Redskins have no answer for Vrabel
The Colts might want to account for Mike Vrabel in Week 9. The Redskins didn't, and he made them pay, John Clayton writes.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Fittingly, Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was unstoppable when the media tried to stop him after Sunday's 52-7 victory over the Redskins. Heaven knows the Redskins couldn't do anything with him.
Vrabel had three sacks and forced three fumbles. He had 11 tackles and two assists. For the 10th time in his career, he caught a touchdown pass in a goal-line situation.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Winslow TownsonNew England's Mike Vrabel forced three Jason Campbell fumbles on Sunday. Vrabel also scored on a 2-yard TD pass from Tom Brady.
"I've got a lot to say about Vrabel," Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour said. "He's just a guy who comes to work and puts his hard hat on. You put him anywhere, and he'll just go out and play. He's out there like a coach on the field. We always joke at the end of the game, [and] he says, 'At the end of the game, we'll hand them back their playbook.'"
Vrabel really handed it to Redskins QB Jason Campbell. He stripped him of the football on three sacks. One was picked up by linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, who ran it back 11 yards for a touchdown. Two fumbles were recovered by defensive end Ty Warren.
"I can't remember when," Warren said in trying to recall a game like Sunday's. "I know I had a lot of one-fumble recoveries, but two wow. It was like I was out there Easter egg hunting or picking up a golden egg. You just have to continue to play, and sometimes the ball might literally bounce in your direction."
What few can believe is how Vrabel keeps doing it on offense. Brady is 10-for-10 in his career throwing to him as a tackle eligible. On a 2-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, no one covered Vrabel.
"Mike was pretty open," Brady said. "I think it was a good sell job by the offensive line. He just slipped out there, and another touchdown catch for him. I just try to throw to the guys who are open."
After the game, Vrabel wanted to see his kids. The media looked like the Redskins in trying to stop him. They couldn't.
John Clayton, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame writers' wing, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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PATRIOTS BEAT COLTS, 24-20
It's a battle of unbeatens ... and a possible AFC title game preview. It's Brady vs. Manning. Belichick vs. Dungy. It's 8-0 New England vs. 7-0 Indianapolis in Week 9 at the RCA Dome.
Sunday Countdown, (ESPN, 11 a.m. ET)• In a report by Greg Garber, Hall of Fame QBs weigh in on the matchup of future Hall of Fame QBs Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Also, special guest analyst Bill Parcells joins the crew to help cover every crucial angle of the epic matchup.
Commentary/features• Predictions: ESPN experts make their picks
• Pasquarelli: Colts, Patriots take different paths
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• Garber: Hall of Famers assess Manning, Brady
• Drehs: Colts' Sanders a small wonder
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• AccuScore: Pats have the edge
• Clayton: Belichick seeks to run it up
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Page 2• Got a problem? Ask coach Belichick
• Inside the brain of ... Adam Vinatieri
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Video• Colts, Patriots gamebreakers
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Scouts Inc.• Horton: Both offensive lines are underrated
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SportsNation• Who will win? Who's the better QB?
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Community• Got an opinion on the game? Let's hear it
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Manning vs. Brady: Previous results• Sept. 30, 2001 (at NE): Patriots 44, Colts 13
• Oct. 21, 2001 (at Indy): Patriots 38, Colts 17
• Nov. 30, 2003 (at Indy): Patriots 38, Colts 34
• Jan. 18, 2004 (at NE): Patriots 24, Colts 14 *
• Sept. 9, 2004 (at NE): Patriots 27, Colts 24
• Jan. 16, 2005 (at NE): Patriots 20, Colts 3 **
• Nov. 7, 2005 (at NE): Colts 40, Patriots 21
• Nov. 5, 2006 (at NE): Colts 27, Patriots 20
• Jan. 21, 2007 (at Indy): Colts 38, Patriots 34 *
* = AFC championship game
** = AFC divisional playoffs
NEW ENGLAND (8-0)• Game 1: Patriots 38, Jets 14
• Game 2: Patriots 38, Chargers 14
• Game 3: Patriots 38, Bills 7
• Game 4: Patriots 34, Bengals 14
• Game 5: Patriots 34, Browns 17
• Game 6: Patriots 48, Cowboys 27
• Game 7: Patriots 49, Dolphins 28
• Game 8: Patriots 52, Redskins 7
• Patriots clubhouse page
INDIANAPOLIS (7-0)• Game 1: Colts 41, Saints 0
• Game 2: Colts 22, Titans 20
• Game 3: Colts 30, Texans 24
• Game 4: Colts 38, Broncos 20
• Game 5: Colts 33, Bucs 14
• Game 6: Colts 29, Jaguars 7
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• Colts clubhouse page
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