Sustained Pats O with 144 yards. Look ahead: Biggest difference between next week and Week 8, when the Pats lost at PIT? Dillon didn't play. (Watch out.)
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Two Words For You:
Fans backed the wrong guy.
We supported Peyton Manning and doubted Bill
Belichick, when it should have been the other way
Peyton stinks. Stinks!
Don't let anyone fool you: This
absolutely diminishes his record-breaking
An opportunity for the ages turned into yet
another Peyton dud, which -- having spent the weekend
in Gainesville -- reminded me of the big games he's lost all the way back to his college days.
He's the solo equivalent of what the Eagles are as a
team: A choker when it counts most. A big-game patsy. Frankly, a loser.
But he would have won the game at home in the
dome! The whine of the ignorant. Winning in the
snow at Foxboro -- ending the Pats dynasty -- was
precisely the moment for him to seize.
Instead, he seized up.
Wasting away in Marino-ville?
Worse: Choking in "Pey-town."
And still champs ...
"Pey-a" culpa: On behalf of the overwhelming majority of fans who thought the Colts
would beat the Patriots, here's a nervous laugh -- and a reflexive switch
to Pats praise.
The Pats have had more important wins during their four-year
dynasty -- you know, like two Super Bowl wins.
But no win was more IMPRESSIVE than Sunday's.
The Pats made Peyton look like Eli. Meanwhile, you'd
never know the Pats offense was playing in the frigid
With one three-hour stretch of domination, the Pats
re-established themselves as the NFL's team to beat;
they re-asserted their dynasty; and they silenced the
Best evidence? Early poll results have ESPN.com
consumers favoring the Patriots over the Steelers 63
percent to 37. Big switch from last week's anti-Pats
So "silenced" is inaccurate; the Pats have turned
doubters into cheerleaders.
Early conventional wisdom:
AFC Champ game: Pats/Pitt
Two great Ds: Take the under.
NFC Champ game: For Birds
Eagles: Most. Pressure. Ever.
For must-read early analysis, check out Clayton and
Pasquarelli's AFC and NFC previews (see Q It Up).
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|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Tedy Bruschi: 2 takeaways; given on behalf of whole Pats D|
Allen Rossum: Atlanta punt returner sets record (152 yds)
World Hockey Ass'n: sees NHL mess as revival moment?
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Kobe Bryant: Out 5 games (AND Lakers better without him)|
UNC: No. 1? Not even in ACC, where Wake thumped 'em
Michelle Wie: Misses Sony cut; get 'em next year, girl!
In Philly, a division round win doesn't mean squat. A 27-14
win pock-marked with lucky plays is simply the preview before "Not
Another NFC Title Game in Philly," a movie we've all seen before. WAY
too many times.
Choke Bowl IV? Even without T.O., I'm not sure the city's
psyche can handle another loss on the outside-looking-in of a Super
Bowl. That pressure looms much bigger than anything the Falcons might
As for Freddie Mitchell: The Eagles WR wants attention like
T.O. or Randy Moss so bad, he has to resort to derivative TD
celebrations (like pantomiming pulling up his pants) to stake a claim.
(2 TDs? Not bad.)
Falcons Win Big
Let Vick Be Vick: Jim Mora Jr.'s eventual comfort with
this strategy is a main reason Falcons are a game away from
the Super Bowl as Atlanta's outstanding defense or scintillating
119 rush yards/2 pass TDs: Those were exactly the stats that
most fans thought would be necessary for the Falcons to win (though
many can quibble why he was still running plays after the game was out
More sighs of relief than cheers out of Blitzburgh,
which managed to look downright ordinary in stealing a win from the
As for Big Ben? For a national audience, most of whom were
getting their first look at him, he didn't just look
ordinary; he looked mediocre. Good luck with that Pats D,
Decision to stay at USC guarantees one of two equally
Best college QB ever. Or ...
Biggest mistake ever.
And, hey: If he wins a second Heisman and third national title, but
suffers a career-ending injury in the national-title game, we could
Nash for MVP
Best evidence yet: Look at how only so-so the Suns are
without him! 83 points in a L vs. the Pacers; a collapse/loss to the
Wizards. He gets my MVP vote for what he hasn't done as much as
what he has.
PHX's differential between Nash and No-Nash is lottery and 70 wins;
can that be said about any other player in the league? No, not Duncan,
KG, Shaq, Kobe or even LeBron.
Jack Johnson Doc
Long before Moss or T.O., Barkley or Bonds, there was
boxing champ Jack Johnson, the best athlete of his generation and a
sports superstar whose maddening of the masses had as much impact as
"Unforgiveable Blackness" should have made my list of 2004's
best sports books -- but the companion PBS documentary airing tonight
and Tuesday (with a possible ESPN flick later this year) is worth your
47 and 43 weren't exactly easy kicks. But when you get two cracks and can't deliver, perhaps NY might create a reality-TV show looking for a new kicker.
|Today on ESPN.com|
|NFL: AFC Champ preview|
|NFL: NFC Champ preview|
|Ranking NFL Contenders|
|Re-assume rightful place|
|Got lucky. VERY lucky|
|Can Philly stop Vick?|
|Way too much pressure|
|Get HFA in 2005!|
The NFL's coin-toss OT policy is sports' biggest embarrassment; but
you won't see change until a "Coin Toss Super Bowl champ" is ruined by
Delgado watch: Marlins offering 3-yr/$34-mil? Wow. Unlikely to see
that outrageous offer matched (but with New Mets' new math, never
Transitive property, college hoops edition: Wake beat UNC; Illinois
thumped Wake. Very hard to take any team over No. 1 Illini right
Armageddon approaches? The Wizards are the second-best team in the
East (and arguably top 5 in the NBA). DC beat the Suns and have won 7
in row; but Larry Hughes out 4-6 weeks ...
College FB all-star game winners: Louisville QB Stefan LeFors (3 TDs
in only a quarter); Purdue WR Taylor Stubblefield (2 TDs) ...
Nene and Kandi picked the wrong season to get into a brawl; the NBA
hit each with a 4-game suspension ...
Early NFL polling from ESPN.com users: PHI over ATL (57-43), NE over
PIT (63-37) ...