..... mostly confirmed much of what I have thought this entire season. (Pardon me for gloating....just a bit ) 1. The wide receivers are coming together to become a reasonable threat. Not only in the red zone, but down field as well. A. One of the more puzzling comments I heard was from either Jaws or Mortenson (usually two guys I consider more knowledgeable than most) that the Pats have the slowest WR corps in the league. This just ISN'T so....at least compared with last year's group. Reche is AT LEAST as fast as Givens. I am pretty sure that both Jackson and Gabriel are faster than Branch, and Jackson is AS quick as Branch, though not nearly as accomplished as a professional receiver AS YET. AND Ben Watson is surely among the top 3 fastest TEs in the league. Where do stories like this get started, and why are they suddenly treated as fact. 2. Continuing on the WRs, I contend that ANOTHER reason the Pats are doing so well in the Red Zone this season is the fact that we have a different KIND of WR. In other words, someone over 5'10. Yes, our ability to run the ball with Dillon and Muroney is the main reason, but I think the fact that Brady NOW has three BIG WRs as targets, make our red zone passing game that much more effective than in the past. 3. Continuing on the WRs, I'm not sure what was the most TD's Branch ever scored in a season (for some reason 4 comes to mind, but I may be wrong. Please feel free to correct me, if I am). So it is interesting to note that Chad Jackson in a very limited role already has THREE, and Gabriel who didn't get here until SEPTEMBER has TWO, along with that well known DB, Troy Brown, who also has TWO...and is STILL a midget. I just mention this to continue to contend that, while Branch was a very good WR, and a good guy in the lockerroom; HE WAS LIMITED in some to the things he is good at, and NOT an elite WR, and NOT worth the money that EVEN the PATS were offering, and NOT worth the first round pick the Pats got for him. (good for US). Branch was NEVER a significant threat in the red zone, especially inside the 10, where he could be physically taken out of his game in an area where his quickness could be neutralized and his lack of size became a DISADVANTAGE. Sorry Deon, I was with you right up until you threatened to sit out the first 10games. 3. IMAGE - The Pats out coached the Vikes and surprised them by coming out with the 5 wides, empty backfield. REALITY - it was not the fact that the Pats came out in that formation that caused the lopsided win, the Vikes own DC came out and said they had prepared for this possibility; it was the EXECUTION by the receivers, and Brady's DECISION making (except in one case ), that was responsible for the Pats offensive success. According to reports, the Vikes WERE ready for the formation. They CONSTANTLY WERE making adjustments to the formation. The PROBLEM was, they couldn't respond because the the Pats were always a step ahead, not only in the X's and O's, but in the EXECUTION of the plays that were given. Maybe this game is the coming out party of Josh McDaniels as a legit OC in the NFL???????? 4. That being said, KUDOS to BB et al for continuing to show the league that the reason the Pats will CONTINUE to compete for championships on a yearly basis is the fact that NOT ONLY will he NOT be held hostage to ANY offensive or defensive ideology, he has assembled the kind of players and coaches who are ABLE to absorb and EXECUTE entirely different game plans from week to week. If you can take a moment to THINK about the LONG TERM effort and time that it has taken for the Pats to create this kind of environment, it is even more impressive. IT ISN'T EASY. If it were, EVERY TEAM would do it, COMMON SENSE would demand it. HOWEVER it is not easy, and right now, having this edge is one of the main reasons the Pats can continue to compete DISPITE the well publicized ANNUAL losses, and the massive series of injuries we have come to expect. 5. In that vain, (see I AM trying to expand the horizons of my segues. ) Lets take for example the case of Billy Yates. Against one of the BEST DLs in the league the Pats are forced to start a guy who, 2 weeks ago, was ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD. Not only that, he has to start NEXT TO a rookie 5th rounder. For most teams this is a recipe for disaster. For the Pats, it was business as usual. While they gave up 3 sacks (2 of which I thought were coverage sacks), for the most part Brady had MORE than adequate protection to go through ALL his options and make the right decision. Something Brad Johnson DIDN'T have. BTW- I NEVER liked Billy Yates as an OLman. My only excuse might be that when I developed that opinion he was being mostly used as an OT. Obviously he's a better OG than an OT. 6. I like most of us, cringed when the Refs BLEW that incompletion call in our favor. Its just more fodder for the envious HATERS, who seem to forget all the calls that have gone against us, many of which WE OVERCAME to win games. I also agree that the offensive pass interference should have been a no call. However I completely disagree that there should have been a PI call on Samuel in the endzone. That kind of contact (by both players BTW) should NEVER get called. The ref has GOT to make a judgement that the contact made ACTUALLY INTERFERED with the receiver. Now days it seems like mere contact draws the flag. The fact that the receiver hadn't been interferred with, or the ball was catchable doesn't matter. The same SHOULD go for the holding call. Mere contact shouldn't be the factor. What should matter is IF the receivers routed was disrupted by the contact passed the 5 yard area. TOUCHING should NEVER be called holding, though often it is. JMHO. 7. IRONIC STAT OF THE GAME - while the Pats only recorded a net of 85 yard for the game, they averaged a season high 5.7 yds per carry for the game against the #1 run defense in the league. I'm not sure what that means if anything, but I thought it was kind of interesting. It surprise me when I saw it. 8. I don't think that our running game is going to get back to what it should be until Daniel Graham returns. Does anyone have ANY idea when that might be. And speaking of Graham, I am starting to change my mind on how hard we should try to keep him at the end of this season. This has nothing to do with my impression of him as a football player and the value I perceive him having to this team. My concern is that what makes him so valuable as a blocker is the reason he misses so many games during the course of the season. He hits so hard and so completely he is breaking down physically. Right now it's his shoulders. I am now concerned that if the Pats pay him significant TE money for a long term, he might not be able to play HIS GAME, and still stay on the field. However for THIS SEASON, I can hardly wait for Graham to get back on the field, IMHO it will make a big difference to the offense. 9. Just a word on the defense. This is still a work in progress, and injuries can always be a factor down the road. HOWEVER IMHO, this could, by the end of the year, be the deepest and most flexible Pats defense EVER. The only thing I see lacking right now is some size in the secondary, but with Chad Scott showing that he can still run with most everyone. It keeps getting better and better every week. Just like the rest of the team. 10. While my time is up, though I have more to say. Just let me finish by saying how much I really hate the WHINING, COMPLAINING, EXCUSE MAKING FO of the Indianapolis Colts. In my reasoned brain, I really thing winning or losing this game is LESS important than winning it in January. BTW I am a lot less worried about playing it in INDY than most. However on my passionate side I want to beat them by 50 and give the finger all night to thier prick GM. There is nothing to hate about the Colt players themselves, and while I think Tony Dungy is a bit overrated, he seems like a class guy, and is obviously one of the better HCs in the NFL. HOWEVER Bill Polian is a jerk, to say the least, and makes this game my favorite hate game.