Winners of five games in a row, the Patriots head into the bye week for some well deserved R&R. The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan takes a look at the Patriots unlikely road to 7-2.
If they're not necessarily the talk of the league, they are certainly on the short list of the NFL's sexiest conversational topics, along with the Parcellsinization of the Cowboys and the real possibility that the Kansas City Chiefs, gifted with a very soft schedule the rest of the way, could go 16-0.
Real Possibility? No NFL team has ever gone 16-0. The only team to ever go undefeated was the 1972 Miami Dolphins at 14-0. The Kansas City Chiefs have about as much chance of going undefeated as Ryan getting Christmas cards from Joumana Kidd and Antoine Walker
Ryan who once trashed the Celtic leader by calling him a "Punk" was estatic to see him shipped out of town for two backup players. The Boston Media piled on and told us that Antoine would be playing about 20 minutes on a very good Dallas squad. Let's look at the early returns on Walker who has started every game and is averaging over 35 minutes a night.
Not to shaggy for the former Celtic.
Jersey Bob goes on to write about the Pats,
They were almost universally picked by the outside world to finish in the seven- to nine-win category, and they were dismissed immediately by the pundit crowd following their 31-0 trouncing by the Bills on Opening Day. It was Lawyer Milloy this, and Lawyer Milloy that, and this was all supposed to prove that the technocrat head coach was a failure in human relations and would drag his team down. Not long afterward, respected ESPN commentator Tom Jackson, a man with whom the words "loose" and "cannon" are seldom linked, declared that a representative sampling of the Patriots "hated" their coach.
Bob, does your moonlighting job(s) at ESPN require you to defend Tom Jackson?
Representative sampling? Jackson later admitted that he had not spoken to one New England Patriot player. He was basing his comment on his "30 year professional opinion" What a "respected" journalist!
Only Jackson could top his shameful performance the next week when he sat silently as Oxy-Contin freak Rush Limbaugh lectured the audience on the media's "desire to see a black quarterback succeed". After a week of geting phone calls from people telling Jackson what to think, he decided to come out and deride Limbaugh insead of doing it to his face before he "resigned". Jackson's response a week late was pathetic.
Lock Stock & Barrel
The 2003 edition of the New England Patriots continue to shed off adversity and rack up another entertaining road victory with a last minute 30-26 win over the Denver Broncos.
The Patriots star DE Richard Seymour did not make the trip due to a leg injury. The Patriots overcame 14 penalties, 2 turnovers (9 in the first half according to Lisa Guerrero). Clinton Portis ran for 111 yards and the Patriot's special teams allowed the first punt return TD in ten years. Despite these setbacks, the Patriots made the big plays down the stretch with Tom Brady throwing the winning touchdown to David Givens with 30 seconds left in the game as a stunned Deltha O'Neal did his best statue imitation.
Michael Smith has the game story for The Boston Globe.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick always talks about how turnovers and penalties decide games. And he's right. Turnovers and penalties do decide games...Most games. Not last night's game.
Game stories are also filed by Tom Curran at The ProJo and Michael Felger at the Boston Herald.
Kevin Mannix says this is the best victory of the year.
They showed last night that they can win with offense, even against a Denver team that was second in the league in total defense and fifth against the pass. The resilience and heart and coaching (how about that deliberate safety at the end of the game) has been there all along. Last night the offense kicked in, particularly in the passing game.
Much has been written on the success of the Patriots 2003 draft class, but last nights three TD's came from 3 members of the 2002 draft (Givens, Branch, Graham).
Michael Holley on why this team is on its way to being Belichick's favorite.
There wasn't much noise in the Rockies after Givens made his catch. Mostly, you heard the sounds of jubilant men in silver helmets. Belichick didn't toss his headset in the air as he did in Miami, but he probably felt like it. The coach likes to listen to the Beatles and the Allmans and Jon Bon Jovi. This team is going to cause him to switch up his soundtrack. When he thinks of the '03 Patriots and what they've done, he might want to slide "My Favorite Things" into his compact disc player.
Dan Shaughnessy just can't help himself. After two straight columns without mentioning Pedro and Grady, curse withdrawal reared it's ugly head in his lame Patriot-Red Sox analogy.
They are the anti-Red Sox, these New England Patriots. Tom Brady is the anti-Pedro. And Bill Belichick is the anti-Grady...This time, it was the other guys who had the game in the bag. For Denver, this was as sure a thing as Pedro Martinez with a 4-0 lead, or Pedro with a three-run lead and five outs to go.
Shaughnessy is seeing more ghosts than a Salem Witch.
The victory destroyed some of the Soxlike ghosts that had tortured the Patriots in this city. New England had won only once here since 1968 and Brady was 0-2 against the Broncos.
Sometimes I wonder if Shaughnessy even watches these games?
... the Patriots dug down deep and pulled out one of the great comebacks in the history of New England and MNF.
Great comebacks in New England and MNF history? The Patriots were never down more than 7 points the whole game and led twice. I think a couple of playoff comebacks by guys like Carbo, Fisk and Henderson to name a few were a little more important in New England sports history than a mid-season NFL game. As far as MNF history, less than a month ago, Peyton Manning rallied the Colts from a 35-14 deficit with four minutes left in regulation to beat the SuperBowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 in overtime on MNF.
Maybe the ghastly Shaughnessy was hanging out with Red Sox team doctor, William Morgan this weekend. The Boston Globe reports on the pharyngitis specialist.
Morgan was arrested for drunken driving after state police spotted his car swerving on a highway and found a near-empty glass of wine in the front seat...Police found a glass in the front passenger seat that was still cold to the touch and contained a small amount of liquid that smelled of alcohol, Maloney said. Morgan also had a light red stain on a yellow sweater he was wearing, he said
Those red stains on a yellow sweater will drive the good doctor to an oaky chardonnay.
OK, let's get back on the football beat. John Clayton at espn.com looks at the intentional safety.
No doubt, Belichick removed any debate whether he was the NFL first-half coach of the year with the strategies employed during Monday night's amazing 30-26 victory over the Broncos...Call it the decision of the season to date. Belichick traded two points for the field position that later enabled Brady to hit David Givens with a 18-yard game-winning touchdown pass with 30 seconds left, leaving a Mile High crowd feeling as though its emotions were below sea level.
On the other side of scrimmage, looks like John Elway was caught up in that "Lock" prediction.Woody Paige of The Denver Post continues to kill trees with more dribble like yesterday's promise of a Denver victory.
The Broncos' season is lost, gone, over, done and many other four-letter words...Curse the night and the Broncos. They got what they deserved - an inexcusable, unspeakable 30-26 loss to the New England Patriots.
2003 - FUHGETABOUTIT!
OK, that just about sums it up Woody, one more thing, what did you think of the Patriots last night?
Oddly enough, New England tried its best to give the Broncos the victory. The Patriots didn't want it, didn't need it, didn't merit it.
This whore of a sportswriter is even trying to make a buck off his inane musings. WoodyPaige.com is hawking shirts that call him a "misunderstood genius" Feel free to send this Woody Paige fool your constructive fan feedback. He can be e-mailed here
Finally today, The Patriot Report was happy to see that Tim "Barrelman" McKernan, the barrel-wearing super fan of the Denver Broncos was back at Invesco Field at Mile High sans barrel. The bare-chested fan has worn only a barrel with suspenders to nearly every Denver game in the past 20 years. The Barrel Man has been recently hospitalized and NFL fans from across the country can send their best wishes by clicking here.
Patriots-Broncos MNF Preview
Now that Mile High Stadium has been blown up, do the Bronco fans still show up in barrels to the corporate Invesco Field at Mile High?
The New England Patriots tonight matchup against the struggling Denver Broncos losers of 3 of their last 4 games. Denver has been riddled with injuries(sound familiar?) and is starting Danny Kannel at QB. Almost as startling as signing Kannel from the High School coaching ranks is the Denver backup QB, former ND signal caller Jarious Jackson. In an oddity of NFL scheduling, this is the ninth straight year, the Patriots have played Denver. Let's take a look around the pressrooms.
Proof that the "thin" air factor not only can effect visitors to Denver, take a look at Woody Paige's Denver Post column.
It doesn't matter if Danny Kanell or Hortense The Wonder Pony starts at quarterback tonight, the Denver Broncos are dead-cert, lock-cinch, bona-fide, five-star, solid-fuel sure things...Shannon Sharpe, the Hall of Faming loose mouth tight end, is undefeated when he plays against the New England Patriots. Seven straight is beyond a trend. Case rested...Sharpe even tried once to assist New England by calling out the National Guard. New York Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent and British Gen. Thomas Gage didn't bean Bostonians so badly.
Wow! Talk about yahoo sports columnists! The only lock I know is Goldilocks, and I am not sure she is a true blonde.
Tom Curran at projo takes an early look at the AFC playoff implications.
Because this could either be the game that all but seals a postseason spot for the Patriots, or it could be the one that they will rue through December.
Kevin Mannix of the Boston Herald takes a look at the matchups. The Rock Mountain News also breaks down the game.
Michael Smith of the Boston Globe has a look at the upcoming bye week and the Patriots focus on "Denver in Denver".
It's been said that 90 percent of the game is half mental. That's 100 percent true of tonight's "Monday Night Football" game between the Patriots and Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Umm... Yogi Berra said that about baseball, but let's carry on..(for more yogi-isms click here)
The Boston Globe's curse stricken columinist Dan Shaughnessy has a look at the waiting before game time and the devilish Patriot Coach.
Before taking on the Broncos tonight, the Patriots will hang around their hotel (conveniently located near nothing, thanks to their diabolical "no distractions" coach) all day, waiting for that first crack of the shoulder pads. It is an unnatural rest for young men who are programmed to get out of bed, get dressed, and run straight into the nearest goal post.
According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary.
Pertaining to the devil; resembling, or appropriate, or appropriate to, the devil; devilish; infernal; impious; atrocious; nefarious; outrageously wicked; as, a diabolic or diabolical temper or act.
Maybe Dan would be happy if the Patriots stay in the comfort of the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera.
I hear that Kobe's suite is available.
Michael Felger in the Boston Herald has an update on Troy Brown's status. The Herald's Kevin Mannix also report on the coaching matchup.
The Denver Post's Adam Schefter looks at Tom Brady and Bronco LB Al Wilson exchanging pleasantries.
After he threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Troy Brown...Brady ran past Wilson and delivered what Wilson called "some smart-aleck remark about how in control they were."...Wilson,fired back one message with a shivering shoulder shimmy and another with Chris Rock explicitness....
Brady and Wilson met up again at the Pro Bowl.
I just asked him, 'What were you thinking, talking bad to me?' Wilson said..."I'm going to stand up to anybody," Wilson remembered Brady telling him.
I said, 'That's cool, I like it like that.'
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes on the homecoming of Patriot TE Daniel Graham.
Graham comes home Monday night to face the Broncos. It will be a night filled with familiar faces. His father, Tom, a Broncos linebacker from 1972-74, will be in the stands at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Finally, Click here for an updated weather forecast for tonight's game. Looks like the forecast might force former Patriot Cheerleader Lisa Guerrero Coles to keep her assets under wrap. Maybe she'll have some good Hugh Millen stories for the Monday night audience?