It's times like these I wish I owned a pipe, a silk bathrobe, and a massive fireplace.
A win like this one, on the road against the New York Jets after a week spent listening to everyone act like they were basically preparing for the Patriots' funeral, feels like one that needs to be enjoyed in front of a roaring fire in my silk bathrobe while smoking my pipe and contemplating how great it is to be me. Alas, I have none of these things, so I had to resort to celebrating in front of my TV with an entire bag of Jack Link's beef jerky and a glass of chocolate milk.
And you know what? It was still pretty sweet.
It's amazing what one win will do to put all things right with the world in New England. With one (or two) earth-shaking Rob Gronkowski spikes, all the doom and gloom surrounding this team went up in a puff of smoke and the Patriots are once again in at the top of their division. No, it wasn't perfect - and we'll all be waiting anxiously to hear an injury update on Devin McCourty - and no, last night's victory isn't cause to get complacent and take your foot off the gas. But, that was as complete and as convincing a win as I've seen from this team this season. When the offense was struggling, the defense stepped up. When the defense was on its heels, the offense delivered. Special teams handled their business and the coaching staff made all the necessary adjustments. Last night was the epitome of a team victory.
There's still a lot of football left to play, but I'd like to hope that last night was a turning point of sorts for the Patriots. They proved, to themselves and the league, that when they are on their game, they are a very tough team to beat. With a defense missing two key starters and losing another halfway through the game, New England was able to drop Mark Sanchez 5 times and force two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. An offense that had been labeled as stagnant and predictable switched to the no-huddle and took advantage of whatever mismatches the Jets gave them. A slumping quarterback looked himself in the mirror, said "I'm Tom %@$!ing Brady, dammit!", and went out to throw for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns.
It's a beautiful, beautiful day here in New York City. Game notes after the jump.
It's a little embarrassing being so nervous for something that ultimately doesn't affect my life in the slightest. I mean last night's game didn't even have playoff implications - in spite of what everyone thinks and says. Yet there I was, feeling like I was about to go into some serious surgery where I might not pull through. Time to re-evaluate my life.
Bill Belichick called me yesterday afternoon; he knew I lived in New York and needed someone to start at safety. I would have done it - but I have to write these notes, you know.
I wonder where that awful Jets cheer came from. Nothing says team pride like spelling out the name of your squad and yelling it three times over and over and over.
I think Mark Sanchez looks like Fred Savage.
Jeff Tarpinian, however, looks how Curtis Painter is going to look in 3 years after the Colts cut him and he's forced to get a job selling insurance.
I thought everyone looked very handsome when NBC flashed New England's starting lineup - except Wes Welker. He looked like he had just rolled out of bed.
Tommy B looked much more relaxed out there last. I guess that advice I gave Gisele really paid off.
That said - Brady is still throwing into coverage at times, and his accuracy seems just a bit off. More than a few passes sailed a little high or were a little off target. I'm not sure whether this was due to the Jets secondary getting a good bump at the line and disrupting the timing of the play, or if Brady is just trying to avoid throwing another INT.
After Chad Ochocinco's first catch, Tommy B gave him a big thumbs-up. I could almost hear him saying, "Way to go, Chad! You did it! Let's go put that catch on the fridge!"
I'm very excited to hear the media justify how that 50 yard play to Chad Ochocinco wasn't Darrelle Revis's fault. They will all blame it on the safeties or "some confusion in the secondary," but the bottom line is Revis made a poor read on the bunch formation, Ocho recognized it, and made Revis look foolish.
Ocho actually had a fairly solid game yesterday. He wasn't on the field much, but took advantage of the looks he did get. Here's hoping...
I never noticed how many fast food commercials there are on Sunday Night Football. I've never wanted a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, a Subway melt, a McRib, and a Hot N' Juicy all at once.
Also couldn't help notice the abundance of jewelry commercials. It's like Kay Jewelers and Zales are trying to make men feel guilty for spending their Sunday night watching football instead of spending time with their significant others.
How much time passed between Collinsworth's remark about Dustin Keller's relative lack of productivity thus far and that huge catch he made? 45 seconds? Thanks, Chris.
I have two theories to account for Ross Ventrone's hair. One is that he has been cut and re-signed so often that he just didn't have time to get a haircut. The other is he uses all that downtime when he isn't on the team to pose for trashy romance novels.
We just don't have the personnel to match up with tall receivers. Burress didn't do anything spectacular yesterday; Sanchez just put it up high and there was nothing anyone could do.
REALLY don't like starting every drive from inside our own 30. Let's get a return man up in here.
It's been so long since this has happened... you know that play where one of the Patriots' defensive players gets to the quarterback and tackles him before he has a chance to throw? What's that called again? Whatever it is, New England did it a bunch yesterday. Which is impressive, because Mark Sanchez is really, really good at avoiding those thingies.
According to Chris Collinsworth, Plaxico Burress can't take it deep anymore, but he's still long, rangy, and likes it up high. Now that's what I call prison time well served.
You know what would be fun? If the NFL allowed holding penalties for one week. Just a bunch of big fat dudes hip tossing each other all over the place.
Two things upset me about that safety. One was that Danny Woodhead had to block all 255 lbs of Jamaal Westerman. The other was that I realized that Tom Brady throws better with his left hand than I do with my right. Dammit.
Didn't know you could call unnecessary roughness against yourself. We just lost our best corner on a hit from one of our own players. That's about right.
But seriously - what are defensive backs supposed to do to try and disrupt a pass? If you're going to get called no matter what you do, may as well just come in with a flying clothesline or a Dragon Punch.
I wonder if, when a person signs on and decides to commit to following the Jets, s/he gets an introductory manual entitled "The Art of the Boo: Unleashing Your Inner Jets Fan."
I actually enjoy watching games with the girlfriend - but one of the more annoying things she does during the game is ask me "who was that?" after almost every play. Well she did it again last night - and when the Patriots were on defense, there were times when I actually didn't know.
How much does Gronk love his life? Seriously! Just catching touchdowns and dating porn stars like a champ.
Other than that safety, very impressed with blitz pickup yesterday. The no-huddle helped to keep certain defensive packages off the field, but even when the Jets did have the right personnel in there,
Pats outscored 31-0 in the 2nd half the last two times at this stadium. Great. Just great.
When was the last time the Patriots scored off their first possession of the 2nd half?
Glad to see someone besides Julian Edelman muffing a punt for a change.
Two Tom Brady plays against the Jets this year will likely be lost to history, but are among the most beautiful plays he has ever made. The first was that short 3-yard floater to Wes Welker over Revis to convert a 3rd down during their first meeting. That scramble and touchdown to Rob Gronkowski that got called back after the muffed punt is the other. Quarterbacking at its absolute finest right there.
"Gratuity included" on that tipped Rob Ninkovich pick. Michaels, that's why they pay you the big bucks.
My very, very best to the Jets' cheerleaders. Hellooooooo ladies.
I love you, Kevin Faulk - but I think it's time to call it a career. It breaks my heart to say it, and I'm never going to stop rooting for you, but it's time to hang ‘em up. You look slow as hell out there and you just can't make the cuts you used to.
I pulled a muscle flexing in the mirror after the Deion Branch touchdown and I'm totally fine with it.
I pulled another muscle after the Rob Ninkovitch pick six. I'm not fine with that one. My calf really hurts and I look like an idiot walking up stairs.
Andre Carter, you are a monster.
Hit stick, Jerod Mayo! Knock that annoying black visor right of LT's helmet! Boo Ya!
Something that makes this win really sweet - Belichik and Brady are the winningest coach and QB in NFL history, and for the rest of time that win will be in the record books as: New England Patriots 37, Jets 16.
Something you don't see much after a Jets game: Rex Ryan was speechless.
You know what the best part about last night is? It's not that we're now alone in 1st place in the AFC East. It's not that we swept the Jets and own all kinds of tiebreakers over them should it come down to that. It's not that we beat them by 3 scores on the road and scored the most points ever against Rex Ryan at MetLife Stadium. As great as all those things are, none of them makes me as happy as knowing that the Jets are officially out of our hair for the rest of the regular season and, as long as we take care of business, they are an absolute nonfactor for the Patriots' playoff chances. They can flap their gums all they want. They can talk trash and make headlines until they are blue in the
feet face. They can even win a few more games if they want to. Doesn't matter to me. The remainder of the Patriots' schedule looks relatively soft and they are still very much in the conversation for a first round playoff bye. And amid all these factors, amid all these reason for celebration here in New England, knowing that I don't have to pay a lick of attention to a damn thing Rex and company does is a very nice feeling.
Of course, I'm still going to pay attention. I remember feeling the same way this time last year when the Pats thumped the Jets in the 2nd game of the series and restored order to the AFC East - we all know how that ended. That's why I'll be cheering for Tim Tebow for the first and only time in my life this Thursday, just in case. After all, it can never hurt to keep myself updated on the goings on in and around New York. To be honest, I would be totally fine with not having to face these Jets again until next season.
But I'm going to be doing all that because I want to. Not because I have to. That's a big difference.