In The Red Zone – 11/15

In The Red Zone

Yes it’s a wondrous day to be a Patriots fan.  The team totally beat down the New York Jets with a rag-tag defense that was nearly ready to call for support from any local high school willing to help.

I will say this, when you put a Bill Belichick team on notice, tell them they’re no good, they’re falling apart, no one believes they can win and anything else you want to add, is when those teams play best.  I don’t know what he puts in the Kool-Aid during the week or what he pumps into the HVAC system at Gillette but they always seem to pull it together.

I was pretty amazed at the way the defense played.  How they held up in a tight game and even when they were losing more guys during the game they just toughened up.  As the season goes on the defense seems to be getting better.

From a football perspective I don’t car about yardage allowed on the ground, in the air or even by sea.  The big thing for me is points allowed and the defense is making strides at cutting those numbers back.

One of the defensive stars was DE Andre Carter who had 4.5 sacks and was constantly on or near Jets QB Mark Sanchez.  For a team that had no pass rush, Carter and Mark Anderson are turning into quite the sack duo.  Couple that with the play of Kyle Love, Vince Wilfork and Gerard Warren with stopping the run the defensive line is shaping up rather well.

The other defensive star was LB Rob Ninkovich who had a pair of INT’s one of which was a Pick-Six that sealed the game in the fourth quarter.  Between Ninkovich and Carter I think Sanchez most likely had a tough night sleeping.

Offensively after being a bit shaky the last few weeks they were better on Sunday night.  The offensive line made a huge difference.  While Tom Brady was getting hit and hurried he was not sacked, although a poor blocking scheme did lead to the Jets getting a safety on an intentional grounding penalty in the second quarter.

The fact that Brady was upright the entire game is huge.  When you protect him and he has time to find an open receiver he will kill a defense.

Last night his main target was TE Rob Gronkowski who was a one-man wrecking crew.  Besides the catches and the TD’s he is a very good blocker.  On Chad Ochocinco’s 53-yard reception it was Gronk’s block along the right sideline that sprung Chad.  While it’s too early to say he’s one of the best to play the game he certainly is making a name for himself with his all around play.

So after 9 games the Patriots are in first place in the AFC East and already hold a tiebreaker with the Jets.  Now for dessert take a look at the possible next 6 quarterbacks are this team is facing (answer below) and all of sudden a season that looked like it was slipping away is looking very promising.

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Head coach Bill Belichick had his weekly Monday media meeting about the week ahead.

According to the New York Post a reporter for the paper overhead something Belichick said to his son that contained a profane comment.  The exact exchange as quoted by the Post from Belichick to his son, Stephen, is “Thirty-seven points on the best defense in the league, s— my d—.”  My feelings exactly coach.

Ryan had his own little comment to a fan as he exited the field on Sunday night.  As you watch the video its at about the 15 second mark he tells an apparently young fan (judging by the voice early teenage male) to “shut the f— up”.

LB Dane Fletcher missed his third game with thumb/hamstring injuries while LB Brandon Spikes (MCL), S Patrick Chung (foot) and WR Taylor Price (hamstring) were also scratched with injuries. RB Shane Vereen, G Donald Thomas and QB Ryan Mallett were healthy scratches.

In the game Sunday night CB Devin McCourty suffered a separated shoulder during a collision with teammate CB Sterling Moore and Jets WR Plaxico Burress in the 2nd quarter.  McCourty is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with the injury.  Others injured during the game included RG Brian Waters (left knee), RT Sebastian Vollmer (unknown) and S James Ihedigbo (neck) they all returned to the game.

With the win the Patriots swept the season series with the Jets it is their first sweep of New York since 2007.

The Patriots continue to be one of the best teams in the NFL and when you look at their record they are 60-33 on the road since Belichick took over in 2000.

Belichick now has 183 wins including playoffs – he is now tied for 9th all-time with Bill Parcells.

This is what Tom Brady had to say about the big win on WEEI AM/FM on Monday morning.

On their third try Brady and Belichick finally broke the record they shared with Dan Marino and Don Shula as the winningest quarterback-coach combination in the Super Bowl era with their 117th win.

Brady’s 117th career win tied him with Joe Montana for 7th all-time.  Johnny Unitas is 6th with 118 and Fran Tarkenton is 5th with 124.

Brady surpassed 3,000 passing yards on the season in just the 9th game.  He is only the second QB to ever do it that quickly, the other is Saints QB Drew Brees.

The much-maligned offensive line finally kept Brady upright all night as he was not sacked.

Brady’s 3 TD passes give him 23 on the year and 284 in his career.

Who are the possible six quarterbacks the Patriots are facing?  Tyler Palko (KC); Vince Young or Mike Vick (Philly); Curtis Painter (Indy); Rex Grossman or John Beck (Was); Tim Tebow (Denver) and Matt Moore (Miami).  Not a killer in the bunch, which is a good sign for the defense.

WR Wes Welker recorded his 500th reception as a Patriot on the scoring drive prior to half time.  Only Troy Brown (557) and Stanley Morgan (534) have more in team history.

Welker’s 500 catches were done in 70 regular season games no one has ever had 500 catches with one team in that few games.

LB Niko Koutouvides made a huge fumble recovery in his debut of a muffed punt that led to the Patriots getting a field goal.

DE Andre Carter had 4.5 sacks setting a Patriots franchise record.  It was the third time this year he had at least two sacks in a game.

With a pair of INT’s LB Rob Ninkovich doubled his career INT total.  One of them led to a touchdown the other was returned for a touchdown.

Carter and Ninkovich were the Sox & Dawgs defensive players of the game.

TE Rob Gronkowski’s 2 TD catches give him 5 games with 2 or more TD’s in his two-year career.  He was the Sox & Dawgs offensive player of the game.

WR Chad Ochocinco’s 1st quarter 53-yard bomb from Brady was for more yardage on one play than he had total all season.  Then he was barely used in the second half.

WR Deion Branch mocked Jets super fan Fireman Ed right in front of him after his fourth quarter TD catch.

Branch spoke on Monday with WEEI AM/FM in Boston on Patriots Monday.

WR Julian Edelman saw some late game action on defense as a cornerback he made a hell of a hit on LaDainian Tomlinson sending that old softie from the game.

To show you just how dominant New England has been in the AFC East under Belichick they are 53-16 vs. the division since 2001.  While in the same time span New York has the second best record vs. the AFC East, they are 33-33.

The Patriots defense was very good Sunday they had 2 INT’s and sacked Jets QB Mark Sanchez 5 times in the win.  The special teams also recovered a fumble.

Here’s the breakdown of the defensive snaps and the offensive snaps by Mike Reiss.

Mike Reiss and the Patriots 3 Up, 3 Down in the win over the Jets.

Tedy Bruschi’s “On Tap” takes a look at Sunday nights game.

Pro Bowl voting is open feel free to cast your votes for deserving players.

New England plays the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.  Look for the Sox & Dawgs “In The Red Zone Game Preview” available on Friday.

Writers Note: Due to next week’s game being on Monday night, “In The Red Zone” will run on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Follow Steve on Twitter @djstevem

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