As we waited to find out who the Patriots would draw in the Divisional Round, the three of us at Foxboro Blog decided to have a little “round table” discussion to look back at some of the more memorable moments in 2010. Up next is the topic of our favorite moment from the season.
Rick: There have been a ton of great moments for the Patriots this season. But, I have a personal favorite and that came in Week 13 on Monday Night Football. That game was for the AFC East title with the 9-2 New York Jets against the 9-2 New England Patriots. Everybody thought it was the Jets’ time to win the division and that the Patriots’ defense could not stop anybody. Well, both the offense and the defense stepped up and won the game 45-3 to make a statement that this Patriots’ team is for real. I am a New Yorker so it felt good to see the Jets’ fans go a little bit down to earth after their string of last second wins against sub .500 teams. Danny Woodhead, the ex-Jet, had one of his best games of the year while Belichick even with the Patriots up 31-3 telling his team not to take the foot off the gas pedal. It felt like 2007 all over again.
Jason: Without question, my favorite part of the season was the Week 9 win over the Steelers. I grew up in Western PA and still live on the outskirts of Steeler Country, and most of my family is made up of Steeler fans. The Steelers-Pats game was two weeks before Thanksgiving, and I’m pretty sure that if the Pats would’ve lost, I wouldn’t have been able to go home for the holidays. For me, this win meant getting to eat turkey at the Thanksgiving table instead of a healthy helping of crow. In the bigger picture, I think the win over the Steelers really put the rest of the league on notice that this Patriots team is for real. They were coming off a terrible loss to the Browns, and a loss would’ve left the team on the fringe of the playoff race with Indy coming to town. Instead, the Pats were able to put together a dominating win on the road against a quality opponent, a victory that put them in the driver’s seat in the AFC and started a run of eight straight wins to close the regular season. The emphatic spike by Brady after his 4th quarter rushing score was an exclamation point on one of the Patriots’ signature wins of the 2010 regular season. I could watch that celebration on an endless loop.
Derek: The thing that I’ve loved the most about following the Patriots during the Brady/Belichick era is all the nail-biting games that got my blood pumping and the euphoria that came after the Pats pulled off their improbable victory. With that in mind, only one game this season truly fit that description, and it was Week 6 against Baltimore. This was the Patriots’ first game with Deion Branch and without Randy Moss. They were facing the team that had steamrolled them last January in the only home playoff loss at Gillette Stadium and of Tom Brady’s career. The Patriots, down 10 points in the 4th quarter, and looking fairly out of sync for the majority of the game, finally found their rhythm. They forced overtime, and then, in what seemed an eternity of punting the ball back and forth, clinched the victory with only minutes remaining in the extra period. This was the game where I stopped thinking we were a good but flawed team, and started thinking “Super Bowl”. Say what you will about knocking off the Jets, Steelers, Colts, Packers, and Bears. I believe Baltimore is the best team the Patriots have beaten all season, and they did it in the most dramatic way possible. Just a vintage Patriots win!