No Luck Needed: Patriots Week 11 Recap

The Patriots tied a franchise record for points to improve to 7-3 while showing everyone that Andrew Luck has a long way to go until he can be compared to Tom Brady. This is the Pats fourth straight win as they now hold a commanding three game lead in the AFC East. Several players shined in the win, but Tom Brady has now put himself in the MVP discussion with his 19th, 20th, and 21st touchdowns of the season, while maintaining only 3 interceptions in this years campaign.

Talib Impresses in Premiere - Heading into this week’s matchup against the Colts, there were two headlines: Luck versus Brady, and the premier of “defensive savior” Aqib Talib. While the QB matchup didn’t live up to the hype, Talib made sure to make his impact early on with an interception returned for a touchdown (59 yards). Talib’s athletic, zigzagging return showed New England defenders what they had been missing all season. While Talib was beat for a touchdown later in the 4th quarter, his impact was significant and should improve a defense that has ranked near the bottom of the NFL in most significant statistical categories this season.

Gronk Stays Hot – Despite the absence of fellow tight-end phenom Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski has still been able to handle his increasingly challenging role of performing at a high level while being injured and double-covered throughout each and every game. All Gronk did today was put up 137 receiving yards, adding 2 touchdowns followed by a pair of his trademarked “Gronk spikes."  With six games left in the regular season it is safe to say that Gronkowski has a realistic chance of tying or surpassing his NFL record of 17 receiving touchdowns by a tight end, which he set last season.

Edelman’s Doing Just Fine – It may be hard to find a player have a wider impact on the result of a game than Julian Edelman had today. First, Edelman had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in which he weaved his way through oncoming defenders while staying in bounds on the far sideline all the way to the endzone. Edelman then had a strip for a fumble on an Indianapolis punt return, and even though the Colts recovered the fumble, he made a statement that special teams are where he can thrive on this team. Julian went on to have a few more deep punt returns into Indianapolis territory and topped his career day off with a short touchdown reception from Tom Brady. A great day at the office for Mr. Edelman, indeed.

Defense Continues to Thrive off Turnovers – If there is one thing the Patriots defense has consistently done this year it is cause turnovers and win the overall turnover battle. While it helps that Tom Brady hasn’t thrown an interception since week 7, the Pats still tend to force more turnovers than there opponents, and this is one aspect of the game that they can be proud of. Today was easily one of the most impressive defensive performances dating back to the 16-0 team, as New England had three interceptions overall, with two being returned for touchdowns. Add a fumble caused by Rob Ninkovic in the 2nd half and the Pats defense stayed true to its identity as a turnover machine, as they now lead the NFL in turnover differential.

Top Note: Julian Edelman is the first Patriot since 1985 with a receiving touchdown and punt return for a touchdown in the same game.

Up Next: The Pats head to New York this Thursday (Thanksgiving night) to take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium at 8:20 PM. 

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