Patriots vs. Rams: Fan Notes from the Game

Jamie McDonald

Notes, musings, and observations from the Patriots' 45-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams

As anyone who reads my Fan Notes regularly knows, I like to lead my day after the game articles with a witty paragraph or two that gets everyone in the mood for my analysis and sets the tone for the rest of the piece. And to be honest, these opening paragraphs are my favorite part of the writing I do here at Pats Pulpit. However, there is currently some kind of massive storm barrelling down on New York City like Vince Wilfork on a loose football, and the only items I have to get me through the weather at the moment are three bottles of beer and half a roll of duct tape. I clearly need a whole lot more of both if I'm going to ride out Hurricane Sandy in comfort, and so I'd better head out and get some supplies before all the good beer is gone and I'm forced to hunker down with nothing but Amstel Light.

Plus, the Patriots looked so dominant yesterday that I'd feel more comfortable letting their performance speak for itself anyway. Yesterday's win was exactly what this team needed, and there's not much I can say here that would make the victory any sweeter.

***********

  • I guess one big plus about the 2012 Patriots is you go into the beginning of every game knowing that it's going to be a close one. And while that doesn't do anything for my nerves, heart, or blood pressure, it definitely keeps things exciting.
  • It only took some very brief channel surfing in between commercials to once again develop a new appreciation for New England's throwback uniforms. I tried to think of a joke about those yellow and brown monstrosities the Steelers were wearing yesterday, but the only things that came to mind were toilet-humor related. So I'll just let the jerseys speak for themselves.
  • I found myself unconsciously saying "well there's a completion" every time the Rams took a shot downfield. The girlfriend walked in right as Bradford connected with Givens for a 50 yard TD and looked at me like I was some kind of prophet.
  • This big play thing is borderline hysterical. It's like opposing QBs are playing Madden on rookie against this secondary. It doesn't even look hard.
  • Really wish the Patriots could find a way to keep Jermaine Cunningham on the inside. He's just so much more effective as an inside rusher.
  • St. Louis has only scored 2 1st quarter TDs all season. Glad we could make the second one so easy for them.
  • I'm really getting sick of just waiting for the opposing team to hurry up and score so the Pats can get the ball back. I'm getting equally sick of them actually hurrying up and scoring.
  • I don't know what the team did after that first big TD, but the defense seemed to tighten right up. I'm going to be optimistic for once and say it was a D stepping it up as opposed to the Rams just sucking.
  • While it was a great effort by the England fans trying to give the Rams a homefield advantage by making noise when the Patriots had a 3rd down, someone should have told them that screaming at the top of your lungs is much more effective than booing. Still a good effort.
  • Still waiting on Brandon Lloyd to generate some legit YACs. Touchdowns work too, though.
  • Hey! A blitz! Look a that! And it worked!
  • Dammit Julian Edelman if there is a defender right on your ass you call the fair catch and you call it nice and clear. Don't be a hero.
  • What must go through a DB's mind when he sees Gronk charging towards him with a full head of steam? All I can picture is Wyle. E. Coyote holding up a sign that says "Crud."
  • How in the world did Gronk make that catch at the goal line? I didn't know bodies could bend that way.
  • I got a phone notification saying that Kyle Arrington suffered a 1st Quarter head injury and was questionable to return. I'd be lying if I said I was all that upset about it. Marquice Cole and Sterling Moore both came in and had very solid games.
  • My fantasty team, decimated by bye weeks and injury, forced me to start Shane Vereen at RB this week. I look like a genius right now.
  • Good Lord Vince Wilfork is a monster. You can't zoom in much more than 30 yards on him because he'll take up the whole screen.
  • Look at Big Vince dropping into coverage and blowing up a screen pass. It completely boggles the laws of physics.
  • And gravity, for that matter.
  • You know what would be a fun game? Take one of the foreign fans in the stands yesterday, put him/her in front of an NFL ref signaling penalties on mute, and seeing what they think the calls are. I know if I didn't know the game all that well, I'd think a false start call signified an illegal celebration.
  • Watching Gronk sprint is just one of those things. Phil Simms, being the genius that he is, said that each one of his strides takes up about 4 yards. Now while that's 12 feet per stride and a physical impossibility, Simms did have a point regarding his stride making him look slower than he actually is.
  • SPIKE OF THE DECADE, Gronk. Spike of the decade.
  • There was once a time when a 21-7 lead against a team like the Rams signaled the beginning of a blowout and I could start to relax. Not so much this year.
  • Glad to see Justin Francis out there getting some legitimate reps. He had a great preseason and I'm very excited to see him develop.
  • That Hightower hit on Sam Bradford was one of those things that makes you cringe like you walked into the bathroom right after Uncle Chet finished paying the price for last night's Tex Mex. Glad he didn't miss any time.
  • The first half of this game was the exact definition of "clicking on offense."
  • I'm gonna go ahead and extend that last note to include the whole game as well.
  • Deion Branch still has it. Drew two key PI call to keep the final drive of the half alive and really open the game up.
  • Lloyd, on average, is good for one spectacular catch per game, one regular catch per game, and one big drop per game. 100% should have had that fake-spike throw.
  • Lucky for him, it didn't matter. Atta boy, Ridley.
  • Even with his Pro-Bowl recognition, Matthew Slater doesn't get nearly enough credit. He's always the 1st one down the field and is in on almost every tackle.
  • 28-7 is a totally safe halftime lead, right?
  • Great block by Ridley keeping the blitz away from Tommy B on the opening play of th 2nd half. The play was already over, but Brady would have taken a hit there. You could almost hear Ridley yelling "NOOOOOOO!" and throwing his body in front of Scott Lutrus.
  • I didn't even have time to take any notes to start the 3rd quarter before the Patriots were in the end zone. Let's just keep doing that. Sound good? Yes? Great.
  • 2 minutes, 36 second TD drive in which the Patriots didn't even have a 3rd down is what I'm talkin' bout.
  • Any time anyone anywhere ever can think of an excuse to show a picture of Alex Morgan, I'm 100% fine with that. Thank you, CBS.
  • Nate Ebner with the big 3rd down stop! Well alright.
  • And by the way: don't think for one second that Nate Ebner was wearing any special pads yesterday. Those are just his shoulders.
  • One of the big benefits of having smaller receivers is that our linemen can just pick them up and carry them off if they get into a scuffle. You could almost hear Welker saying "Let me at him! Just let me at him! I'll moider ya!" as Ryan Wendell carried him away with one hand like he was holding a bag of chips.
  • I think...I think I...yep. I got me a mancrush on Stevan Ridley. I think it's the hair.
  • Jon Bon Jovi chilling in the owners' box with Bob Kraft. Yawn. We've all seen that before. Call me when Pippa realizes Bobby K is in town.
  • I've always loved Steven Jackson as a player. It always breaks my heart a little when phenomenal players spend their entire careers on lousy teams.
  • That Chandler Jones sack in the 3rd Quarter was one of the prettier sacks I've seen. Came in completely unblocked, but was beaten by Bradford as he peeled to the outside. Knowing he was in position to make the play, he dove at full extension and swiped Bradford's feet out from under him like some flying gorilla/bear/bird/cyborg hybrid.
  • Not so sure about the sack dance, though. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it, either.
  • Have I mentioned I really want to play Assassin's Creed III yet? If anyone wants to buy me an Xbox 360, I wouldn't turn it down. Just sayin...
  • After the Pats went 3 and out in about 6 seconds towards the end of the 3rd, I started getting really, really worried. With this defense, a 38-7 score lead in the 4th isn't even close to enough.
  • Rob Ninkovich went from completely ineffective for the first few weeks to one of the best edge rushers in the game over the last few weeks. I don't know what he did, but it sure as hell worked.
  • When you need a 3rd down conversion, you go to Kevin Faulk Danny Woodhead.
  • Donald Thomas once again having a huge day. Let's lock that man up long-term.
  • Glad to see the secondary give up some huge yards in chunks to close out the game. It's all about symmetry, after all.
  • I feel like Ryan Mallett can afford to put on some weight. Let's get him and Kyle Love together at a Home Country Buffet.
  • Finally...I'd be remiss if I didn't close these Fan Notes without saying a special hello to Jasmin and Flo, my German friends from...well... Germany, who were finally able to attend their first ever Patriots game yesterday. Looks like you two brought the team some good vibes.

Yesterday's win was a great way to head into the bye week. The Patriots are 5-3, which is exactly where they sat this time last year, and they should have a lot of key players back and healthy once they take the field against the Bills in Week 10. While it would certainly be nice to be sitting at 7-1 right now, which they easily could have been, I'll certainly take it.

Let's rest up, get healthy, and come back ready to go on a serious run.

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