New England Patriots – Despite Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy’s Adoration, the Colts Will Compete and Succeed

by Kent Sterling

It speaks well of a tremendous number of annoyances in Boston that Dan Shaughnessy doesn't bubble into the top five.

It speaks well of a tremendous number of annoyances in Boston that Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t bubble into the top five.

Since winning the Super Bowl to end the 2004 NFL season, the New England Patriots are a very pedestrian 8-7 in the postseason.

Peyton Manning gets killed for his lack of postseason success, but during the same period, his postseason record is 6-6.  Yet Coach Hoodie is seen as some reincarnation of Lombardi-esque genius.

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The question for the Colts as they try to reach the AFC Championship Game for the first time under second-year quarterback Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano isn’t whether they can scheme to outwit Bill Belichick.  It’s why Belichick is seen as so clever to begin with.

In no way am I arguing that Belichick isn’t a good coach.  He is, but since being outed as a cheat, he is ringless with a barely over .500 record in the postseason.  Belichick has always been willing to do whatever is necessary to gain an advantage, but since he has been restricted to what is allowed by the rules, his results have been ultimately disappointing.

The Patriots have suffered a number of injuries that have adversely affected their work on either side of the ball, and finishing 12-4 given their offensive weaponry, the majority of which were employed by the St. Louis Rams last year, is quite an accomplishment.

There are 12 Patriots on injured reserve and two others on the non-football injury list.  That would be impressive if the Colts didn’t sport a list 18 names long on their own injured reserve list.

Patriots fans, like all fans of Boston teams, tend to think of themselves as very special.  That haughtiness stretches to Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote a piece featuring a nauseating level of hubris (since when is a columnist nothing more than a cheerleader for a team they cover?  This column would have made for a good call to a sportstalk station from a deranged and myopic fan).

Among other bizarre statements of Patriots superiority not yet in evidence:

  • But they (Colts) have all the ingredients Bill Belichick loves in a playoff chump.
  • If you were going to draw up a Hoodie dream playoff opponent, you would ask for a dome team with a young quarterback, a neophyte coach, and a bad defense…
  • Bring on the Broncos. Or better yet, bring on the Chargers in the shadow of the high-fivin’ CBS Scene.
  • On Saturday, Belichick will own Luck the way he owned Drew Bledsoe.
  • Pagano will lose his football mind at the sight of Belichick and Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium. He will forget everything he ever knew about the gridiron.
  • With all due respect, this is something of a joke.
  • Seriously. It’s just like two years ago when all the Patriots had to do was beat an 8-8 Tim Tebow-quarterbacked team at home (45-10, thank you).
  • Give me the Patriots over the Indianapolis Colts. Big time. Every time.

Anytime a writer begins a sentence with, “With all due respect,” what follows is going to be idiotic.  It’s a weak and contradictory phrase that has no place in a column by a guy who writes for a living.

I doubt Belichick lends any more credence to Shaughnessy’s ill-founded and lazy rant than Chuck Pagano does, and it won’t have anything to do with the result, but it speaks to the reason it is so much fun to beat the Patriots.  Their fans have a sense of entitlement and dismissiveness that is almost entirely undeserved.

The Colts will show up Saturday, play hard, and try to find a way.  Stopping Danny Amendola shouldn’t be too difficult.  When Rams opponents had trouble slowing him, Amendola did it himself with a routine series of injuries.  LeGarrette Blount is big and mediocre.  Julian Edelman – no, not Bob Kraft’s attorney.  He’s a former college quarterback who became a wide receiver under the genius.  Going into this season, Edelman had amassed 69 career catches in four seasons.

Sure, Brady is a scary guy with a track record of hard work, indomitable spirit, and magical access to hot women.  The only meaningful stat that hasn’t declined over the past three seasons is wins.

Going to Foxborough to win a playoff game is always a great challenge, but it won’t be the mother of all miracles when the Colts pull out a win Saturday night, despite what Shaughnessy thinks.  It will be a good but flawed team beating another good but flawed team.

9 thoughts on “New England Patriots – Despite Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy’s Adoration, the Colts Will Compete and Succeed

  1. the gripping hand

    I spent a few minutes (not many) trying to find the Patriots’ opponents’ win percentage or strength of scheduled based on this year’s games in order to compare that with the Colts’. I couldn’t find anything. Do you have ready access to those numbers?

  2. Doug A

    It has always been easy to hate the pats. Hope luck & Co. don’t get down like last week. Coming back on Brady might be a tad bit harder! One of my favorite 1070 moments of all time happenened when Rakestraw was filling in for someone and a caller started singing the pats praises and Rake hung up on him!! Still brings a smile to my face.

  3. scooter7

    Hmmm, where to begin …

    First, Belichick is ringless since Spygate only because of Peyton’s little brother, who led 2 last-minute comebacks with 2 ridiculous miracle catches thrown in. It’s not like the Patriots haven’t even been close – they’ve been within combined 1 1/2 minutes of winning 5 rings in the TB/BB era.

    Second, either you’re being incredibly sarcastic or just idiotic. “The Patriots’ weaponry, the majority of which were employed by the St. Louis Rams last year …”
    Really? Danny Amendola is the majority of their weaponry? He’s the ONLY weapon employed by St. Louis in 2012.

    Blount? Tampa. Dobson and Thompkins? Rookies. The rest? All were with the team last year (Ridley, Vereen, Edelman and Hoomanawanui).

    There’s a good reason Brady is a sure-fire, 1st-ballot Hall of Famer: he was a 6th-round pick, not expected to be a star, and was thrust into a starting role due to injury in his 2nd season. Since that first start back in 2001 (a 44-13 thrashing of the Manning-led Colts at Foxboro Stadium as an 11-point underdog) he’s done more damage with less weaponry than any QB in history. THAT is inarguable. I dare you to name 3 wide receivers on those 3 Super Bowl teams. You can’t – nobody can without googling them. There were no Reggie Waynes or Marvin Harrsions, no Dallas Clarks to depend on regularly. All he did was make every player around him better, including a linebacker (Mike Vrabel) who Brady turned into a TD machine.

    All Brady has done is win, even in the playoffs (17-7). In the 10 seasons he’s led his teams to the playoffs, he’s gone 1-and-done twice.
    By comparison, Manning — the other 1st-ballot Hall-of-Fame QB right now — has made the playoffs 12 times (9-11 record) and gone 1-and-done EIGHT TIMES.

    The point: Brady doesn’t take these games for granted, especially the first game of the playoffs. He knows all too well how hard is not only to get to the Super Bowl, but to win it. He’s been nearly flawless in the divisional round (7-2), and expect that to go to 8-2 by around 11:45 — or earlier — Saturday night.

    Luck is a special talent, no question, and I think he’ll have great success in this league. But he’s going to have to wait at least one more season to win another playoff game. The Colts’ suspect defense was shredded and abused by Alex Smith and an average offense that lost its top two running backs early last weekend. What do you think Brady is going to do with an extra week to prepare? My hunch is a lot more of the same.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      No, the Patriots are without their two additional rings because they couldn’t stop Eli and the Giants. There is a difference.

      Matt Mulligan was also on the Rams last year. Whether he is a weapon at tight end is a question only Mulligan himself can answer. Michael Hoomanawanui was a Ram in 2010 and 2011.

      If you want to call Shane Vereen a weapon, go ahead.

      No argument about Brady. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, but anyone who watched the games between the Colts and Patriots remembers David Patton, Troy Brown, Deion Branch (now a Colt), and David Patten. Not sure why Brown would be thought of as some hard to recall guy – he played forever, and very well.

      The best question about the Patriots is whether Brady is a creation of Belicheck, or whether Belichick has succeeded because of Brady? Maybe it’s a perfect marriage between coach and QB.

      Brady not taking the playoffs for granted puts him among every single quarterback who has ever played in the playoffs.

  4. Bruce

    You were fooled. Thanks for taking the bait. Shaughnessy HATES the Patriots, and this column was nothing more than a ploy to get outsiders riled up and angry.

    Every single column the guy writes he rips the Patriots, attempts to discredit them, mocks their owners, and attacks their fans.

    He did this exact same ploy last year with the Texans. They and the entire city of Houston (and even Arian Foster) fell for it too.

    He went on Indy radio yesterday, begging the Colts to come in and beat the Patriots, whom he called the worst 12-4 team in the history of the NFL, and said they have “not very good” players all over the field.

    He’s a troll, and you just fed him.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I read Shaughnessy once in awhile, and thought his column was strangely dissimilar to his normal tone.

      Good for him. Clever guy. He definitely got Indianapolis riled up.

  5. tom

    Correction… it is completely untrue that so many of Brady’s stats have declined the past three years. This years was a down year, but in both 2011 and 2012 almost all of Brady’s stats were higher than his career average at the time–hence his average numbers in all those categories were increasing. The categories in which his averages were all increasing in 2011 and 2012 include the following: Yards per season, Yards per attempts, QB rating, Touchdowns per year, touchdown to interception ratio, and more. I see very little evidence of a dropoff, especially considering this year’s obvious depletion of offensive weapons (which even you concede in this article).

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Not true at all. From 2011 to 2012, the following stats recessed – yards, completion percentage, TDs, PBR, passer rating, yards per attempt, yards per completion, and yards per game. And most of those took another ding in 2013.

      Of course, they are higher than his career numbers. He didn’t throw for 4,000+ yards until his fourth season as a full time starter – when he was more a game manager than the Brady we see today. The game has changed and the Patriots have changed.

      Many of his weapons are gone, but do the weapons make the quarterback, or does the QB make the weapons?


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