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The New England Patriots have made some uncharacteristic plays this season. Fumbles, penalties, missed kicks, dropped passes and bad offensive play calling contributed to the Patriots 1-2 start. With their backs on the wall, down 21-7 at Buffalo, the Pats needed to make some plays we aren't used to seeing the 2012 team make. New England did that, and the Patriots are now 2-2.

On third down in the Bills' red zone, the Patriots desperately needed a touchdown to make it a one-possession game. Tom Brady eluded the pass rush, scrambled to his left and found an open Danny Woodhead for a touchdown. The next drive for New England, Brady scored on a 4-yard scamper to tie the game at 21. We've seen Brady scramble and score a rushing touchdown before, but both plays were a little out of the ordinary for Pats' touchdown plays.

The Patriots haven't had two running backs go over 100 yards in the same game since 1980. Brandon Bolden rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, while Stevan Ridley tacked on 106 and two scores. We haven't seen the Pats' backfield dominate a game like that between the tackles in a long time. Although some of the plays called by Josh McDaniels this season have been suspect, the emergence of the running game, especially in New England's two wins, has been key.

Last week in Baltimore we saw something Patriots fans have been accustomed to recently. The Pats' secondary broke down and gave up long passes and huge chunks of yardage in a loss. Although New England still gave up the yardage against Buffalo, we saw the secondary contribute to the victory. Devin McCourty had a bounce back game with two interceptions. Since his Pro Bowl rookie season, the norm for McCourty has been break downs in the secondary, pass interferences and frustrating coverage. McCourty looked like Ty Law yesterday. Tavon Wilson and Jerod Mayo added interceptions. The defense gave up 28 points, but forced six turnovers.

In the last few seasons, we've seen the Patriots win big in shootouts. But yesterday seemed different. Vince Wilfork said New England showed that they showed they had the "heart of a champions" coming back to win big over the Bills. We've heard Wilfork and others in Foxboro say that before. But maybe this season the Patriots will prove they have hearts of champions in a way they've never shown before.

Colin McDonough 10/01/2012 01:00:00 PM Edit
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