2016 Season Blog.

Pats Vs Broncos.

4th Quarter.


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Defense Ends Game.


The Pats defense was spectacular to start the 4th. Long almost garnered a Sack on 1st Down. Then they stuffed the run on 2nd. On 3rd down Flowers powered the double team right into Siemian, and forced him to panic out of the pocket. "It's big." Flowers said. "This was a pretty good team. So just being able to keep them to three points is big." Sheard was tackled behind Siemian, and forced a Holding call. But the pass was incomplete, so the Pats took the punt.

I told you guys Flowers was a rising a star. "That's something that Trey didn't do very much of in college. Most of the time at Arkansas he was at end, or there was one game, I think it was against LSU, where he played inside in some passing situations," BB said. "He has good quickness and he has good length, good arm length, is able to keep guys off of him. He does a good job in the running game in there. There were a number of plays in there where he deals with double-team blocks or down-blocks by tackles where they have a good angle on him. It's not like it is when he's just standing when the blocker is sitting in front of him. Sometimes he's getting blocked from the side and still has to fight the leverage of those blocks." He had to play inside more in this game because of the injury to Malcolm Brown.

He was a force in the run game at Arkansas. "He's got good playing strength, he's got good length and he's got good quickness so he's able to escape and get off some of those blocks quicker than some of the bigger guys that the guards and centers are used to facing in there," BB said. "They have an advantage in size and probably overall length. But he has an advantage in quickness and leverage with each guy trying to play that out. He's been very productive for us in there, has caused a lot of pressures and his penetration in the middle of the pocket a lot of times opens things up for one of the other defensive tackles or defensive ends that wrap around into the space that he has created with that penetration. So it's not just the plays that he makes but he creates some for his teammates, too." If he keeps succeeding as an inside rusher, he is going to cause a lot of problems in the Playoffs.

The Pats lined up at the 35, in an I. And shifted into a Singleback. Brady had time but nowhere to go. Ray finally got pressure and forced Brady out of the pocket, where he wisely threw it away. 2nd and 10, the Pat lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. Brady had time, and had to throw awkwardly to White as the pocket broke down around him. He was knocked down by Talib and Ray.

3rd and 10, the Pats lined up Empty. Brady had to flee the pocket. He spotted White in the flat. He hit him. White turned up field fast, but two guys where right there to force the Pats to punt. The returner didn't field the punt, and the ball took an odd oblong bounce and rolled down to the 12.

1st and 10, the Broncos lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback at the 12, with the Pats D completely dominating them in the 2nd Half. They had held the Broncos offense to 24-yards so far in the 2nd Half. The Pats matched up in a 3-4. Branch bulled the OC back into Siemian as he threw. He hit Sanders dragging uncovered, as the Pats D went prevent.

The Pats Defense has been Super Bowl worthy the last two games. "I wouldn't disagree with anything that High says. He's right in the middle of it. When you're the middle linebacker out there on the field with the defense nobody has a better feel for the players and their level of confidence and communication and so forth than he does. Whatever he says I would accept on that," BB said about Hightower. "I think from my standpoint every day is an opportunity for us to get better. I don't think you just get better in games. I don't think you just get better in one game. Sometimes a game can give you a little spark or impetus, I agree with that. Each day we come in here and meet and watch film and walkthrough and practice and work together to try and improve our performance and our preparation and it's targeted towards a certain team but over the course of time a lot of those situations will repeat themselves. Situations will come back up or fundamentals and techniques will occur so that improvement will usually have an opportunity to manifest itself in another situation or similar situation that can be used.

"I think in our case what I've seen from this team especially defensively, but really in all three phases of the game is a commitment to work hard and get better. You take small steps every day. Those pile up after days, weeks and months together. I think that's really what's happening with our team is they've worked hard. They've improved, improved a little bit each day. They maybe improve a little bit each week in certain areas. I think we do things better now than we did a few weeks ago. We did them better a few weeks ago than we did them a couple of months ago.

"Which is the way it should be. We have a few new players in there that have taken on more roles. Shea playing more off the line, Van Noy, Rowe, guys like that, Valentine's played more and so forth. The extra time that those guys have to prepare together, communicate together and work on and off the field together, those are all positive things, too. Rob, not that it's been recently, but Rob missed four weeks, missed a quarter of the season so it's a process with him coming back when you look at the big picture. There have been some moving parts, but again, it's been just a steady, I would say not necessarily exciting process, but a necessary one that you just grind out day-by-day and I think eventually when you do that you'll start getting better results." If the D can continue to play like this, the Pats will not be stopped from being Champions.

2nd and 3 the Pats D stayed Nickel. Brown caught Booker at the line. Booker popped Brown back a few, but he held on. Then Ryan and Flowers flew in to help Brown knock him backwards.

3rd and 1, the Pats matched up in a Nickel. Flowers broke free and hit Siemian back, but Siemian held his feet. "I wouldn't say fresh," Flowers said about the D-lines play in the 4th. "But we just know that any one of the defensive guys can make plays, and it's just really good to have that." However, Brown had broken free as well.

Brown swooped in to steal Flowers second sack of the game. "He's a tough player," McCourty said about Brown. "I think with him and a lot of guys, he's a team guy. His stomach is hurting and he's not feeling well, but he goes back into the locker room and gets an IV because he wants to help the team. He knew once he went down we had two defensive tackles out there so he wanted to come back in. He fought through and came back out. I asked him how he was and he said ‘I'm good.' He came back and played really well and we needed that. It was tough up here playing in Denver. It's tough to catch your breath and the more guys we have out there, that's key. He continued to play well for us since last year and this year." Brown played in the 4th with a stomach injury, and just forced the Broncos to punt with two straight great defensive plays.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback, but were really just trying to run the clock out. They ran play action. Brady hit Bennett crossing 8-yards downfield. Then he took off for 26 more yards to get inside the Twenty. 

That was the longest offensive play of the game for either team. "Like I said a long time ago, ever since the first day I came here I felt like I belonged, whether it was my teammates who accepted me, or from upper management down to the coaches, not only did I buy into the program but the whole Patriots organization bought into me," Bennett said. "It's pretty exciting when you have that type of group of people around you that believe in you, not only as a player buy as a person. That's been super exciting and has made it a lot easier for me out here. I just try to give them everything. I'm invested in this team, like I told my guys before the game, I've been invested in not only putting in the work that I need to but invested in my teammates and right now were trying to get out ROI. [a reporter interrupted with a "what's that?"] Come on man, return on investment! You got to get your stocks up baby let's go." His stock is certainly up.

1st and 10 at the 19, Empty. Brady fired a rocket into the ground, and Mitchell scooped it out of the frozen tundra inside the Five. That was the rookie's only catch of the game, but it was a big one.

1st and goal from the five. They gave it to Blount. He lowered his head for nothing. 2nd and goal from the Five, the Pats lined up in a Bunched up Weak shotgun. Then handed it to White underneath. He burst to the left. Saw Miller, and then cut up field for a few. 3rd and goal from the Three. In a 4-wide weak shotgun. Brady had time, felt the pocket collapsing around him and wisely threw the ball away to take the Field goal. Gostkowski hit his third straight FG. Pats-16.

1st and 10, the Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel. Siemian hit Derby crossing, and Van Noy couldn't catch up. 1st and 10, he hit Sanders. 1st and 10, and the prevent is not working. The Pats rushed three. The big Branch knocked down pass with his vine arms. 2nd and 10, the Pats in a 3-2 Dime. Ninkovich got pressure and forced Siemian to try and take off forward. Flowers and Van Noy swept in for the Sack.

3rd and 15, the Broncos in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. the Pats got a nice rush. Flowers was dragged down from behind, which allowed the QB to throw it to Thomas just short of the 1st.

4th and 2, the Broncos lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 4-3. The QB dropped a floater high into Thomas' hands. "I was just trying to get there as quickly as possible. I'm not the biggest guy out there so I was just trying to use my speed as power," McCourty said. "Luckily I was able to knock the ball out and we were able to get off the field. Whenever we get off of the field, especially once you get into the fourth quarter in a game that was still kind of close score wise, [stops are critical]. We've watched Denver make a living of keeping it close out there and playing well in the fourth quarter. Coach Belichick hit that. They've led the league in fourth quarter scoring and that's something we knew coming in and we just had to keep playing." It was about to be a play that changed the game.

But, McCourty flew into him like a bull and ended the game by viciously smashing the ball out and bending Thomas to the ground awkwardly. "It was big," McCourty said. "We were playing well all game and still had the lead but for them, a score right there would have been huge to change the game a little bit and get some momentum back. I think to get a stop on third down for a defense usually means you're off the field. But once the offense comes back and is trying to go for it on a fourth down, getting off the field really hurts them and gets you energized. I'm happy I got there in time to knock the ball out and got us off the field." It wasn't just a big hit, it was game ending hit. Game. Set. Match. Pats.

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