With 5:32 remaining in last night’s Patriots season opener at Gillette Stadium, things weren’t looking so hot for New England. Trailing 24-13, things looked bleak. The Bills had just scored a touchdown, while Tom Brady had yet to pass for one on the evening. According to Randy Moss, Brady entered the Patriots huddle, and said “We’re going to win this game.”

And win they did. Brady led the team on a scoring drive, hitting Ben Watson in the end zone to pull the Patriots within five. They then failed on the two point conversion, but then forced a fumble on the following kickoff, recovering the ball in prime territory. Brady then hit Watson again for the winning touchdown, giving the Patriots a dramatic 25-24 win.

On Patriots Daily, Chris Warner gives us the gut check from last night.

Christopher L. Gasper has Brady leaving no doubts about his own comeback from knee surgery with the game winning comeback he led his team on. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots able to appreciate what they had temporarily lost while Brady was out last season. Shalise Manza Young has Bill Belichick and the Patriots proud of the win, no matter how they got it. Andy Vogt says that the Patriots might’ve been in a no-win situation last night. Jennifer Toland says that opening night was a blast from the past as well as a party for the present. Glen Farley says that the degree of difficulty in this comeback was a “10.” Mark Farinella says Al Michaels would’ve liked the miracle finish last night. Steve Krause has the Patriots getting the final say last night. David Pevear says that with Brady back, the economy can’t be far behind. Jeff Howe examines yet another epic comeback for Brady.

Bob Ryan says that the Patriots know how poorly they played last night, they know how lucky they are to escape, and says that they will clean things up. Howard Bryant has Tom Brady and good fortune leading the Patriots to the win. Ron Borges says that in the end, some things don’t change. The Patriots find ways to win, and the Bills find ways to lose. Michael Felger says that the Patriots showed that they still have the knack. Jim Donaldson says that the final four minutes were pure Brady. Ron Chimelis says that last night’s win was certainly no reason to be making hotel reservations in February. Christopher Price chalks up 10 things we learned last night.

Dan Shaughnessy notes that though Brady started a bit slow last night, by the end it was as if he had never left.
He also adds this “aside”:

(Aside: I wonder if any of Belichick’s young fans think the Buffalo franchise was named for New England’s coach? The Cleveland Browns, after all, were named after Paul Brown. Why not the Buffalo Bills after Bill Belichick?)

There’s a shot there, but I’m just not sure if it’s at Belichick, the fans, or both. Dan Ventura has Brady warming to his task as the night went on. Jonathan Comey has Brady turning up the tempo, and breaking the Bills hearts. Bill Burt, who trashed Brady yesterday, looks at the Patriots QB leading the team back in the 4th. Mike Reiss checks the personnel on the two-minute offense drives at the end. Farinella notes that there was no panic in the Patriots down the stretch. Krause has Brady showing that 60 minutes means 60 minutes in football. Rich Garven has Brady showing his flair for fantastic finishes.

Steve Buckley has Benjamin Watson going from the cutdown bubble to opening night hero. Monique Walker has Watson showing why he is still on this team. Mike Reiss has more on the redemption for Watson. Donaldson has Watson catching some praise from Brady following the game. Hector Longo has Watson reuniting with the Foxborough faithful last night. Brian MacPherson has Watson making the most of his chances last night. Mike Lowe has Watson silencing his many critics with his performance.

Chris Forsberg has Randy Moss with another big night, and another step up in the NFL record books. Dan Duggan has Moss admitting to a few opening night jitters. Robert Lee says that for Moss it was like old times in the second half. Reiss has Moss looking ahead to the Jets this Sunday. Farinella says that Moss has  fully adapted to the environment in New England.

Karen Guregian has the Patriots pass defense getting it done when it counted.Brian MacPherson tells us that the Patriots defense will be in serious trouble if Jerod Mayo is seriously hurt. The Patriot Ledger says that the injury doesn’t bode well for the Patriots. Kirk Minihane says that there are still plenty of questions around this Patriots team.

Julian Benbow peeks inside an emotional Bills locker room following the game. Robert Lee looks at the decision by Leodis McKelvin to bring the kickoff out of the end zone following the first Watson TD. Donaldson has McKelvin running into trouble on the play.

Benbow and Walker have former Patriots running back Sam Cunningham coming back to Foxborough for the first time since his career ended in 1982. Rapoport and Ventura have Cunningham joining in the Pats’ anniversary fun this weekend. Guregian has Robert Kraft missing Richard Seymour, and expressing his affection for the former Patriots lineman.

Walker has recent retirees Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison getting together prior to the game. Guregian has Ty Law still open to coming back to the Patriots. Sorry Ty, I think that train has left the station. Your best chance at coming back was probably last season, and you chose the Jets. (The Jets!)

Duggan gives us the Best and Worst from last night. Reiss talks to all involved in the key play of the game last night. Duggan also has quotes from McKelvin’s return, which he tabs as the play of the game. Krause has more on the game-changing play at the end.

Rich Garven has news and notes, facts and figures. The Metro has a look at what went right and what went wrong last night. Eric McHugh has a little chalk talk. Lauren Carter gets some fan reaction. Neil Keefe wraps up a number of items from last night.

Gasper’s notebook has a look at Mayo’s injury and the mystery around it. Rapoport’s notebook looks at the “potentially devastating” blow to the defense that Mayo’s injury could pose. Young’s Patriots journal has Kraft admitting it can be hard to say good-bye to players. The ProJo also has a few other notes in a separate column. Vogt’s notebook has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaking prior to the game. Toland’s notebook has Al Davis revealing more details of the Seymour trade. The notebook from Tim Weisberg looks at an early uneven performance from Brady last night. Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots all-time team being honored at halftime. Lowe’s notebook looks at a night of celebrations at Gillette.

Red Sox/Misc

Amalie Benjamin says that the Red Sox playoff hopes hinge on their starting pitching, which has not proved to be as deep as predicted prior to the season. Sean McAdam has Jonathan Papelbon delivering on his vow to get back to his old dominant self down the stretch. Bill Ballou wonders if the Red Sox success at Fenway will be enough to allow them to hold off the Rangers.

John Tomase has Daisuke Matsuzaka set to start 2009 all over again. Daniel Barbarisi has Dustin Pedroia’s power number creeping up once again.

Benjamin’s notebook says that the Rangers have a tougher schedule down the stretch, giving the Red Sox an advantage in the wild card chase. Tomase’s notebook says that this week should be a playoff preview with the Angels coming to town.

Fluto Shinzawa has David Krejci optimistic on his recovery, but not sure he’ll be ready for the season opener. Rich Thompson has Dennis Wideman improving his work in the defensive end last season. Thomas Grillo has the Bruins hoping to follow the lead of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics in getting on the lottery bandwagon.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Escape

  1. I wonder if Shank realizes what a joke 99% of the Boston/New England sports fanbase thinks he is?

    What a completely inane non-sequiter. Completely inane.

    Nice going Shank! That was ludicrously mean-spirited, gratuitous and unnecessary–even by your low standards.

  2. Supposedly Mayo told teammates at halftime, “it is nothing serious.”

    It would really hurt to lose this guy. Offensive injuries are harder to overcome, but the Pats really need Mayo.

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