(Photo from Boston.com)
I guess that answers that question. Not that it was easy. Or, at least it didn't look that way. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit that at one point, I switched to The Next Iron Chef on the Food Network because it was the only channel on TV where no one was talking about Tony Romo's ability to walk on water/Tom Brady's magnificent powers of awesomeness. Not that Tom Brady isn't awesome. His career-high five TD game would argue otherwise. It's just, sometimes, even when it's your team, the hype gets to be too much. I think I feel some of the old fluid lung that plagued me in June coming back and the last thing I need at the moment is to hyperventilate about football. Good thing it's not baseball playoffs or anything so I can relax until next Sunday. Oh wait...
I'm not complaining. That would be insane. The Patriots just beat the Cowboys by three touchdowns, prompting a tense email exchange between friends where their decision to run for a touchdown when already up by fourteen points was called into question. Fair enough, but it seems to me that the Patriots are embracing the role of the villain this year. After the idiotic SpyGate fiasco, everyone seems to want to paint them as the big, bad Patriots. So they've shrugged and said "Fine, so be it." They're also playing pissed off. Which can't be good for anyone that has to face them.
They're not invincible. I know that. But as my dad said when I called him during the two-minute warning, "This team is just...they're so...this is unreal." Well put.
It seems we've run out of things to say about them. After all, there are only so many ways to say, "The Patriots met all comers and kicked their asses into submission." Which is fine. But here's the thing, I'm not sure they're not even better than this. You see, last week, there was a moment when, after Tedy Bruschi drove Cleveland QB Derek Anderson to the ground and absolutely leveled him, I thought, "There are two ways this could go here. The Patriots could either stomp on the gas and drop fifty on this Cleveland team, or they could realize that their beef is not with the Browns, respect the fact that Romeo Crennel is on the other sideline, and show some mercy." They decided to show mercy.
Today, against the Cowboys, they were unmerciful. Some people probably think it was unnecessary, but the way I look at it, if you're going to be the best, you have to beat all other contenders for the title. And you have to beat them convincingly. Dallas is obviously a very good football team. They're just not better than the Patriots.
So now all attention will re-focus on the matchup in three weeks between the Patriots and the Colts. The Colts seem to think no one is paying attention to them. Um, right. As much as I'd like to forget they won the Super Bowl last year, I am never quite able to make that a reality. My point being, no one is underestimating or ignoring the Colts. The Patriots just happen to be playing out of their minds right now. I don't think the fact that Peyton Manning isn't getting "Germany Surrenders!" headlines every day means that he's underrated. That's an insane claim. Personally, I'm terrified of the game in three weeks. It'll be my birthday (because the Pats love playing the Colts on my birthday weekend. Absolutely love it.), and if all goes according to plan, I'll be at a Bruins game futilely cheering on the Black and Gold while getting text message updates about the Pats game. And I'll be terrified the whole time. Of course, we've got to deal with Miami and the Redskins first. Either of which could be a classic trap game. Eyes forward, boys.
As for the Red Sox, I feel it speaks volumes about my feelings on the Eric Gagne Experiment that upon his entrance to the ballgame last night, I put my shoes on, stood up and promptly announced, "Right. I'm going home then." Because who didn't know how that was gonna play out? I hate being right about these things. And in Tito's defense, there weren't that many other options. Lopez certainly proved to be equally ineffective. Oy.
I figure that the start Schilling gave us last night is about what we could have expected - and can expect - from Matsuzaka. So in that sense, it was a wash. The teams certainly battled it out but I knew, as soon as The Dimpled One (aka Grady Sizemore), starting hitting, we'd be in for a long night. You can't keep a good bat down, it would seem. I've decided to chalk Game 2 up to the old "you win some, you lose some" axiom. After all, it's a cliche for a reason.
So tomorrow we role on, into the Jake - or Mothra's lair - and we try to right the ship. Though so far, I've gotta admit, it's shaping up to be the series we all expected. And it's a good one.