Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No Tape Required...

The Patriots annihilated the Chargers Sunday night at Gillete Stadium 38-14.

I was lucky enough to snag some tickets for this game. The Foxboro faithful weren't deterred by the recent "CameraGate" scandal that's been the talk of the NFL. The house was rocking as the Patriots entered to thunderous applause that managed to jump up a notch at the introduction of Bill Belichick. Belichick uncharacteristically acknowledged the support from the home crowd by waving to the fans. In a post game press conference he would mention his appreciation for their support and getting the players fired up for the game.

The play on the field matched the stadium's atmosphere as the Patriots tore down the field on the opening drive to quickly gain the lead. On the next possession, Phillip Rivers would throw an interception on the first offensive play of the game giving the Patriots the ball deep in their territory. This key turnover would be fruitless as the Patriots would be unable to create a first down and missed the field goal. This was the only time where it felt like the Chargers were going to get into this game, but this would not be the case. The Patriots offense was moving the ball all game. Chargers head coach Norv Turner made some questionable decisions to punt in fourth and short situations while trailing. Adalius Thomas introduced himself to the home crowd by returning an interception for a touchdown. The Chargers would eventually get on the board, but this game was locked up by half time as the Chargers were outplayed on both sides of the ball.

Loud-mouthed Chargers MVP LaDanian Tomlinson was notably quiet after his 18 carries for 43 yards day. The question of how the Patriots would handle LT was one of the few football related questions to break through amidst the "CameraGate" frenzy. The Patriots figured something out as LT was a non-factor the whole game.

The Patriots really said quite a bit with this game.

They showed that they are capable of competing at the highest level without the aide of videotaped defensive signals. Hopefully, this win will quiet some of the critics who feel that this recent scandal taints the legitimacy of the Patriots 3 Super Bowl championships.

They also showed that the week 1 rout of the Jets was no fluke. The score was 38-14, the exact same score they had posted against the Jets the week prior, but this time against a much more highly regarded team.

Randy Moss didn't quite match his yardage from the previous week, but he was close and also caught two TD passes. ESPN's Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted this about Moss' time with the Patriots thus far:

"Wide Receiver Lack of Ego: Randy Moss has scored three touchdowns this year, and each time handed the ball to the official and walked back to the sideline. Much as we're all now suspicious of New England, this improvement is not based on cheating, it's based on coaching."

Seems the "Belichick Reform School for Troublesome NFL talent" is getting the job done once again. If he keeps this "great performances/low profile" thing up he's at serious risk of becoming a reliable asset to the team and a fan favorite.

The AFC East is looking to be a foregone conclusion with only two weeks into the season. The Bills, Jets and Dolphins are all 0-2. Buffalo was held to 3 points against the steelers and next week isn't looking good against the Patriots. Miami had a tough loss to an underrated Redskins team, but were blown out by the Cowboys at home. The Jets are better than an 0-2 team, but Pennington still hurting from the Patriots game the week prior stood helpless on the sidelines as the Ravens beat the Jets by a touchdown. Next week's game of Miami v. Jets should prove whether both of these teams are contenders or pretenders.

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