...because the bad news about last night's game is that there is really nothing I'm really looking forward to watching today, and its going to be a long time between Patriot fixes. 1. If I ever entered a room where Marshall Faulk was in, I don't think I'd be able to leave without punching him in the mouth at least once. I'm sure there's been a thread on his comments in the pregame run up to the game, so I won't have to go into the details of what he said, but suffice it to say that those comments mark him is a classic whiner and crybaby. A hater of massive proportions, who lets his own PERSONAL biases interfere with his job. Unfortunately it seems that Marshall is going to spend the rest of his media career attempting to tarnish the previous Pats superbowls, especially the one in 2001. What really pisses me off is that even though Faulk was clearly a great player, he came up very SMALL in both the superbowls he played in, even the one the Rams won. Just like bullies in real life, when they get taken down, they cannot believe it. It must have been some kind of trick On the Bright Side, when he made those disparaging comments, Eisen came right out and called him a hater, and the rest of the panel just laughed AT him. 2. This isn't going to be popular here, but I was thinking about Brady's 50 TDs and I think that given the state of the NFL, and the rules that seem to make it easier to pass these days. (the DE-emphisis on offensive holding calls, the EMPHASIS defensive holding calls, the 5 yd no contact rule, etc) I really think that Marino's 48 TDs back in the 80's was actually more impressive. Think about it. Back then receivers didn't have the technological advantage of tacky gloves. DB's could legally hit them all over the field before the ball thrown. Marino didn't have the receiver corp that the Pats had this year. All his guys were more the Welker/Branch type. No one is going to nominate Duper OR Clayton to the HOF. Marino ALSO played all or all but one game outside in the elements. Its also impressive when you look at Mario's stats. None of his receivers had more than 73 catches. His #3 receiver was Tony Nathan (3rd down back) his TE was the immortal Dan Johnson with 34 catches. The top rusher had 645 yds So, all in all this WASN'T an impressive Dolphin team, so it makes what he accomplished pretty impressive I'm not saying that what Brady accomplished wasn't impressive, because when you concider he also did this playing all but one of his games outdoors, and had only 8 picks, which is even more impressive when you concider how often he dropped back to pass this year; it dwarfs what Manning did, but IMHO did doesn't exceed what Marino did in 84. Don't hate me its JMHO. 3. I thought Maroney had a pretty good game, even though his raw stats sucked (2.4ypc). Except for one carry, he hit the hole hard and when there was a crease, he got the maximum that was available. The Problem was. IMHO, several of the running plays the Pats offensive brain trust drew up were too slow in developing and not well designed or executed; leaving Moroney with no place to go. I'd wager that he had around 15 yds in losses because of this. At any ratethose 2 TD runs were impressive. Running it in from more than 3 yds out is very difficult in the NFL. For that reason, I go into the post season optimistic that we can put together a good enough running attack to win, even if the weather restricts the passing game. 4. Also the running attack misses Kyle Brady very much, much more that the pass blocking side does. Hopefully with another 2 weeks to mend we can look forward to seeing Brady back in time for the Playoffs. Hopefully Neal and Kazcur as well. Having both of those guys on the field (especially Neal) will improve the efficiency and success of the running game. 5. In this comment I come to praise Ellis Hobbs, not to burry him. I saw something on the NFLN Playbook that rang true to me and might explain the Pats tendency to allow certain passes to be completed. We have all complained about all the 12-17 yd out cuts that seem to always get caught IN FRONT of Hobbs, often for big first downs. This can partially be explained as part of the Pats scheme, which puts the Pats in a 3 deep secondary (the trendy term is "single high S"). In this defense one of the weaknesses is in that 12-17 yd area in front of the CB and behind the LB or nickel back. Often its not Hobbs' fault but the design of the defense. The key to the success of that scheme is being able to disguise it and to trap QBs into throwing deep in the middle/seams or to the outside, inother words INTO coverage. However IF the QB recognizes the single high S, that deep out will be open all the time.....BY DESIGN. So the next time you want to kill Hobbs for seemingly playing too loose on some deep out cut, you might want to remember this, and check to see what the defense call was (though unfortunately we rarely get to see an angle that will show this info to a mere TV fan) 4. Though you could technically call the PI on the Giants against Moss in the end zone. I wouldn't have made the call. Yes there was some contact between the LB and Moss, however not enough to interfere with the catch if the ball had made it through. I have seen a half dozen PI calls made today where either the ball was totally uncatchable or the contact was incidental and DIDN'T interfere with the receiver. I really think the NFL had to take hard look at the PI rule and make some adjustments. Not necessarily to the rule itself, but to the emphasis. If a ball isn't catchable there should be NO FLAG. If the contact was incidental and wouldn't have effected the player's ability to catch the ball, THERE SHOULD BE NO FLAG. There is far too much yardage being awarded to the offense for basically badly executed plays 5. So I guess my observation on the officiating in the Giants game was that while the Pats got hit with 2 clearly ridiculous calls (the celebration call and the Illegal formation call on the GL), one of which really hurt, and the other could also have been very damaging if the Pats hadn't gotten a TD, they got a couple in their favor as well. 6. You have to take your hat off to the GIANTs, however if history is any indication, it doesn't look good for them in the playoffs. The Eagles, Ravens and Indy ALL lost their next game after giving our Pats a run for their money. So while playing such a great game against the Pats might be great for their confidence, it might no be so great for their physical condition and focus. I haven't looked it up but I would wager that the record of what teams did AFTER playing the Pats isn't too good. 7. I think the SF pick worked out pretty well. Its unfortunate but picking in the top 3 is just economically not sound regardless of who you pick, and even if the player does fairly well, especially if its a QB. The bottom line is that unless the player becomes an almost immediate all pro/franchise type player, you NEVER get true value for the pick. I'm guessing the Pats will be picking #7 and that should get the Pats a premium prospect while having a much better chance of getting true value out of the rookie contract. Even if they miss, it would mean less of a an economic hit. Believe me, the way those top contracts run, it IS NOT going to be easy to trade down for those top 3 teams. I'd be willing to bet that the Pats would get better value trading down from the 7 slot than the Fins will get trading down from the first slot, just because of the economic implications This is supposedly a very deep draft, but not heavy at the top. Having multiple picks in the first 3 round will get you several good players. It will realy hurt losing that 32nd pick. Not only would have gotten a good AND economically reasonable player at that spot, it could have been used to trade down into the second round and get an extra first day pick next year. While the draft was kind of irrelevant for THIS team, it will be critical IMHO, for the Pats to hit on at least 4 picks in the upcoming draft including one starter. 8. Here is the bottom line about the playoffs. I'm confident that the Pats can stop the running game or at least keep it under control, with ANY of the teams that may come throught (Colts, Steelers, SD, or JAX). I do think that the Pats CAN be passed on, at least to some degree. However I don't see ANY team coming into Foxboro and OUT passing the Pats, even INDY. Obviously we will discuss this in more depth as each challenge presents itself. It won't be easy, however there is no reason why it SHOULDN'T get done. A Happy and Healthy New Year to all, and I hope you don't go nuts next week waiting for a football game to root for.