Patriots Fan Files: Another Close One

The Patriots game against the Atlanta Falcons was eerily similar to a heavyweight boxing match, in so much that the one who landed the last punch won the battle. New England scored, Atlanta scored, back and forth through four quarters, until the final seconds ticked off the clock, and the Patriots were the ones left standing. Michelle V. returns to give her take on New England's victory against the Falcons.

PHOTO: Atlanta Falcons Alge Crumpler (83) holds on in the first half over New England Patriots safety Guss Scott (29) and comes up with fourth-and-two on a declined offensive tripping penalty at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

Patriots Fan Files: Another Close One
By Michelle Vitagliano, Fan Commentator

When Bill Belichick maintains a genuine smile for more than five seconds, you know something really good has happened. On Sunday, that something really good was a last minute 31-28 win for the New England Patriots after they beat the Atlanta Falcons in a performance that was far better than the massacre they experienced the week prior with San Diego.

Before I get started, I will say this; If you are thinking about getting married on a Sunday during football/baseball season and your guests include sports fans, you should consider hiring someone whose job is to provide updated scores and fantasy updates throughout the day. Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth II gave an updated soccer score during her speech at her son's marriage to Camilla. Now that's a woman with priorities!

My advice to guests of a wedding that is taking place while the games are on - you must find a very reliable person who is text-message savvy and can send you updates after every point or run is scored. Otherwise, any thoughts of marriage on a Sunday during this season should be dismissed.

Now back to the Patriots. While Belichick showed the Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns fight to motivate his team turned out to be a success, it's footage of his own team's successes that will likely, if not already, be used for the same purpose.

The number of players on the Patriots' inactive list could make up a baseball team and still, they managed to win. What amazes me is that those inactive players are the ones you'd think we just couldn't win without. Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Kevin Faulk, Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Tyrone Poole… need I go on? Funny how there was more pre-game hype about Falcon's quarterback Michael Vick potentially not playing than there was about the extensive list of New England players that were going to be watching from the sidelines.

There is no other team out there that can continue to put up wins like that, against tough teams, when so many of their starters are out. But that's what makes the Patriots such a powerhouse, and defending world champs. On a side note, when I was living in England and referred to the Patriots as world champs, I sometimes got laughed at. I guess they think it's a bit shortsighted to call the winners of any sport that plays on a national level a "world" champion team.

I digress. Back to the Patriots and the fact that Tom Brady has never lost an indoor game in his NFL career. Fortunately, I have a sick sort of love for absurdly cold New England games at Gillette where you dress warm enough to avoid losing limbs. I have enough confidence in Brady to realize that we don't need an indoor stadium in Foxborough to secure a win.

Speaking of confidence, when Adam Vinatieri is at the 29-yard line attempting a kick that could very likely mean a win for the Patriots, does anyone have a doubt in their mind that he might not make it? Unless the opposing team has booby-trapped the ball without him knowing, his scoring is pretty much a sure thing. Sunday marked the 19th game-winning kick of his career. If your last name is Vinatieri, you should open an insurance company. The name in itself would sell your product.

I know there are probably some Sox fans out there that are still mourning Friday's loss to the White Sox but here are two pieces of advice for you"

1. Root for Chicago.
2. Regroup and cheer on the Pats!

Enjoy the Broncos game. Go Pats!


Michelle Vitagliano, passionate Boston sports fan that she is, can be found in the insiders forums under the screen name Patriette. Her weekly fan commentary can be found here on the Patriots Insider site, or you can search for her articles on the Insiders by searching for "Michelle Vitagliano".

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