The Daily Blog 9/19

Ian Logue
September 19, 2007 at 02:51am ET

Buckley: Year after year, Gil Santos delivered
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Patriots Hall of Fame broadcaster Gil Santos
Bill Belichick pays tribute to the late Gil Santos
Tight end Troy Niklas’ “crazy” story makes him a Patriot and a father, too
Patriots notebook: Season starts with Houston at Foxboro

The Patriots were certainly brilliant on Sunday night, but they did something that has finally set them apart from recent years. They put the dagger in the heart of a team that was showing signs of potentially getting back into the game.

In the final quarter of play New England held the ball for over 10-minutes, marching 91-yards on 15 plays, with the knockout blow coming as they punched it in on San Diego to put them back up by 24 points. At that point there were under four minutes left in the game, and the Chargers were demoralized.

Needless to say, game over.

They say the good teams take care of business against what are supposed to be “weaker teams”. After beating a very good Chargers team, the big test will be whether or not they can continue their dominance over a Buffalo Bills team that was at the wrong end in time of possession, losing 26-3 to the Steelers on Sunday. Granted nearly half of that point total came after the Bills defense held the Steelers to four field goals in the first half, but the more interesting point was the fact Pittsburgh held the ball for over 20-minutes in the first two quarters. It carried over into the second half where they were scored on during two out of the first three possessions in the second half, and spent nearly 40 minutes of the game on the field.

“The first half was brutal,” defensive end Chris Kelsay told the Buffalo News. “We all played hard, but I think we had a lot of guys who were tired. A lot of that was we were on the field for so long. You’re going to have games like that, but that’s when you really have to step it up, pick up your play and get the offense the ball back because really if [opposing offenses] have the ball it’s our job to get it back to our offense. We didn’t do a very good job of that.”

They were tired, and it definitely showed when they couldn’t get off the field on third down. Pittsburgh converted 11 of 16 of those opportunities, and punted just once the entire game.

If you’re a Patriots fan you have to like their chances, although you could also consider this a “trap game”. It will be interesting to see if they don’t “play down” to their level of competition and take control early on. I have to believe that this team is at a different level than we’ve ever seen them at. Let’s be honest, anything less than a big victory over a Bills team, whose offense is woefully atrocious, would be a disappointment. You would have to think after watching the way New England’s offense played against the Chargers, it appears that Buffalo’s defense may be in for another tough time this weekend.

To make matters worse for Buffalo, they haven’t exactly gotten much out of their offense. The word in Buffalo is that quarterback J.P. Losman and the rest of the Bills offense hasn’t been too thrilled offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild, accusing him of being “too conservative”. But so far the media in Buffalo is putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Losman, who has reportedly been erratic and also has yet to throw a touchdown pass this season. There are also some that feel his performance against the Patriots could also fuel controversy for backup Trent Edwards. A big surprise…another QB controversy in Buffalo.

Needless to say Sunday’s game will have it’s own intrigue. I guess the more important point is that it’s nice to finally be able to start focusing on football again.

Random Thought

Diet Pepsi Max Is Pretty Good

I tried Diet Pepsi Max Saturday night while I was working a midnight shift at work. It was pretty good and did the trick, and didn't taste that much different than regular diet pepsi. I have to say I kind of laughed the first time I saw the commercial for it. Romo's reaction after Wilson gave him the play was pretty funny, although I can't stand Jerry Jones and think Dallas would be in tough shape if he ever put himself in charge of calling the plays.

It got me to buy it, so whatever.