Tuesday, October 31, 2006

They're Baaaacckkk! Pats massacre Vikes, 31-7

On Halloween Eve the Patriots played the roles of well-known horror movie characters in their 31-7 bludgeoning of the Minnesota Vikings. Let's take a look back in case you missed it.

Coach Belichick: "Saw" trilogy mastermind Jigsaw.
Like that sinister brainiac of terror, Belichick, in his menacing grey cutoff hoodie and steely blank gaze carved out a gameplan that completely caught his victims off guard and left them in a sea of purple & white carnage. So the Vikings were the top team against the rush in the NFL? No problemo the never-nervous genius said. The Pats came out throwing the ball(43 passes, 15 runs) like they were the next incarnation of the Fun & Gun offensive machine that was the trademark of the 1990's-era Florida Gators. Appropriate because 3 former Gator receivers (Chad Jackson, Reche Caldwell, Jabbar Gaffney) roam the field for New England, waiting for Brady to find them. And found Caldwell, who looks like his new go-to-guy (along with Predator Gabriel) to the tune of 7 catches for 84 yards & a TD. But seriously, how brilliant is it to just completely abandon a part of the game you know you can't win and just totally destroy a team using another aspect of the game at your disposal. Just as Jigsaw devises a clever puzzle for the potential victims to solve or else they face certain death, Belichick gave new Minny head coach Brad Childress a choice: "I'm going to beat you tonight, one way or another, so it's up to you to figure out a way to stop me." He couldn't. Brilliant & deadly.

Tom Terrific as Leatherface in Texas Chansaw Massacre
Now calm down ladies, this obviously isn't a facial comparison-I don't think Leatherface would look that good in a suit & be able to pull Bridgit Moynihan! But the way Tommy Boy sliced up the Viking secondary last night it looked like he was using a chainsaw and just hacking cornerbacks, safties & linebackers in half. Brady came out throwing, and then he threw some more. The second half started with New England leading 17-0 and Brady threw some more. Soon the Pats were up 31-7 and Brady threw some more. When the bodies were removed form the field the Pats had dissected the Vikings through the air behind a career day for Brady: 29-43, 372 yards & 4 TDs. It was the most yardage Brady had ever thrown for in a regulation game, and to think he had at least 4 passes dropped & a 33-yarder called back on a penalty, or this number could have been creeping towards the 500 mark. Brady had 257 yards by halftime, and he used 10 different receivers in the game- talk about picking your poison. Only the creepiest villain in cinematic history could have done more damage to the Viking tonight. And he's probably busy making a pre-se-quel.

The Patriots defense as the Dawn of the Dead zombies
Not the original, slow-footed creepies of the George Romero original, but the speedy, destructive killing machines of the excellent 2004 remake. The Pats defense played like those reanimated flesh-starved creatures last night as they had a singular mindset: bring down QB Brad Johnson and destroy any semblance of an offensive attack for Minnesota. Johnson was harassed, agitated, and uncharacteristically inaccurate in the game, ending up a meager 20-33 for 185 yards with no TDs & 3 horrible picks. Plus he was sacked and hassled every time he dropped back to throw. Tully Banta-Cain (a horror movie name if I ever heard one) had 2 sacks and terrorized both Johnson and his backup, Brooks Bollinger, who was sacked three times in a row when he entered in the 4th quarter. Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel (7tkls) & Chad Scoot had interceptions, and the unit held the Vikes to 284 yards; the Vikes only points came on a 71-yd punt return by Mewelde Moore. Like their cinematic walking dead counterparts the Pats defense kept coming at the Vikes, who had no answers as to how to stop them and could only lie there helplessly while the flesh-eaters rolled over them and picked their bones clean.

The Pats receivers as the swarm in The Birds
The re-vamped New England receiving corps resembled a flock of attacking winged creatures in this game, swooping in from all angles of the field and with an intensity that left Viking defenders swatting at the air in futile attempts to stop them. With Deion Branch now not catching passes in Seattle, Brady has found a way to replace his former number one receiver: spread the ball around to everyone and let them fight over who is going to have the bigger game. As I said before, 10 different players caught passes from Brady tonight: Watson, Caldwell, Gabriel, Maroney, Faulk, Brown, Dillon, Thomas, Jackson, Gaffney. That's waht you call spreading it around. And with Maroney limited on his carries due to the gameplan (8 carries, 34 yds) he found other ways to get involved, like 2 catches for 33 yds (1-20yder) and 2 kick returns for 91 yards, including a 77-yarder he nearly broke for a score immediately following Moore's runback.If the whole crew was a swarm, Maroney was the hawk, picking his spots and devouring the Vikings in a number of ways with accuracy, speed & skill.

All in all it was a terrifying performance from the Patriots, who moved to 6-1, second best record in the league behind 7-0 Indy & Chicago. If these guys continue their assault on the league it appears that another popular feature of the horror genre may be on the horizon for them: the Championship Sequel, Part IV.

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