When the world first learned that the New England Patriots would be without starting quarterback Tom Brady for their first four games of the season due to the suspension he received for his role in the infamous ”Deflate-Gate” scandal, even the most skeptical supporters of the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins thought dethroning the Pats might finally be possible.
Unfortunately for the rest of the division, New England survived Brady’s four-game suspension despite some shaky play under center to begin the current campaign a healthy 3-1, and on Sunday, head coach Bill Belichick and company added another win to their resume with a 35-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals to improve to 5-1 in Brady’s second start of the season.
Following a concerning start to Brady’s home debut that left the hosts down 14-10 in the third quarter, New England’s star signal-caller connected on a pair of consecutive, four-yard touchdown passes to running back James White and tight end Rob Gronkowski to put the Pats up for good. Somewhat modest in victory, Mr. Bundchen didn’t offer much in the way of in-depth analysis while speaking to the media after the 18-point win.
”I think we’re at a decent place,” said Brady via ESPN. ”So we’ve just got to keep stringing these games together. They [the Bengals] made it challenging on us, but we’re trying to figure out what we’re made of, and it was good to get going there in the second half.”
Now two games into a seven-game stretch in which they’ll play just twice at Gillette Stadium, the first-place Patriots haven’t looked anything like a team that was supposed to be hobbled by Brady’s suspension, and the hamstring injury that cost Gronkowski the first two games of the season and limited him in Weeks 3 and 4 hasn’t affected the perennial playoff participants either.
Statistically speaking, the Week 6 performance that the Boston Herald has since labelled as ”more ho-hum greatness” saw Brady finish 29-35 for 376 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions with a completion percentage of 82.9 and a 140.0 passer rating. In fact, since returning, Brady has totaled 782 yards passing with six touchdowns and no interceptions on the way to registering the highest passer rating [135.5] for a two-game start to a season in NFL history.
Although those stats are probably haunting more than a few defensive coordinators this week, the only numbers that really matter to the rest of the division are 13, seven, and ultimately, four—as in the Patriots have won an unbelievable 13 AFC East titles in the last 15 years, it’s been seven years since a team not named the Patriots last won the division and New England’s seven straight AFC East crowns, and the four Vince Lombardi trophies that Brady and Belichick have brought back to Beantown during their 15-year reign of terror over their NFL roommates.
Of course, when winning becomes as common as breathing, it’s tough to get rattled for any game, and as Brady told the media following Sunday’s win over the Bengals, state of mind is paramount.
”You’re not going to win because you’re emotional,” said Brady via the Boston Herald. ”I think having your attitude right—mentally and physically right—and easy to play, that allows you to be at your best for your teammates.”
”It’s a process to get to that point,” added Brady. ”But we were definitely there today.”
In 2016, New England’s hooded head coach has used the addition of tight end Martellus Bennett to frustrate and confuse opposing defenses. Initially, Belichick used his newest offensive weapon as Gronkowski’s surprisingly-effective stand-in when he was injured, and since both Brady and the big guy have returned, New England’s bench-boss has begun playing the two tight ends together to form an unstoppable pass-catching duo that’s already made the Pats’ weak receiving corps obsolete.
So far, the only mark on New England’s otherwise-spotless record came from its 16-0 loss to Buffalo at home in Week 4. But that was Brady’s last game on the sidelines, and after traveling to Pittsburgh for this week’s date with the 4-2 Steelers, the Patriots will have their shot at revenge in Week 8 when they head to Buffalo for a divisional rematch with the 4-2 Bills before their bye in Week 9.
After returning from their bye week, Brady and the Pats will only face two teams that currently own winning records in the final eight weeks of the season—Week 10 vs the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks, and Week 15 at the 4-2 Denver Broncos. But if the last two games are an accurate indication of what’s to come, what remains of the regular season is little more than a formality for the undisputed kings of the AFC East.
Judge Blocks Release of Robert Kraft Spa Video
Apparently that reportedly “damning” video of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s visit to the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where he allegedly received sexual services, won’t be reaching the public just yet.
The Assistant State Attorney in Palm Beach County has filed new court documents saying that he is obligated to release the footage, involving Kradt and shot inside the Day Spa, to the media as a matter of law.
However, Florida 15th Judicial Circuit Court Joseph Marx has blocked the release of the video for now, according to ABC News.
“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.
Under Florida’s so-called “Sunshine” law, any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature, per the report.
Florida state officials said that they would “pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order.”
Kraft’s lawyers filed a letter to the judge in court records to apprise him of what they described as “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and accused law enforcement officials of trying to circumvent the judgment of the court.
The plot continues to thicken, but for now, Kraft’s video is locked away from the public.
Florida Prosecutors Offer to Drop Robert Kraft’s Solicitation Charges
Prosecutors in Florida have offered to drop solicitation of prostitution charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft if he agrees to admit that he would have been proven guilty had he gone to trial to fight the charges, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton.
Kraft, 77, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation after he was allegedly caught on camera paying for, and receiving, oral and manual sex at the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
One of the incidents allegedly occurred back in January on the morning of the Patriots’ AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the Patriots won en route to their Super Bowl victory.
According to the report, prosecutors have offered the same deal to the other men charged in the sting. Beaton considered the offer “unusual” (h/t NBC Sports Boston).
Additionally, if Kraft decides to take the deal, the Patriots owner will have to complete an education course about prostitution, complete 100 hours of community service, and undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
According to ESPN, Kraft is one of 200 people that allegedly engaged in sex acts at Florida massage parlors that were targeted in the sting.
Kraft has denied the allegations.
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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