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Sunday 7: Tom Brady, Bill Belichick miles above rest of NFL quarterbacks, head coaches

Ryan Hannable
December 10, 2017 - 6:00 am

1. Everyone can agree Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the best quarterback and head coach in the NFL, but this season it’s stood out just how much better the pair are than even the next tier of quarterbacks and coaches. Thursday’s Falcons-Saints game was a perfect example of it. Matt Ryan and Drew Brees are among the best in the league and the game proved how much better Brady is. Brees had a chance to lead his team to a game-winning touchdown in the closing minutes, but threw an interception in the end zone. When is the last time this happened with Brady in a situation like that? When the game is on the line, Brady is usually at his best. Ryan, the NFL’s MVP last season, threw three interceptions, including one horrible one on a pass intended for Julio Jones in the end zone. The last time Brady threw three or more interceptions was Sept. 25, 2011 when he threw four in Buffalo. On the other hand, since 2011 Ryan has eight games with three or more interceptions. Just watching these two play, it was evident just how much better Brady really is. Then as it relates to Belichick, look at Sean Payton and what he did at the end of the game, getting a penalty which ended any hope the Saints had of winning the game. Has Belichick ever done that? The larger point with Belichick is just watching games every Sunday shows how much smarter the coach is than the rest of NFL coaches. Heck, some NFL coaches don’t even know all the rules. Everyone can tell how good Brady and Belichick are, but what goes underlooked is just how much better the two are than the rest of the league. With the Patriots off on Sunday, watch a few games, it won’t take long to realize how lucky Patriots fans are to watch these two every week.

2. Speaking at his weekly press conference, Jimmy Garoppolo was told of all the hype he’s generated with the 49ers fan base after his game-winning field goal drive last week. "The Joe Montana comparisons, I think it's a little early for those. It's only been one game," Garoppolo told reporters. "We are both Italian, so we have that in common. But it might be a little early. We've got a good thing going right now, we have to keep working hard, keep improving every week and keep this thing going in the right direction." Garoppolo still isn’t signed for next season, but even if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal he can be franchised, which will earn him over $20 million.

3. Brady apologized again to Josh McDaniels for his sideline outburst during Saturday's press conference at Gillette Stadium. The QB already addressed it multiple times during the week, so from this perspective it was unneccesary, but clearly a sign of how much McDaniels means to Brady, but also Brady caring about the outside perspecption of what happened.

4. Rob Gronkowski has been in the news a bunch this week following his late hit on Tre’Davious White last Sunday. When White spoke on Thursday for the first time since the game, he called Gronkowski a dirty player. This raises the question, is the tight end a dirty player? No, he isn’t. Not even close. One bad decision does not equate to him being considered dirty. Gronkowski’s frustrations got the best of him and he certainly will learn from it and likely make sure it doesn’t happen again.

5. It was interesting this week listening to players talk that they know they can clinch the AFC East with a win over the Dolphins (they also can clinch with a Buffalo loss to the Colts). Usually players are just always focused on the task at hand of beating the opponent that week, but when one of the season goals is attainable, it’s noted. “You know what's at stake,” Devin McCourty said. “You'd be lying if you say you don't know what's there. That's the reason we play games, to try to win championships. So I never take that for granted. The opportunity to get to play for a championship is tough. We talk about winning in December but obviously you've got to do some things right throughout the whole season to have that opportunity.”

6. Not only has McDaniels been connected to the Giants this week, but so has Nick Caserio, as their general manager’s job is also now open. It would be interesting if the two would ever be viewed as a pair like McDaniels and Louis Riddick were said to be last year with the 49ers. For Caserio specifically, it seems he’s viewed around the league as the guy who makes most of the decisions with the Patriots (agents and other GMs typically deal directly with him), but does he want to be known as the guy who makes the decisions to the general public and have the GM title with a NFL team? If the two ever decided they wanted to go to the Giants, Belichick likely would give them his full support given his connection to the franchise.

7. Following the Dolphins game Monday, the Patriots’ attention will immediately shift to the Steelers and the biggest game of the regular season next Sunday in Pittsburgh. The game will in all likelihood decide the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Even though the Steelers will have one extra day to prepare, the Patriots may have an advantage as the Steelers played arguably the most physical game of the year last Monday night and will have another physical game Sunday night against the Ravens.

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