By: Bob George/
November 10, 2004

Patriots notebook: Dont'a Hightower plays complete game
Keegan: Defense climbs ladder
Patriots stuff Vikings
Tom Brady runs to grand milestone
Down-by-down Patriots game recap

He was a teammate of Ryan Leaf at Washington State, the same team which lost 21-16 to Michigan in the 1998 Rose Bowl. He is the only person in existence who is named Rian but spells it with an "I” instead of a "Y”. Leaf went on to become one of the biggest manchildren in league history, as well as one of its biggest busts, and his hallowed five receivers are nowhere to be found in the NFL. But Rian Lindell has a job in the NFL, that of Bills placekicker. He giggles at Leaf as he runs up to the ball and booms it to the five-yard-line.

Miami's orange uniforms last year were shocking. Cincinnati's orange uniforms were simply disgusting.

But they were good enough to beat Dallas by 23. Keep ‘em.

If Donovan McNabb were a real leader, he'd tell Terrell Owens to shut the (insert a colorful word here) up and to sit the (another off-color word would do just fine) down.

Did the Giants lose at home to Da Bears? So much for the Giants being a real prime time team.

Adam Vinatieri can kick ‘em. He can lay a stick on a special teams tackler. Now he can toss touchdown passes.

Who knows. If you put him in a Red Sox uniform, betcha he yanks a game-winning homer off Mariano Rivera.

Joe Gibbs can take comfort in the fact that at least he doesn't have to worry about losing to Detroit.

News item: Dave Wannstedt has stepped down as Miami head coach. The biggest fish-cleaning job now starts.

One of two things will happen to the 2004 Steelers.

Some defender will hammer Ben Roethlisberger, Tommy Maddox will have to come back, and the Steelers return to JAT (just another team) status.

Someone will find a flaw out there, and Bill Belichick will have the solution well in time for the AFC Championship Game.

Face it, Maddox getting knocked out has done to the Steelers what Mo Lewis did to the Patriots in 2001.

Geek of the week: Watching Mike Martz butcher football games is at times laughable.

Don't look now, but both Jet losses are division losses. That will come back to bite them in December.

It's nice to know that Baltimore needs more than the Lewises to do well.

Losing to Arizona at home? Ugh. You really have to pity Fish Nation.

You thought Vinatieri's pass was something? Troy Brown almost had himself an interception on one play in the third quarter. Had that happened, the St. Louis fans should have demanded their money back.

Meanwhile, Patriot Nation is calm and serene once again. The hard part of the schedule is now over.

You trying to tell me that San Diego won 43-17 with only 36 rushing yards from LaDainian Tomlinson? Next thing I suppose you'll tell me is that the Bolts lead the division. Ye Gods.

Well, they're tied. You've been told.

Give Oakland and Carolina credit for making a game between two teams with three combined wins exciting.

Willis McGahee will make Bill Belichick stand up and take notice.

But he was still the riskiest of all draft picks.

Running an interception back an NFL record 106 yards for a touchdown is a nice way to salt a game away. Just the way Baltimore's Brian Billick drew it up.

Inside track for rookie of the year: Thurston Long.

Back to school: Steve Spurrier belongs on a golf course, not back at Florida.

Some new nicknames for Chris Berman:

Randall "Ben” Gay.

Earthwind "And Fire” Moreland.

The Red Sox winning the World Series has brought out the fact that getting NFL gear is a lot easier and quicker than MLB gear. It's two weeks now, and world champion t-shirts and hats aren't even in the warehouse yet.

If Brandon Gorin becomes at the very least a serviceable right tackle, then Dante Scarnecchia is more of a genius than Belichick is.

You've Been Sacked!, the new halftime staple of Monday Night Football, is drop dead funny. Never underestimate the laugh potential of a good practical joke.

Can anyone in the Bay Area recall the glory days of Bill Walsh and the West Coast Offense?

The San Francisco 49ers are living proof to every football fan that they should savor every minute of their team's prosperity.

If Bill Parcells comes back in 2005, he's either losing his marbles or he really has a deep-seated fear of being bored.

Simply stated, he has never sounded more self-deprecating in his life.

Dude, where's my running game? Welcome back, Corey Dillon.

Jerome Bettis ran for 149 yards against the Eagles? Next thing you know, Doug Flutie will surface as the new quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, who promptly set out to run the table, finish 11-5 and make it to the NFC Championship Game.

Remember him: How do you win a postseason game 26-8 on the road? Hold their star running back to seven yards on eight carries for starters. The Patriots ventured into old War Memorial Stadium on December 28, 1963 and put the clamps on Cookie Gilchrist, the great Bills' running back from the early AFL days. The Patriots advanced to their only AFL championship game thanks to what was their first franchise postseason win. Gilchrist was the first AFL back to rush for 1,000 yards (1,096 in 1962).

And we'll bet you didn't know this: Gilchrist played his first five pro seasons in the CFL. He led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup in 1957, his rookie season.

Negative. Normally a harsh word. Not in the case of Bills tackle Mike Williams. No serious neck injury. Lots of Bills and Jets players out there prayin' for the big fella.

Minnesota without Randy Moss is like a cat without its claws.

Hiring Dennis Green may be the smartest thing Bill Bidwill ever did for the Cardinals.

Convincing Green to come and coach the Cardinals may have been the most miraculous event in recent NFL history.

Meet the new Chuck Bednarik. His name is Troy Brown.