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No Mercy

Patriots pour it on, don't care what other teams think

Posted: Tuesday October 30, 2007 12:38PM; Updated: Wednesday October 31, 2007 3:28PM
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Bill Belichick's Patriots have won by an average of 25.5 points per game this season.
Bill Belichick's Patriots have won by an average of 25.5 points per game this season.

We can argue the pros and cons of their no-holds-barred approach. We can moralize or philosophize about the message it sends or the long-term wisdom of employing such a strategy. But there can be no debate about whether the New England Patriots are running up the score on their out-classed opponents this season.

The answer is, of course they are. Y-E-S. You bet your hand-held video camera they are. For an organization that covets its secrecy in matters great and small, that much is as easy to decipher as that gaudy 52 spot the Patriots hung on the scoreboard against Washington on Sunday. Or the 49-point effort that New England put forth the previous week at Miami. Or the 48-point display at Dallas the week before that.

The point is -- and this can't be overstated -- the Patriots don't care. They're doing it. They know it. Their opponents know it. And the hard, cold truth is that no one has been in position to stop it.

If you thought they weren't playing by the rules before Spy-gate, that has been even more the case since their embarrassing Week 1 video-taping scandal. It's just that the rules that Bill Belichick and Co. are now ignoring are of the unwritten, unspoken variety.

It's fair to wonder if New England's pour-it-on mindset will leave it vulnerable to any repercussions in the season's second half. Will some humiliated defender put a target on Tom Brady's back, or try to take out his frustrations via a cheap shot on Randy Moss' slender frame? Revenge, of course, is a two-way street, and the Patriots' habit of winning big certainly isn't winning them any friends, but it may be influencing their enemies. If a team did try to take revenge, the impact on New England's Super Bowl dreams would be obvious.

"We play until the clock says 0:00," Brady said on Wednesday. "Scoring too many points has never been a problem before here."

But for now, the Patriots, their pride wounded, their sense of accomplishment and honor challenged, are determined to leave no doubt about their supremacy this season. They don't want to just win. They want to dominate. Even humiliate, in return for the humiliation they feel they were forced to endure.

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