(Afternoon links are again brought to you by today’s guest blogger, Bob Ekstrom)

Turns out that Steelers’ safety Anthony Smith didn’t get his fill of making a fool of himself during the week. Earlier this morning, Tom Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan that Smith was jawing at him throughout yesterday’s pre-game warm-ups.

Getting to some new business, Scott Benson shares some thoughts on the Patriots’ convincing win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who didn’t measure up to all their yapping. Ron Hobson has more on the Patriots’ defense rising to the occasion. Ian Clark seems to enjoy the fact that Smith was the game’s big goat, while Tom King hopes Smith is out of the prophecy business.

Michael Felger has Randy Moss bouncing back after getting muscled around for the last two games. Rich Garven shares his take on Moss playing instead of talking. In her notebook, Karen Guregian has Wes Welker reacting to his ball-hogging five consecutive catches to ice this one. She also has Logan Mankins getting to know Steelers’ LB James Harrison during some down time, while Felger awards Mankins’ wrestling match his best scrap of the day. John Tomase recounts the Gaffney TD, which he awards as his best play of the day. Glen Farley leads off his Patriots Notebook with another angle on the double-lateral pass to Gaffney.

One of my favorite stats each week is Mike Reiss’s rundown on offensive participation. Conspicuous by his absence yesterday is – you guessed it – Lawrence Maroney, who was on the field for a mere 18 snaps. I’ve said this before, but that 49ers pick looks bigger by the week.


Steve Bulpett’s notebook takes note of the C’s success in back-to-back games this season.

Odds & Sods

It’s nice to have you back from lunch but tell me, was it as good as Will McDonough’s?

Michael Vick won’t be enjoying lunch anytime in the next 23 months. His sentence was handed down a little while ago, and consider the book duly thrown.

Again, thank you for tuning in. Drop me a line sometime at bob02878@yahoo.com.