Credit: Kato Leonard
The Patriots went into last Sunday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals expected to lose. Not only were the Patriots missing Tom Brady but also two starting offensive tackles, Running Back Dion Lewis, and their star tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Cardinals came into the season expecting to have one of the leagues best defenses after an offseason in which they acquired Chandler Jones in a trade with the Patriots. This game however was oddly reminiscent of a past Patriots game. It was reminiscent of septmber 30, 2001 when a skinny quarterback out of Michigan, by the name of Tom Brady made his NFL debut against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.The rest would be history.
In that game Brady was replacing an Injured Drew Bledsoe and like Garrapolo made his NFL debut against a team expected to be very good. The Patriots would go on to win that game by a score of 44-13. Brady threw for 168 yards while Manning threw three interceptions. Garrapolo like Brady did what the Patriots asked him to which was to play his best. He ran the offense like a veteran as the Patriots controlled the game from the onset. During the preseason Garoppolo came under fire for holding onto the ball to much in the pocket. On Sunday that was a non issue. This was particulary impressive considering who the Patriots were playing. Through mixing and matching Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was able to keep the Cardinals frustrated.
Belichick didn’t allow the Cardinals to burn the Patriots with the deep pass which is the most threating part of the Cardinals offensive attack. This made it hard for the Cardinals to get into rhythm because they couldn’t do what they wanted. Many people expected this to be a hard game for the Patriots but not for this franchise or this coach. Since Brady took over as a starter he has only missed 16 starts in his career. The majority of those missed starts were a result of a season ending knee injury Brady suffered in week one of the 2008 season. In games which Brady has not started the Patriots are 11-5. There is no replacing Tom Brady however Belichick has been able to find success without his starting QB wether its due to an injury or suspension. As the Patriots have proven time and time again this is not a team you bet against. Whatever the challenge the Patriots usually rise above which is why it is a franchise one should not bet against.