Patriots

Box Score Bank: Drew and Dan Forever

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Box Score Bank: Drew and Dan Forever

Its been a while since we did a Box Score Bank here at Standing Room Only, so lets do a Box Score Bank. And since I already wrote too many words on the Celtics today, lets make this one about the Patriots.

With the Pats heading down to Miami this Sunday, I cant help but think back to some of old duels between Drew Bledsoe and Dan Marino. And in that case, it doesnt get any better than the very first one.

Bledsoes rookie year actually coincided with Marinos ACL injury (and the emergence of Scott Mitchell), so they never met in 1993. But the pair made up for lost time in Week 1 of the following season. So lets crank the bank back to . . .

September 4, 1994

Forrest Gump was the No. 1 movie in America. "Ill Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men was in the second of 14 weeks atop the Billboard charts. Tom Brady had just started his senior year at Junipero Serra High School. Bill Belichick had just started his first and only winning season as coach of the Cleveland Browns. Ryan Tannehill had just started to learn how to tie his sneakers (he was six years old) . . .

And down in Miami, Marino and Bledsoe were going head-to-head in a duel for the ages. In fact, according to NFL Network, it was the No. 8 QB duel of all-time.

FINAL SCORE: Dolphins 38, Patriots 34

(Keep an eye out for the sharp cookie at the 1:00 mark of this video.)

In all, Marino and Bledsoe combined for 894 yards, nine touchdowns and only three interceptions. On the receiving end, Ben Coates led the Pats with eight catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns, while Irving Fryar (in his second year with Miami after nine in New England) had five catches for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Marion Butts picked up 25 yards on 15 carries.

Despite the brutal loss, the game was a sign that Bill Parcell's team was finally ready to compete at a legitimate NFL level. And after a rough start, the Pats closed the regular season on a seven-game win streak to make the playoffs for the first time since 1986. However, once there, they dropped a close Wild Card contest to Cleveland, in what was the first and only playoff victory of Bill Belichick's Browns career.

As for Marino and the Dolphins, they won the AFC East with a 10-6 record, but as usual, came up short in the playoffs. Falling to San Diego 23-22 in the divisional round.

Bledsoe and Marino would go on to play 10 more times over the course of their careers, and split them right down the middle (5-5). But none of those games could hold a candle to the first one.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman warmed up for training camp Saturday by putting on a clinic in near 100-degree heat.

The Patriots wide receiver helped conduct his football clinic for about 600 boys and girls at Lincoln-Sudbury High School about 40 minutes north of Foxboro. The Super Bowl MVP compared Pats camp, which begins Thursday at Gillette Stadium, to school being back in session.

“I’m extremely excited for the new year. This is a new team. Training camp coming up, this is kind of like when school’s back in session," Edelman told reporters. "We had summer break, [now] you get to see all the fellas. This is where you learn your team and learn each other and become accountable for each other and work hard together and create a consistency together."

The undisputed veteran of a Patriots receiving corps that is short on big names beside himself, Edelman, 33, is ready to mentor young receivers, such as first-round pick N'Keal Harry. 

“This is like the beginning shape form of your team, these next few weeks. It’s a crucial point. We put a lot of hard work in during the spring, and the next step to playing other teams, so it’s definitely exciting.”

With tight end Rob Gronkowski retired, Edelman takes center stage as Tom Brady's favorite target. He led all Pats receivers with 850 yards in the regular season despite an NFL-imposed PED suspension that kept him out of the first four games. His 10-catch, 141-yard performance against the Rams in Super Bowl 53 earned him game MVP honors.

Starting Thursday, he'll lead a receiver group that includes few familiar names: Phillip Dorsett returns, Braxton Berrios is back from the practice squad, Harry is a top draft pick and free-agent signees Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and Maurice Harris are among those who've been added. 

Albert Breer: Two reasons why Tyreek Hill was not suspended

Albert Breer: Two reasons why Tyreek Hill was not suspended

Albert Breer gives his two reasons he thinks Tyreek Hill was not suspended by the NFL.

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