The Aura of the Blueprint

Yes, the buzzword is still “blueprint.” Right up there is “aura.”

Over on Patriots Daily, Christopher Price examines how 83 seems to be Tom Brady’s lucky number, first with Deion Branch and now Wes Welker. He also has five things to look for this week, and a stat and quote of the week from Inside Gillette.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, and notes that if any team needed the Eagles game plan as a blueprint for beating the Patriots, then their scouts haven’t been doing their homework this season. Ian M. Clark also turns in his grades on the Philly game.

John Tomase doesn’t actually use the word “blueprint” in his column today of how the Eagles nearly beat the Patriots, but the headline writer tossed the word atop Tomase’s article for good measure. Mark Farinella tells us that the Patriots have lost their “aura of invulnerability” after Sunday night. David Heuschkel says that the “aura of invincibility” no longer seems to surround the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young considers the Eagles’ game plan against the Patriots and whether the “blueprint” will be copied by other teams. Bill Reynolds says that the game did take away some of the Pats’ “aura of invincibility,” but says that it is a good thing for the team.

Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots “aura of invincibility” is no longer quite so strong. Clark sneaks in a blueprint reference when he writes about how the Patriots survived a perfect storm on Sunday night. Glen Farley says that Andy Reid may have dropped a blueprint for beating ‘‘the untouchables.’’ AP writer Jim Litke tells us that Bill Belichick will make the “blueprint” irrelevant.

Rich Garven manages neither a blueprint or aura reference in his column today, (what’s wrong with this guy? He’s not following the script!) where he makes the point that the Patriots haven’t lost their ability to close out close games. Hector Longo also bucks the trend and uses neither word in his two minute drill wrapup of Sunday night. It must’ve been an Eagle-Tribune edict to stay away from the chosen buzzwords, as Bill Burt managed to go without them as well. Dan Pires says that come from behind wins as this one and the Indianapolis game only add to the Patriots confidence.

Karen Guregian says that Asante Samuel continues to pile up the potential free agent dollars with every interception he makes. Eric McHugh has Samuel salvaging an otherwise dreadful night for the secondary. Christopher L. Gasper has Adalius Thomas putting his seven seasons with the Ravens – and his much publicized feud with Ray Lewis from earlier this season – behind him as he prepares to return to Baltimore on Monday night. Guregian also says that Thomas considers the subject closed when it comes to Lewis. Ron Hobson has Wes Welker enjoying a career night against the Eagles.

Guregian’s notebook has Randall Gay not planning on missing the Monday night game despite the back problems that flared up in the Philly game. The Globe notebook avoids the word “blueprint,” but they too discuss whether other teams will copy the Eagles’ game plan in the future. Flynn’s notebook looks at the nice game from Jabar Gaffney on Sunday. Farley’s notebook has 20 Patriots now having scored touchdowns this season.

Bruins

The Bruins beat the Flyers last night 6-3, but had another one of their players injured by a cheap shot from a Philadelphia player. Kevin Paul Dupont has the account of the game and of defenseman Andrew Alberts getting injured. Rich Thompson notes that the Bruins offense was a thing of beauty on an ugly night in Philly.

Dupont’s notebook has rookie Tuukka Rask picking up his second win in as many starts in goal for the Bruins. Thompson’s notebook has more on the performance of Rask.

Red Sox

The Red Sox World Series DVD set goes on sale today. If you order through the Amazon link here, you’ll be helping to support BSMW.

Gordon Edes talks to Matt Damon, who narrates the DVD set and has proven himself a true Red Sox fan over the years. Michael Silverman has the Red Sox again being generous with their playoff shares.

Edes’ notebook has the Red Sox reporting a couple of days early for spring training – in part to prepare for the trip to Japan to open the season. He also reports on Dr. Charles Steinberg leaving the team to take a position with the Dodgers – an event I expected a full article to be devoted to.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics stars can relate to LeBron James having to carry the Cavs by himself. Peter May tells us that the small things that Scott Pollard does on the court mean a lot to the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has both Allens on the Celtics sitting out practice yesterday with injury, and it appears Tony will not play tonight while Ray should be available.

Mark Blaudschun says that the Boston College Eagles have a whole lot riding on their Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with Virginia Tech this Saturday. A win and they’re in the Orange Bowl, a loss and they could be relegated to a second-rate Bowl game.

Lenny Megliola has Northborough native Mike Sherman being named the head coach of Texas A&M.

A Few More Links…

A few more links from this morning:

Christopher Price has his 10 Things We Learned Last Night about the Patriots and Eagles.

Jim Donaldson says that there is clearly a chink in the Patriots armor. Steve Solloway says that Patriots fans should be thankful for actually having a competitive game to watch. Dan Pires says that it is not going to be pretty within the confines of Gillette this week. Mark Farinella has the Eagles proving to be no Patsies last night.

Peter King devotes the opening of Monday Morning Quarterback to the Patriots game, and how Wes Welker saved New England last night. Michael Silver has his Monday Morning Rush column, and leads off with a look at Jacksonville QB David Garrard. ESPN reporters check in with The Last Call – a look back at the action of week 12.

From Philly, Laura Nachman has some observations about the Patriots/Eagles NBC telecast. NBC showed Curt Schilling at the game, wearing a Tedy Bruschi jersey, and the Red Sox pitcher weighs in with his thoughts on the game.

Patriots Survive Eagle Attack

(Morning Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here)

The Philadelphia Eagles gave the Patriots everything they had last night in Foxboro, nearly disrupting the Patriots journey to an undefeated season. The Eagles made certain there would be no talk of “RunningupthescoreGate” after last night’s game forcing the Patriots’ starters to play a full sixty minutes. The Eagles listened to John Madden’s advice from earlier in the week, “come out and be aggressive”, and aggressive they were, eschewing a field goal early in the game, going for it on fourth-and-one, which led to their first touchdown. Later in the half, they surprised the Patriots, recovering an onside kick. The Patriots showed their true spirit though, ultimately charging back and pulling out the 31-28 victory. Tom Brady’s assault on Peyton Manning’s touchdown record was put on hold last night, instead Brady who was 34-of-54, 380 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, showed why he already holds a 3-to-1 lead over Manning in the only record that matters. With Brady’s performance last night, Michael Felger tells us he has regained the MVP vote from Randy Moss. The Eagles did everything possible to contain Randy Moss, holding Moss to 5 catches for 43 yards, but all that attention left the speedy Wes Welker (13 catches, 149 yards) to post a career game. This is a great way to describe the impact of Wes Welker. Along with Welker, Robert Lee of the Providence Journal has Jabar Gaffney having a “breakout” game.

For all of the talk about a record 22.5 point spread, Vegas surely got this one wrong. It did serve to provide some extra motivation for the Philadelphia players, who were not scared. The big question now, which will surely be debated all week is whether the rest of the league now has a blueprint on how to defeat, or at least disrupt the Patriots. If nothing else, Tony Massarotti says last night’s game proved the Patriots are vulnerable. Jackie MacMullan puts a more positive spin on the meaning of last night’s hard fought victory. No matter what gameplan teams decide to use, ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli says that you “cannot fool Brady”. Don Banks says the Patriots’ narrow victory may serve to help them in the long run.

Asante Samuel’s two bookend interceptions were huge, and ultimately the deciding factors in last night’s game. Jeff Horrigan has Rodney Harrison calling Samuel “the best defensive back in the NFL.” While a majority of the attention will be paid to the Eagles defensive scheme, AJ Feeley, the Eagles back-up QB played a tremendous game with the only tarnishes coming on the Samuel picks.

Within the Herald’s Notebook we learn that Rosevelt Colvin left the game with a foot injury. The Globe’s Notebook has Bill Belichick crediting Asante Samuel with the game deciding interceptions.

Amongst all of last night’s drama, the Patriots have clinched the AFC East, making them the Division Champions and also tying them with three other teams for the fastest to secure the division since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.

Scott Benson over at Patriots Daily has the Patriots dodging a bullet last night. That plus random thoughts on last night’s victory.