Moss Propels Patriots To Victory

Sometimes it's not about what the players do during the offseason, or even what they accomplish during the preseason. Sometimes, it's just about what they do when the lights are on. Such was the case Sunday when Randy Moss and Tom Brady proved they didn't need a preseason full of games to get ready for the Jets, as New England cruised to a 38-14 victory.

Randy Moss didn't play a single snap in the preseason. In fact, due to a hamstring injury, the first-year Patriot didn't practice throughout the bulk of August.

So by the time the regular season rolled around there were whispers by some that the mercurial wideout might be dogging it. Onlookers began to wonder if the new uniform and expected positive locker room influence had failed to convert the talented target to the Patriots Way.

But Moss took the field for New England against the Jets in the opener and gave Tom Brady what many thought he would provide -- the most talented, proven big-play target Brady has had the fortune to work with. The former misguided Viking and disgruntled Raider exploded into action with nine catches for 183 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown in which he beat a trio of Jets to tip-toe into the end zone. It was the third-highest yardage output in his career and most receptions in a game since his days in Minnesota in 2003.

As Reggie Jackson would say, Moss was the straw that stirred the Patriots' offensive drink in an impressive domination of the Jets that wasn't even as close as the final 38-14 score. When Brady needed a play, Moss was there to make it.

Said Moss, "I'm just happy and very much blessed to be in this position. I think I told you way back when I became a Patriot I wanted to showcase my talents. I think today I did that."

"Football is natural for him," Brady said. "I think he was born to play football.

"He was a great player before he got to the Patriots. He's obviously still a great player."

He's now a great player working with a great quarterback on one of the teams expected to compete for not only an AFC title, but yet another potential Super Bowl title. It's hard to believe Moss can help the Patriots offense much more than he did in the opener in New York against the Jets, but the re-polished superstar thinks the entirety of the New England offense can certainly continue to build in the coming weeks.

"Definitely. It's just like a kid getting new toys for Christmas -- he can't open them," Moss said. "That's what Tom has done with me being hurt, with (Donte') Stallworth being hurt and really having only Wes (Welker), Jabar (Gaffney) and Kelley (Washington) out there. He really didn't have all his toys to play with. Now that he has all his toys to play with, man, the sky's the limit for us."

That's the challenge a revenge driven Chargers defense will face this Sunday night in Foxborough. San Diego is still seething over the unexpected divisional round loss to the Patriots last January. But this isn't the same Patriots offense that barely squeaked by for the upset. No, now Brady has maybe as many weapons to work with as any quarterback in the game. That's a scary thought for the Chargers and every other team that will have to try and stop the new-look, big-play Patriots in the coming weeks and months.


  • QB Tom Brady recorded his 150th career touchdown pass with his 51-yard hookup with Randy Moss in the third quarter of the win over the Jets. Brady finished the game completing 22-of-28 passes for 297 yards with three touchdowns for a 146.6 passer rating.

  • CB Asante Samuel had his roster exemption lifted prior to the game at Giants Stadium, and despite not getting the start played the bulk of the game against the Jets. A little over a week after re-joining his teammates and signing his franchise tender the fifth-year corner finished with two tackles. Despite tight coverage he did allow a touchdown on a 1-yard fade to Laveranues Coles in the third quarter. In a side note, CBS' Charlie Casserly reported that the details of Samuel's 2007 deal allow him to avoid the franchise tag again next spring if he plays in 60 percent of New England's defensive snaps or the team wins at least 12 games.

  • CB Ellis Hobbs recorded the longest kick return in NFL history with a 108 yarder to open the second half against New York. The play is also tied for the longest of any kind in league history.

  • RB Laurence Maroney opened his sophomore season with an 11-yard run off right tackle against New York. Getting his first career start, the former first-round pick totaled 20 carries for 72 yards (3.6-yard avg.).

  • CB Tory James and TE Marcellus Rivers were both released prior to the trip to New York to take on the Jets. Subsequently the Patriots signed LB Corey Mays and DL Santonio Thomas from the practice squad to the active roster for the game.

  • QB Matt Cassel appeared to injure his wrist on a fumbled snap on a field-goal attempt in the second quarter of the win over the Jets. While no update was given on the injury, rookie free agent Matt Gutierrez took the field for the final kneel downs late in the fourth quarter of the blowout win.
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