You can probably count the number of negative plays on one hand. There was Brady's interception of course. There was McCourty losing contain on McGahee's bounce out. There was Ridley's fumble, and perhaps a few others. But over all this was as methodical a beat down as we have seen in a very long time in a playoff game. Still it won't be enough to satisfy the mediots. I'm sure Borges is writing that the Pats STILL haven't beaten a team with a winning record. Felger's line this week will be, â€śgreat win, but still it WAS only Denver,â€ť Which in typical Felgar style was ironic since he spent all last week building Tebow up. And then after the Ravens win tomorrow, we will suddenly find ourselves viewed as underdogs because â€śwho can forget the thrashing that the Raven's put on the Pats in 09....in Gillette.â€ť Not that being underdogs is a bad thing Now I have started posts like this in the past. They were posts written with some anger and frustration. But now I write with just bemused resignation. So with that in mind, here are some thoughts on what happened Saturday and other assorted thoughts. 1. I strongly believe that the Ravens will be our next opponent. I actually WANT them to be. They are the most worthy, plus I have no fear of them. While everyone seems to dwell on the 09 disaster, few remember that the Pats have played the Ravens 7 times....and have lost only ONCE. So tell me guys, why is everyone afraid of the â€śbig badâ€ť Ravens. Yeah, they have a good defense, but it isn't better than the Steeler's or the Niners, both of which were lit up this playoff season Yeah it will be a difficult game, but as a team they are to be respected, NOT feared. 2. Here is something I found interesting. Pittsburgh was the #1 defense in both scoring and yards, yet gave up 29 points to the same team we just crushed..And it could have been worse if they hadn't gotten some very lucky on some calls. The Niners were #2 in defense in both scoring and yards and yet they gave up over 420 passing yds and 32 points to the Saints, and it could have been worse if the Saints hadn't turned the ball over FIVE times. Just an observation, but it sure makes me feel a lot better about our â€ścrappyâ€ť defense, because all you will hear about today is how good the SF defense is, while if the Pats had had those stats, the mediots would be decrying our â€śhistorically badâ€ť defense. Moral of the Story: First impressions are hard to overcome 3. While I was watching the Niner/Saints game, it occurred to me that at this point, the Pats got the better RB in last year's draft. Mark Ingram has had a very pedestrian rookie season with only 446 yds and 3.9 ypc OTOH, Ridley had 441 yds and 5.1 ypc The recent fumble aside Ridley looks to be the more explosive RB with a higher upside, While Ingram looks more like just a solid run of the mill power back 4. Its been said before, but its worth repeating, the OL was SUPERB in protecting Brady, and while it won't get much press it still managed to open enough holes to accumulate over 140 yds of rushing. Solder was so good, I wouldn't be surprised if BB puts Volmer on the IR, because I don't see him getting his job back this late in the season 5. This is pure nitpicking but I'd like to see Brady throw more to his RB's. They are constantly WIDE open, and he has guys who can catch it. While Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker get so much attention in the middle, the RB's are running pretty much free. The point being Brady is making some tough throws to Gronk and Welker, when there are some easier ones to be had some times. Sometimes I think he needs to be more patient. And before BOB walks out the door, I'd like to see him show us a screen pass or two. 6. In the same nitpicking vein, I'm hoping that we get to see the sharp cutting, one cut and go, BJGE we saw on opening night at least one more time this season. I think he's taken this â€śpatientâ€ť running style too much to heart 7. Thinking about next season, if that Niner safety Gholston is a UFA next season, then HE's the one I want. He was awesome in that game. I had been previously thinking about Mathis or Landry, but this kid was positively impactful, a crushing hitter, with great coverage skills. The thought of he and Chung patrolling the middle would be a huge upgrade. Getting a high end FA safety is critical for us, now that some of the best college safeties (McDonald Armstrong and Lester) have decided to go back to school for another year. If we are going to upgrade the position, and god knows we need to, FA will be the place to go. If we have to add just one impact player in FA, I'd rather have a player like Gholston than an impact OLB 8. Speaking of OLB's â€“ How long is it going to be before Rob Ninkovich gets some recognition. Do you realize his stats are better than Clay Matthews. He has over 20 more tackles and more sacks. Plus he's doing it in a defense where he isn't allowed to freelance as much as Clay.. If a â€śbrand nameâ€ť OLB like Matthews or Suggs had the game he had vs Denver, ESPN and the NFL network would be planning half hour segments lauding his greatness. I think its time to recognize that Rob is a more than solid 3-4 OLB who is a worthy successor to Mike Vrabel and stop thinking we need to upgrade him. Lets face the fact that we have at least solved one half of our OLB issues. 9. Why is it that after rushing for over 140 yds, which is a more than respectable; I'm left with the impression that we still don't have a solid run game, even when the Stats show us differently. 10. To those who are desperately looking for theâ€ťRandy Moss field stretching WRâ€ť either in the draft or FA. I will offer this thought. Regardless of whomever we might want BB to add, from the top college WR prospect to #1 FA . Any WR coming here would instantly become the # FOUR target....at best. So while I think we should keep trying to upgrade the position, I'd be careful about using valuable cap room or draft capital on a position that isn't going to going to markedly affect what is already one of the highest scoring offenses in history. Its a nice LUXURY, but only after draft and cap resources are used for more immediate needs. 11. On a negative side, I haven't seen anything much from Marcus Cannon that has caught my eye, which has been disappointing. Granted this has pretty much been a throw away year for the kid, but I would have liked to have seen a few plays which stood out. Still nitpicking, 12. What's the story with Sterling Moore. He's looked very good the last 2 games. He's not big. He's not fast, but he seems like he's always around the ball. Hard to believe we cut him in mid-season after he looked HORRID in the Colts game. BTW- something to file in the â€śIronic Folderâ€ť. After all the DB draft picks we've used recently, in the AFCCG, when McCourty is playing safety, the Pats will have TWO UDFA's starting at CB. 13. Getting Spikes and Chung back was big for the defense and we could all see how after a game to get rid of some rust, both had an impact on the defense's success. I think even the chicken littles can start to see the potential this defense has to get significantly better very soon. It will only take just one or two additions to have this defense among the top 15 in the league in all those meaningless stats, and in the top 10 in the one that does matter.. If you think bringing back Spikes and Chung meant a lot, just think about bringing back a healthy Dowling Barrett, and Carter; let alone any new FA's and draft picks. That was a very good Denver OL the DL beat up last night. And its almost orgasmic to think what having just an "average" defense will do with our offense BTW- its midway through the 4th period with the Ravens ahead, and quite frankly I'd rather play the Ravens than the Texans.