By Tom E. Curran
Twenty-four thoughts in 48 lines:
1. This Sunday is the two-year anniversary of the 59-0 blizzard blowout of the Tennessee Titans. If it snows Sunday, I will stab myself in the forehead.
2. The last time the Patriots scored fewer than 30 points in a regular-season game was last November 7 in Cleveland. Sundays output of 30 was the closest call for them to go sub-30 since the streak began.
3. Kyle Arrington was dumbfounded after the game at how Mark Sanchez stayed upright on Arringtons second-half blitz. The corner pound-for-pound one of the Patriots' strongest players vowed that wouldnt happen again.
4. It was kinda funny to hear Albert Haynesworth say that the media didnt give the Patriots a chance to win after Jerod Mayo got hurt. Somewhere, Rodney Harrison was smiling at the contrived slight.
5. Everything Rex Ryan says needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, requesting other teams give it their all to beat New England (The quote: "Don't focus on playing us. Take that preparation that you would have in playing us, and put it on beating New England. I think that would be a better thing. See if you can beat the big, bad Patriots and we'll see what happens.") and then barely showing up leaves Rex wide open for heckling.
6. Not that he seems to mind in the least. He walked off the field Sunday staring straight up into the stands with a smirk and a couple of mouthed expletives.
7. There is no better example of how highly evolved the Patriots offense is than the speed with which it is run. They stole a 13-yard completion in the red zone at the end of the third quarter of a 17-14 game against a hated division rival because the Jets . . . werent . . . ready.
8. To me, that shows the difference between guys like Tom Brady and maybe two or three other guys in the league (Brees, Rodgers, Manning the Elder) and everybody else. Court awareness.
9. And I hate to remind everyone of this but the day will come when Billy and Tommy are in Canton and we are seeing someone else doing that to the Patriots. And we will mutter, Are you bleeping bleeping me?
10. That play stands in contrast to the Drive to Nowhere from last January, the Patriots 14-play, eight-minute drive during the fourth quarter of the playoff loss to the Jets that yielded no points. That wasnt awesome.
11. Another week, another amateurish mistake from Chad Ochocinco. You might not have noticed it because CBS was showing a Rex Ryan sideline shot, but with less than four minutes remaining and the Patriots facing a third-and-4 from the Jets 46, Ocho made the Patriots have to burn their final timeout by heading to the wrong side of the formation.
12. And while the Patriots came back from that timeout and ran a successful direct-snap play to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the fact that Ocho left New England without a necessary timeout in case it needed to make a challenge is the little inside-the-game stuff that sometimes slips by unnoticed. But he does have nine catches so far, which is seven fewer than undrafted Bears rookie Dane Sanzenbacher.
13. I thought the biggest play in Sundays game was the 17-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski on third-and-13 from the Patriots 20 late in the third. It was 17-14 at the time and New England hadnt put together a sustained march in some time.
14. It was enjoyable to see Bill Belichick a little upbeat during Mondays press conference. Hes been tough this year, less willing to engage than at almost any time since Ive been covering him.
15. Always fun to when he makes the innocuous interesting, like when he discussed crowd noise (65,000 people just talking at the same time is loud) on Monday. The first appreciation I had for the mind-blowing noise at field level was in the Patriots' 1997 playoff loss at Three Rivers Stadium the roar of the crowd as Drew Bledsoe tried to mount a late-game drive seemed to swirl around the enclosed stadium and it felt as if I was standing in a washing machine.
16. All that said, its always strangely silent during the opening drives of the biggest games at Gillette Stadium. Everyones standing and seemingly leaned forward waiting for something to happen.
17. The Patriots appreciated the Bruins taking them up on their offer to bring the Stanley Cup over for the pregame Sunday. If the Bruins ever make a similar in-season request for some Patriots to swing by with the Lombardi Trophy for a ceremonial puck drop, Im not sure Belichick will agree to that.
18. I joked on Michael Felgers Sunday evening sports program that the Boston Cannons should come out next if the Patriots are having all these hack teams from middling professional sports trying to parade themselves in front of a packed house. I was kidding and, since I was quickly stuffing my face before kickoff, I didnt see how cool the ceremony actually was.
19. Watching the game in the press box puts writers at a decided disadvantage to those watching at home in many instances. One is the ability to pause, rewind and slo-mo replays to see what really happens thanks to my Twitter followers for helping me out when Im dying for a more detailed look.
20. I also didnt get to the great new Volkswagen commercial until late Monday night (Rocket man, burning up this fuse up here alone). Thought it was Burning up the feels so very long . . .
21. Lotta fun seeing Jets corner Kyle Wilson pose down after a pedestrian tackle of Rob Gronkowski. Even more fun when he practically assaulted Aaron Hernandez on the next play and got flagged for pass interference, defensive holding and crimes against nature.
22. Nobody really hates Tim Tebow for being a good guy whos proud of his upbringing, passion and faith. Its the reverence media outlets and large swaths of America have for him that makes people queasy.
23. Even if Matt Schaub was wearing a rocket pack, he wasnt going to score on any end-of-game-scramble against the Raiders on Sunday. Not at all.
24. Brandon Meriweather. Not making anyone rue the day he was released.