Sports Roundup: Patriots ‘Team’ Victory Puts Brady 11-5 Against Manning
By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service
It was another great week of football in New England as the NFL matchup of the year took center stage in Foxboro. Patriots Vs. Broncos; Tom Brady Vs. Peyton Manning; the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation and arguably all-time faced off against each other for the 16th time in their careers.
After getting eliminated from the playoffs in a decisive victory by Manning, this game was all Patriots and Brady.
Brady improved to 11-5 against Manning in his career as the Patriots dominated all facets of the game, earning a team victory, 43-21. The game started out slow with the Broncos leading 7-6 early in second quarter, when Rob Ninkovich made a momentum swinging interception; the first interception from either Manning or Brady in the last five games. Brady made the most of the turnover and delivered a strike to Julian Edelman for a touchdown, and the Patriots never looked back.
Julian Edelman returned a punt for an 84-yard touchdown minutes later and already all three areas of the game had made an impact; offense, defense, and special teams. Brady went on to throw for four touchdowns while Edelman and Rob Gronkowski had nine catches each for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 20 combined targets.
The story going into the game was whether Manning would be able to play in the cold weather, as it was snowing before the game and temperatures had reached the mid thirties. By game-time skies had cleared up but it was still frigid for early November.
While Manning was not deterred by the cold weather, the complex schemes that the Patriots defense threw at Manning were enough to cause Manning to force two turnovers, which was all the Patriots needed.
When playing Manning, most teams want to take away his receivers and make the Bronco’s win through the running game. That is insanely hard to do with so many dynamic weapons in Manning’s arsenal. Not the Patriots. Bill Belichick challenges Manning every time. He takes away the run game and challenges Peyton to beat them through the air, under the assumption that Manning will choke, as he often does.
The Patriots secondary did their best to take away the center of the field with the physical Brandon Browner jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and Patrick Chung playing in the box. By taking away the center of the field, Manning was forced to throw down the sidelines and force balls into tighter holes.
Manning had some success throwing for over 400 yards, but when trying to throw down the middle, his receivers found trouble with Devin McCourty laying the smack down on old friend Wes Welker. McCourty planted a brutal hit into the center of Welker’s back, causing the ball to pop into the air and Browner was able to intercept. Welker did not return to the game after that.
It is this kind of ingenious planning by Belichick that has given the Patriots confidence when playing against the greatest quarterback of all time; statistically at least.
The Boston Celtics tipped off their season this past week going 1-1 in their first two games. They had a very convincing win in the season opener over the Brooklyn Nets. Rajon Rondo returned to action and posted a double-double, while top rookie Marcus Smart made an immediate impact on defense, leading the way with four steals.
They came back down to earth Saturday night against the Houston Rockets losing by 14 and at one point being down by as much as 30. The Celtics were historically bad, shooting 1-25 from behind the arc, one of the worst marks in NBA history.
The Bruins have put together two wins in a row for only the second time this season, and putting the team over the .500 mark. Brad Marchand has finally made his mark recording four points over the past two games, including three goals. The defense continues to struggle without captain Zdeno Chara. They face the Florida Panthers tonight.
On the collegiate ice, the Boston University Terriers split a home and home with the 8th ranked Providence Friars on Friday and Saturday night. Jack Eichel continued his onslaught against his opponents Friday night as he scored his fourth goal of the season leading the way for a 4-1 victory. They came back home on Saturday night and suffered their first loss of the season 2-1. They head down the road to take on rival Boston College this Friday night.