Patriots Plunder, Pillage Vikings

Before we get to the Patriots links…I was away this past weekend and thus didn’t get to round up all the coverage on the passing of Red Auerbach. I’ve posted my own thoughts and memories of Red on the FSN Nothing But Net blog, but David Scott and John Molori both watched and read the coverage and got reaction on the passing of the most important figure in the history of the NBA. More on the Celtics and Red in a little bit…

It’s been five years and we still don’t learn. You just don’t count Tom Brady and the Patriots out. Last night was supposed to serve as a stern test for Bill Belichick’s crew, who went on the road to face the highly touted Minnesota Vikings, who seemed eager to test themselves against the Patriots, to the point that their rookie head coach Brad Childress appeared to try and engage Belichick in a little gamesmanship during the week. Experts warned of a trap game for the Patriots with the Colts coming to town next week. I got sucked into the hype, predicting a low-scoring, close Vikings win. Well the Vikings offense didn’t score a point, while the Patriots put up 31 points in a 31-7 rout at the Metrodome. Scott on the Patriots Game Day page has reaction in the aftermath of the dominant performance.

Mike Reiss says that this was a ring-worthy performance that the Patriots put on last night. John Tomase says that the Patriots look like one of the NFL’s elite teams. Shalise Manza Young looks at the Patriots once again turning up their game when the spotlight is upon them. Alan Greenberg says that perhaps if the Vikings could’ve borrowed Tom Brady, they might’ve had a chance last night. Rich Garven looks at Brady and the Patriots just dominating the Vikings. Michael Parente says that the Vikings can keep Bethel Johnson. The Patriots showed their receivers and kickoff returns are just fine without him. Mark Farinella says that it might be time to start believing that this team is going to play deep into January – or beyond.

Ron Borges writes that this game showed how far ahead of the NFC that the Patriots and the iron of the AFC are. He says in the NFC the Vikings are contenders. In the AFC, they’re cannon fodder. Michael Felger says that the Patriots left little doubt that they are among the elite teams in the NFL with that performance last night. Tony Massarotti looks at Tom Brady’s terrific night passing the ball, spreading it around to receivers who seem to be coming into their own in the Patriots offense. Jackie MacMullan notes that Brady has been waiting all season to be able to put up a performance like this, and to have the multiple targets to throw to. Joe McDonald looks at Brady shouldering the load once again for the Patriots.

John Millea looks at Benjamin Watson getting in on the action early and often last night for the Patriots. Christopher L Gasper looks at Troy Brown drawing to within two catches of Stanley Morgan’s club record. Ian Clark looks at rookie David Thomas learning all he can from Watson and Daniel Graham. Garven looks at Junior Seau using his experience to contribute to the Patriots defense. Christopher Price looks at Rodney Harrison as a master of getting to the quarterback.

Michael Rand looks at the Patriots defense thoroughly confusing veteran Brad Johnson. MacMullan has Tedy Bruschi reflecting on the one year anniversary of his return to football following his stroke. (His stroke was in 2005, not 2004 as the online edition of the column currently says.)

Felger says one play that the Patriots stayed away from last night was the tight end double screen – but it may reappear against the Colts. Gasper looks at the Patriots receivers showing their stuff last night in the Metrodome. Millea taps Maroney’s 77 yard kickoff return immediately following a 71 yard punt return by the Vikings Mewelde Moore as the play of the game. McDonald chooses the same play as his key play of the game. Greenberg also has the kickoff return as his turning point of the game, and provides further game analysis. Massarotti offers up the best and worst from last night’s game. McDonald has his game analysis article, looking at the action on both sides of the ball.

Chad Finn kept a running diary of the game last night.

The view from the opposition is on the pages of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune also has a Vikings Blog .

Tomase’s notebook has Richard Seymour not only making the trip and dressing, but seeing significant action last night. Bruce Allen, wrong again. Reiss’ notebook has Seymour doing what he can with the bulky elbow brace on his arm. Young’s notebook looks at the Patriots doing quite a job of keeping Seymour’s status for the game under wraps. Garven’s notebook has the Patriots kickers enjoying their one regular season game in a dome. Farinella’s notebook looks at Jarvis Green getting the start over Seymour last night.

Celtics

By now you’ve probably read many of the tributes and columns devoted to Red Auerbach. There are more to share this morning. Bob Ryan reports that Auerbach is going to be buried in a Celtic green coffin, and has friends and admirers sharing their parting thoughts on Red at the calling hours at the funeral home last night. Steve Bulpett also reports from the funeral home, talking to some of the all time greats of the game. Red is the subject of a Globe editorial this morning.

Here’s a few more of the major columns from around New England from the last couple days. Dan Shaughnessy’s Sunday column was well done. There’s also a link to the complete Globe coverage of Red’s passing. Bulpett wrote that Red’s spirit will live on. That article has links to the Herald’s coverage. Mike Fine tells a story I never heard before – a rarity – that a Patriot-Ledger writer first saw that Auerbach would be the perfect coach for the Boston Celtics. Bill Reynolds says Red always did things his own way. Jim Donaldson says Red had the magic touch when it came to building championship teams. Jeff Jacobs does his best to sum up Auerbach. I think his line that “Red was better at winning than anyone in NBA history” says it pretty well. Alan Siegel says Red wasn’t always well liked, but he did things his own way. Jim Fenton says that off the court, family came first for Red. Ken Hamwey had a very good profile of Red as well.

There were plenty of other articles, but those were some of the highlights. There were only a few articles on the current Celtics this morning. Bob Duffy looks at Delonte West attempting to go back to being a shoot-first guard, and finding his instincts hard to ignore. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics aren’t going to rush Theo Ratliff back onto the court, and that Kendrick Perkins will likely be the opening night starter at center for the Celtics.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes has the Red Sox picking up Tim Wakefield’s option for 2007. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox are certainly in better shape organizationally than they were last Halloween. Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox and other clubs are gearing up to start bidding on Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

TNT has Bulls/Heat at 8:00 and Lakers/Suns at 10:30.

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