You know, every week I try and find a title that reflects some aspect of the game that can tie the whole experience together. Tonight that word was PATIENCE. Upon reflection the entire season can be mirrored in what we saw tonight. Its just another brick in the wall that makes what the Pats have done the last decade so damned remarkable. When you think on it, BB (and when I say BB I included the entire staff) never panics over adversity whether its starting 2-2 and having the worst defense in the league over the first 5 games, or watching your team go down 7 points after a 95 yd 10+ play TD drive late in the first quarter. We all know by now that BB uses the month of September to find out what THIS particular edition of the Patriots can do....and cannot. THEN uses that knowledge to make sure he puts his players into situations they can excel at and avoid putting them into positions where they are likely to fail. As we watched this defense get better and better each week, the ONE thing we could count on was that the defense would get better as the game goes on. And that makes sense, because every offense is going to have their best plays scripted to start a game. These are the plays that they have prepared all week specifically to attack what they expect you to be in. So while heads exploded in the game day thread, I cautioned "patience" because I KNEW that the defense was going to see the best the Titans had during those first 3 drives, and will have made all the adjustments needed to play those plays better as the game wore on. After Mariotta's perfect throw and remarkable one handed catch by Davis, I wrote that if THAT was what the Titans needed to happen to score, I could live with that, knowing that no team can make plays like that on a regular basis. And that's what ended up happening. Mariotta would have had under 200 yds passing were it not for the garbage time yds he picked up at the end of the game. The same goes for the offense. For all the success that the Pats have had against Lebeau's defenses, that zone blitz scheme can be very difficult to decipher at the start of a game. You can't go out there and just "fling it" from the start. The more prudent course would be to play it conservatively until you have a read on what THEIR game plan was to put pressure on Brady, to cover Gronk, etc. So while it was frustrating not to score in the first quarter, if you have been an observer of how this team processes game day, you sort of knew that it was bound to get better as the game went on...and it did. This team ISN'T a dominating one (except for Gronk). It doesn't have the talent to physically blow teams out, like say the Steelers offense, or the Eagle D. Instead we have good, mentally tough, and completely coachable players that succeed on scheme, design, and out executing the more physically talented teams we often face. Again, the Pats are the epitome of the SUM being greater than the individual parts. So watching what this team does week to week has been a privilege for me, because the more I understand what's happening, the smarter fan I become. OK it's almost 2am now so I am forced to stop waxing eloquently about the "Patriot Way" and start the break down so I can get this done before the sun comes up. 1. Offense: a. General thoughts - Romo was loving him some Patriots coordinators throughout this game, and he was given great examples on offense. Here are a few. b. We all knew before hand that the Pats RB's on the Titan's LB's were a mismatch. But I loved how in the first couple of drives Josh didn't use them much until he saw what he was going to get, and THEN on all 3 TD drives in the 2nd quarter attacked with the RB's over and over. c. Romo told us that BB mentioned in their production meetings that the Titans kept their very strong DL in the game without much subbing. So it was not coincidence that when he was ready to cut loose the offense, he upped the pace and had the Titans' DL gasping by halftime. It was as brilliant as it was predictable. d. QB- I wonder how many of the mediots who kept telling us all week how Brady hadn't thrown for 300 yds, or thrown 5 picks, or looked weak, or less than superhuman the last 5 games, will explain this performance. His completion rate was 66%, 3 TD's, 64% on 3rd downs (11-17), 5-5 in the redzone, and moved in the pocket well enough to remain unsacked, and relatively unhit against a DL that ranked 5th in the league in sacks, btw. e. OL - One thing that fried my ass last night was the fact that when Conklin went down, the announcers made it seem like this was the reason the Titan offense died. Well we also lost our RT (Waddle) too and he was our #2, and yet our offense survived our #3 RT and plan C worked out very well....again. A great day for the offense line. Once again they played one of the better DL's in the league and did well. Jerrel Casey had some pressures, but hey, he's one of the best in the league. He's supposed to do at LEAST that. In fact he was supposed to do a lot more, and couldn't. The mediot narrative told us to watch for great pressure up the middle against our undersized interior OL, and it never materialized. For the most part Brady had time and a pocket to step up into. Take a bow Dante. f. Receivers - " Playoff Danny" Amendola has done it again. If an name brand WR had his numbers, they would be singing paeans to him. But regular season Danny is just another guy with 600 yds and 2 TD's . BUT "Playoff Danny" comes out and shines.....again with 11 receptions and 112 yds, and SIX for first downs. Talk about coming up big. Gronk with 80 yds and TD was an average Gronk day...for him. He even had a drop that pissed him off no end. Interestingly the Titans tried to cover Gronk with man coverage a lot of the night. It didn't work that well. Question of the week will be how will the Steelers try to stop him. Cooks was getting a lot of crap from Felger and Brown. I'm not sure how fair it is. If Brady's pass was just a hair more accurate he'd have had over 100yds, but those long passes are hard to connect on. That's why they are so rare. I'm not worried about him. He gets deep on guys 2 or 3 times a game, so the catches will come. He blocks well, and works hard. I'd be happy to pay him $8MM next season to see if he can elevate his game beyond what it was this season. After that I reserve judgement Hogan had his TD, had a drop on what would have been a tough catch, but on the plus side knocked some rust off. g. RB's I'm thrilled that Lewis was back getting "only" 15 runs. He averaged 4.1ypc and once again maximized every run. With 80 receiving yds, Dion had 141 total yds (plus 27 on a KO return). With only 2 possible games left time to unleash the hound. White had 2 TD's but for the most part wasn't impactful, and like Hogan, the plus side was that he got some rust knocked off. Boldin made me smile. As Bill said in his presser, he's has one of the most difficult jobs to do. Which is come in a play a role when you haven't had many practice reps and even fewer game reps and execute well. Good to see him get that TD, though I bet he wishes he had kept the ball. OK its now 3am, and I am really not responsible for anything that comes after this point.