The New England Patriots shut out the Atlanta Falcons 25-0 on Thursday night 25-0. That’s five straight wins for the Pats, and their record stands at 7-4 through Week 11.
They also have the No. 2 point differential in the NFL at +123. Not bad for head coach Bill Belichick and rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
It wasn’t so long ago that Belichick and his former quarterback, the GOAT, Tom Brady were winning Super Bowls and dominating the league. But the two had a nasty breakup and the race to see who could win without the other was on.
Well, Brady got that one done.
The GOAT won his seventh Super Bowl title last season, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs. He also picked up his fifth Super Bowl MVP for good measure.
This led many to ask the question, who was the real key to all the success in New England? Brady or Belichick?
Let’s pump the brakes on this silly debate.
Football is the ultimate team game. You know the saying, “eleven as one.”
Quarterbacks get way too much credit for team success. Especially when you consider they only play on one side of the ball.
The Patriots dynasty was a result of many people bringing their individual talents together and earning success.
Owner Bob Kraft and his son Jonathan. Belichick’s considerable coaching acumen, Brady’s leadership, mastery of the offense, and knack for delivering on the biggest stage. The countless players on the offensive and defensive lines and position players that do their jobs and often exceed them.
This was never about only Belichick and Brady. But such is the narrative.
Brady winning a Super Bowl while the Pats struggled is more about circumstance than anything. Yes, he was excellent as usual. But the Bucs were a ready made situation. An excellent defense with good skill position players that needed a better quarterback.
Insert Brady and voila.
The Pats had to retool and rebuild, particularly their line play. Not really an apple to apples comparison.
Fast forward to this season, and the Bucs are struggling a little, losing two in a row with Brady looking slightly mortal. Meanwhile the Pats are looking like they have a formula for postseason success.
The line play on both sides of the ball is strong. The running game looks solid. The defense is opportunistic and the quarterback isn’t making mistakes. They have the look of another Pats team from two decades ago. Well, that’s if you believe FS1 talking head and noted Pats fan Kevin Wildes.
"Not only is Mac Jones the real deal the Patriots' dynasty is back on track, America!"
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) November 19, 2021
Following Thursday’s win, cornerback J.C. Jackson and Jones were effusive in their praise of their team’s defense.
“I don’t want to brag too much,” cornerback J.C. Jackson said, “but I feel like we got one of the best defenses in the league right now.”
“That’s something that you always have in the back of your mind, as a quarterback, you know you have a really good defense,” Jones said. “You can try to get a feel for the way the game is being played based on the way they’re playing too.”
It’s only week 11 and the Pats’ next four games will tell us if this is real or fool’s gold. They play the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, and the Bills again, with a bye week before the last Bills game.
If they split or come out of these four games 3-1, look out.
Brady may have won round one of the divorce. But Belichick and his new boo Jones look like they’re doing just fine.