BOSTON (CBS) — So now the Pats have themselves in the 8th AFC Championship Game in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. Last week’s win against the Colts was at first a squeaker and then it turned into a blo out. Here are your gold stars and penalty flags.
LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots offensive line deserve gold stars. I think we all believe he’s become the most valuable player on this team at the moment. What he’s doing while splitting time carrying the ball is incredible. The Pats offensive line has decided to change the culture of the offense at the end of the season. They have made Josh McDaniels stick with the running game because it’s working, and at the right time, the Patriots have become a power running team. LeGarrette has followed his blocks and the holes have been there. This is something the Pats have been able to count on. On a team with Tom Brady, they are running the ball and it’s awesome.
Jamie Collins gets a gold star. How far has this young man come? In training camp, all we heard was how good he was going to be and then it all disappeared. Jamie has stepped up at the end of the season and he had his best game against the Colts, making six tackles, recording a sack and three quarterback hits, and making an interception. That is an all-around game from a very strong rookie. I know the day started out with news on Brandon Spikes. The Pats may have found his replacement.
Tom Brady gets a gold star. Tom Brady is showing so much unselfishness. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback and he’s handing the ball off for the better of the team. He checked to the run more times on Sunday than he’s ever done in the past. He knew it was working and he went to it. When he needed to pass, he then got the job done. Also, when the Pats needed him to hold for the kicker, he was right there like it was no issue. We are starting to see even more of his intangibles.
Alfonzo Dennard gets a gold star. Dennard’s interception to open the game put the Pats defense on the green light. They started rolling in the right direction and from there, it was on. Dennard added another to seal the game. He’s physical and he’s always around the ball. That’s what the Pats need in him.
Ryan Allen gets a penalty flag. I know he got hurt so it might be in poor taste to give him a penalty but when there was a bad snap he tried to throw the ball instead of kick the ball out of the end zone. That got him hurt He’s been great all season long. Just remember to kick the ball out of the end zone.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.