|Randy Moss was fired up for most of the game, including the plays where he owned Anthony “The Guarantee” Smith (27).(Courtesy of NFL.com)
Thirteen down, just three to go for a perfect regular season. After back-to-back close calls, the Patriots pounded the Steelers Sunday as Tom Brady and Randy Moss moved close to single season records. Here’s what we learned:
- DON’T MAKE GUARANTEES AGAINST UNDEFEATED TEAMS: Sure, safety Anthony Smith made headlines with his guarantee this week, but he was downright abused Sunday. Moss’ second TD catch – a 63 yard bomb off a perfect play action fake from Brady – went right at Smith and Moss breezed by him. During the flea-flicker TD pass in the third, Smith again was abused as he let Jabar Gaffney behind him leading to the score. During his post-game press conference, Bill Belichick seemed to go out of character in calling out Smith. After being asked about the guarantee Belichick said, “I’ll just let Rodney’s comments stand (Harrison had remarked “Never heard of him”). We’ve played against much better safeties than him.” Whoa nelly!
- RED ZONE DEFENSE CAN STEP UP: By keeping the Ravens from finding the end zone on their first drive and later on stopping the Steelers from scoring at all from first and goal from the five, the Pats red zone defense finally made the stops. After spending much of the season near the bottom the league in that category, the Patriots came up with the big plays which gave the offense a chance to go out and do their thing.
- BRADY-MOSS IS THE GREATEST TANDEM SINCE MONTANA-RICE: Yes, that includes Manning-Harrison, Aikman-Irvin and Young-Rice. Brady threw for 399 yards and four TDs Sunday and now with 45 TD passes on the season, he sits only four behind Manning for the single season record with three games to go. Moss has 19 TD catches (should have been 20 if not for his drop near the end of the game) in 2007 and trails only Jerry Rice’s 22 for the single season record (side note: Rice caught his 22 TD passes in just 12 weeks during a strike shortened season!). If Brady and Moss had been together since the beginning, who knows what kinds of records they could have broken. While they never will have the sheer stats of a Manning-Harrison partnership, to watch them operate on the field is simply remarkable.
- BARRING INJURY, THE PATRIOTS WILL INDEED GO 16-0: Take a back seat ’72 Dolphins, you will soon have company in the undefeated club. With the big win Sunday, the Pats only need to beat the 3-10 Jets, 0-13 Dolphins and 9-4 Giants to complete their undefeated regular season. The Giants pose the biggest threat, but have yet to score a true signature (or impressive) win over a quality opponent this year.
It was a special afternoon/evening at Gillette. There were many “terrible towel” waving Steelers fans at “The Razor” and they were treated to an old school Patriot beat down. The Pats only ran the ball 10 times and though the defense gave up two big plays on one drive (a long Willie Parker run and the scrambling 32 yard TD pass to Najeh Davenport) the defense held the Steelers in check and won the battle in the trenches. Vince Wilfork also had an outstanding game in the middle. It was a very impressive win at a time when not many people expected it. It’ll be interesting to see just how high the point spread is for next week’s game against the Jets.
Tags: Anthony Smith, Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Moss, Tom Brady