Sunday, December 03, 2006

As Close To A Loss As A Win Gets

What is it about these 2006-2007 New England Patriots? They come with their A-game in big match-ups with quality opponents, but bring Pop Warner-level enthusiasm (or lack thereof) to games they should cake-walk through. It really raises the question of whether this squad has the consistent mental toughness to go all the way. I still think they do, but today's 28-21 eeker of a victory over the hapless Lions had a nerve-wracking quotient of about 1,000.

They 9-3 Pats (now only a game behind the losing Colts) came out sloppy, lethargic and complacent. As a result, they almost lost this one. Only the no-huddle urgency they displayed in the early 4th Quarter allowed them enough of an edge to just get past a feisty Detroit team that had nothing to lose on the road.

Without an injured Laurence Moroney, the venerable Corey Dillon brought it to the table with 3 touchdowns and a grittiness we haven't seen from him in a while. Also, Rashee Caldwell (pronounced REE-Shay please), stepped out the group of receivers to become Tom Brady's new #1 target, hauling in 8 balls for over 100 yards. Mike Vrable was again the stalwart on defense, with two picks and a recovered fumble. Oh, and this Brady kid was his typical cool self in engineering the no-huddle barrage that capped the win. Two weeks in a row, two "W"s, but very little pretty play. This may be the year of the Ugly Super Bowl Champion Patriots. I'll take it.

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