The New England Patriots and the Media – Excerpt One

New England plays Miami in the first game of a double header on Monday Night Football’s 2011 opening night. Fergie is singing, but the bar has the volume down, which is probably a good thing. I use the cue to go smoke a cigarette on the bar’s back deck/patio.

When I get back in the bar, Miami is on the move. They stall at New England’s 23 but convert on 4th and 1. A few plays later, it’s 1st and goal at the 2-yard line, but Miami gets confused and uses their 2nd timeout. Coming out of the timeout Chad Henne gets sacked for an 8-yard loss. However, on 3rd and goal from the 9-yard line, Henne gets a TD on a draw.

The Patriots’ defense looks half a step slow.

New England’s first offensive drive starts on the 22-yard line. It’s an empty backfield and Tom Brady has time but can’t find anyone open and throws out of bounds. But, it’s offsides on Miami. On 2nd and 2 at their 30-yard line, Brady drops back and throws a 41-yard pass to WR Matthew Slater, who had mainly played special teams his first three seasons in the league. On 1st and goal, BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs it in from four yards out. All of New England’s plays result in positive yards.

There are signs in the stadium for Myra Kraft, owner Robert Kraft’s late wife, who passed away during the summer. The Patriots wear an oval badge with her initials “MHK.”

Miami goes punts after three plays in their next possession.

After a 5-yard illegal formation penalty on the first play of their second offensive possession, Brady slices through Miami’s defense in seven

plays for a touchdown. It takes all of 2:54.

For the game, New England amasses 622 yards. Brady throws 32-48 for 517 passing yards, 4 TDs and 1 Int. It’s highlighted by a 99-yard TD pass to Wes Welker to ice the game. Regarding the play, Brady deflects personal praise, “I only threw it 25 yards. Wes did all the work. When I saw him break away, that was awesome. Coach never lets us run that route in practice.”

Watching the play is impressive in its minute details. From their 1-yard line, the Patriots start with an empty backfield and Brady in a shotgun formation. The blitz comes and Brady lofts the ball over Dolphins cornerback Benny Sapp into the hands of Welker, who’s in full stride. Not the fastest player, Welker straight arms Sapp in the right shoulder and runs the rest of the way.

The game is all Brady, but lurking in the background is head coach Bill Belichick, the ominous and secretive figure loved and loathed by those in the NFL.

Come back for more on the New England Patriot’s coach.

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