The Patriots are going to their 9th Super Bowl. The most in NFL history. Bill Belichick is going to his 7th Super Bowl as a head coach. The most in NFL history. And Tom Brady is going to his 7th Super Bowl as player. The most in NFL history.
The Patriots played their best game of the year in all 3 phases of the game and Pittsburgh just had no answer. Tom Brady went 32 for 42 for 384 yards and 3 TD’s in the 36-17 dismantling of Pittsburgh. A handful of those incompletions were drops or intentional throwaways too. And Brady now has 22 TD’s and 0 INTs in his last 7 games against Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.
Sure, LeVeon Bell getting hurt did not help the Steelers (who appeared very LaDanian Tomlinson-esque on the sidelines), but the Pats shut down Deangelo Williams (34 yards and a TD), who in the past has roasted New England. But they also held All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown in check to just 7 catches for 77 yards. Kudos to Malcolm Butler and also to Mark Zuckerberg for setting up shop in Brown’s head with the whole Facebook Live debacle.
Patriots corner Eric Rowe does scare the shit out of me though. The stats say he had a pick and no huge plays given up, but in reality he was getting burned all night and if it wasn’t for 2 or 3 drops by Pittsburgh receivers this could have been a much tighter game. So he should be a blast to watch against the No. 1 offense in the NFL during the Super Bowl.
The Pats running game wasn’t great, save for that pile-carrying run Blount had down to the 1. But it didn’t need to be as Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman lit up the Steelers questionable secondary all night. The two combined for 17 catches, 298 yards and 3 TD’s. Hogan in fact broke the Patriots record for receiving yards in a playoff game with his 9 for 180, which is all you need to know about last night’s game. The Steelers either didn’t respect him or just forgot to cover him because he found holes all night long for big plays and 2 TD’s. He should have had another huge play too, but Brady underthrew him on a deep crossing route.
Tom Brady was brilliant once again. Completing passes to 9 different receivers. I’m sure the entire week of talk radio and ESPN saying how poorly Brady played against the Texans the previous week and how vulnerable they looked was a good boost of extra motivation.
The Patriots have now won 17 of 20 home playoff games with Belichick and Brady. That is bananas.
And, my goodness this ESPN the Magazine cover. Just look at it. You’ve done a lot of terrible, unforgivable things ESPN, but goddamnit will I be purchasing this beauty.
We’re on to the Super Bowl.
— The 300s (@The300sBoston) January 23, 2017