After a somewhat mistake prone first half, The Patriots turned in another dominating performance yesterday afternoon in Foxboro during the third and fourth quarters, humiliating the Ravens 24-3. Despite the last two minutes of the first half, there was a lot to like in this one, with Corey Dillon repeatedly running over the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Game stories for this one are provided by Nick Cafardo…Michael Felger…Tom E Curran…Alan Greenberg…Michael Parente…Chris Kennedy…Christopher Price and of course BSMW’s own Scott A Benson, who provides this week’s edition of Patriots Rear View. Michael Smith covers the game for ESPN.com. Why can’t the Globe get writers like that? Lenny Megliola says that the Patriots are not going to lose another game this season. Ron Borges looks at the depleted secondary, which looks exploitable by opponents…until they take the field. Borges praises the work of Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini in how the secondary is coping, conspicuously absent is the word “Belichick” anywhere in the article. Kevin Mannix says forget Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, Tedy Bruschi should be the MVP.
Bob Ryan says that we need to truly appreciate what we’re seeing with this Patriots team. Jim Donaldson says that New England sports fans -the fellowship of the miserable- don’t appreciate the Patriots and basically indicates that they’re not worthy of having this team. He trots out the tired line that New England fans are only happy when they’re miserable, and are more concerned right now with the breaking up of the Red Sox than with anything that is happening in Foxboro. The only miserable people in New England right now are sports columnists who might have to find a new angle to pursue in future articles because there isn’t anything to be negative about…the only ones talking about the subjects Donaldson attributes to the fans are WEEI hosts, “celebrity callers” and flashguys.
Mike Reiss and Kevin McNamara have the Ravens tipping their caps to the Patriots team effort. Ian M Clark looks at the Patriots making the halftime adjustments to enable them to reel off 21 unanswered points in the second half. Tim Weisberg looks at the Patriots defense adjusting to what personnel was available to them and getting the job done. Again. Jim McCabe also examines all the movable parts in the secondary being able to once again find a way to shut down an opponent. Michael Gee (subscription only) looks at the Patriots being proponents of the theory of evolution in football, constantly adapting to their circumstances and environments, ensuring survival. Karen Guregian looks at the defense totally overwhelming young Kyle Boller. Rich Thompson says the Patriots defense proved it is the equal of any unit in the league.
Corey Dillon continued his amazing season for the Patriots yesterday, wracking up 123 yards against the vaunted Baltimore defense. Paul Harber writes that getting Dillon was certainly an early Christmas gift for the Patriots. Mike Reiss says that getting Dillon for a second round pick certainly looks like a one sided trade at this point. Ted Ribeiro looks at Dillon once again putting on a show in the second half for the Patriots. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes about Dillon emphasizing after the game that he does not care about the numbers. He’s only interested in winning games. Buckley writes that Dillon appears to have totally bought into the Patriots way of doing things, something that comes as a surprise to many people who objected to the trade when it happened. Alan Greenberg has more on Dillon, who has been everything the Patriots have hoped for, and more. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated looks at how Dillon just got better as the conditions got worse yesterday.
Dan Pires writes that once again Adam Vinatieri proved why he’s the best in the game. Frank Dell’Apa says that Vinatieri could’ve made an even longer field goal yesterday as his longest still had yards to spare. Michael O’Connor notes that the conditions were no big deal for the Patriots kicker. Dell’Apa also looks at Tom Brady, who despite the horrible field conditions, still got the job done. George Kimball (subscription only) has a very similar article, looking at how Brady handled the atrocious conditions. Dan Ventura looks at Jarvis Green executing the “scoop and score” technique that the Patriots practice each week. Steve Conroy has Ray Lewis hoping for another shot at the Patriots down the line.
After yesterday’s Tom Curran article getting Scott Pioli to talk about his future, Felger’s notebook adds to that, with Pioli taking his name off the market for this offseason vowing to stay with the team at the very least through the length of his contract. This makes some of the “experts” who never talked to Pioli on the matter look very foolish. In fact, in his mailbag last week, Nick Cafardo stated that Pioli very much wants to run a team on his own, and essentially that anything he says to the contrary is a lie. Cafardo stated this never having spoken to Pioli. Curiously, while all the other notebooks today (except the Projo, which had the story yesterday.) have some mention of Pioli’s statements, Nick’s notebook has not a word on the topic. The ProJo notebook has more on the Gillette Stadium field conditions. The Standard Times notebook has more on the big day for Corey Dillon. Parente’s notebook looks at the Patriots improvement on run defense.
The Celtics early season struggles continue, losing another close one last night, this time in Miami to Shaq and the Heat, 104-102. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer have the game stories from last night. The Celtics fell behind, and made a strong comeback, with rookies playing a big role. 19 year old Al Jefferson spent quite a bit of time guarding Shaquille O’Neal, doing a credible job against the big man, while Tony Allen and Delonte West also provided sparks for the green. BSMW’s Full Court Press also has a look back at last night’s loss. Bulpett’s notebook has Shaq commenting on Paul Pierce, while Springer’s notebook has a look at Shaq’s Miami sidekick, Dwayne Wade.
Michael Silverman files a Red Sox notebook today with word that Orlando Cabrera wants a 4-5 year deal, which would pretty much put him out of the team’s plans for the future. The Red Sox as a team were selected SI Sportsmen of the Year yesterday.
FSN has Celtics/Magic at 7:00. ABC has Rams/Packers at 9:00.