.....which confirmed most of what I already knew (except for one) 1. Count me among those who vastly UNDERESTIMATED the effect Junior Seau had on our run defense. When he came here I thought it was a nice pick up....couldn't hurt....ho humm. I was very impressed with the run defense over all, but I didn't really tie in Seau's contribution as highly as it clearly was. Prior to his injury the Pats were allowing NOTHING in the run game to the Bears. They were COMPLETELY one dimentional. AFTER his injury the Bears managed to gain decent yardage throughout the game. Nothing gashing, but enough to present a problem. I think that having a week's preparation at ILB Vrabel will improve his efforts and given the competition the next several weeks we should be OK as we were last season. HOWEVER as he is probably sitting on a plane heading to SD to decide on his future let me say this to Junior Seau. I was one of many who thought you a talented but over rated LB in this league. I appreciated your passion for the game always. However after watching you for 11 games, you leave here with my full respect. You were a productive part of a very good football team, Junior, and you will be welcome back this year (I hope) or next. You were an asset to this team, and for the short time you were here...a true Patriot....and that's the best compliment I can give you. Thanks. 2. I thought the Pats were 2 TDs better than the Bears, and NOTHING I saw last night changed my thinking. The only 2 things that kept that game even close were the Pats constant fumbling in the Bears red zone, and the GD referees who called the worst PI call I have ever seen (yes, even worse that last year's call in Denver) on Artrell Hawkins, and the one against Samuel later in the game was only marginally better. First there was NO significant contact. Hawkins had a better shot at the ball than the receiver, and NEVER interferred with the receiver's ability to get to the ball. IT WAS RIDICULOUS. My only regret was that Tommy Heinsohn was'nt calling the game. (YOU CALL THAT A HARD FOUL!!!!!! BTW - the "so-called holding" against 27 was right up there as well. He chucked him well inside the 5 yard limit with a forearm and that was it. It was like the refs were going to make a call on that play no matter what. Those calls were particularly eggregious given the NON CALL face guarding AFTER those call on Watson (IIRC). Now I'm not a big believer in the face guarding PI call. I think it should be legal, however it is in the books and NEITHER call that they DID make was even close to PI as that face guard play. ESPECIALLY since the ball was right on target. Also for any Bear's fans who think those were just make up calls for the 2 that weren't called earlier, FORGET IT. While there was sufficient contact, IMHO, to POSSIBLY justify a call, NEITHER of those passes were even close to being "catchable balls", which was why no call was made. Besides the contact on those plays were incidental and both players. 3. The Bottom line here is the league has got to make some changes to their rulings on PI, otherwise it will become more and more a structured play that will send out WR's deep to creat contact and draw a flag. RIght now it should be a play. Only 3 things mody likelyu will happen. You catch the bal, You draw the flag, or you have an incompletion. The odds of a positive event are in the offense's favor. NEVERTHELESS we see week after week the refs REWARDING offenses for what are essentially bad plays. In the ref's defense, both the challenges they awarded the Bears WERE the correct calls. Both plays were ALMOST great catches. 4. This is not to say the Bears aren't a good team, BTW. I have never seen a team go after the ball SO SUCCESSFULLY as the Bears did. ALL of those fumbles were caused BY the BEARS as a function of technique (the only exception possibly being the Dillon fumble which seemed to be caused when a random knee hit the ball as Dillon was struggling for a first down. AND they ALMOST got Brady to cough it up on his QB sneak. It will be a great teaching tool for the staff....for both side of the ball. I was also impressed with the Bears WRs. Both Berrian and Mohammad went up an GOT the ball and maintained it. They caught a number of tough catches throught the evening. I was also not as down on Grossman as many are, especially in the media. Those guys can't wait to cut down some poor guy that they themselves built up to heroic proportions just a few week before. But here are the facts as I see them. First this kid hasn't started 20 games yet as a pro. NONE of his picks were the result of a poor decision. He WAS throwing the ball to the correct receiver. All but the last pick were essentiall on target throws. Maybe not the PERFECT throw, but not bad given the CONSTANT pressure Grossman was under. Then of course you have to concider the great play of the defensive player. Samuel make GREAT breaks on the first 2 picks, and was in perfect position for an overthrow on the last. If that ball is UNDERTHROWN, for example, it mostlikely would have been a catch. For my observation, Grossman is a keeper. He is very tough. He hangs in there well under extreme pressure, and makes a lot of good throws...and some bad ones...just like EVERY OTHER QB in the league. The only thing I'd do differently is perhaps, like Charlie did with Brady in his first years starting, shorten the play book a bit and give him some easier throws to make in the short and intermediate areas. However with Berrian's and Mohammed's size and ability to go get the ball, I wouldn't give up going deep 3-4 times a game. We could very well see the Bears in Feb. If we do, I think we DO beat them by 2 TD's (assuming relative health) JMHO . 5. I can't say enough about the OL's pass protection last night. It was the best its been all year, especially when you concider the defense it was playing against. One play in particular was fun watching Kevin Faulk STONE Brian Urelacher on a Blitz, especially since they gave us a good replay on it. Bottom line Brady had more time to throw than he's had all year. 6. In the media, when they talk about great defenses, you constantly hear about the usual top three. Baltimore, SD, and the Bears. You never hear about the Patriots, though very quitely, and despite missing 3/4 of their secondary for a good part of the year, the Pats have put up stats that are the EQUAL to ANY of those defenses. I think it is time to acknowledge that the Pats have a GREAT DEFENSE this season. The only weakness I can see is the potetential for depth problems at LB as well as the secondary. Hopefully we'll get back Wilson, Harrison and Scott in the coming weeks. 7. Nice job by the kicker. Big game.....Big kick.....which he calmly made after being nicely frozen by a favorable time out by the Bears. Bodes well for the future. BTW - after watching the Robbie Gould kick for the Bears, it's pretty clear Pioli's staff has a good feel for kickers, since they had this kid all last training camp as insurance for AV. From what I have since heard, they were reluctant to let him go, but in the BB system, you don't waste a roster spot for a second kicker. 8. Has anyone heard what exactly was the story with Jim Miller. He was having a great year before the last game he played. Its just that he went on IR so suddenly, and without a lot of explaination. Unfortunately Ken Walter has a great first name, but it is a step back in the punting game. 9. I've been critical of Brady from time to time this season, but although it wasn't his best statistical game, it was his best passing game as far as accuracy goes. I bet some time later in the season they might change that pick on the Watson pass to a catch and fumble. Ben had caught the ball, brought it in, and was hit right on the elbow as he hit the ground. Anyway, I thought it was a catch/fumble. The ball was right on the money. BTW- Brady now has 11 picks this season, I would be willing to bet that over half of those picks were deflections. Between the 2 last night and the 3 the Colts got, makes 5. So by and large Brady is taking care of the ball pretty well, though some of those deflections were caused by errant passes, as well as missed receptions. 10. QUICK THOUGHTS - a. You appreciate this team more when you see how seemlessly the Pats OL worked despite losing O'Callahan mid-game. You noticed no drop off when his replacement came in. b. I heard an interesting comment worth mentioning the other day concerning the inconsistancy of the Pats coverage teams. It is worth noting that no fewer than 5 players who were brought in specifically to play special teams are on the IR, most of them, including old friend Tebucky Jones, landed there BEFORE the season opener. c. Reche Caldwell would have been a more than adequate replacement for David Givens if Dion Branch remained with this team. He has proven to be more than most had predicted, even without him. Doug Gabriel is still among the missing. d. Speaking of WRs, here's hoping that Chad Jackson eventually steps up. His effort on the long pass to him last night wasn't criminal, just less that one would have hoped e. Assuming Seau ends up on the IR, anyone want to start a pool predicting who they will bring in to replace him. Monte Beisel anyone???? couldn't hurt.