Ranking the best Patriots’ games since 2010: part one

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October 4, 2018 by squish

Written by Ryan Delaney

The New England Patriots have been a wagon as long as I can remember. Some take them for granted and easily forget the grit and excellence they play with year after year. I’m going to highlight a game from each year from 2010 to the present so we all can relive that magic.

2010

Week 13 vs Jets: W 45-3

I’ve always seen the 2010 season as the beginning of the second act of this dynasty. It came on the heels of back to back seasons where the Patriots were good, but never really a threat. 2008 was lost due to Brady’s knee injury in week 1, despite finishing 11-5. Then, 2009 they finished 10-6, won the division, but were dismantled in the wild card game by the Ravens 30-13. This was the first time people actually began to believe Brady might’ve been nearing the end. All that was settled once the 2010 season arrived. It finished in devastating fashion, losing to the Jets 28-21 at home in the divisional round, the last time they didn’t make it to an AFC title game, but there were still a lot of positives to take out of this season. 14-2 showed the dynasty was alive, and Brady was also the first player to be named unanimous league MVP, finishing with 36 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions.

There were a lot of hard fought, statement games from this season, but the one that really stands out to me was week 13, Monday Night Football at home against the Jets. Having lost to them in week 2, 28-14, and it the midst of the tightest division battle Brady had been a part of since 2002, the Patriots needed to play their best game. Rex Ryan and the Jets continued to talk for the 11 weeks leading up to this game, and to their credit, they backed it up. That was until it was time to nut and show what they were made of on national TV in New England. It was one of the classic Belichick games where he just showed how much better he was than everyone else. The Pats got to work and immediately beat that ass. 17-zip by the end of the first and 24-3 at half and the game was already over. Brady finished with 326 yards, 4 TDs, and no picks, while Sanchez had 0 TDs and 3 picks. The divisional was on lock, and it looked like the Jets were cooked as they stumbled into the playoffs, barely getting the 6 seed. Then they eventually got the last laugh making an AFC title run for the 2nd year in a row, eventually losing to the Steelers 24-19.

 

2011

Week 6 vs Cowboys: W 20-16

I was actually surprised looking back 2011 by how not memorable the games were from that season, despite that fact that they nearly won the Super Bowl. When you actually examine it, you come to the harsh realization that they really weren’t that good that year, mainly because of their defense. Brady was honestly the big reason they made it as far as they did, with big help from Welker and Gronk. Realistically, they never should’ve got by Baltimore, as I truly think the Ravens had the better team. Also, I don’t think they should’ve lost to the Giants, because I think the gap between the two was bigger than it was in 07, but it’s in the past now.

All three of their losses from the regular season were actually very good games, all of which they could’ve won had a few things gone their way. However, the game that stood out to me was week 6 against Dallas at home. This game was literally the mirror image of the game they’d play three weeks later against the Giants, except for the fact that the result was the opposite. It was tight, low scoring battle, with most of the scoring happening in the second quarter. At half, the Patriots lead 13-10, but then wouldn’t score again until 27 seconds remained in the game. Dallas lead 16-13 with 2:36 left on the clock. It was time for Brady to unleash one of his patented ice man drives that we’ve seen so many times, which was exactly what he did. The Pats marched 80 yards down the field in 2:09 with the finishing blow being an 8-yard TD strike to Aaron Hernandez to put the game away. The only good thing for Dallas fans was that it wasn’t a slow painful death, it was still painful just quick. 80 yards in 2:09, stitch’em up and get’em a body bag. On to the next one.

 

2012

Week 15 vs 49ers: L 41-34

Til the day I die I will always say that the 2012 Patriots were best team that no one will ever remember. With a rocky start to the season at 3-3, they kicked it into another gear, winning 9 of their next 10 and finishing 12-4. They looked primed to finally end the title drought and many fans, including myself believed it was going to happened. They looked like an unstoppable force, especially with the other unconvincing AFC teams and the way they handled the “competition” down the stretch. The Pats finished the season with an 11-1 record vs AFC teams, leaving no reason to doubt they would be at least in the Super Bowl. The lone loss came against the Ravens on the road in week 3 with a controversial finish. Baltimore was one of the other contenders, but stumbling into the playoffs at 10-6 and barely grabbing a 4 seed left no one thinking they would take down Denver in the divisional, let alone New England. We all know how this one ends though. Flacco pulls a miracle out of his ass in Denver, they bury New England the next week and finally sneak by San Fran in the Super Bowl to take home their second Lombardi. It stings but not as much as other years, even though they had a +226 point differential and their best defense to date since 2006.

The 2012 season was filled with plenty of games that could’ve made this list, but one stands out above the rest. Most people probably wouldn’t pick this one as their top game as it is the lone loss on this list, but week 15 at home vs the 49ers is the one for me. I have a vivid memory of watching this game as a freshman in high school on Sunday Night Football on a 10-inch mini TV in my room. People always say the Patriots are never out of a game, but this was the first time I really understood that they are truly never out of a game. At half the Patriots trailed 17-3 and things only got worse from there. It looked like one of those nights where they were just flat and straight up didn’t have it. Then something finally clicked when they trailed 31-3 with just over 10 minutes to go in the 3rd. Brady rallied the troops and mounted a furious comeback, tying the game in less than 20 game minutes. It was truly something I thought these eyes would never see the likes of again. That was until it literally happened again less than a calendar year later against Denver and then again in Super Bowl 51 against Atlanta. LaMichael James was able to steal the moment back with huge kick return into New England territory that setup the winning score. The 49ers ultimately took the game 41-34, but it this showed the Patriots were legit and they had absolutely no quit in them, and it’s truly a shame how the season finished up.

 

2013

Week 6 vs Saints: W 30-27

2013 was a weird year because it was right in the middle of all he success the Patriots have had since 2010, but it was the one year out of the past eight that it just seemed like they didn’t have it. There was lot of turnover in the offseason, the defense was rebuilding, and a plethora of injuries plagued them from start to finish. With that being said, they still made the AFC Championship where they eventually lost to Denver 26-16. Despite the double digit loss, they still fought to the bitter end and I don’t think anyone doubts that for a second. Outside of that, there were a lot of highlights from the season, even with all the problems and question marks along the way. I honestly don’t know if I can find another season with as many memorable games as this one had with some wins and losses. Most people would probably pick the 24 point second half comeback against the Broncos or the miracle onside kick game against the Browns, but the Saints game stands above the rest.

The Patriots had just dropped their first game of the year the previous week in 13-6 defeat to Cincinnati in just a terrible game. It was the first time Brady hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass in almost five seasons and there was no guarantee coming the next week against the undefeated Saints. For most of the game it looked like the Patriots were in control, leading 17-7 at half and then 23-17 midway through the fourth quarter. That’s when things began to fall apart, however, as the Saints scored 10 unanswered points and the game looked out of reach.  Trailing 27-23 the Patriots got the ball deep in their own territory with just over 2 minutes to go. The Patriots failed to convert on 4th down, giving the Saints excellent field position, but the defense held them to just a field goal, and leaving what looked to be one more chance for New England. On the first play of the drive, Brady threw a pick that looked to seal it. Thankfully, the defense came up huge and forced the Saints to punt, once again giving Brady one last chance for a miracle. This one, however, would be one of his most improbable. Having to drive 70 yards in 1:13 and no timeouts, Brady began one of the greatest game winning drives of his career. The Patriots marched down field in 8 plays in 1:08, with the winning touchdown coming on a 17-yard strike to Kenbrell Thompkins in the back corner of the end zone. The famous unicorns, show ponies play. Truly one of the greatest comebacks on Tom Brady’s legacy and one that will be remembered for a long time around these parts.

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