Great win. SD played a much better game defensively than I gave them credit for, but NE morphed into the team that no one thought they could become - winning with power running and stingy defense. I'm thrilled as can be that the game was decided by the players on the field rather than a boneheaded official. As always, here is my collection of semi-coherant ruminations on the game. :blahblah: * I went through all the TOs after the SD/Indy game and concluded that Indy was more responsible for them than SD. I honestly feel that I could do something similar with this game, but at some point I have to recognize that flukes don't have such consistency. SD makes you make mistakes. I don't know exactly what they were doing because I still think that Tommy helped their cause somewhat, but their defense clearly disrupted NE's passing game. Much credit needs to be tossed their way. * The trifecta is now complete. I have been pointing out the parallels between this year's playoffs and the 2003 run since the Jax game ended. Every week it seemed that the opponent was similar to their 2003 counterparts. Well, this might be the closest example of all, with the biggest difference being that the 2003 Cats actually won their division. Aaron over at footballoutsiders actually ran though the similarities prior to the NCFFG here. * I may get skewered for saying this, but I thought that Brady was pretty lousy. Of course I understand that guys aren't going to play at their peak level when playing in single digit temperatures with wind. For all his grit, it isn't as if Rivers was lighting it up either. That said, Brady was just off all night. Normally, even if the weather is a factor you can count on Tommy to make good decisions and protect the ball. To me, I didn't see that same crispness that he usually displays. Even when he made the right decision he was often off. Hell, even when a catch was made the ball was regularly off. Kevin Faulk made at least three amazing catches collecting a few of these potential misfires. K. Brady being overthrown by 10 yards on the first play was huge because that was a 20+ yard reception of the ball was anywhere near him. Had NE scored on that drive, I think that game would have gone much differently. My buddy and I were chuckling about another throw after the game where Tommy overthrew Moss on the right sideline by nearly 20 feet, despite Moss being open only 5 yards past the LOS. I can't help but think that it was more than the weather. Brady just didn't seem himself the entire game, and I'm not just talking about passing either. I wouldn't be surprised if it is leaked out later that he was battling the flu or something. * One thrown that looked off at first glance was the diving and rolling Faulk first down. It looked originally like Brady underthrew a ball where Faulk was wide open, but I think he made a good play here. If you watch a replay, you can see a defender coming into the play who, IMHO would have had a kill shot on Kevin if Brady had led him in a normal manner. * For all the talk about the tremendous play that Seau made prior to SD's 4th FG, I thought that Hobbs deserves just as much credit for his open field tackle of Chambers earlier. Hobbs had to make a nice play going under a blocker and then take out Chris by his legs, and no one was stopping the TD except for Ellis. * Was it just me, or did LdT look like Darth Vader on the sideline? * Kaeding may have made several FGs, but NE dominated the game on special teams. Aside from Washington's tremendous play that set up Asante's int, Kaeding's kicks were extremely short and NE was still able to get consistent return yardage to boot. NE's kick offs AND their KO coverage were both better than SD's by a good margin and the punt games played to about a draw. * IMHO, that was Maroney's best game as a pro. He ended up with the exact same rushing yardage as last week, but SD wasn't running guys backwards at the snap like Jax did. Obviously the OL deserves much credit for dominating the LOS in the second half, but Maroney was able to consistently get extra yardage - even in traffic. I still think that Laurence was closer to this guy all year than his numbers or playing time would indicate, but it must be nice for him to be getting some vindication when the games count the most. * I understand why everyone is giving LdT so much grief, but I'm not sure that it is really deserved. On the screen play that was his final play of the game, he clearly had nothing. I don't know if he reaggravated the knee or if he was hurt worse than anyone knew, but he was not the same guy. And it isn't as if SD was without anyone else to run the ball. If Turner had gotten hurt, I would bet that LdT would have seen the field again, but Turner was clearly the bigger threat at that point. * I have heard several commentators (I don't like to call them "analysts" ) refer to the pressure that SD was able to get on Brady, but I didn't quite see it. Frankly, I thought that the Giants were in Brady's face quite a bit more than SD was. The only int where Brady was under pressure was the second one near midfield when (Phillips?) beat his man and was careening towards Tommy. Other than that, most of the times that Brady was off - be it an int or just an incompletion - he had time and just missed. * As always, the Big Uglies need to be given credit for their performance. Watching last year's game earlier this week and then seeing this matchup was remarkable. Last year, the Chargers looked like they were all 8 feet tall and NE had to work hard to just keep from being eaten alive. Fast forward to yesterday and you see a group that essentially stoned SD's pass rush all game and blew them completely off the ball running in the second half. Since we have two weeks to kill before the next game, I'll withhold all comments on the Giants and the SB for a later date. As always, I welcome your thoughts.