The Patriots thoroughly dominated the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night, easily winning the divisional round contest 35-14. The Pats fell behind early, but rattled off 35 straight points to help them secure their seventh straight appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
Here are a few takeaways from yesterday’s game.
1. Brady is back!
Brady had a shaky end to the 2017 regular season, as he had several uneven performances which featured uncharacteristic mistakes by #12. Brady erupted against the hapless Titans secondary, throwing for over 300 yards and three scores. TB12 looked comfortable in the pocket, and was not sacked by Tennessee. Many pundits in the media wondered how Brady and the Pats would respond to the outside noise regarding the alleged rift between TB12 and Bill Belichick, and the 40-year-old quarterback was able to silence his doubters with a vintage performance. If Brady continues to play at this level, it will be very hard for opposing defenses to stop the Patriots.
2. The Super Bowl LI heroes strike again!
Back in last February’s Super Bowl LI, the Patriots completed a monster comeback with the help of playmakers such as Danny Amendola and James White, who scored all of the team’s points (other than 2 field goals). Both of them were back at it today, with Amendola corralling 11 catches for 112 yards, and White scoring on both a rushing and a passing touchdown. White was inactive down the stretch for the Patriots during the regular season, and his presence clearly helped the Patriots last night.
3. Don’t count out the Patriots defense
Similarly to last year’s Super Bowl squad, the 2017-18 Pats’ defense has been unheralded all season, with most skeptics believing that their supposed inability to stop the run and get after the quarterback would doom them in the playoffs. The Patriots’ defense was dominant throughout last night’s game, as they sacked Marcus Mariota 8 times, and held Derrick Henry to 12 carries for 28 yards. After giving up a touchdown in the first quarter, the Pats didn’t give up a point until garbage time in the fourth quarter. If the Patriots’ defense continues to play like this, they will have a good chance of defending their title.
What’s next: The Pats will play the winner of today’s bout between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.