Curran: Brady shocks 'Fins, awes Patriots


Curran: Brady shocks 'Fins, awes Patriots

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
MIAMI - They ran them out of the gym. The belief (and I was one who held it) that the Patriots might be left gasping in the sticky air of South Florida Monday night was laughable by the end of New England's 38-24 win over the Dolphins. Instead of the Patriots being doubled over, it was the Dolphins. Exposed low by an up-tempo New England offense and the best quarterback of this generation, Miami wilted. And they were moving on. Veteran Miami linebacker Jason Taylor, being reminded one time too many about Brady throwing for 516 yards, finally said, "He hung 500 yards. Who gives a damn? There's next week. If you want to write a story about Tom Brady throwing for 500 yards, feel free. Congrats. He did a great job. We lost the game and we play again Sunday."The total was eye-popping and aided in large part by the 99-yard catch-and-run to Wes Welker in the fourth quarter. More impressive was the way the New England offense just kept crashing on the Dolphins in wave after wave. "Its a fine line between putting pressure on the defense and playing out of control," said Brady. "I thought at times we did both, and you never really want to play out of control on offense.It was a good pace at times, gave them some problems, and other times they adjusted to it."Asked how much he enjoys going quickly, Brady answered, "I enjoy scoring points. Whatever the hell we need to do to score points, thats what I enjoy doing. Sometimes we go fast, sometimes we go slow, its just a matter of what the point at the drive is, how were trying to execute, and ultimately trying to get the ball in the end zone."They did that seven times -- four times on passes from Brady. He made use of everybody except Chad Ochocinco, who had had one catch for 14 yards. Brady hit eight different receivers on the night and completed 28 to Wes Welker, Deion Branch and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. By the end, the Dolphins rising corner tandem of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith was cramping up. "That was phenomenal and there are plenty of things we can still get better on and that's kind of scary," said veteran guard Brian Waters who signed with the team late in the preseason. "The pace is just hard to keep up with for anybody, I don't care how good you are. The pace is hard for anybody."Brady wasn't interested in doing a victory lap or accepting bouquets after the win. There were plays that didn't look smooth, throws missed, choppy periods. His demeanor wasn't lost on Waters. "He's a great one. The fact that even at the end of the game, he was saying how it could have been better, that's phenomenal and that's a challenge for the rest of us, really," said Waters. "It makes you always concentrate on getting better and getting your job up."He is the reigning MVP coming off a 36-touchdown, four-pick season. The other time he won the MVP award in 2007, he threw 50 touchdown passes. Now add a 516-yard performance in the 2011 opener to his list. This is Bird. This is Teddy Ballgame. This is history, ladies and gentlemen. Said Matt Slater, who caught a 46-yard post from Brady in the first quarter, "I'm just happy to be a part of this effort tonight and part of this record-setting offense with this man tonight. He never ceases to amaze me. But the thing about him is he never gets complacent. He always is hungry to get better and that helps our team. We look to him and he sets the bar so high, even with a night like tonight where he goes for over 500 yards he's not like satisfied. He just says, 'All right, what do we got next week.' Just the way he approaches the game as a professional and I've learned a lot."It's astounding that this player who in the first portion of his career was the ultimate game-manager and clutch player, has now become one of the most prolific and efficient passers the game has seen. Enjoy the ride. And get yourself some oxygen. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32


Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.