November 15, 2010
The Moment For The Patriots Is Now
BY: Kevin Rousseau
If this Patriots season hasn't gotten you to stand up and pay attention, then you have no pulse.
And if you don't have a bladder control problem thinking about the next few weeks and the anticipation this brings, maybe it's time to consult your family doctor. Me? I've been running to the bathroom like it's nobody's business.
Ok. Maybe that's overstating things just a tad but the point is that as I get older I still find myself pleasantly surprised when the weather gets colder and the Patriots start to get hotter. This doesn't happen every year, mind you, but I can clearly remember past seasons where this occurred. Maybe this happens to you as well. I'm talking about the Moment.
It's about being surprised when the Patriots lay an egg in Cleveland and then come back and exceed our wildest dreams with an old-fashioned whooping against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Moment occurred sometime on Sunday night during the fourth quarter in my living room. The Moment has happened quite a few times over the past decade. It happened quite early in the 2007 season. It occurred inside Texas Stadium as I was on the verge of heat stroke during the fourth quarter of the Patriots blowout of the Cowboys.
It didn't occur in 2008 or 2009 but my old friend the Moment came back to my neighborhood on a play action pass by Tom Brady against Pittsburgh. The Moment as defined by Rousseau's Modern English Dictionary is when you say to yourself "Geez, if they stay healthy and get a few breaks along the way they got a shot at winning the whole darn thing this year."
Over the next three weeks, we are going to find out if that whisper that I muttered turns into convincing assertion or a loud battle cry. With playoff seeding on the line against the Colts and Jets and a road trap game against the Lions in front of us, now is the time for the Patriots.
Let's start with Sunday's you-can't-have-my-ticket-for-any-price game against the Colts. Finally, this rivalry resumes in Foxborough. Someday I hope the folks at NFL Films put together a DVD on this series so we can help quantify how it has defined supremacy over the past decade in the NFL. Given the Patriots mishaps and snafus over the last few meetings in Indy, it is imperative that the Patriots leave the stadium with a win on Sunday night. Much like the Patriots have to be in the head of the Steelers, the same can be said of the Colts position over the Patriots in recent years.
A win by the Patriots over the Colts does a number of things. It gets the disasters such as 4th and 2, Reche Caldwell alligator arms and the mismanaged 2008 timeout fiasco behind the Patriots. It gives them an AFC win and a head-to-head tiebreaker. And I'll go out on a limb and say this is the game when the Gillette faithful put to bed the assertion that they sit on their hands. It will be loud, it will be a factor and no matter the Colts injury report, it's time for some payback.
I'm sure you've heard it no matter where you are in New England in recent days. It has been echoed throughout villages and cities. It can be heard over the howls of coyotes at night in the country, police sirens in the city and sounds of work on the harbor along the coast.
"I don't care what time the Patriots are playing on Thanksgiving. We are going to eat at 2 o'clock like we have for the last 37 years!"
To her credit, Mrs. Rousseau has been through a few of these Patriots Thanksgiving scheduling conflicts and she is cool with an alternative eating schedule. As long as the Patriots can go into Detroit and walk out with a tidy, efficient victory we will all be thankful and can enjoy our turkey and bacon-wrapped-scallops.
And then after the a bit of a layoff, a Monday night showdown against the Jets will go a long way towards telling us just where the Patriots are going to be seeded in the playoffs. After these two upcoming home games against the Colts and Jets, the Gillette Stadium crowd could be acknowledged as a playoff intangible like it was in the 2003 AFC Championship game. If the Patriots can take care of business against the Colts and Jets, who knows?
We might be treated to another Super Moment in early February.
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