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GAC
12-18-2005, 09:43 AM
Not after what they did to TB yesterday and the fact they are getting guys back healthy.

Yes- in the AFC, Indy is the team to beat and the "target" is on them instead of the Patriots; but I wouldn't allow that to cause teams to look past New England.

It's obvious that this year the Pats are not the favorites, but that could play to the Patriot's favor.

The difference is that IF the Patriots do advance far enough to the AFC Championship game, it won't be in outdoor Foxboro, but indoor at Indy.

http://patriots.scout.com/2/479655.html

Patriots Dominate Tampa Bay 28-0

Long day for Phil's boy

By Darren Kelly

Date: Dec 17, 2005

Sometimes it's predicable, sometimes it's a surprise, but the latest win by the Patriots over a Jon Gruden coached team was anything but lucky. The New England Patriots dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from start to finish to secure their place in the postseason. Tampa Bay tried their best to make a game of it, but the savvy Belichick led defense was too much for the inexperienced Chris Simms. Patriots move on to the postseason while Tampa falls back a half-game in the NFC South.

Bring on the playoffs. With many experts and fans wondering just how valid their last two wins over the Jets and Bills were, the Patriots dominated Tampa Bay -- a first place team with more wins than the Jets and Bills combined -- in every facet of their 28-0 victory. With the win, the Patriots are champions of the AFC East for the third year in a row, and have guaranteed a home playoff game and the chance to continue their remarkable Super Bowl run.

The defense once again led the way for New England. They held potential rookie of the year running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to just 23 yards rushing. They sacked quarterback Chris Simms seven times, forced him to fumble twice, and held him to just 155 yards passing thanks to a ferocious pass rush. Tampa Bay crossed the New England 40 just twice all game, and got no closer than the 34-yard line

On offense, the Patriots got a monster game out of wide receiver David Givens (6 catches for a career best 137 yards, 1 touchdown, and 13 yards rushing). Tom Brady was his usual, effective and efficient self (20-for-31, 258 yards, 3 touchdowns), and Corey Dillon chipped in 48 of New England's 83 rushing yards.

The Patriots scored on their opening drive for the first time in four games. Moving 76 yards in 12 plays and consuming over 6 minutes, New England found the holes in Tampa's defense and bullied their way down the field. Going 3-for-3 on 3rd downs, Brady completed a 9-yard pass to Givens for the first, and gained 2 yards on a quarterback sneak for the next. After Dillon picked up 6 yards to put New England at 3rd-and-goal from the 1, offensive lineman Tom Ashworth caught his first NFL pass for a touchdown. The play-action to Dillon froze the Buccaneers' line enough for Ashworth to get free in the end zone and give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

Tampa Bay had a good drive going on their first possession, as Simms completed his first 3 passes. But the New England backfield stepped up, and Simms was forced to run out of bounds on 2nd down. On 3rd down, there was great coverage again, and Willie McGinest worked from the outside to pick up the first of his two sacks, forcing a punt.

Each team's defense dominated the rest of the 1st quarter and most of the 2nd. New England pressured Simms every time he dropped back to pass, with Roosevelt Colvin picking up a sack and Ellis Hobbs breaking up several passes. On offense, Dillon couldn't find any running room, and the Tampa Bay pressure led to some off the mark passes by Brady (one that was almost intercepted).

A Tampa Bay penalty was the opening New England needed to finally get on the scoreboard again. After Dillon carried on four straight plays for 15 yards, the offense stalled and Josh Miller trotted out to punt for the 4th time. But the Tamp Bay was flagged for roughing the kicker when Ryan Nece ran into Miller. After Derrick Brooks came untouched and dropped Dillon for a 6-yard loss and Brady threw wide of Givens, the offense started moving.

Brady completed a 17-yard pass to Christian Fauria on 3rd-and-16. Two plays later, on 2nd-and-16, Brady -- while his facemask was getting pulled sideways -- nailed Tim Dwight with a 27-yard pass. Dillon busted through the line with a 3-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 New England lead.

Just after the two-minute warning, Simms completed a big 3rd-and-8 pass to Ike Hilliard (5 catches, 50 yards), and it looked as if Tampa Bay's offense would finally move the ball. But on the very next play, Mike Vrabel came untouched on the outside, sacked Simms and forced a fumble. McGinest recovered and ran it back 19 yards to the Tampa Bay 22.

Three plays later Brady found Givens -- who made a great move to shake free from cornerback Brian Kelly -- in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard catch and a 21-0 lead at the half.

Tampa Bay started the 2nd half 2-for-2 on 3rd down, and picked up a third 1st down thanks to a Seymour penalty. Tedy Bruschi (11 tackles, 2 sacks) then put his stamp on the drive, sacking Simms and forcing a fumble. On 3rd-and-22 he knocked down a potential 1st down pass and the Buccaneers had to punt again.

New England had to punt on their next three possessions, but it didn't stop the defense from continuing their dominating effort. After stuffing Williams on 2nd-and-1, Simms threw short and incomplete on 3rd down. Tampa Bay went for it on 4th down, but Hobbs knocked away a pass intended for Joey Galloway. The Bucs went for it on 4th down again on their next drive, and this time McGinest came up with another sack.

New England capped the scoring with a 51-yard touchdown drive. Brady was 4-for-4 for 46 yards on the drive, and found Dillon for the 2-yard touchdown pass. Following one last defensive stand by the New England defense, the Patriots ran the final 7:15 off the clock to cap the win and the AFC East title.

New England plays at the New York Jets next week on Monday Night Football before finishing the regular season at home against Miami on New Year's Day. But with the AFC East title wrapped up and little chance of earning a first round bye (they would need both Cincinnati and Denver to lose their remaining games and get more help), these next two weeks will be spent preparing the team for the playoffs, and another run at the Super Bowl.

Cedric
12-18-2005, 12:33 PM
They are gonna be a trendy pick and they shouldn't be. They just beat a team that can't be anyone in the cold and their record looks good because of 6 games against the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. I don't think they would have a shot in hell with that young defense against Indy or the Bengals.

redsfanmia
12-18-2005, 03:43 PM
I am a Colts fan and to be honest with you the only team i fear is the Patriots. They are very dangerous and make me very nervous.

Cedric
12-18-2005, 03:45 PM
Chargers should scare you. Any team with a pass rush and Gates, Tomlinson, Brees can beat anyone.

Caveat Emperor
12-18-2005, 04:06 PM
With the way Tampa's offensive line played yesteday, they'd have lost to a pop warner team.

I'm sooooo beyond sick of the Patriots and so beyond sick of the legions of Boston-based "Patriots Apologists" in the national sports media who hold the Patriots above reproach on everything. When the Patriots fail it's always someone else's fault: injuries, coaching losses, etc. When the Patriots succeed, it's a steady stream of words like "Genius" and phrases like "The greatest since Montana."

They're a very good football team. I get it. I'm tired of the whole routine now, and eager to see someone else be successful. Outside of Tampa Bay winning the Super Bowl, nothing would give me more pleasure as a football fan than watching Peyton Manning drop a 50 spot on them in the playoffs.

(And yes, I realize I'm just bitter because they exposed my team on national television yesterday. :thumbup: )

WMR
12-18-2005, 04:16 PM
With the way Tampa's offensive line played yesteday, they'd have lost to a pop warner team.

I'm sooooo beyond sick of the Patriots and so beyond sick of the legions of Boston-based "Patriots Apologists" in the national sports media who hold the Patriots above reproach on everything. When the Patriots fail it's always someone else's fault: injuries, coaching losses, etc. When the Patriots succeed, it's a steady stream of words like "Genius" and phrases like "The greatest since Montana."

They're a very good football team. I get it. I'm tired of the whole routine now, and eager to see someone else be successful. Outside of Tampa Bay winning the Super Bowl, nothing would give me more pleasure as a football fan than watching Peyton Manning drop a 50 spot on them in the playoffs.

(And yes, I realize I'm just bitter because they exposed my team on national television yesterday. :thumbup: )

Nothing is worse than a spurned CE's scorn! ;)

Danny Serafini
12-18-2005, 07:10 PM
The Patriots don't have the secondary to compete. A team with a halfway decent passing game can light up the Patriots. The Bucs only have one receiver, Joey Galloway, who's a true deep threat. Put the Patriots D against a team with real weapons in the passing game and they can get shredded.

WMR
12-18-2005, 08:09 PM
I would love a matchup between Cincy and NE.

macro
12-19-2005, 12:30 AM
The difference is that IF the Patriots do advance far enough to the AFC Championship game, it won't be in outdoor Foxboro, but indoor at Indy.

Unless the #3 seed loses to the #6 seed in the AFC, the Patties can't play the AFC Championship game in Indianapolis. New England will be the #4 seed and, provided they win their Wildcard Playoff game, will play at the #1 seed Colts in the Divisional Playoffs.

Now, if the #3 seed were to lose to the #6, the #6 would play at #1 and the #4 Patriots would play at the #2 seed. The #1 seed gets the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional Playoff, regardless.

Okay, I'm through nitpicking. :D

deltachi8
12-19-2005, 11:16 AM
As much as the Bengals have impressed me this year, IF i was forced to bet on a team in the AFC right now, it's New England.

The Bengals Defense isn't championship caliber, yet. And New England has Tom Brady and IMHO, he is simply the best in the game.

Now, as a Steeler fan, I feel like Ihave to take a bath.

:)

OldRightHander
12-19-2005, 12:06 PM
Here's the scenario that I would like to see. The Pats go into Indy and knock off the Colts. The Bengals win the divisional game and get to face the Pats in Cincy in the AFC Championship game. Then we stuff Dillon all day long and he has to watch his former team celebrate a trip to the Super Bowl. I can dream can't I?

macro
12-19-2005, 12:19 PM
Here's the scenario that I would like to see. The Pats go into Indy and knock off the Colts. The Bengals win the divisional game and get to face the Pats in Cincy in the AFC Championship game. Then we stuff Dillon all day long and he has to watch his former team celebrate a trip to the Super Bowl. I can dream can't I?

Wow, that would be sweet, wouldn't it?