Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/11/11
In a game where offense reigned supreme, it made sense that each end zone of FedEx Field still had the words “Army” and “Navy” spelled out from the college game the day before.  For in true college football style, both the Patriots and Redskins defenses had a hard time stopping much of anything.  Finding offensive plays that seemed to turn the tide would be easy to do.  Choices abound: Roy Helu ran wild for 126 yards on 27 carries (4.7 yards per carry), Tom Brady threw for 357 yards and 3 TDs, and Washington had a double reverse wide-receiver-to-wide receiver touchdown pass! 
The play that really captured the essence of the Patriots victory was Gronkowski’s reception BEFORE his first touchdown catch.  This 49-yard reception saw the Patriots tight end fighting through tackles and avoiding the sideline (which was challenged by Washington and promptly confirmed).  The very next play, Brady threw a laser that found Gronkowski in the end zone for his 14th touchdown reception this season, a new NFL record.  The tight end finished the day with 160 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Patriots offense fed on this energy for the rest of the game.
 
Rex Grossman played quite well against a reeling Patriots defense that simply cannot seem to stop anyone.  The Redskins quarterback found his wide receivers all over the field throughout the game, most notably Dante Stallworth for 51 yards early in the first quarter.  But with the good Rex comes the bad Rex, and on Washington’s very first possession, Grossman found himself sacked in the end zone watching the football bounce away from him.  New England recovered the fumble for a touchdown, and that ended up being the difference in the game.  This sack was all on Grossman, as he stood in the pocket seemingly waiting for the defense to get to him.  Not to be overshadowed is the interception Grossman threw with barely a minute to play in the game.  However, the Redskins quarterback is off the hook here, with Santana Moss, instead of catching a pass right on his hands, bobbled the football directly to Patriots linebacker Jarod Mayo.
 
New England needed the New York Jets to lose their game in order to outright win the AFC East (which did not happen), but this offensive-driven win brings them closer to the division title.  Even sweeter for the Patriots is seeing their budding star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, enter the record books.
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