Pats continue incredible run; NFL-wide analysis
Posted: Sunday November 18, 2007 11:19PM; Updated: Monday November 19, 2007 3:06PM
NEW YORK -- Week XI, with V topics:
1. No one except maybe the '27 Yankees could beat the Patriots right now.
2. Phil Dawson saves Cleveland from eternal damnation.
3. Tony Dungy made one of the most controversial and interesting calls a coach has made all season ... and Peyton Manning made him look like a genius.
4. I have underrated Brian Westbrook for the last time.
5. I try to illuminate the Big Cable/NFL network dispute.
The question is not who can beat the Patriots. It's who can give them a game.
On Saturday morning, I told Buffalo coach Dick Jauron what he already knew -- that the crowd at the Week 5 Monday-nighter against Dallas in Buffalo was so boisterous and loud that it played a big factor in that near-win for the Bills, and who's to say it couldn't happen against the Patriots?
"That's right,'' Jauron said. "But we have to do something early to keep our crowd in it. Then we have to keep doing things to make them stay a part of the game.''
Well, if you watched it, you came away more awed by the Patriots than during any of their previous nine slaughters (all except the four-point nipping of the Colts two weeks ago). And you watched Randy Moss look like some schoolgirl drooling over Paul McCartney 40 years ago as he talked to Andrea Kremer afterward on NBC. "I'm still in awe,'' he said. "It's still a dream. I'm playing for the Patriots.''
Sixteen touchdowns in 10 weeks ... I'd be gee-whiz too, even if I hadn't been happy playing football in years.
I did some quick math on the Patriots' first-team offense over the past nine possessions, going back to the fourth quarter of the Colts' game, and not including their final possession in Indy, when they were trying to run out the clock and not trying to score. (New England had its bye last week.) The incredible numbers:
Hide the women and children. And Eagles and Ravens. All I can equate this to is Oklahoma and Nebraska under Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne. They'd win eight games every year by 45, then play two or three close ones. We've never seen anything like this in the NFL because there's never been anything like this in the NFL.
The bizarre schedule continues next Sunday night, with another NBC Sunday night game. The Eagles slink into Foxboro, with a gimpy Donovan McNabb -- playing poorly anyway -- and an offense totally reliant on Brian Westbrook. If it's still a game by 9:30, I'll be surprised.