Brady's record day adds to legend

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Brady's record day adds to legend

FOXBORO When it all started Saturday night, and the Tebow hype was noise lost on the swirling wind, and the presence of Josh McDaniels was an afterthought, it was all down to Tom Brady.

Because, really, thats what the games always are about. The players. And this offensive performance by the Patriots Saturday night was about Tom Brady. The Patriots put their offense in his hands, went no-huddle and told him to go.

He went.

Three hours or so later, the final score was 45-10. Brady needed just 32 minutes of game time to throw six touchdown passes. Another chapter in the book of the greatest quarterback of his era.

The no-huddle offense the fuel injection the Patriots often summon when things bog down was put into effect early. The results were impossible to argue with.

I think it was certainly something that helped us when we played them out there, Bill Belichick said of the decision to go no-huddle early. We had a couple no-huddle series there at the end of the second quarter, start of the third quarter in Denver and we felt like that gave them a little trouble. And then today, it looked they lost a couple safeties and Im sure that didnt help the communication and we were able to press it a bit. It seemed like we had an advantage so we tried to, like I said, continue to try to take advantage of it and try to press it a little bit.

Broncos coach John Fox lamented the loss of his safeties. But were Ryan Clark available for the Steelers last week, the Broncos may not have been in Foxboro. Such is life.

Aside from that, Brady gave a not-to-be-denied vibe all week. Chad Ochocinco alluded to Bradys intensity during the week.

Hes very emotional . . . passionate guy, said Deion Branch.

Everyone was up this week, though, said Branch.

I think the vibe was in the building all week, not just Tom, said Branch. "Everything starts right with Coach Belichick, from the moment he walked in last week when we knew we were in the playoffs. Our playoffs started last week in practice. So, we had two weeks of preparation to get prepared to play this one game. I think we did a pretty good job.

I think the energy was there, I will say that, Branch added. Guys were running a little relaxed. Everybody was relaxed; nobody was pressing. But we knew what was at stake. We knew we wanted to go out there and take care of business.
"Im not saying we didnt want to do that last year, when we lost to the Jets in the same divisional round. Last year is what it is. This year, our biggest thing was we were going to go out here and play mistake free football, and we almost did that.

Almost: Brady threw a pick on the third Patriots' possession. Other than that, pretty seamless.

When it was over, Brady had gone 26-for-34 for 363 yards and the six touchdowns.

Records, what about the records, Mr. Brady?

I have no idea what records and stuff like that, Brady said in his postgame press conference. We try to go out and execute well. I thought offensively we took advantage of some opportunities . . . Anytime you score points and you score 45, obviously with the help of our defense and special teams played great. Hopefully we can go out next week and play even better.

So seven touchdown passes and no picks? No trouble.

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.