See Pats Run
The New England Patriots faced the Denver Broncos this weekend in a game that was hyped as a battle between two future Hall of Famers and a renewing rivalry between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While that sounds good and helps sell stories, the reality was that the Patriots dominated this game on the ground and have suddenly and impressively found a running game on their way to a 31-21 beating of the Broncos.
Over the last two weeks the Patriots have rushed for 247 yards in Week 4 and yesterday’s season high of 251 yards. The 4 headed monster of Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley have been churning and burning lately. The Patriots currently rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing with 165.4 yards per game.
Yesterday in the win vs the Broncos, it was the running game that dominated. On 3rd and 17, the Patriots handed off to Danny Woodhead for a gain of about 20 and first down that was a huge body blow to the Broncos Defense that was on their heals all day long.
The Patriots were able to establish the underneath passing game early, finding Wes Welker for 13 catches and Touchdown but in the end, Tom Brady and the passing game finished with 193 yards passing or about 60 yards less than they had on the ground.
This years impressive rushing start is sort of a blast from the past for the Patriots who always were led by Tom Brady and the threat of the passing game but utilized quality running backs like Corey Dillion and Kevin Faulk in years past. In 2011, the Patriots finished 20th in the NFL in total rushing after falling from 10th in 2010 when Ben Jarvis-Green Ellis rushed for over 1000 yards.
The Patriots have always appeared to be a team that passes the ball more than they run it, and it’s true as Tom Brady has typically had 40 to 50 pass attempts a game. It appears as though Bill Belichick is looking to attack this season in more balanced manner and when the Patriots can mash their way for over 240 yards a game as they have in the last two weeks, this will be a very tough team to beat!