New England Head Coach Bill Belichick preaches each and every week to his players three simple but strong words... "Do Your Job". His team responded in a big way on Sunday, and they did their job very well. Minnesota signal caller Matt Cassel capped an opening 7 play 80 yard drive with a touchdown pass to Matt Asiata an the Vikings had a 7-0 lead, and that marked 30 consecutive points given up by the Patriots defense, dating back to last week in Miami. But that was all the men clad in purple would get.
The Patriot defense looked the part that they were billed as in the preseason. Defensive end Chandler Jones led the unit with 2 sacks and returned a blocked field goal 58 yards for a score just before halftime to take a controlling 24-7 lead at the break. The Pats aggressive and physical defense forced Cassel to cough up 4 interceptions and chants for backup first round draft choice Teddy Bridgewater began ringing throughout the 52,350 in attendance at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The victors added two Stephen Gostkowski field goals in a dominating second half and in an uncanny twist on numbers, scored the final 30 points in their 30-7 victory.
On offense they had more of something we haven't seen as much in recent years. A relatively balanced attack. Tom Brady was a modest 15-22 for 150 yds. and a touchdown while as a team they carried the ball 30 times for a solid 150 yards on the ground. Stevan Ridley led the way with 25 carries for 101 and 1 touchdown. More importantly, an offensive line that was torched a week earlier looked much more cohesive limiting the Vikes to just 1 sack of Brady and opening holes to the point of 4 yards a carry per rushing attempt. The Patriots moved to 1-1 with the victory and entertain The Oakland Raiders in their home opener on Sunday.
News and Notes:
The Vikings Matt Cassel made his first career start on a college football field. He did not start a game a USC and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are the temporary home of the Vikes while their new stadium is being built.
The Pats defense allowed multiple yards after contact on only three carries, a big improvement from week 1 when the Dolphins Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno had four times as many (12).
Chandler Jones blocked field for a touchdown was the first special teams touchdown since week 12 of 2012 against the New York Jets.
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