Patriots Setting the Standard
PHOTO: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a third quarter touchdown during the Patriots' 24-10 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004. The win gave the Patriots 19 straight wins. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
The New England Patriot's 24-10 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday was a game of many firsts. Starting with the obvious, it was the first time any NFL team has ever won 19 consecutive regular season and postseason games in a row. And while the official NFL records do not count the postseason, it's an accomplishment that was finally acknowledged, for what seemed like the first time, by head coach Bill Belichick and even Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. In a statement from the NFL, Tagliabue congratulated "the entire Patriots organization on this extraordinary milestone." But in typical Patriots fashion, none of the players boasted about the record because they're more focused on getting ready for their next game.
It came as no surprise that the Pats beat 0-5 Miami to break a new record but it's not something we could have predicted prior to the start of the season or could we? I suppose it's a question for the person who designed the ticket for this particular game. If you had a chance to see an actual ticket, you would have seen a photo of two players and a referee on the field. The ref is wearing number 19. If you add up all four numbers on the shirts of the two players, it equals 19. And in the background, you see the words sec 19 in a row. Coincidence? I think not. It's a souvenir and for the first time, I thought about selling my used ticket on EBay to see how much I could get for it.
Sunday was the first time I had heard of rookie Randall Gay after he made his first pro interception in the first quarter. It was the first game in which Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal this season on a 47-yard attempt but certainly not the first time I forgave him for it. Kevin Faulk saw his first action of the season and caught his first pass after returning from injury and personal time off and running back Rabih Abdullah scored his first NFL touchdown. David Givens had four receptions for 33 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season and on a more personal note, Sunday marked the first time I had ever heard of singer JoJo who performed a fantastic rendition of our national anthem.
The Pats played without star players like wide receivers Troy Brown (shoulder),
Deion Branch (knee) and Bethel Johnson ("coaching decision" as described
by Belichick). They didn't have their best game yet but that's what is so great
about this team. So far this season, they haven't had to be at their best to
win games and they're still 4-0. But they have some tough games coming up where
they're going to have to play a little harder and make fewer mistakes in order
to win. Hopefully after next week's game against the Seattle Seahawks, I'll
be talking about the Pats being the first team to win 20 in a row!