Another week, another victory for the New England Patriots, who are now 5-1 on the season and 2-0 since the return of Quarterback Tom Brady. On Sunday, the Patriots were able to capture a 35-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals to retain the top spot in the AFC East, as well as capture the top seed in the entire AFC. The game also marked Brady’s first appearance at Gillette Stadium following his four game suspension, and the star did not disappoint. The crowd was electric in Foxboro on Sunday and it all started with a video montage that featured Brady highlights, pump up music, and a large Gillette Stadium welcome home for Tom Brady. Not only would that rile up the crowd, but the Patriots delivered what would end up to be a convincing victory over a resilient Bengals team.
The game started out slow for New England, with the defense allowing Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to connect all over the field. The Bengals were able to drive fairly easily in the first half, but a key goal line stand for the New England defense would swing the momentum in their favor. Midway through the 2nd quarter, Cincinnati put together a long sixteen play, 89 yard drive that appeared to be leading to a 10-point lead heading towards half time. With their backs against the wall, New England was able to stop Cincinnati on the goal line and force a turnover on downs. The Patriots would eventually convert an eight play, 75 yard touchdown drive that would propel them to a first half lead of 10-7.
It was not exactly smooth sailing for the Patriots in the first half and that trend seemed to continue at the start of the second half. The Bengals received the ball first and drove right down the field for a touchdown to give them the lead once again at 14-10. On the ensuing drive, the Patriots were once again forced to punt after a three and out, with massive pressure being put on Quarterback Tom Brady. It looked as if the Bengals were primed for another long drive to put them up by two scores, but Dont’a Hightower was able to break through the Bengals offensive line and take Quarterback Andy Dalton down for a sack and safety. The play would prove to be a momentum shift for the Patriots and they would not look back, outscoring Cincinnati 25-3 for the remainder of the game.
The game proved to be extremely positive for the Patriots, beating a desperate, under-performing Bengals squad. The offense looked to be getting back into their true form, implementing all their weapons into the game-plan. The defense looked a bit shaky at times, but stayed true to their “bend, don’t break” mentality, not allowing the Bengals into the end-zone very often and limiting star wide receiver A.J. Green. Overall, New England should be pleased with the effort put forth on Sunday and hope to continue their momentum into Week 7 in Pittsburgh against a Ben Roethisberger-less Steelers team.