December 9, 2016

50th Anniversary Minute – the 2007 Patriots

By Brendon Rosenau, Patriots Daily Staff

It’s a year that in all honesty will never get the recognition it truly deserves. Since the NFL expanded to a 16 game schedule, only one team has managed to run the table in the regular season. Only one team in the NFL has won 18 straight games in one season. Yet, the 2007 New England Patriots will forever be remembered for the one game they did not win, the final, and most important game of the year, the Super Bowl. Frequently lost in the catastrophic loss were all the other notable events of the year. We all remember the records set by Tom Brady and Randy Moss, but let’s revisit some of the other happenings of the year.

The year started off on a tragic note when defensive end Marquise Hill drowned in his home state of Louisiana. Throughout the year the Patriots honored Hill with a 91 decal on their helmets.

Feeling that Brady needed better targets to throw to, the Patriots completed an offseason for the ages when the acquired three top flight receivers for minimal price. Moss was netted for a fourth round pick, Wes Welker was had for a second and seventh round pick, and Donte Stallworth was signed as a free agent. Kelly Washington was also added through free agency and would be a dynamite special teams player for the Pats. On defense they signed former Ravens standout Adalius Thomas to form a veteran line backing crew that became known as the brotherhood. The team also had a long contract battle with Asante Samuel, whom they eventually where able to franchise.

The season opened with a resounding 38-14 win over the Jets. Ellis Hobbs returned the second half kick an NFL record 108 yards and we got a glimpse of how good Moss would be when he caught 9 passes for 183 yards and a TD. All good feelings where lost when the Spygate incident came to the front page of the papers. That is all I am saying about that subject.

The Pats then smoked a vengeful San Diego team by the same score serving notice that New England was the team to beat. Thomas earned his Pat Patriot logo when he scored on a 65-yard pick six. The Patriots then rolled. In Week Six they hung 48 on the road in Dallas and followed that with a 49 point outing against the Dolphins and a 52-7 win over the Redskins.

The teams first test came in Indy. The Pats trailed 13-7 at the half and 20-10 with under 10 minutes to play in the fourth. However, a Moss 55-yar grab set up a Welker TD. After the defense nearly forced a turnover, Brady led a game winning drive with Kevin Faulk catching the winner. Jarvis Green stripped Peyton Manning on the Colts last drive and Rosevelt Colvin recovered the clinch the win.

The Pats had two other big time scores, as they allowed A.J. Feeley to throw for 345 yards in a Sunday night win. Feeley made two critical mistakes, both to Samuel, that allowed the Pats to move to 11-0. The next week on Monday night the Patriots snuck by the Ravens 27-24 when the Pats took advantage of several Ravens miscues late in the game. Frequently forgotten was Mark Clayton’s Hail Mary reception on the game’s final play that feel inches shy of the goaline.

The Pats concluded the regular season with a 38-35 win over the Giants.

What do you remember about that year? Set the disappointment aside and relive one of the most enjoyable NFL seasons in years.

Leaders

  • Tom Brady – 440-652 (1st NFL), 4,806 yards (1st), 50 TD (NFL Record), 8 INT, 300.4 yards per game (1st), 8.3 yards per attempt (1st), 117.2 rating (1st), NFL MVP
  • Laurence Maroney – 835 yards, 6 TD
  • Wes Welker 112 receptions (T-1st), 1,175 yards, 8TD
  • Randy Moss 98 receptions (T-8th), 1,493 yards (2nd), 23 TD (NFL Record), 138 points scored (2nd)
  • Ellis Hobbs 26.0 kick return average, 1 KR TD
  • Stephen Gostkowski 74-74 PAT (1st), 21-24 FG, 137 points (3rd)
  • Tedy Bruschi 93 tackles
  • Mike Vrabel 12.5 sacks (T-6th)
  • Asante Samuel 6 INT (T-5th)

ALL PRO (1st Team)
Tom Brady (QB), Randy Moss (WR), Matt Light (LT), Mike Vrabel (LOLB), Asante Samuel (LCB)

Pro Bowl
Brady, Moss, Light, Logan Mankins (LG), Dan Koppen (C), Vince Wilfork (NT), Vrabel, Samuel

Comments

  1. Chris Warner says:

    Ah, you say set the disappointment aside, but I think Bruce summed it up best in his year-end column: http://www.patriotsdaily.com/2008/02/the-most-miserable-18-1-season-in-history/

    The Pats were a target throughout the year. People point to the ‘gate, but it may have begun with Deion Branch sitting out and getting traded. Lines were definitely drawn then. You had the Miami Dolphins (who seem absent this year) jumping to every mic within a mile, to the point where Don Shula openly rooted against the Pats in the MNF booth at Baltimore.

    For all the records and excitement, I wish that season had never happened. Brutal.

  2. Seeing how comically wrong Borges’ sources were as to Moss’s having lost a step was nice.
    The Ravens game 4th and short time out was memorable as well.

  3. I agree with Chris. Maybe it was different for people in NE, but I was living in Wisconsin at the time. And when the spygate thing came out, everyone who’s teams got beaten by the patriots (which was a lot of teams) or were jealous of their success or didn’t like Belichick suddenly had a rationalization for their dislike which made the whole season us. vs. the world. And it wasn’t that fun. At best, it could have been really satisfying had the Patriots taken care of business. I think that was the worst lost I have ever experience. I didn’t talk to anyone for a couple of weeks, and I didn’t even bother watching football the next year which I had decided even before the Brady injury. Why? Because there was no next year. There was no hope they could avenge that loss. The odds of them being undefeated again in the Superbowl are next to zero. I suppose in way it was good, since I realized caring that much about football isn’t worth it. That team succeeded in many ways, but one of which was ruining my love of football.

  4. Naturally, I have very bittersweet feelings about that season. The Spygate nonsense still enrages me, because in the end, all it was about was stealing signals–a practice, however it’s accomplished, that is carried out by every single team in every single sport (baseball included) that uses hand signals. The hullaballoo over Spygate was completely insane, and it grates on me to this day.

    Then we had “running-up-the-score-gate,” another ridiculous overreaction considering that the only team they really appeared to be running it up on was Washington (still not sure why Belichick did that–maybe it went back to his days facing Joe Gibbs when BB was with the Giants?). The Miami game on the road was not a running-up-the-score event. Cassel had just thrown a pick-six to get Miami to within three TDs, and Belichick wanted to make sure that they put the game out of reach, so he re-inserted Brady for one more series. Against Dallas, they ran Kyle Freakin’ Eckel into the middle of the defense three times from the Dallas 8-yard line in the final 2 minutes, and Dallas couldn’t stop him….that was running up the score? Another ridiculous media premise that was way overhyped.

    The season was fun, for the most part, but the constant media scrutiny and criticism just wore me down as a fan, and by the time Tomase completely ruined my Super Bowl Sunday with his fake walkthrough story before the game was even played, I just wanted the damn season to be over—-I can imagine what all of that stuff did to the players.

    Losing the Super Bowl, in retrospect, shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise because, quite frankly, the team peaked at Buffalo in Game #10 and then began to struggle for the rest of the season. San Diego would have beaten them in the AFC title game, I think, had Tomlinson, Rivers and Gates all been playing at 100%. The Giants’ pass rush was just unreal in the Super Bowl, and it’s a shame that what would have been another fantastic Brady 4th quarter drive to win a Super Bowl game was wiped from the memory banks by the freakish helmet catch, a dropped interception (by Mr. “Get Paid” himself), and also by the refs putting the yellow hankies in their pockets on the helmet catch play (two blatant offensive holding penalties ignored on the very same play–what are the odds?).

    I also don’t think we’ll ever really know just how injured Brady was in that Super Bowl. I mean, if he was seen wearing a boot on his foot after the San Diego game, it couldn’t have been a “minor” injury.

    Looking back, it was a season that changed the team forever, because they now throw first and ask questions later on offense, which was not how they used to do things when they were winning Super Bowls (they were a much more balanced attacked under Charlie Weis). They also, for the first time in the Belichick Era, got outcoached in a big game (the Giants’ coaching staff coached circles around them in Super Bowl XLII)–that is a trend that two years later, disturbingly, hasn’t been reversed either.

    But you know, the banner that says “16-0 regular season” hanging in Foxboro may LOOK lame and stupid to some people—but the 2007 Pats are still the only team that can lay claim to that accomplishment, so in the end, the season still meant something.

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