"Going to London, not a distraction?" Bill Belichick asked rhetorically last week when queried on New England's trip to England this week to take on the Buccaneers.
A coach who takes pride and puts a lot of energy minimizing distractions and excuses for his team, Belichick clearly would rather not be a part of the NFL's now yearly efforts at globalization. And after Sunday's 59-0 blowout win over the Titans in a snowstorm at Gillette Stadium, New England's most complete performance of 2009, Belichick probably would like to bring consistency and normalcy to his squad.
In beating up on Tennessee, Tom Brady threw for six touchdowns, including five in the second quarter. He tallied 380 yards and a 152.8 passer rating despite leaving after just the first series of the third quarter. All told New England put up 619 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers in taking it to the Titans.
It was dominant. It was complementary and it was contagious play. It was the kind of thing Belichick would like to make more commonplace, kind of like it was back in the record-setting days of 2007.
But boarding a plane on Thursday evening for a game at Wembley Stadium is clearly not exactly going to settle down a Patriots team that's been searching for an identity through a surprisingly sluggish start to the season.
How important is it for the NFL to spread its wings globally? You'd have to ask someone other than Belichick as he's certainly not going to be going out of his way in an ambassadorial role this coming weekend.
"You would have to talk to the people in the NFL about that. I'm just trying to coach this team. I'm trying to win a game," Belichick said, although he clearly sees the contest with the winless Buccaneers as a unique one.
"It's a great opportunity for all of us to play in a new venue. That's a little extra special game on your schedule that you know you don't normally have. You have all your division games, all your other games, and when you're playing on in London, put a little asterisk by that one; that one's a little bit different than the rest of them. When that comes that will be an interesting experience for us."
As such, rather than finding normalcy this week Belichick will be getting ready for an unusual "pitch" at Wembley that's wilted under NFL game action in the past and a slew of other adjustments to playing abroad.
"We'll take into consideration all the things that are a little bit different, whether it be the venue, the field, the preparation, the time, all that stuff -- absolutely. That's all part of the planning and schedule leading up to the game and those are important elements to play the game."
LINEUP WATCH: With Jerod Mayo back in the starting lineup and Adalius Thomas a surprising healthy scratch, New England returned to primarily 3-4 fronts for the first time this season in Sunday's blowout of the Titans.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tom Brady had just six touchdown passes through five games, but picked up the pace dramatically by tying a franchise record with six touchdowns in the snow as New England's offense got on track against a terrible Titans secondary.
Get Patriots Insider updates on Twitter Follow @PatriotsInsider
Want to find out what other Patriots fans think? Join them on the Message Boards
Titans News -- Forums
Patriots News -- Forums
Hot Topic: Game Balls & Goats Week 6