FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots merely are “getting ready” for the Cincinnati Benals this week. That’s not quite the same as being “on to Cincinnati,” as they were two years ago.
The Patriots were coming off a 2-2 start and a 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the last time they played the Bengals on Oct. 5, 2014. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was brutal against the Chiefs, going 14-of-23 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick made comments about Brady’s age — then 37 — when the team selected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Belichick was pounded about those comments, and the state of the Patriots after their loss to the Chiefs, in his next meeting with the media.
Q: Your team has been successful for so long. How difficult is it to adjust to the adversity of Monday night’s game and get back on track? This team and organization hasn’t had these sort of issues in the past.
BB: We’re on to Cincinnati.
Q: You mentioned Tom Brady’s age at the draft —
BB: We’re on to Cincinnati.
Q: Do you think having a 37-year old —
BB: We’re on to Cincinnati. It’s nothing about the past, nothing about the future. Right now we’re preparing for Cincinnati.
Q: Do you think the talent you have here is good?
BB: We’re getting ready for Cincinnati.
Q: Do you think you’ve done enough to help Tom Brady?
BB: We’re getting ready for Cincinnati. That’s what we’re doing.
Q: As you get ready for Cincinnati, does Tom Brady have the talent and protection around him?
BB: We’re going to game plan, do the best we can to be ready to go Sunday night — same as we always do. Nothing’s changed.
“On to Cincinnati” became a rallying cry for the Patriots as they eventually won Super Bowl XLIX.
The Patriots are in a much different place as they prepare for the Bengals this season. Their “on to Cincinnati” game came last week, after the Patriots were shut out by the Buffalo Bills 16-0 at home in Week 4. Brady returned in Week 5, and the Patriots demolished the Cleveland Browns 33-13 as their QB went 28-of-40 passing for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
Belichick isn’t any more interested in discussing his quarterback this week, however.
“Right now we’re just getting the team ready to play the Bengals,” Belichick said about Brady’s four-game suspension giving him four additional weeks of rest. “They’re a really good football team.”
There will be no talk of Brady’s age nor the possibility of Garoppolo replacing him at quarterback this week. The Patriots don’t need a rallying cry after their quarterback won AFC Offensive Player of the Week, but it wouldn’t be shocking for New England to beat the Bengals as they did two years ago.
Brady went 23 of 25 for 292 yards with two touchdowns in the Patriots’ 43-17 win over the Bengals.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images