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Monday, December 13, 2010
The unstoppable juggernaut that is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will not be denied
Why do we put up with Bill Belichick's boring interviews and personality and Tom Brady's ridiculous hair and sponsorships (Uggs, really?), because the two happen to be the best in the NFL and when it's all said and done, they will be on the short-list of all-time greats in NFL history.
The New England Patriots clinched a playoff spot yesterday and took two steps forward to winning the AFC East (thanks Dolphins) with a 36-7 blowout at Solider Field against the Chicago Bears, who were supposedly one of the NFC's top contenders.
Embarrassing a team that's led by quarterback Jay Cutler (12 for 26, 152 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) is not surprising at all but absolutely shredding Chicago's good defense in the wind, snow and freezing temperatures was unexpected.
However, after winning five in a row, smoking the Jets on Monday Night Football and going into Chicago and absolutely tearing the Bears apart (33-0 at halftime), nothing short of a Super Bowl victory will be tolerable in this season of amazing improvements.
Brady (27 for 40, 369 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) continued his MVP landslide with more Madden numbers and efficiency (he hasn't thrown a pick in two months). Deion Branch (8 catches, 151 yards, touchdown) and Wes Welker (8 catches, 115 yards) have become the league's most formidable receiving duo while New England (11-2) still possesses plenty of other weapons: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (87 yards rushing), Danny Woodhead (rushing touchdown) and Rob Gronkowski (5 catches, 43 yards, touchdown) just to name a few.
It was enough to make you feel bad for the Bears (9-4) and the fine folks of Chicago until you remembered Cutler and Brian Urlacher are the two meatheads leading them to nowhere.
New England's defense is perhaps its biggest surprise since they've gone from a complete liability to dependable and capable of making big plays at any turn. They had four turnovers yesterday (2 interceptions by Gary Guyton and Brandon Meriweather and 2 fumble recoveries by Guyton and Jerod Mayo).
Gronkowski started the hit parade with a 7-yard touchdown catch from Brady at 5:47 in the first quarter.
The second quarter was when the Patriots put this one away with authority. Woodhead had a 3-yard touchdown run then Devin McCourty forced a fumble by Bears receiver Johnny Knox and Guyton returned it 35 yards for a score. Shayne Graham added two field goals (30, 25) and the final nail was a 59-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Branch on the last play of the first half. Lovie Smith is apparently a defensive genius but why his secondary wasn't playing prevent defense is beyond me. 33-0 Patriots at halftime after Graham missed the last point after.
The entire second half was elongated garbage time that basically revolved around whether the Bears would ever score (barely) and if Brady would come out at some point (yes). Graham had a 29-yard field goal and Chester Taylor finally got Chicago on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run.
From here, New England gets set for another prime time game: Sunday at Gillette vs. the Green Bay Packers. They might have caught a break (not that they need it) when Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers picked up his second concussion of the season yesterday in a loss to the Lions. Green Bay's only hope of winning (and making the playoffs) is if Rodgers is healthy enough to play. Matt Flynn was not good at LSU and I'm pretty sure that hasn't changed in the NFL.