As with any home game, a plethora of articles this morning. Michael Felger says the Patriots can beat the bad teams — barely. Tom Curran says that yesterday was a microcosm of the entire season. Nick Cafardo found a lot of interesting sideshows to an otherwise ugly win. Kevin Mannix picks up where he left off last night on Fox25, talking about the lack of a killer instinct. Ron Borges notes that all the mistakes and lack of focus yesterday “can be ignored if you do what the Patriots’ defense did yesterday – make late adjustments.” Jackie MacMullan though, says that truly good teams “do not exhibit a second of weakness or allow your (their) single-minded mentality to waver.” Jim Donaldson says that this team just can’t do things the easy way. Steve Buckley says that this was a must-win and that they got the job done. He shares a bit of Bill Belichick humor from his press conference yesterday: “Belichick said he planned to have a walk-through for the Lions game last night. He was, of course, kidding. But nobody – not one person in the room – laughed. Belichick actually had to say to one reporter, “I’m kidding.” Michael Gee had a line that was the butt of many Dennis and Callahan jokes and snide references: “(Let that be a lesson to you carpers. There’s no law that says short passes can’t be long gains. Why must we always look at what stars can’t do? The clods who complain that Brady can’t go deep are like the ones who complain about Manny Ramirez’ baserunning. In fact, they’re probably the same clods.)” Hmmm. Maybe Gee is alright after all. Karen Guregian gets the Chris Hovan and Randy Moss quotes that are also hot topics. Also on D&C, John Dennis says that the team will struggle to finish 8-8. Callahan spent much of the time deriding Antowain Smith. Nick Cafardo came on the Mike Adams show on WWZN and went right into the route that Felger talked about last night on Sports Final…started talking about how they were on a roll this time last year, that things were wonderful and that this just doesn’t feel the same, doesn’t feel good. He then went on to predict that the Lions will win on Thursday 21-14. About last year, anyone remember the second Buffalo game? How about the Browns game? Did either of those leave you feeling like that team was on its way to beating the Rams in the Super Bowl? I am not saying the Patriots are going to win it again. But I agree with Felger that it is too early to tell one way or the other.
As for the second level articles, Christian Fauria is the focus of several articles. Carolyn Thornton says that he is usually in the right place at the right time. Mark Murphy also notes that Fauria can find his way around the red zone pretty well. Joe Burris paints him as a happy guy. Alan Greenberg also profiles the seventh year tight end. Kevin Paul Dupont has a lot of “F” words in the headline to his article to describe the day that Roman Phifer had. Kevin McNamara looks at the job that the defense did. Is the bend but don’t break style back? Michael Smith notes that there always seem to be “buts” attached to Patriot wins. Smith also compiles a best and worst list with some fast facts thrown in. Murphy also writes that for the defense, chasing Dante Culpepper was like trying to catch a jackrabbit. With the boxing match Saturday night clearly fresh in his mind, Mike Reiss makes a lot of boxing analogies. Ian Clark says the defense got mean when they needed to. Dan Ventura looks at the job the secondary did on Randy Moss. Dupont also takes a look at Randy Moss‘ performance. Carolyn Thornton also has an article on Tom Brady’s accurate passing day. Rich Thompson looks at Kenyatta Jones working his way back into significant playing time. Cafardo’s notebook looks at preparation for the Lions and lines at the restrooms. Felger’s notebook focuses on a strolling Moss, and blitz adjustments. Curran’s notebook looks at offensive line adjustments. Christopher Price’s notebook in the Metro also looks at the quick turnaround. Bill Griffith looks at the Fox coverage of the game, and like me, was annoyed with the constant trumpeting of the upcoming Tampa Bay/Green Bay game.
The honeymoon is clearly over, as Tony Massarotti tees off on Larry Lucchino on the Theo Epstein hiring. At one point he says: “As for Lucchino – or is it Pitino?” He also says that Lucchino “clearly knows so extraordinarily little about” about the Red Sox as an institution in Boston. I guess if Lucchino knew as much Massarotti, that media favorite Mike Port would be the GM. Paul Doyle looks at the search process and gives some more background on Epstein. Gordon Edes is all facts today too. No opinion on the choice. Michael Silverman also has a neutral look at the hiring and at the job ahead of Epstein.
Plenty of College basketball on the tube tonight as ESPN2 has UMass/Indiana at 5:00 and Davidson/Duke at 7:00. ESPN has Kentucky/Arizona State at 9:00. ABC has Eagles/49ers on Monday Night Football at 9:00. NESN also has a college basketball game with Ohio State/Coppin State at 8:00.