In easily the best day of NFL football so far this season, Tom Brady shook his finger at Tim Tebow and said “Uh-uh, not on my watch junior.” Tebowatics will have to wait another week for the circus to continue, as the Patriots pulled out an impressive 41-23 victory.
The victory aside, this was almost a perfect day of football for New England fans. Green Bay lost, meaning Aaron Rodgers’ resume can’t match Tom Brady’s with regards to a perfect regular season. Best of all, former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel got the win in his first game as interim head coach of the Chiefs. The Colts, who have long been New England’s biggest rival, actually won a game in the feel good story of the day. After fooling us for much of the season, Eli Manning returned to his Eli Manning ways of old, throwing three picks and dropping his team to 7-7. Even the Houston Texans, who were gridlocked with the Pats at 10-3, lost.
Did I mention the Pats won the AFC East for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons?
The Patriots-Broncos game was special for a number of reasons. We all know I am first and foremost a Tom Brady fan, but I have been on the Tim Tebow bandwagon since day one. To summarize a long argument, I think throwing mechanics are overrated, and I think that arguably the best player in the history of college football will likely be a pretty decent player in the NFL as well.
While Tebow Time took a brief recess yesterday, anybody who watched this game would say that Tebow played well. The guy is incredibly elusive, leading his team in rushing yards while also throwing effectively. Despite the loss, he should keep his head up—far greater men have fallen at the hands of Mr. Brady. You could almost see the giddiness in Tebow’s face as he shook hands with Brady at the end of the game. “When I grow up, I want to be just like you,” I think he said.
As for the Patriots, this was a great test against a proven defense. It was good to see Aaron Hernandez step out of Rob Gronkowski’s shadow for the day, with career highs in receptions (nine) and yards (129) to go along with a touchdown. The Patriots' running game even showed signs of life, with particularly good efforts coming from Steven Ridley and Danny Woodhead.
All in all, the only real negative I can take from yesterday was that Drew Brees passed for 412 yards and five touchdowns to Tom Brady’s 320 yards and two touchdowns (although, he ran one in as well). That means that Dan Marino’s passing yardage record is essentially Brees’ to lose at this point, barring a heroic effort from Brady these next two weeks.
At the end of the day, the division is in the bag, and the Patriots have yawned their way to 11-3. I still give them little shot in the playoffs, but I can at least rest easy…for now.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston sports blog.