The Patriots locked up the No. 2 seed with their win over Buffalo yesterday (Buffalo has never won a game in Gillette Stadium, which has been opened since 2002). For such a banged-up team, that’s a good thing to get the bye during Wild Card Weekend.
LeGarrette Blount was the man yesterday, running for 189 yards from scrimmage, scoring 2 touchdowns, and running for 145 yards as a punt returner. The all-purpose yards for a running back and punt returner set a franchise record (334 yards).
Julian Edelman went over 100 catches and 1,000 yards for the season. Wes who? ;)
It poured all day long. You could see the water splashing as guys were brought down. Tom had a decent day but it was definitely a day for running the ball. LeGarrette, Stevan Ridley, and Shane Vereen all had good days (with LeGarrette having an outstanding one). And LeGarrette is pretty big for a punt returner, over 200 pounds. He has pretty darned good speed for a big man!
Bill Belichick should get Coach of the Year with the job he's done with all these injuries, knocking out key players, and getting hit with the Hernandez thing in the spring that took away a prime player, and Gronk's physical problems, etc. But he won't get it. People expect him to work miracles every year.
In the salary cap era, the Patriots have won 11 out of 13 divisional titles and have gone to multiple AFC Championship Games and 5 Super Bowls, winning 3, all since 2000. That's unheard of in the NFL, where parity reigns supreme and being good every year doesn't happen. Just look at the Steelers, who are pathetic right now, and other teams taste success and then go to the bottom (see the Ravens). It's a tribute to BB's coaching ability and Tom's talent that they are double-digit winners every year and get in the playoffs with multiple ultimate successes.
The Jets beat the Dolphins, knocking them out of the playoffs, and of course the Bills lost, so here’s how the division ended up for 2013:
The Patriots sit out Wild Card Weekend. In the NFL, there are 4 division winners and 2 wild card teams who make the playoffs from each conference, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, for a total of 12 teams out of 32, which is far better than ‘Everyone makes the playoffs’ mentality of basketball and hockey. The two best records of the division winners earn a bye during Wild Card Weekend. The survivors of the first weekend’s games meet the top division teams during Divisional Weekend, 4 teams from each conference playing as they do during Wild Card Weekend. The winners of these games move on to Championship Weekend, and 2 teams play in the AFC Championship Game and 2 in the NFC Championship Game. The winners earn a trip to the Super Bowl and a two-week rest/planning/hype period.
In the past there were sometimes only a week between the Championship Games and the Super Bowl but that was changed to permanently two weeks, with the exception in 2002 because every game was pushed back a week because of 9/11. There was only one week between the games that year.
So the Patriots made it into the Tournament with their ragtag fleet! Hopefully they make it to the Big Game but they’re playing with house money, anyway.