hard to argue with this one.
Tom eating up the Heinz Field boos.
Brady reminding Gronk that “It ain’t over yet” after the 2pt conversion.
Give me all the memes.
Wait, you’re telling me that isn’t Omar Epps?
You know what makes cube life better? Making bets with the Steelers fans in your office.
Is it me or does this young man’s reaction have a striking resemblance to Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 51 INT reaction?
Written by Greg Brown
1 December 2017
Written by Greg Brown
30 January 2018
Written by Greg Brown
15 December 2017