BOSTON (CBS) – As we pick up the pieces from this weekend Patriots-Ravens game, lets hand out the gold stars and the black thumbprints.
The Gold Stars
Tom Brady gets a gold star. In previous games against the Ravens, Brady has struggled. On Sunday, he dominated. When the Patriots went to the three wide receivers set, Tom was able to carve the Ravens up. This game was on his shoulders and he managed the tempo and avoided tackles extremely well. Brady looked like the Hall of Famer he is. It was easily his best game of the year.
Wes Welker gets a gold star. So much for being in the dog house, and don’t think it’s a coincidence that Brady has a good game when he starts to get the ball to Welker. His 59 yard reception down the sideline set the tone early and the put the Ravens on their heels. Welker is clearly the Patriots best receiver and needs to be more involved in the game plan.
Toucher & Rich: Fred Has Had Enough Of Replacement Refs
Stephen Gostkowski gets a gold star as his bounce back effort was right on. Gostkowski did not miss any field goals in what was a very close game and kept the Patriots in the business of putting up points. The Pats knew the character they had in Gostkowski, and it showed under the lights in Baltimore.
The Black Thumb Prints
The replacement refs deserve black thumbprints first and foremost. This is not really their fault because they are not equipped to call these NFL games. It is way too fast for them, and their bad calls are followed by make up calls, which usually means more bad calls. There were at least five or six “phantom calls” that affected the game down the stretch, and who knows what happened on that field goal. The game was a mess and the lack of respect for the officials is the main reason for it.
Bill Belichick gets a black thumbprint. I understand the frustration that coach must have had throughout the whole game and then at the end, but he cannot put his hands on an official. I would rather see coach get fined for making comments about the officials after the game, but putting his hands on an official is a no-no in every situation.
Belichick explained the situation on Monday, but he should — and will — be getting a hefty fine from the NFL for it.
Leftover Thoughts: Belichick’s Reaction Toward Refs Just Human
Rob Gronkowski gets a black thumbprint due to his absence throughout the game. Where was Gronk? He had just two catches for 21 yards and another holding call that cost the Patriots another play. Gronk is getting star coverage this season, and he needs to increase his game.
The Pats pass-rush gets a black thumb print for not putting any pressure on Joe Flacco. The Pats had zero sacks (one was called back by one of those “phantom calls”) and Flacco was able to stand tall in the pocket. Flacco called himself an elite quarterback in this league, and if you give him that much time he — as well as any QB in this league — will look elite.
Follow Levan Reid on CBSBostonsports.com and on Twitter @LevanReid all Patriots’ season long!