I am amazed. I still can't believe that NE pulled that one out. Not since the Oakland game that started it all have I been in complete disbelief over a Pats victory. I would like to be able to sit here and say that NE played just a little bit better than SD, but it would be a lie. Many of the mistakes made by the Chargers were unsolicited. I realize that team errors are all part of determining who played better, but I also see games for how they were and how they indicate future success as well. So, when a game is decided because: * At least 3 balls were dropped by wide open WRs and another easy int was dropped. * A punt was muffed and the player stupidly thought that he might be able to get up again. * A 4th down pass was selfishly intercepted rather than bat down. * Points 11-21 were aided largely by stupid unnecessary roughness penalties. * SD would inexplicably stop running the ball even though NE had never given them a reason to do so. I just have to admit that NE was terribly lucky to have faced a wlidly immature team. Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not enjoying this game any less than I have before. If anything, I am still hovering a few feet above the ground because NE is still chugging even though we all know that they played at best a C+ game. (I should add that I am one of the most ardent opposers of those that call NE lucky. Nearly every play that people called luck in the past included a heady play by NE that went largely unnoticed. None of the above fit that description, though) * Fun story: After NE's opening drive of the third quarter went nowhere, I got up and told my wife that NE was going to lose. There was really no frustration, just acceptance. SD is a good team and they were playing great ball at the time, so there was no shame in a loss to them. I got up to get a drink leaving my three year old daughter alone in the living room with the game. As I am pouring my beverage, she calls to me - totally unsolicited, "The Patriots are going to win, Daddy." (Edited to add: This was the first time she had ever called them by name) It was just like that; totally matter-of-fact. Understand, this is a girl who can tell basketball from baseball from football, but that is about it. Something changed in me when I heard her say that though, and I never left the couch during live action again. * SD's pass rush was almost a total bust, but their secondary was far better than I gave them credit for. Tom played a bad game, but those guys had a lot to do with it. * That said, Brady was terrible out there yesterday. Considering how well NE's OL held up under constant 6 and 7 man rushes, I espected a lot better from Tommy than that. Now, on a lot of the plays no one was open, so I don't really fault him for some intentional overthrows, but he was off even when he had time. It was off his back foot, but the pass to Troy that was int'd in the 3rd quarter was at least 10 yards underthrown and if the pass to Watson was anywhere near him, he could have rolled in for the TD. It is remarkable how well he can shrug off poor play, though. He was the Tom of old over the final 5 minutes. * I think SD out-thought themselves. NE never stopped LDT (more on this later) yet it seemed the sequence went something like this: LDT for 11/ LDT for 5/ Rivers incomplete/ Rivers incomplete. I think that they went out of their way to not play "Marty-ball" and that was what killed them in the end. * How incredibly stupid of a play was it when Colvin read the screen and yet Rivers still kept looking for an opening and was ultimately picked off? Hey Rivers. Even if you get the ball in there Tomlinson is just going to get knocked out after at most two yards. Just throw the ball away. See, even though that was stupid, I don't see that as lucky because Colvin made a terrific play. Forced errors require skill. * Troy Brown's play has been talked about quite a bit here, but it was such a great play that I felt it warranted mentioning again. * I have to imaging that Caldwell is still smiling right now. In the last 5 minutes he scored a TD and caught what was ultimately the first nail of the coffin. * Gostkowski was funny in his postgame interview. He said something along the lines of, "Offense? Defense? I don't know, I just kick the ball." Well, Stephen, you did a fine job of it. I would like to see a little more depth on thos kickoffs, though. * NE's defense needs to get some major recognition for their job. SD started almost every drive a first down away from mid field, and they only crossed the 30 three times. SD scored TDs on every one of those and they may have dropped a few passes, but that doesn't take away from just how well NE's defense played. The secondary, in particular, really upped their play in the second half because Rivers was just about useless even though NE did not get much pressure on him at all. Samuel had two huge plays on SD's final two drives just before the end game flurry. Unbelievable game. I am sure that I missed something, but I am still on cloud nine. I will post some thoughts on Indy and the NFL playoffs a little later, but merging everything into one last time seemed a bit much. I welcome your thoughts.