As ratings continue to soar to heights never thought to be possible, the product on the field in this 2015 NFL Season continues to bore me. In years past, I could sit on my couch and watch any NFL game on TV, without having to flip over to RedZone or scroll through twitter half the game. This year, that doesn’t quite hold true.
As of right now, there are 6 teams in the league that hold 2nd place spots in their division with a record of 6-5. The two other 2nd place teams are the 7-4 Packers, and the 5-6 Giants, who are tied for 1st in the NFC East with Washington. That whole division is under .500. And then, there are 5 teams that have records with 3 wins or less. Bad football across the board.
Last night, the Patriots visited Denver for Sunday Night Football, and finally, after a day of mediocre football, we got what we were looking for. A game.
It was the first game all day, and maybe even all year, where I was highly invested in each and every snap.
Snow-game, Brady vs. Osweiler (Manning’s successor), big plays, and some bone-crushing collisions, an art that has been lost over the past few seasons.
Although it was one of the toughest games to watch as a Pats fan, I genuinely enjoyed it. The conditions made it turn into a gritty, old-school gridiron game.
The battle up front truly resembled trench warfare. Von Miller almost single handedly won that game for Denver. He wore down the young New England O-line, and it soon became a game of just trying to slow him down, because there was no stopping him. But, the Patriots swung right back, sending linebackers from every which way, beating up the young Osweiler in the 4th quarter.
Props to Brock. Yes, the referees had a hand in that contest, but at the end of the day, this Arizona kid came to play when it meant the most. It’s easy to pack it in after a couple of brutal drives in the first half, especially being a guy who is only in his 2nd NFL start, with seemingly zero expectations. He got it done, against a phenomenal defense, under the bright lights.
What made this game so great to watch was the competitiveness. Every single guy out there wanted it, besides maybe Demarius Thomas who seems to really shy away from the big games (1 catch on 13 targets). But, from Tom’s emotion after having to take a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty, to Bill screaming some obscenities on the sideline, to C.J. Anderson putting Denver on his back to get their offense finally going. It was just incredible football to watch and be a part of as a fan.
I do wish the refs would take a step back a little with the PI and OPI calls though, because Gronk’s and Chung’s were down right absurd, and maybe had an impact on the outcome of the game. But, the rest? Letting some roughing the passer’s go, I think I’m sort of ok with. Yes, Tom got murdered when a Denver LB clobbered him after leaving his feet and the pass being thrown, but hey, this is football. And Mayo got them back the very next series with a hammer on Osweiler. Bunch of kids just playing in the snow. Love it.
As for the future of the Patriots season; I think we’re going to be all right. As Aaron Rodgers once said, “R-E-L-A-X”. New England is now 10-1 (they were 9-2 at this point last year), with some cupcakes of games ahead. Gronk is hurt, but it sounds like he’ll be back. Edelman and ‘Dola will be back, along with Hightower and Jamie Collins. All in time for the playoffs, and Patriots fans know, that’s when games really matter (looking at you Peyton 🙂 ).