The scene was reminiscent of 1982 when an old John Deer tractor emerged from the sideline to clear he field for a winning field goal against the Dolphins. The snowfall evoked another memory; the time Lonnie Paxton made snow angels after the Patriots beat the Raiders in the "tuck rule" game.
The scene may have reminded fans of the says watching Steve Grogan play at the old Sullivan stadium or Stanley Morgan making amazing catches and tiptoeing down the sidelines. The snow and the throwbacks rekindled memories for old Patriots fans, and creating memories for young ones.
As for the game on Sunday, the question was did the Tennessee Titans take one look at the enthusiastic fans yelling and screaming in bad weather, or was it the weather itself that caused them to pack it up almost moments after they came out of the tunnel.
The game appeared that it would feature a matchup of running backs in a low scoring, time of possession battle dominated by the ugly conditions. This was far from the case.
If you look at the game statistics, you will see that the running game was definitely working for both teams as each team gained nearly 200 yards combined with Chris Johnson leading the way for Tennessee with 128 yards and Laurence Maroney leading the Patriots with 123 yards and 1 touchdown. Maroney finally found his way after Sammy Morris was sidelined due to an injury in the first quarter.
You might assume that with both teams running the ball the score would reflect that right? You couldn't have been more wrong. Despite the snow and the decision to run the ball, the final passing statistics were ridiculous. The passing game made Sunday look like a scrimmage rather than a real game.
The Patriots out gained the Titans 432 yards to -7 through the air. A botched toss by Kerry Collins in the backfield explains how a team can actually throw for -7 yards.
Now for the real questions. Was Tom Brady throwing for six touchdown passes a way to send a message? Has he found his old rhythm making adjustments to his technique and addressing the accuracy of his passes? Was this the game that the Patriots were making a statement to the league that they were back? Or Was this just a sign that the Tennessee Titans are really bad?
I don't know what the answers are, but for Patriots fans it was reassuring nonetheless.
To see the Brady to Moss connection return was reminiscent of 2007 and a sight for sore eyes. No matter how much opposing fans may dislike Tom Brady or the Patriots organization, it is a good thing for the game of football when Brady and Moss put on a show. They looked like school kids having fun out there in a winter wonderland.
Overall it was a solid day by the Patriots in all phases of the game. The return of Junior Seau seemed to spark the defense. The secondary made players all over the field, blanketing the Titans wide receivers and tight ends from start to finish.
Exciting. Explosive. Amazing. What else can you say about the Patriots offense? Not much except that it was running on all cylinders with everyone in the mix. Even Kevin Faulk and Julian Edelman got into the mix. Tom Brady found wide-open receivers all day and was hardly touched from due to job the offensive line was doing.
From a fans perspective, it was a great win, a perfect win. From a players perspective Ty Warren agreed. When asked by a local radio station if this game was a "perfect game" he answered with a simple "Yes". It's the type of game that builds a foundation for the rest of the season.
The Patriots defense, full of a mix of young, inexperienced players, veteran free agents, high Draft picks and a few castoffs from other clubs is now ranked third overall in points allowed after shutting out the Titans. So much for saying that with the loss of Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, and Mike Vrabel it would decimate this team. The group has held its own shutting down a few good teams. The real test comes when the Patriots play the Colts in November. That may be a different story, but for now, the defense is rock solid.
So as for the game awards, I could have picked any player from the Patriots team:
Game Ball: Tom Brady. Anytime you can throw for 6 touchdown passes in the frozen, wet conditions that he did, you have to give the game ball to the quarterback. He stood in the face of some adversity in the media and fans wondering if he lost something due to the catastrophic knee injury of last season. He stood in the pocket and delivered the ball with authority, and accuracy. It was the second time in his career he's thrown fro 6 touchdowns in a game also matching Peyton Manning in that category among active quarterbacks.
Game Stall: Jeff Fisher. I think Jeff Fisher's time in Tennessee s over. It's time he moves on, trying to preserve his reputation. I think that after a great season last year, he lost his team. He hasn't delivered the same type of success since the glory days of Steve McNair and Jevon Kearse. One is no longer, and the other was benched for the second week in a row. It's time Fisher gets benched, packs his bags and lets someone else guide the Titans..
Play of the Game: The "flea flicker" when Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis tossed a handoff back to Brady and the Patriots QB hit Moss for a forty yard dart in the back of the end zone.
One last and final thought about this game. Some people think that when the Patriots were winning big back in 2007 but spreads of 20 and 30 points, they were "rubbing the opponents' noses in it". This game was a statement game for the Patriots to say that they still have the talent to win. But there was a underlying theme to this game. If you remember the "spygate" scandal fallout, no coach in the league talked as much about the violation as much as Jeff Fisher. Maybe, just maybe, this was a statement from Bill Belichick to the Titans coach. At least that's my impression.
I'm looking forward to the London game also ending on a good note. Hopefully the field holds up unlike last year's London game.
Patriots-Titans: Official Game Thread Week 6