With Rob Gronkowski out for several weeks, is it sacrelige for me to have thought that the Patriots should have signed Plaxico Burress, if for nothing more than use in the red zone? It’s a moot point now since Plax signed with Pittsburgh, but I wonder if or how much Bill Belichick considered making that move?


Before I get to the Jets, one more thing I wanted to follow up on from yesterday’s column. I keep hearing certain people (e.g., Jet fans) saying that ‘if not for the Colts turnovers they would have led the Pats at halftime’, or words to that effect. There is a huge flaw in that argument: it assumes that the patriots would not have scored on the two one-play possessions (punt return, pick-6).

In the first half Indy was completely unable to stop the Pats; the only time they Patriots did not score was on a very makeable field goal. The Pats defense on the other hand stopped the Colts offense three times (punt; interception; long field goal attempt that would have been a punt if not for the fact that there was no time left).

Yes, Indy did score on their first two drives; how did they do after that? The Pats defense was far from perfect, but it is revisionist history to imply that New England won only because of self inflicted Indy mistakes; the Patriots D had something to do with those turnovers too.



A few thoughts on the Jets after going back and reviewing the NFL Game Rewind of their win over the Rams.

Mark Sanchez played very well, completing 75% of his passes. Question is, do we see this one-game Sanchez, or the one we have seen all the rest of the year on Thursday? The Patriots; defense thrives on creating turnovers; I just don’t picture Sanchez playing back-to-back flawless games.

– The Jets discovered their running game. The Rams defense was supposed to be good, but considering what happened in London I’m hesitant to give them too much credit. I will say that it looked as though Tony Sparano had a good game plan and good play calling. For the Jets to win they absolutely must be able to run the ball effectively. Unfortunately for them the Pats have done very well with their run defense this year.

Mo Wilkerson played very well, and he should be the focus point for the offensive line. I trust Dante Scarnecchia realizes this as well and will have a plan up his sleeve to neutralize him. I didn’t see anything from the rest of the Jets front seven defenders (Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, Ricky Sapp, Bryan Thomas) that would lead me to believe that they might disrupt the Pats passing game.

– The Jets need to find a way to confuse Tom Brady by disguising their defense with different looks. The thing is, I don’t think they are talented enough to accomplish that.

Wes Welker should have a big game. Antonio Cromartie is a good cornerback playing outside; I don’t think he’s as effective as a slot corner. That would leave Kyle Wilson or Ellis Lankster on Welker, and neither one has what it takes to stop him. If the Jets do put Cro’ on Welker, that simply opens things up for Brandon Lloyd. Pick your poison, Rex.

Aaron Hernandez is back; who are the Jets going to put on him?

– Physically Stephen Hill is the type of receiver that gives the Pats secondary fits, but I’m just not yet seeing it transfer to plays being made on the football field.

– I just see way too many ‘ifs’ for the Jets to win, even though the Patriots are without Rob Gronkowski. I think Stevan Ridley bounces back with a better game and the pats are able to run the ball much better this week than they did against the Colts.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 17



This Day In Patriots History


November 21, 1965:
Boston Patriots 10, Kansas City Chiefs 10 at Fenway Park

Babe Parilli‘s ten-yard touchdown pass to J.D. Garrett capped a late rally as the Pats were able to come back and tie the Chiefs. Jim Colclough had six receptions for 88 yards for the Patriots, and both Ron Hall and Jay Cunningham thwarted Kansas City drives with interceptions off Len Dawson. The tie against the high powered Chiefs seemed to motivate the Patriots, as they went on to win their next three games.


November 21, 1971:
Cleveland Browns 27, New England Patriots 7 at Municipal Stadium

In a battle of 4-5 teams the Browns came out on top, with Leroy Kelly scoring twice. Randy Vataha had four receptions for 65 yards and Tom Beer scored on an 18-yard pass from Jim Plunkett.


November 21, 1976:
New England Patriots 38, New York Jets 24 at Shea Stadium

The Pats won their third in a row to improve to 8-3 in what was Joe Namath‘s final game against the Pats. The Patriots gave Joe Willie an inglorious sendoff, intercepting five of his passes before he was benched (and then picked two more off Richard Todd).

Mike Haynes had three interceptions and Prentice McCray had two more, returning his picks 63 yards and 55 yards for touchdowns; Tim Fox and Bob Howard had the other interceptions.

Early in the 4th quarter OL Pete Brock brought a play in from the sideline. Brock told Steve Grogan the play was ‘222 to me’ rather than ‘222 tight end delay’; Brock caught the pass for a 6-yard touchdown, the only score of his 12-year NFL career. Afterwards Brock was given the nickname ‘Deep Threat’.

Don Calhoun finished with 109 yards rushing for the Pats; Grogan also had first quarter touchdown passes to Andy Johnson and Daryl Stingley to give the Pats their initial lead before McCray’s two touchdowns turned the game into a rout.

A little more on Namath: his final stat line was 13-36 for 176 yards, 1 TD and 5 INT; that works out to a 44% completion percentage and a passer rating of 29.2


November 21, 1982:
Cleveland Browns 10, New England Patriots 7 at Municipal Stadium

Both teams showed a lot of rust in their first game in nine weeks after the player’s strike ended. Tony Collins ran for 80 yards on 18 carries to lead the Pats, and Mark van Eeghen added 63 more on 13 rushes.


November 21, 1993:
Miami Dolphins 17, New England Patriots 13 at Joe Robbie Stadium

The Pats played the heavily favored Dolphins close on the road but came up short when Miami’s Steve DeBerg threw two 4th quarter touchdowns – one to future Patriot Keith Byars, and the game-winner to former Patriot Irving Fryar. The Pats responded with a 40-yard touchdown from Drew Bledsoe to Ray Crittenden but time ran out before they could get the ball back. Vincent Brisby led Pats receivers on the day with six receptions for 89 yards.


November 21, 1999:
Miami Dolphins 27, New England Patriots 17 at Pro Player Stadium

Shawn Jefferson scored on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe but other than that the Pats offense sputtered for the second week in a row, as the Pats lost to the 8-2 Dolphins. The Pats recovered a fumble to set up Terry Allen‘s 6-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but Bledsoe threw five interceptions on the day. The other points came on an Adam Vinatieri field goal that was set up by a 43-yard run by Kevin Faulk, and then a 17-yard pass to Ben Coates.


November 21, 2010:
New England Patriots 31, Indianapolis Colts 28 at Gillette Stadium

Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders each intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and the Pats cruised to their 8th victory of the season.

Tom Brady was near perfect, completing 76% of his passes and throwing no interceptions; his touchdown passes of 22 yards to Wes Welker and 8 yards to Aaron Hernandez gave the Pats a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Pats still led by 17 late in the 4th quarter before Indy scored twice to make the final score close.

Danny Woodhead got plenty of positive national attention when he scored on a beautiful, shifty 36-yard run in the 3rd quarter to put the Pats up 28-14, and then made a great tackle on the ensuing kickoff.

The win gave Bill Belichick 171 victories as a head coach; passing his idol Paul Brown and tying Joe Gibbs for 11th most in NFL history.


November 21, 2011:
New England Patriots 34, Kansas City Chiefs 3 at Gillette Stadium

Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes from Tom Brady and Julian Edelman returned a punt 72 yards for a TD as the Pats cruised to an easy victory on Monday Night Football, and opened up a two-game lead in the AFC East.

After a sluggish first quarter the Pats got on the board with a 52-yard touchdown. The Chiefs had been effectively bringing pressure, but the pats defense had been doing the same, with Rob Ninkovich, Mark Anderson and Andre Carter combining for three sacks.

In the third quarter a 25-yard completion to BenJarvus Green-Ellis moved Brady past Boomer Esiason for 15th place on the NFL’s all-time passing yardage list. before the quarter was over Brady hit Gronk on a 19-yard TD, Edelman scored on his punt return, Kyle Arrington had his second interception of the night, and Stepehen Gostkowski connected on his second field goal to give the Pats a 27-3 lead.

Gronk finished with 96 yards receiving, though he gave fans a scare when he landed awkwardly on his neck on his second TD. Shane Vereen scored in garbage time for his first NFL touchdown, and Phillip Adams got his first (and at this point only) interception of his NFL career.



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November 21, 1950:
An old neighbor of mine from many moons ago, Livingston Taylor, was born in Boston.




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