When I saw on Friday’s injury report that Gronk was questionable and that Mankins was doubtful, I was not optimistic. When I saw Sunday that Mankins was out, I was downright pessimistic.
Think about it. You have an offensive line that’s struggled to keep Brady upright the first three weeks playing against Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, and the rest of what has been advertised as a great Buffalo pass rush. Now you’re losing your Pro Bowl guard, I thought the Pats were sitting ducks and could have been 1-3.
But as I’ve said many times, that’s why they play the games.
This was one of the most impressive offensive performances by the Pats I can remember since that Tennessee game back in the blizzard. But let’s not forget it mostly came in the second half. If Vince Wilfork didn’t have that fumble recovery as time was running out in the first half, again, we may be talking about a completely different game.
You figure after Gostkowski went wide right and then wide left that this was going to be a long afternoon and possibly that the team would be 1-3. But for the first time I can remember in quite a long time the Pats were able to make halftime adjustments. They haven’t in what feels like years. Instead of just coming out and slinging it and trying to force their opponents to make changes, they adapted their offense. An offense we hadn’t seen since the Corey Dillon days.
That’s right, Corey Dillon. That’s all I could think as the Pats were running it down Buffalo’s throat. The final stats of course are beyond impressive with two 100 yard rushers. Rookie Brandon Bolden ran for 137 on 16 carries. That’s 8.6 yards a carry to go along with his two scores. That’s all he did in the preseason and you thought, how can this kid not make the team. Now I’m saying how can he not supplant Vereen as the #2 back behind Ridley. Ridley did well in his own right rushing for 106 yards and a 4.8 yards per carry average.
Of course there was Tom Brady’s rushing touchdown too. That made four rushing touchdowns by the Pats and everyone going Green-Ellis who?
This is what the Patriots have lacked since their Super Bowl winning ways. A rushing attack that could kill clock. Remember if they were up three with two minutes and the ball? They’d win, pretty much every time. Hand the ball to Dillon three times and the game was over. Clock Killin’ Corey Dillon.
What I hope is that the second half offense is where the Pats’ offense is headed instead of the flat, first half offense we saw after the opening drive. A real two headed monster at running back that can kill clock late in games. If that’s the case the rest of the league better be on alert. Because Brady still managed to net his 300+ yards passing, Gronk and Welker still got their 100+ yards receiving, the running piece has been that missing ingredient.
Filed under NFL, Patriots