Patriots Impressive

The Patriots made it two convincing wins in a row with a 35-7 romp over the Buffalo Bills yesterday afternoon. Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are starting to play like the Patriots. John Tomase adds that we might have a team to watch in the second round of the playoffs this season after all. Jerome Solomon says that for one day at least, the Patriots once again looked like one of the dominant teams in the NFL. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots probably aren’t Super Bowl contenders, but the Bills were unable to exploit their weaknesses and thus allowed the Patriots run all over them. Ian M Clark asserts that this looked much more like the squad that has won three Super Bowls. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots were just looking to establish some consistency after last weeks win over the Jets, but took it a step further against the Bills.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots week-to-week improvement should, at the very least make for an interesting second round game at Indianapolis. Ron Borges says that the recent improvements are encouraging, but we need to see how the Patriots do against a good team such as Tampa Bay this coming Saturday before we can make any judgments on whether they’re actually any good. Curran provides his game analysis on both sides of the ball, a feature that Greenberg also does and calls turning point.

Karen Guregian writes that Tom Brady must not be hurt all that badly, otherwise Bill Belichick wouldn’t have had him running the ball on third downs and putting him in other situations where his leg could be put in jeopardy. Dan Shaughnessy compares Brady to Larry Bird, Dr. Gregory House and Michael Jackson, all in the first five paragraphs. Tomase has a look at the strong outing from Corey Dillon, which included having a fan share his hot drink with him in the end zone. Miguel Rodriguez in the Herald looks at the versatility and big plays that Kevin Faulk continues to deliver in his role as the third down back. Adam Kilgore (called over from Syracuse?) also has a look at what Dillon and Faulk bring to the offense for the Patriots. Greenberg has more on Dillon, who would like to finish strong for the season.

Nick Cafardo looks at the Patriots dominating performance on defense, holding the Bills to 12 rushing yards and JP Losman to a 33.6 QB rating, but warns that we need to see how they do against Tampa. Guregian looks at Richard Seymour, who while improving and adding much to the Patriots defense, still isn’t satisfied with his performance, and says he isn’t 100% yet. Felger has a look at the secondary, which he says is playing noticeably better, even if it is against second rate QB’s.

Cafardo looks at the Bills hitting rock bottom. Was it really all that long ago that Nick was touting how Tom Donahue had fleeced the Patriots and that he had never seen a team help a rival get so good so fast? Get the take from Buffalo on yesterday’s game from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Buffalo News.

Solomon’s notebook looks at Tom Ashworth stepping in on the offensive line, and protecting Tom Brady quite well. Parente’s notebook has more on Brady’s leg and the game of musical chairs on the offensive line. Tomase’s notebook has a look at rookie James Sanders getting a gift interception and TD in the fourth quarter.

Today’s article by Borges was fair, but he absolutely needs to be called on the carpet for this line in his Sunday notes column from yesterday:

Coach Lovie Smith says he has no thoughts of benching Orton, but we're not talking about the kind of situation Bill Belichick faced when Drew Bledsoe returned to health in 2001. Tom Brady was playing so well then, it was absurd to consider a change. But the Bears seem to be winning despite their quarterback.

Are you kidding me? How arrogant can someone be that they can totally ignore their own stance of the time and write such revisionist history? Borges certainly did not consider the idea of returning Bledsoe to the lineup over Brady in ’01 “absurd” at the time, if anything he lobbied for the change. Who can forget columns such as November 22, 2001, where Borges said, among other things:

But of this you can be sure. If Bill Belichick is wrong and Brady doesn't become the future for the Patriots, Belichick will have no future in New England.

If Brady is not a quarterback he can rely on to win for him and win immediately, he will pay the ultimate price, just as he did in Cleveland. He will get himself fired. The difference is this time he will not be given another head coaching job in the National Football League.

Or from that same day:

They'll also decide one thing for Bill Belichick. Whether the future is now or nonexistent for him, because there's no turning back. Some people learn from their mistakes. Others are doomed to repeat them.

If you wonder which is Bill Belichick, go ask people in Cleveland if they've ever heard the story of the guy who benched Bernie Kosar for Todd Philcox?

So for Borges to now pretend that that decision was a simple one for Belichick and Brady should’ve been the guy all along is yet another in a long string of Ron Borges and Boston Globe embarrassments.

If the Red Sox can do anything to upstage the Patriots and steal the spotlight, you know they will do it. The rumors continue to persist of a Theo Epstein return to the Red Sox, and wouldn’t this be the perfect week for it. Jeff Horrigan says an announcement should come this week that Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington will be named co-GM’s, but what Epstein’s role could be is unclear at this point. The ProJo also has a short report on these issues. Whatever happens, Horrigan says that Larry Lucchino will remain in charge at Fenway. Rob Bradford says that things are in motion at Fenway for a Epstein return.

If not Theo Epstein’s return for a PR splash, why not Roger Clemens instead? Or at least the talk of a possible Clemens return. David Heuschkel reports on the Red Sox making contact with the agents for the future Hall of Famer. Horrigan’s notebook says that there are no negotiations going on, just a courtesy call. Chris Snow and Luis Andres Henao report that Edgar Renteria wanted to leave Boston, not because of the fans or the media, but because of the Fenway Park infield. Snow’s notebook has Miguel Tejada backing off his trade request somewhat. Lisa Wangsness in the Globe reports on a Boston city councilor proposing the idea of brining a minor league baseball team to Boston.

The Bruins lost yet another OT game, this time 2-1 to Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins falling short despite another strong outing from goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Steve Conroy says that the Bruins got their strong start to the game that they were looking for, but couldn’t end that way. Joe McDonald wonders if Toivonen should be the regular goaltender ahead of Andrew Raycroft. Kevin Paul Dupont observes that the Bruins desperately need to put together a line that can provide a spark. Matt Kalman has more on Toivonen. He also looks at former Coyote David Tanabe, who lost to his old mates after facing them for the first time. Burrell’s notebook has more on Tanabe. McDonald’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook look at former Bruin Dave Scatchard getting back at his old team last night.

Mark Murphy says that the Celtics would’ve liked a little more out of their just completed five game road swing, but that there are reasons for optimism that came out of the trip as well. Shira Springer however, says that the team did not find the identity they were seeking on their trip through the Midwest. Tim Weisberg examines the team at the quarter mark of the season, and sees some positives thus far, but also stresses that the learning process needs to be accelerated.

Check out of town coverage from the New York Sports Pages and the Bay Area Sports Pages.

ABC has Saints/Falcons at 9:00. OLN has Penguins/Red Wings at 7:30.

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