PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Pats Vs Ravens.

1st Quarter: Part I.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

It's Safe To Look Now.

By TOM

After three straight three and Outs, the biggest play of the game happened. I, like a lot of people, tried to envision how this game could and would be won or lost. But I never thought the plays that would impact the winning or losing of this game would almost all be on special teams.

The Patriots beat the living-crap out of arguable the most physical team in the NFL. "Definitely that type of atmosphere," McCourty said. "I mean we went out there on the first possession that we went out on defensively the stadium was rocking. It was loud. We were screaming to try and make checks. I feel like I lost my voice. You love that though. It's that time of year where every game matters. Everybody's playing for something. We've just got to try to keep it rolling. Whether you want to call it a playoff game, must-wins, any of that stuff, once you get into December and towards the end of December and every games really important. It's not as much rebounding and trying to fix things. You want to try and play your best ball each time you go out there and play." That bodes so well for this team in the Playoffs.

And when you are number one in run defense, you are arguable the most physical defense in the NFL. "Overall, we did enough to win," Long said. "It was a team win; the offense came back and responded, we blocked a field goal on special teams. We did good things in all three phases and if we just eliminate a couple of the bad things we'll be better." Right now, I am not ah-scared of any team coming into Foxboro in January.

The Pats defense was more physical than the Ravens. "I mean, we loved that. We know it's tough," McCourty said. "Our crowd's tough on us at times when we don't do well but I think anytime we get that type of energy in the stadium and the opponents have to deal with that offensively and we can start off the game playing well on defense. It just seems like it builds. The momentum builds. The team plays well. The crowd is into the game so that's an advantage you want playing at home. When we get that on a night like tonight, Monday night, it's huge for us. We really appreciate it. We love when the fans come out. They've got work tomorrow so coming out here and staying all night was big." Baltimore's D had given up the least amount of yards coming into this game.

However, the Pats defense had given up the least amount of points. "Points win the game," McCourty said about which is more important. "But it's a part of playing defense. You get in games like this, you can throw away all those stats. They don't matter. You've got two tough teams. Teams that are used to playing in big games. Two teams that are used to playing each other in those big games. We know them well, they know us well. It's just a battle of who makes a play in different key situations. You saw tonight: we got off to a great start, took an early lead, they were able to make some plays, [and] score. I think it was 17 straight points to get back in the game and make it tough. It's just a battle, so the stats don't really matter when you get in games like this." In the end, points win or lose the game.

The Raiders, KC, and Denver, might be as physical as the Ravens, but they are not more so. "That's big. We talked about getting off to an early start, playing well early, and that's big when we can do that," McCourty said. "Just giving the ball back to the offense, getting three-and-outs. We let up a big play early in the game but just getting back, holding them, making them kick a field goal, that's big for us. Actually, blocking a field goal with Shea, we've just got to keep doing that. As we get later into the season, we're going to be in tough games, guys have got to make plays. We've got to just continue to be resilient." So hold onto your hats Pats fans, because in week 14 of the 2016 NFL season, the Pats were the most physical team in the NFL.

It all started on 4th and 4 from the 43. Allen lined up to punt. The Snap was perfect. Allen got off a great one. The Ravens punt returner got under the punt perfectly on the 15-yard line. He signaled for a fair catch. A pretty retinue play. The ball is punted to the 15, fair caught, and the game continues.

But the tail of this game wasn't the great special team execution. "I think what was most important tonight was that we played as a team, even when we dealt with adversity," Mitchell said. "We still stuck together, stayed focused, and did enough to win the game." It was the special teams blunders.

I don't think you can argue that five of the seven biggest win-or-lose plays from this game came on special teams. "We turned the ball over three times tonight," BB said. "Three situations that all I would say are pretty preventable. We've just got to do a better job of taking care of the ball than we did tonight, and that's everybody that handles it so we'll work on those things. We'll work on it with everybody. It's everybody's responsibility to protect the ball who handles it and we've just got to do a better job of it. We've got to coach it better. We've got to handle it better." Hester didn't handle it better on this one.

For some inexplicable reason, Devin Hester skipped-to-my-lou out of the path of the punt right at the last split second. The ball almost hit him, twice. Then it took off towards the endzone with an oblong bounce, and Jonathan Jones gave chase.

He reached down for the ball, as he turned sideways, and grabbed it with both hands. But his forward momentum was motoring him towards the endzone sideways. He flopped over like a flipping car in a crazy action movie. But he was just able to toss the ball back, ever so gently, to Slater at the 1-yard line.

The Raven lined up 1st and 10, at their one-yard line in a 2-TE I. The Pats match up in a 3-4. "We've got to keep doing that," McCourty said. "We've talked about improving all year and we're into December now. Obviously, we've still got some things to work on. Like you said, the short field, if we could just get them to kick field goals in those situations, that's big for us in the red area. But we're just coming together and I think it all starts on the practice field each week. Guys are putting in a ton of work. We have guys understanding their role. We're getting to play together week after week now and there's no letting up right now. We've just got to keep getting better, keep pushing forward at the little things and at this time of year, it comes down to probably one or two plays in these big games and we've just got to try to make those." Then shifted into an aggressive 4-3 with five guys on the line.

It was something old, but also something new for this year. "Listen, Matt just does a great job of mixing things up," Long said. "A lot of times we're just going to be rushing three or sitting back and then we'll mix in aggressive stuff. Matt does a great job with that and obviously we were able to get to them some tonight but Joe [Flacco] did a good job at getting the ball out most of the game." That was when a whiff of something safe filled the air, only there really was much safety in it.

Everyone on the field knew the Ravens were running. "If we can put that [first] half together twice," Long said. "We still did a pretty good job in the second half but we just need to shut the door on those two opportunities. If you want to be a great defense, you have to be great when there's a little adversity and that's the next step. It was a team win and we did a great job in the first half. We could've done a few things better in the second half but we'll get there." Even the refs got a little lower in their stances like they were going to make a big play.

Ryan was in the box. "It's mental toughness first," Chung said. "You're going to be put in some situations where it's not going to be appealing to you. You just got to go out there and play some ball and do the best that you can." Chung also slid up into the box after the shift.

Rookie Elandon Roberts was on the field and he shot through the A-gap like a falling icicle slicing through the snow below the roof. Brown shoved the ORG aside and crashed into the FB in the Endzone. He knocked him back and stood him up, then turned as Dixon tried to bounce it outside of him.

He leaped on top of him, and Roberts flashed into him as well. "I mean, it's big just to get some points on the board," McCourty said. "It's weird, we haven't scored a touchdown on defense but we have three safeties, which I don't think happens too often in a season. We've just got to keep doing that. I think with our offense anytime we put points on the board as a defense that's just an added bonus because we know what they can do offensively and we can chime in there and help out a little bit. I'm sure they'll take the points and keep trying to add on to it." It was a Safety.

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The dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.

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