As always, whenever I get to watch the majority of a game, I like to post my thoughts in a single thread. Here are my takes: * The OL was downright dominant in the passing game. Sometimes, right after they get taken to school by a speed rusher, we forget just how good they can be when the other team win's with power. When was the last time NE lost the battle at the LOS to a team that supposedly "punches people in the mouth"? On the first long pass to Gabriel, the entire Vikings DL was completely pushed out of the area. Brady held the ball for 5 seconds and probably could have waited another 4 seconds if he felt like it. It wasn't a pocket, it was a void. There were a few plays where a rusher would get through, but for the most part, Brady had time and passing lanes. * I am very excited to watch the maturation of Maroney. Every single game I have seen, Maroney has had at least one "my goodness" play. It isn't always something like the KO returns, I was actually more impressed with a reception that he had in the second half where he ran toward the left sideline, got just enough space and squeezed out a first down up the sideline. He got 5 yards more than it looked like he could, and he does that at least once a game. Yesterday there were three instances that I can remember. * Following up on the Maroney thing, my wife had a great observation. He is able to stutter run incredibly well. The guy can stop and then restart at full speed immediately. It really is quite remarkable. He has a little ways to go to be a complete back, but he has all the tools. * This was a bnrilliant game plan by NE. Once I saw NE open up with 3 and 4 WRs, I knew exactly what they would do all game, and it made perfect sense. A larger part or what made it so successful, though, was the surprise element. Had NE been going 4 wide every time the run game was slowed, Minny would never had been so unprepared for it. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that NE does what they need to win, and not much more. There are plenty of bulets left in the gun. * I am a notoriously bad viewer of games. Every penalty on NE is hotly contested until I have visual confirmation of the offense. That said, NE was given some breaks by the refs in this game. Moore was held on the Harrison int (although it was a bad pass anyway, because even if Moore was able to get near the ball, he would have been leveled), Wiggins certainly caught that ball and the offensive PI call was a joke. I have been screaming for officials to even the playing field with PI calls, but that was very ticky tack. It looked like the WR did have his arm out, but the defender fell down because he was beaten on the play, not because he was pushed. * That said, I saw a few board members on other sites complaining that Samuel should have been flagged on the long Williamson drop. This I disagree with. Samuel smacked Williamson's arm only because Troy was pushing hime off. Anyone who feels that Asante should have been flagged must also feel that Williamson should have been. * Are people still concerned about the WRs? This is what I and several others have been preaching; patience. The passing game should get even better from here. I do still have one minor complaint. NE's 5-wide (which is really typically 4WR/1TE or 3WR/1TE/1RB) seems to be a strength due to great matchups for the #3-5 guys, but I would still like to see one guy emerge as a consistent very good WR. Having very good options at the #3 or #4 spot don't help that much if your basic set only has 2 WRs on the field. * Did anyone see the EZ view of the Troy Brown TD pass? Plays like this are what make QBs like Brady so good. Brady only had an area with about 2-3 foot in diameter to fit that ball in. Any lower and it would have been blocked at the line, and there were two guys on either side that would have tipped it if it were a little higher or off center. It isn't just the passes that go 30 yards+ in the air that define great QB play. * The Chad Jackson TD was remarkable. How he was able to scamper on one foot and one arm through traffic I will never know. * The first TD pass to Caldwell was another "under the radar really good QB play". A free rusher was coming right in Brady's face so he just lofted it up into the area of the EZ that only Caldwell could get it. A fast QB like Vick probably could have made that play, because he could have just bolted to the right, but most stationary QBs would have either thrown it away or would have been sacked. * For all the talk of Minny's OL, and they are very good, it was NE that won the LOS on the defensive side of the ball. I can only recall one or two plays where Minny's OL actually opened up a hole on a running play. And there were some great tackels by the DL as well. There were a few plays where a defender was moved a little out of position, but was still able to reach out bring the RB down. * That said, I would still like to see a more consistent pass rush. NE gets almost all of their sacks when the game is getting out of hand and the pass is the only option. It seems to me that QBs usually have a good amount of time early in games when the D still needs to respect all options. * I was completely wrong in the game plan thread. I don't think NE ran a single defensive play in a traditional 4-3. * For some reason, I didn't really watch the secondary all that close. I would appreciate anyone replying to this with a breakdown of those guys. Harrison seems to be rounding into shape, but it is more of a Feeling Thing, not really an scientific observation. This was a really impressive win. NE blew the doors off of a team that just beat a decent Seattle team soundly, in their house. I still maintain that NE is going to beat Indy handily. Indy's defense is bad at just about everything, but it is especially terrible at stopping the run. I have the disctint feeling that Dillon was used sparingly partially because he didn't match up well with their game plan for Minny, but mostly because he is going to be the primary weapon against the Colts. Same goes for Graham, who I expect to see this Sunday. I don't know how they are going to keep NE under 150 rushing yards or 24 points. And I am being conservative with these numbers. Now we know that they can spread out Indy if they throw 8 in the box as well. And I'm sure that, like the spread O that has been kept under wraps, NE has a few defensive surprises to throw at the Colts. NE will win this Sunday 31-20.