Why the Dolphins Could Be a Trap Game for the Pats
Monday, December 11, 2017
GolocalWorcester Sports Team
|Tom Brady has had some ugly games in Miami|
With Rob Gronkowski suspended, wide receiver Chris Hogan still doubtful, and a tough Miami pass rush, this game has all the making of a trap game.
In 2015, the Dolphins upset the Patriots 20-10 in Miami keeping the Patriots from securing the AFC #1 seed and New England was forced to go on the road in the AFC Championship game in Denver and lost to the Broncos 20-18.
Guess what happened in 2013? The Patriots went down to Miami and blew the game against an underperforming Dolphin team and lost 24-20. The Patriots then had to travel to Denver and lost in the AFC Championship to the Broncos.
All the pundits are picking the Patriots and Las Vegas has the line at Patriots +11. But, with the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Baltimore Ravens 39-38 in Sunday Night Football, the Patriots need a win in Miami to keep pace for the AFC #1 seed and home-field advantage through to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots play Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Free Agency/Salary Cap Era Dominance
Since the beginning of the free agency and salary cap era in 1993, no coach and team has been more well-known for shrewd moves to stay under the salary cap and bringing in free agents to supplement the talent on his team, and win at the same time, as the New England Patriots.
In 2001, coach Belichick brought in free agents David Patten, Larry Izzo, Mike Vrabel, Antowain Smith, Bryan Cox and Roman Phifer. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl.
Belichick continued to bring in major free agents for the Patriots’ other Super Bowl runs. Whether it was Roosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison in 2003 or trading for Corey Dillon in 2004.
Belichick has also not been afraid to let star players walk. This includes allowing Ty Law to leave in 2005, Willie McGinest and Adam Vinatieri to leave and trading Deion Branch in 2006 or letting Asante Samuel leave in 2008.
Belichick has also not been afraid to pull the trigger on major trades just prior to the season starting. Trading players like Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour and Logan Mankins less than a month before the start of those respective seasons.
Despite all of these moves, the Patriots have continued to win year in and year out.
12 Straight Seasons of atLeast 10 Wins or More
The New England Patriots have had at least 10 wins in a season for 12 straight seasons. The last time the Patriots didn't have at least 10 wins in a season was in 2002 when they went 9-7 the year after winning a Super Bowl.
In this stretch, New England has won 16 games once, 12 games four times, 14 games three times, 13 and 11 games once and ten games two times.
As the game changes, Patriots still win.
When the Patriots started this incredible run in 2001, the game was much different then it is today.
The running game was still emphasized and defense's were allowed to be much more physical then they are in the game today.
Today's game features rules that are structured to help the offense score more points and teams, including the Patriots, have had to change the way they play defense and the way they hit, due to the emphasis on concussion prevention.
Through all the rule changes that the league has undergone, the Patriots have still won, year in and year out.
14 Consecutive Winning Seasons
In Bill Belichick's first season in New England, 2000, the Patriots went 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. Since then, the Patriots have not had a losing season, not even a .500 season, 14 straight winning seasons.
Looking at all the seasons, one of the most impressive seasons still remains the 2008 season. Tom Brady got hurt in the first game and was out for the season and Matt Cassell stepped in to replace him.
The Patriots went 11-5 that year but missed the playoffs due to a tie breaker that they lost.
That particular season has to be one of Bill Belichicks greatest jobs in his time here. Nobody saw the Patriots going 11-5 that season after Brady went down.
9 Conference Championship Appearances
In the Brady/ Belichick era, the Patriots have been to nine AFC Championship games and have won six of them.
New England is currently in a stretch in which they have gone to four straight championship games, three of which were held at Gillette Stadium.
To put this in perspective, Peyton Manning has lost in the first round nine times in his career and the New York Jets have only ever been to four Conference Championship games in franchise history since the AFL - NFL merger.
To be a final four team in nine of 14 seasons is pretty impressive for the New England Patriots, or for that matter, any other team.
12 Division Titles- 6 Straight
The New England Patriots have now won 12 AFC East titles in 14 years and are currently in the middle of a stretch in which they have won six straight.
With the rest of the AFC East still a disaster, one has to believe that the Pats will be adding a few more titles before the Belichick-Brady era is over.
6 Conference Championships
The Patriots have been the best team in the AFC six times in the 14 year run of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Of the six games the Patriots won, they were favored in four of them and four of the six games were played at Gillette Stadium.
The six conference Championship wins are as follows:
- 2001- At Pittsburgh - Pats win 24-17
- 2003- vs Colts - Pats Win 24-14
- 2004- At Pittsburgh - Pats Win 41-27
- 2007- vs San Diego - Pats Win 21-12
- 2011- vs Baltimore - Pats Win 23-20
- 2015- vs Colts - Pats Win 45-7
Photo courtesy of Au Kirk, Flickr
4 Rings- 6 Appearances
In the Patriots six appearences in the Super Bowl, they have come out of it with four championships, including a stretch of three in four years.
The Patriots Super Bowl Wins are as follows:
- 2001 vs St. Louis Rams - Pats Win 20-17
- 2003 vs Carolina - Pats Win 32-29
- 2004 vs Philidelphia - Pats Win 24-21
- 2015 vs Seattle - Pats Win 28-24
Tom Brady- Greatest QB Ever?
Tom Brady now has four Super Bowl rings in his career tying his boyhood idol Joe Montana and is 4-2 in the Super Bowl with three Super Bowl MVP's.
Brady is the all-time leader in playoff passing yards with over 7,000 yards through the air and is the all -time leader in playoff wins with 21. Brady is 21-8 in the playoffs all-time.
Brady also has the most touchdown passes in Super Bowl history with 13 (Montana had 11) and has the most touchdown passes in playoff history with 53.
Brady is in the top five in career passing yards with over 53,000 and has a good chance to be in the top three by the time his career is over.
Tom Brady has 45 career game winning drives, which is tied for fourth all-time, and Brady is also fourth with 35 come from behind wins, 9 of which came in the playoffs.
The New England Patriots are the greatest team of all-time because they have the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.
Bill Belichick- Greatest Coach Ever
The number one reason why the New England Patriots (2001-14) are the greatest team of all time is because they have the greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick.
Belichick now has four Super Bowl Rings which ties him for the most all-time with Chuck Noll, who did it with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-91. However, Belichick gets the edge because he has done it in the salary cap/free agency era, where his teams have undergone significant changes on a year to year basis.
Despite the various roster changes from year to year, Belichick has still won and is by far the most dominant coach of this era.
Bill Belichick has 22 playoff wins which is already more than any other coach in the history of the league and is 103 games over the .500 mark (212-109) in his coaching career.
Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of the greatest team of all time.