New England, which was a heavy underdog to the Rams, secured a 14-3 lead at the break, thanks to a 47-yard pick-six by Ty Law and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to David Patten.
Vinatieri extended New England’s lead late in the third quarter with a 37-yard field goal before St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner guided the Rams on a pair of touchdown drives in the final session to tie the game at 17-17 with 1:30 remaining.
On the ensuing possession and game’s final drive, the Patriots drove 53-yards in 1:14 to set-up Vinatieri for his game-winning field.
Before Vinatieri helped the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl 36, he booted a pair of field goals against the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 AFC Division Round, which took place at snowy Foxboro Stadium. Vinatieri’s first kick sent the game to overtime, while his final boot secured the Patriots a spot in the AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
New England concluded the 2001 season with a 14-5 record – they won 11 regular-season games, including Brady’s first-ever start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, September 30th, 2001.
Two years after the Patriots beat the Rams, they topped the Carolina Panthers in 2004 before beating the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005. New England would win three more Super Bowls years later in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
Endicott College senior Andrew Tudino prepares to snap the ball in practice. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nicholas Grace/Endicott College Athletics)
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
In the words of coach Paul McGonagle, last season was “good, but not great” for the Endicott College football team.
The Gulls posted their first winning season since 2013 but struggled to maintain their mid-to-late season momentum down the stretch when they lost back-to-back contests to Merchant Marine and Salve Regina.
Both setbacks, according to McGonagle, provided the unit with some additional motivation heading into the offseason.
“It’s given us some good drive in the offseason, spring ball, winter, and for the guys in the summertime,” said McGonagle, who is entering his second season with the Endicott football program.
That extra motivation will be put to the test this Friday, September 6th when the Gulls entertain Framingham State in their season-opener at 7 p.m.
Endicott has high hopes for this season and hopes last year’s ending will provide the squad with the motivation it needs to capture its first conference crown en route to a national postseason appearance.
What you should know about the 2019 Endicott Gulls
The Gulls’ schedule: 2019 will present some unique challenges for the Gulls, who are scheduled to compete against a trio of NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including Husson University and Western New England, two teams that compete against Endicott in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).
McGonagle considers the 2019 schedule “a challenge,” but also a “very competitive schedule” that will certainly test his returners and newcomers.
“We play three NCAA playoff teams (from a year ago),” said McGonagle when discussing the team’s schedule.
“We have Husson joining our conference this year, which will make it more competitive, and then we have Framingham and Wesley (College) coming up from Delaware, so it is a great challenge for our guys and hopefully they will be ready for it.”
Senior quarterback Joe Kalosky will once again be a focal point of the Endicott College offense. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols Grace/Endicott College Athletics)
The second year of Endicott’s new offense: Last season, the Gulls implemented a new offense that seemed identical to what the Philadelphia Eagles ran during their 2017 march toward their first-ever Super Bowl championship in franchise history. And that was a run-pass option (RPO) offense, a scheme the Gulls used frequently with moving the ball up and down the field.
Operating an RPO offense was something quarterback Joe Kalosky seemed to like – he is excited to apply what he learned in the offseason from studying his team’s game film – but as McGonagle said, “we are a whatever it takes” offense.
“Football is a copycat (game), so we do RPO’s, but we also do other stuff, too,” said McGonagle.
“(Last season), there were three games where we rushed for over 300 yards and there were games where we threw for over 300 yards, so we are not one dimensional. There are RPO’s, there are regular old school dropbacks, play action, three-step drops (and much more), so I think it helps us out when it is a sunny game or a rainy game.”
McGonagle praised Kalosky’s effort to improve his game this past spring and summer and believes “the sky is the limit” for the Plymouth, Connecticut native, who did run some RPO plays in high school.
Kalosky enjoyed his best season with the Gulls last fall, recording career-bests in competition percentage (56.5%) and touchdown passes (24). He also rushed for a career-high 365 yards on 40 carries for two touchdowns.
Last season’s ending has motivated Endicott’s defense: For junior linebacker Kevin O’Brien, last year’s final two contests against Merchant Marine and Salve Regina has become the motivation for this year’s defense.
“The defense would like to have those last two games back,” said O’Brien, who played high school football at Braintree High School.
“The two games were high-scoring and we were one or two stops away from a different outcome, so we’re going to focus on putting all four quarters together, putting the whole season together and having to not rely on Joe and this offense to put up big numbers for us to win.”
O’Brien will be one of many returners to lead a unit that limited opposing offenses to 27.5 points per game last season. Endicott graduated some key pieces from last year’s defense, including linebacker William Rivera, who recorded 114.0 total tackles in 11 contests.
Replicating Rivera’s production won’t be easy, but as O’Brien said of this year’s linebacking core, “it will be more of a group effort.”
In addition to O’Brien, Endicott will certainly rely on defensive back Steven Abbott, who recorded a career-high 61.0 total tackles last fall, as well as Tim Russell, who transferred from Hamilton College after posting 74.0 tackles in two seasons with the Continentals.
Sam Opont will also be a player to watch on defense, too – the Bridgeport, Connecticut native tallied a career-high 53.0 total tackles last fall as a defensive lineman, including 6.5 tackles for a loss.
Nick DiCairano is focused on “consistency” this fall: Heading into his second and final season with the Gulls, NickDiCairano, who began his collegiate career kicking for Pace University in the Northeast-10 Conference, seems focused on being more consistent this fall after tallying 80 points on 44 extra points and 12 field goals.
“Whatever happened last year, happened last year. I am not even thinking about it. The coaches and even everyone on the team have really helped me get into the mindset of one kick at a time (and) focus on what I can control.
“I am fortunate enough to have an amazing snapper and holder, which takes the weight off my shoulders, and helps me be more consistent, too. But I think just going into the year I have been really focusing on being consistent and taking every kick one at a time.”
While DiCairano has certainly been a player to watch on extra points and field goals, he is also someone McGonagle can rely on for opening kickoffs, too.
“Nick is a very valuable player to this program,” said McGonagle.
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And the answer for who the Patriots would play in week one was a familiar foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yep, the Steel Curtain will invade Gillette Stadium on the first Sunday evening of the 2019 season, and you know it will be a great game with hopefully the Patriots prevailing.
With a new season just months away, but a schedule now available to analyze (and think about), why not share some thoughts on how the hometown team will do in each contest, beginning with its week one match-up with the Steelers.
Noonan’s 2019 Game-By-Game Predictions
Week One: Pittsburg Steelers at Patriots (Sept. 8th, 2019 | 8:30 p.m.): There will be a lot of storylines heading into this one, but the most important one will be how will the Patriots do with Rob Gronkowski? I think they will do just fine. There will be some growing pains, of course, but in the end, the Patriots should find a way to sneak past the Steelers without two of their key pieces from the past few seasons. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Steelers 21
Week Two: Patriots at Miami Dolphins (Sept. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Coach Bill Belichick takes on former defensive coordinator Brian Flores. This will be yet another one of those master versus apprentice battles, but in the end, I think the Dolphins win this one, but the Pats will even the score later in the season. PREDICTION: Dolphins 24, Patriots 17
Week Three: New York Jets at Patriots (Sept. 22, 2019 | 1 p.m.):Adam Gase seems to think the Jets are better suited than his former team to beat the Patriots. He even inspired them to bring back a bad (and remixed) version of their Neil O’Donnell uniforms, too. The Patriots will be eager to bounce back from their week two loss to the Dolphins and earn their first divisional win. PREDICTION: Patriots 37, Jets 15
Week Four: Patriots at Buffalo Bills (Sept. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): After cruising past the Jets, the Patriots should have no problem ending the month of September with a second-straight AFC East victory. PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Bills 10
Week Five: Patriots at Washington Redskins (Oct. 6th, 2019 |1p.m.): The last time the Patriots and Redskins squared-off in our nation’s capital, I believe there was some sort of shouting match between Tom Brady and Bill O’Brien. I don’t see Brady yelling at O’Brien this year – he coaches the Houston Texans, by the way – but I do see our hometown hero yelling at his teammates during the pregame to fire them up for another win. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Redskins 21
Week Six: New York Giants at Patriots (Oct. 10th, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): It seems like ages ago when these two teams met in the Super Bowl, but this game won’t be like the ‘big game.’ Nope, the Giants are rebuilding – should be competitive, though – but in the end, this has the makings for Sony Michel two or three-touchdown game. PREDICTION: Patriots 35, Giants 17
Week Seven: Patriots at New York Jets (Oct. 21, 2019 | 8:15 p.m.): As usual, the Jets usually play well at home, but can they rebound from a week three setback to the Patriots? Probably not, right? PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Jets 17
Week Eight: Cleveland Browns at Patriots (Oct. 27th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Welcome to Foxboro, Baker Mayfield. The Browns should be in the mix for an AFC Championship this season – yes, I know what I just wrote (and said in my head!) – but somehow I see the Patriots pulling this out with a late touchdown. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Browns 24
Week Nine: Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 3rd, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): Coach Belichick versus quarterback Lamar Jackson should be an enticing game of chess. The Ravens always play the Patriots tough, and I think this is a tough spot for New England to secure a win before the bye week. PREDICTION: Ravens 21, Patriots 17
Week Ten: Bye Week (Nov. 10th, 2019)
Week 11: Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 17th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Coming off their bye week (and a disappointing setback to the Ravens), the Patriots will return to their early season form and cause havoc to quarterback Carson Wentz. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Eagles 20
Week 12: Dallas Cowboys at Patriots (Nov. 24th, 2019 | 4:24 p.m.): Quarterback Dak Prescott does quite well in chilly temperatures – cold weather doesn’t seem to bother the young signal-caller. This should be a competitive game like the 2011 meeting, but in the end, I somehow see Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott winning the game on a one-yard score. PREDICTION: Cowboys 21, Patriots 18
Week 13: Patriots at Houston Texans (Dec. 1st, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): After a tough loss to the Cowboys – I know, I showed some bias to my second favorite football team – the Patriots will find a way back into the win column, but it won’t be an easy win. PREDICTION: Patriots 29, Texans 23
Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs at Patriots (Dec. 8th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): This has the making for a very exciting contest – perhaps the winner could take over the top spot in the AFC for the upcoming playoffs. The Chiefs almost beat the Patriots last season but should be a tougher opponent this year, thanks to new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Patriots 27
Week 15: Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Welcome to the beginning of a three-game winning streak. Sure, the Bengals will have a new coach this year, but they won’t be able to stop the Patriots at this point of the season. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Bengals 20
Week 16: Buffalo Bills at Patriots (Dec. 21st or 22nd | TBD): The pre-Christmas game at Foxboro usually results in a win for the hometown team. Who knows what shape the Bills will be in at this point of the season, but the Patriots will once again dominate their divisional foe. PREDICTION: Patriots 28, Bills 14
Week 17: Miami Dolphins at Patriots (Dec. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): One week after handing Buffalo an early holiday present, the Patriots will once again dish out an early Happy New Year gift by beating the Dolphins before the postseason. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Dolphins 10
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We kickstart a brand new weekend with another edition of the Football Friday Notebook with loads of links from around the web about the New England Patriots to local high school football starting today/this weekend.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and make sure to circle back for more local football content over the next few days because football is officially back!