With a final look back at Sunday’s game before turning our focus solely to Jacksonville, Michael Felger has his Patriots report card for the Miami game, getting a chance to grade Matt Cassel and the other backups. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Patriots did the right thing by losing on Sunday, and they’re doing their part to ensure the apocalyptic showdown with the Colts on Jan. 15. Hector Longo on the other hand, believes that taking Sunday off sent the wrong message to the Patriots players and that the day of rest will come back to bite them. It’s another cry for attention from Longo, who continues to try to make his rep as a mini-Borges. Borges though, promoted Belichick for coach of the year and Tom Brady for MVP over the weekend in his Sunday notes column. Bill Reynolds says that right now, the Patriots look pretty good, and that’s a surprise after some of their earlier performances this season.
With the Jaguars lined up as the playoff opponent for Saturday night, Jerome Solomon has Bill Belichick talking about the squad, and a word he used often was “tough”. Tom E Curran also focuses on the toughness of the Jags. Sidepoint – I thought the Steelers were the tough, smashmouth team, and that’s why the consensus was that the Patriots should try to ensure that they played Jacksonville…a theory I’m still not confident of. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots getting back to business now that their fun of last week is over. The AP’s Jimmy Golen looks at the Patriots entering a new world (for them) of Wild Card play. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots have a reduced time schedule in which to prepare for their prime time game on Saturday.
John Tomase says that the Jaguars are playing the disrespect card, playing up the fact that other teams and the experts decided they were the easiest first round opponent. Nick Cafardo, covering the Jaguars side this week, also has the team talking about the Patriots tanking in order to ensure that they would play Jacksonville, which they in turn are using as motivation. Albert Breer says that Jacksonville deserves respect. The AP’s Mark Long has more on Jacksonville playing up their underdog role against the two time defending champs. Get more from the Florida perspective from Jacksonville.com.
Solomon’s notebook looks at the first time playoff participants on the Patriots and how they’re looking forward to this first test. Tomase’s notebook looks at Andre Davis possibly adding a spark to the Patriots kickoff return team for the postseason. Cafardo’s notebook examines some of the injuries facing the Jaguars this week. Parente’s notebook has Byron Leftwich as the expected starter at QB for the Jags. Curran’s notebook has more on the Jacksonville injuries.
Bud Collins says that Doug Flutie’s drop kick extra point on Sunday brought back a few other memories. Bill Burt writes that Raymond Berry and Bill Belichick were cut from the same cloth, but we didn’t appreciate it back then. Jonathan Comey lists out the best and worst of the 2005 regular season. Albert Breer reports on Northborough