"I loved nothing better than making 79,088 New Yorkers shut up."
That's what Rob Ninkovich could have said had he been "curt" with this answers after New England's 37-16 beatdown of Rex, Sanchize (at least that’s what Al Michaels called him), Darrelle Revis and the Jets.
No great words of wisdom from Nink, just great football and a pick-six that muzzled the Big Apple and cued Simon and Garfunkel. Rex, put on your Hush Puppies. Looks like the Hoodie had a little trouble containing his emotions. Good. About time he gets excited.
The sun came out about 11 p.m. If being wrong feels this good, then I don’t want to be right. Take that, you doubters, myself included. For one night, everything clicked. The 8,324 draft day deals of the past 10 years. The free agents straight out of the Arena League and day labor pool. The game plan. Right in the heart of Northern New Jersey the Pats turned the season around – at least for the next week or so. In Bill We Trust - unless they lose to Kansas City.
Tom Brady was scrambling like John Elway. A week ago, the Hoodie’s effectiveness as a coach was on the clock. This came out of nowhere. The sky that was falling last week stopped, diverted to New York and crash-landed on MetLife Stadium. When Ninkovich gets more airtime in the 2nd half than Fireman Ed - it’s a great night. What better way for Brady and the Hoodie to pass Don Shula and Dan Marino on the all-time coach-QB-tandem win list (with 117 victories) than with an it-all-clicked rout of Rex and the Boys. Brady-Belichick still leads the Shula-Marino tandem in Super Bowl wins by a slim 3-0 margin.
Sunday, after three quarters of back-and-forth football. the Jets cut it to 23-16 early in the fourth and the ghosts of Eli was beginning to emerge. Buried with horrible field position all night - a second-half touchback triggered the most chat-room cheer all season - Brady methodically led the Patriots down the field on a six-minute, 13-play, 84-yard drive. Deion Branch closed that drive with an eight-yard scamper into the end zone before taunting Mr. Ed. Ninkovich sealed it once the Jets got the ball back by his 12-yard pick-six with 7:45 to play.
Game, set, shut up, Rex. The Patriots are a week-to-week flavor this season and this tasted delicious. The only thing worse than Pats fans (like me) talking doom-and-gloom all week was hearing Jets and Giants fans talk smack. Eli and Sanchize headed for Indy. Not so fast. Silence is golden, my friends. Better to be shocked by a massive victory than left wondering how you can lose to a starting defense with more "no-names" than the Red Sox managerial search. Fantasy league meets reality TV.
Not that surprised the Pats’ defense moved this quickly since it shed 350 pounds of dead weight last week. Maybe Albert was the problem. Andre was a giant hulk, incredible. Carter delivered a Patriots-single-game-record 4.5 sacks along with a Haynesworth-sized serving of tackles. Carter has emerged from the mammoth shadows of Vince Wilfork, Shaun Ellis (remember him?) and Haynesworth all season and helped the Pats totally eclipse the Jets Sunday. If this was a signature win – put a John Hancock on it.
Even when the Jets scored, the Pats benefited. Before Sanchez scored on a QB scramble near the end of the first half he called a needless timeout. Rex called it the “stupidest play in history” Who are we to argue? That gave the Pats just enough time to recover. Bad move. Brady hits Gronk to close out an 80-yard, six-play, 1:11 whirlwind drive after some key Jets mistakes and the Pats go up 13-9 at the half.
How yummy was this one? Let Cris Collingsworth sum it up: “(This was) crushing for the Jets - this was their moment,” he said. “They thought this was the changing of the guard night.” Chad Ochocinco did have two catches for 65 yards. Times they are a changin’. Next time - he might try running in-bounds. The Pats switched to no-huddle and scored on three straight drives in the second half. Brady had them hands-on-hips on their heels from the middle of the third quarter. The Pats adjusted at the line all night – running in when the Jets downsized and going up top and wide out when the Jets tried to be strong.
Then there was the defense. First concern – injuries. Pat Chung didn’t play and Devin McCourty's right shoulder was hurt after a run-in with Sterling Moore in an incident of Patriot-on-Patriot crime. That is the lone cloud in this silver lining.
This isn't a "No-Name Defense." They all have names, we had just never heard of them before. We’ve mocked the Pats infamous roster of nobodies all season – so let’s read the honor roll from Sunday night – Carter, Ninkovich, Phillip Adams, Mark Anderson, Antwaun Molden, James Ihedigbo, Jeff Tarpinian and Moore. Sterling? Try stellar. And on special teams – meet the Greek God of Fumble Recoveries, Niko Koutouvides. Yassou!
“Rob’s interception was awesome,” Brady said on NBC after the game. Which one, Tom? “It was fun to see No. 50 with the ball running in the end zone. ” OK, that one.
The Pats have two guys in the running for defensive player of the week. Maybe next week they'll have 11 starters we can recognize.
The Jets still don’t know who beat them. In a weekend that saw some tremendous hits – Milan Lucic's trucking of Ryan Miller, UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos 1st-round KO of Cain Velasquez and Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez beating on each other all night (glad to see the Casey Anthony jury found work in judging that fight) – the best smackdown of all was delivered by the entire Patriots' roster.
The Hoodie's GPS returned them to the Patriot Way. This was a throwback – all the way to 2003. Old School - 3d millennium style. Pats fans got something to truly cheer about, savor and enjoy with this team for the first time since they beat Rob Ryan. The Pats are back in 1st place and control their own destiny in the AFC East. At this point – with this team's still-ranked 32d defense – it's all one can really expect.
The AFC is a complete tossup – with the mighty Texans leading the way as of this morning. Questions loom – “Who are most of the these guys? and "Can they keep this up?" The injuries are a concern – but it's 10 weeks into the NFL season and injuries happen to every team. The Pats dominated their biggest rival Sunday night on national TV in New Jersey – playing their best game in a month.
No need to gas up the Duck Boats. But it might be time for a tune-up just in case.
We’ll take it.
Don't forget to join us right here for our weekly Patriots in-game fan chat Monday against the Chiefs. We'll get it started at 8 p.m. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to follow us on twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.
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