By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
November 23, 2004

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates


It never seemed as if either team was in control of this one, did it?

Was it the Monday Night Football atmosphere at Arrowhead? Maybe the injuries in the defensive secondary have finally caught up with the Patriots? Or perhaps it was the defense not winning the battle at the line of scrimmage against arguably the best offensive line in football.

Who cares?

The Patriots won for the first time in Kansas City since the Lyndon Johnson administration and kept pace for home field advantage in the playoffs. That's all that matters.

But yet the Patriots' modus operandi has always been to be in a position to win in the fourth quarter and then make the one or two critical plays that decide a game. This week's offering is a successful 3rd and 1 quarterback sneak by Tom Brady at the Kansas City 27 yard-line with a little over three minutes left and then a sack of Trent Green by Willie McGinest to end the game.

Corey Dillon may be the MVP of not only this Patriots offense but also the defense as well. He takes your breath away when he hits the line of scrimmage. Will he run for four yards or forty? Will he bounce off of one, two, or three defenders? Or as he did when the Patriots were ready to put the game away in the fourth quarter, will he uncharacteristically fumble inside the opponent's five yard line? Like he did the week before against Buffalo, Dillon's ability to pick up big chunks of yardage kept the clock moving and the Chiefs offense off the field.

Refresh my memory if you will. I don't remember any Patriots running back - including Curtis Martin - doing what this guy does. It's an obvious statement but it is worth repeating: The Patriots' ability to continue to win will rest on large part on Dillon's shoulders.

It may sound like a broken record when you have to read it every week but it bears repeating. Dillon's talents allow Tom Brady to fire balls down field to an open receiver. Deion Branch's return was a welcome site after an eight week absence as he had 6 receptions for 105 yards including a scintillating 26-yard dash for a third-quarter touchdown that put the Patriots up by eleven.

And while we are discussing running games, the Patriots defense brought Priest Holmes' understudy, Derrick Blaylock, back down to earth. Blaylock, despite running behind arguably the best offensive line in football, could only muster 58 yards on 19 carries.

Obviously, the Patriots game plan was to contain Blaylock and minimize the damage that All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez could muster. The problem with this was that the Patriots weren't able to put any sustained pressure on Chiefs quarterback Trent Green. Green made the Patriots pay on a number of occasions when he was given four or five seconds to find a receiver.

Or maybe Green was able to rack up 381 yards because he finally exposed the depleted secondary. Why did I feel like I was watching the fourth quarter of last year's Super Bowl all over again? You just hoped that the secondary could hold on.

The injuries to Tyrone Poole and Ty Law are starting to raise their ugly heads. Realistically, just how long can we expect rookies and practice squanders to run around with very good opposing wide receivers? It's as if the Patriots are living on borrowed time with these guys. Don't get me wrong. What's not to love about Randall Gay and Earthwind Moreland? The Patriots couldn't ask for more from them and they will certainly be terrific insurance when Poole and Law return.

But can the two Tys come back soon enough? Against the Chiefs, the secondary gave up passes of 65, 22, 36, 17, 19 yards, etc. What about touchdown passes of 65 yards and 27 yards? You get the picture. The latter put the Chiefs back in the game after driving 97 yards after the Dillon fumble. And then Asante Samuel breaks up a late fourth quarter bomb and goes down screaming in pain.

It may not have been a Picasso but it's a win in Kansas City, in a rough environment, that takes the Patriots one game closer to a first-round bye and home field advantage.

I'll be grateful for that along with many other of life's blessings when I sit down to eat on Thursday.

Idle Zinger thoughts while realizing that the release of a new U2 album is like having an old friend move back to the neighborhood:

When Michael Irvin talks (more like shouts) during ESPN's pre-game show, the look on Steve Young's face says "I can't believe I'm trying to have a rational conversation with this guy.”

If you can explain the BCS formula to me, I would be happy to personally vouch for you when you apply for a Master's degree in mathematics.

I called Mr., Ian Logue, the other day. Mrs. Logue informed me that he was unavailable. I then ask her to have him give me a call when he gets a chance and that it is no big deal. She comes back with the line of the week when she asks "So this isn't some type of Patriot emergency?”

There is no way that Eddie George's abilities have diminished that much since we last saw him in a frosty Foxborough ten months ago. Blame that awful Cowboy offensive line and not him.

How awful is that Chunky Soup ads featuring Donovan McNabb's mom? It jumps the shark when she leads the boys in a "battle cry.” Good soup, bad ads.

Isn't it amazing how Bill Belichick convinces us every week that the upcoming opponent is the second coming of the 1970s Steelers?

Monday Night Football's Michelle Tafoya is kinda like that girl in college who was always around but you didn't think much about. Then one day, you realize that not only is she not that bad looking, but she's also pretty smart, too.

And even if you wouldn't have a problem with Tom Brady's mom getting the boys psyched up before the game, I would still like to hear from you.