By: Bob George/
November 05, 2003

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One of the less talked about keys to the win Monday night by the Patriots was the depletion of the Denver kicking game. After making a 43-yard field goal midway through the second period, Jason Elam pulled up lame with a sore hamstring. It forced punter Micah Knorr into placekicking duty, and it forced Mike Shanahan into punts which would have been field goal attempts had Elam been healthy. While Shanahan has been excoriated by the Denver press for blowing the game, we instead choose to salute the fill-in kicker, and feel sorry that he never got the chance to show that he could make a big kick against the Patriots. So, Knorr kicks off this week's edition, and whaddayaknow. He booms one through the thin Denver air and out of the end zone.

If you aren't convinced by now that Bill Belichick is a genius, you never will be.

I'd really like to be happy for Brett Favre, he of playing through a broken thumb fame. It's just that defenses all over the league forgot how to induce him to throw five picks per game, and the Patriots are at the head of that list.

Let the word go forth: David Givens is finally a prime time player.

Forget the Tuna Bowl. Can't wait to play Indianapolis. That will be a real hum-dinger.

In the eyes of brother Sterling, Shannon Sharpe will always be a hero. In New England, Shannon Sharpe will always be the opposite.

Sitting high above the Invesco Field crowd was the high priest of Bronco football, John Elway, who never lost to their Monday night opponent.

Too bad that Belichick never got a shot at Elway as Patriot coach.

Cross-reference: Super Bowl XXI. Giants 37, Broncos 21. Go look up the name of the Giant defensive coordinator on that day.

Let's talk baseball talk. The magic number for the Patriots to eliminate the last-place Jets from division title contention is four.

Geek of the week: Bill Callahan has gone from a nobody last year to a totally lame coach this year.

The record for most wins in a season by the Patriots is 11. The Pats break that if they go at least 5-2 the rest of the way.

The Patriots held Clinton Portis to 111 yards, and that was one mighty good job.

It's nice that the Giants beat the Jets, you just wish that they had had a little easier time of it.

You can be forgiven if you spend the rest of the year rooting for whoever is playing Kansas City.

Jon Gruden now knows how Belichick felt last year.

Everyone from this region should stand up and cheer every time they see Doug Flutie continue to take the field.

Something to do when you have lots of time on your hands: Is Flutie the last remaining player in the NFL who once played in the old USFL?

Speaking of old leagues, great special on the NFL channel the other night on the defunct WFL. Loved the part where they had Wells Fargo trucks out ready to seize the Florida Blazer uniforms because of back taxes owed.

Back to school: So far, Ohio State is doing fine without Maurice Clarett.

Someone tell Donovan McNabb to go back to his 'fro.

Lawyer Milloy, you're no Rodney Harrison.

Line of the week comes from John Madden: "If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, am totally positive of, am completely convinced of, it is this: If there is any quarterback out there who can drive his team 99 yards for a winning touchdown, it is Tom Brady!"

Ah. Nothing like a good heapin' helpin' of contrition.

What's this? We get word that Bill Parcells and Bob Kraft said recently that they could work together today if they had to?

That would have sounded terrific pre-Super Bowl XXXVI.

Ignore or debunk any draft analysis report which grades the Patriot 2003 draft out at anything less than A+.

If they can beat Denver without Richard Seymour, maybe they can beat just about anybody, any time, anywhere.

Ty Law's new definition of ecstasy: sticking it to Terry Glenn next Sunday night.

Remember him: Red Miller went from Patriot offensive line coach to Bronco head coach, took his new team to a Super Bowl in his second season, then hung around long enough in the Mile High City to coach the USFL's Denver Gold.

Hah. The two Patriot AFC postseason opponents in 2001 are a combined 4-12 right now.

The Patriots look terrific as December approaches. The only team they don't hold a tiebreaker edge over right now is Buffalo. And if things stay the way they are, that won't matter.

It's Texas time for the Patriots: Next up after Dallas is David Carr and his Reliant renegades.

Sick thought: The most losable game on the Patriot docket the rest of the way is the rematch with the Jets. They may be down in the dumps, but if they have to play spoiler, Chad Pennington will look like the league MVP that night in Joisey.

If Curtis Martin doesn't beat him to it.

Just don't tell Belichick that he's 0-1 against the Jets in games started by Pennington and not Vinny Testaverde.

No Patriots this weekend. Gonna have to find something else to do. Storm windows need putting up? Leaves need raked? Snow tires need to be put on the car?

Nah. Just gimme the channel changer and NFL Sunday Ticket, and I'm just fine.