Mayo not hoping for Honolulu

602274.jpg

Mayo not hoping for Honolulu

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Patriots are the worst team in the NFL for total defense.

I know, I know.

But would you believe Jerod Mayo if he told you he doesn't lose sleep over those 409.8 yards surrendered per game? That's what he told Tom Curran during the pair's weekly Quick Slants interview.

"At the end of the day it's all about wins and losses," he said. "The key stat for us is points per game. That's the biggest thing that we go after.

One reason Mayo might not just be blustering? There's a defensive statistic that's actually looking up, and that's red zone touchdowns allowed. The Patriots are ranked fourth in that category, holding offenses without a score on more than 22-percent of trips within the 20.

"Obviously, keeping the opponent out of the end zone is always going to work in our favor -- and on third down. We always try to be good on third down and we've done that the last couple weeks," he said.

Ever the (succinct) captain, that Mayo.

But he did go off-script when Curran asked about the Pro Bowl. After giving a nod to the hard work of cornerback -- and NFL interceptions leader -- Kyle Arrington, Mayo admitted he hopes to join his teammate at the Aloha Stadium all-star game.

Then he thought about it for a second.

"Cut that! We're going to the Super Bowl! Cut that one out. Cut that out," Mayo said. "Neither one of us is going to Honolulu. We're trying to win "

Uh-oh. Really dare he move off of Belichick's philosophical island and over to Rex Ryan's?

No.

"Nope, matter of fact. Cut all that out One game at a time."

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

top_100_plays_3-4.png

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.