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Why the Patriots’ playoff hopes might hinge on Bill Belichick fooling Joe Burrow – Boston Herald


FOXBORO  — One week after he out-dueled Tom Brady, the young quarterback who has come closest to resembling Brady in the NFL’s modern era is coming to knock out Bill Belichick.

Joe Burrow, or “Joe Cool,” as he’s known in Cincinnati, a repurposed nickname from Brady’s idol, Joe Montana, will be a rare favorite to roll into Foxboro on Saturday. He’s surrounded by a receiving corps that Pats safety Devin McCourty described as “probably the best” this week. And he’s riding a six-game win streak, longest in the AFC.

How can the Patriots stop Burrow?

Fool him.

This week, several Patriots defenders stressed the need to disguise their coverages against Burrow, who in his third year has developed into a complete pocket passer. He is no longer becoming predictably impatient against regular two-deep coverage or feeling rushed by a barrage of blitzes. He’s hanging in, taking hits and delivering daggers.

Ask Tampa Bay. Last week, the Buccaneers buried Cincinnati early, snatching an interception and forcing three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. Their coaching staff threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Burrow, blitzers flying in from all directions to hunt him down.

Down 17-0 before halftime, Burrow rallied the Bengals for 34 unanswered points and threw the kitchen sink right back for a comfortable comeback win; a Brady-esque performance in Brady’s own stadium.


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