Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Yeah, that's not a misprint.
The New England Patriots put 55 points on the scoreboard against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the most points anyone has ever scored agaisnt the Steelers in their 81 seasons.
Well, Rob Gronkowski is back healthy and that makes a huge difference in everything the Patriots try to do. "As you can see, he brings a lot to the table,'' said running back LeGarrette Blount. "I don’t know how many yards (143) or how many catches(9) he had, but it was a lot in both categories. He’s a major part of this offense and as long as we get him going that will open a lot of opportunities for other players, opportunities in the run game.''
Tom Brady, who threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns, didn't hide his love for Gronk.
"When he's heathy and on the field, he's tough to stop,'' said Brady. "He's a great run blcoker and what he does for us in the passing game, it's tough to match up. And if the attention goes to Gronk with extra coverage, it opens it up for all the other guys. He's a big presence on our team and when he's out there for every snap, it's going to be even better.''
There's a lot of stuff to cover from this game, so let's get to it:
- The Boston Red Sox were honored in a pre-game ceremony, with Jon Lester carrying the World Series trophy out to midfield along with nine other players, owner John Henry and third base coach Brian Butterfield, Maine's contribution to the title.
"it was an awesome experience,'' said Lester. "I'm glad I got to be part of it. I’m glad I stuck around an extra day to be part of this. It’s a good day.''
Lester said there is a special bond between the four professional teams in Boston, something Brady noted as well: "It was fun to see the players out there, They earned it. That's why you play, to win those when it matters to get that trophy. That was a really cool day.''
- The 432 passing yards by Brady were the third-highest single-game total in his career, surpassed only by 517 (against Miami on Sept. 12, 2011) and 443 (San Francisco, Dec. 16, 2012).
Brady also set an NFL record for most games with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He now had 15 such games, one more than Drew Brees.
Brady also tied an NFL record by leading the Patriots to a sixth 50-point game with him as starting quarterback, tying Kansas City's Len Dawson. He also passed Warren Moon for sixth place on NFL all-time completion list (3,992) and Fran Tarkenton for seventh on NFL all-time passing yardage list (47,062).
- The 610 total yards in offense were the third most in team history.
- The defense forced at least one turnover in its 36th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NFL. They had a forced fumble and two interceptions. The last time the Patriots did not record at least one turnover was on Oct. 9, 2011 against the Jets.
- Blount had a 5-yard touchdown run in the game's final minutes and celebrated by throwing the ball into the stands and then high-fiving the Minutemen gathered in the end zone. "It just happened, a heat of the moment thing,'' he said. "I’m passionate about this game. And it just all came out.''
And, yeah, he said. "I will get fined for (throwing the ball into the stands).''
Not that it seemed to bother him.
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.