Things I should have mentioned
I still have no idea how Antonio Gates was limited to six catches for 61 yards? I heard Artrell Hawkins say "We accounted for him at all times," but that explanation is hardly revealing any tactics or strategy. Who's the unsung hero here?
And in what is probably a related note, you can't help but be completely impressed with Hawkins and James Sanders, who came into this season as the No. 3 and No. 4 safeties on the depth chart. If I'm Eugene Wilson, I'm nervous about my status on this team at the moment.
So let's get this straight: LaDainian Tomlinson is pissed off and offended because the Patriots acted like . . . the Chargers? That moron Merriman's ridiculous dance: acceptable form of celebration. Mocking it after he talked smack all week and didn't back it up: unacceptable form of celebration. Hmmm, interesting way of looking at it. I'm sorry to say this because he's just about the best running back I've ever seen, but in Sunday's postgame, L.T. put the "ass" in "class."
Matt Light earned every last dollar of his contract in this one. Given his troubles against a certain All-World end from Miami this season, it's easy to pigeonhole him as a plodding, mid-level tackle who has trouble with speedrushers. But the reality is he's had his moments against Jason Taylor and Dwight Freeney through the years, and he handled Merriman solo more often than not Sunday. Hey, you don't win three Super Bowls with a stiff at left tackle.
How do you know when a team is truly well-coached? Well, one telling sign is when the 53d man on the roster has the good sense to avoid trying to dive on a botched punt and instead has the presence of mind to annihilate the return man, thus allowing the oncoming swarm to have a clean shot at the loose ball. That's exactly what punt-team gunners are taught to do, and apparently Antwain Spann is a pretty decent student.
I was under the impression the Chargers were the best team the Pats have played during this six-year run, but Belichick said today during his WEEI appearance that the '01 Rams were far and away the most talented opponent. I guess you kind of forget that Marshall Faulk was more or less the Tomlinson of his time.
Man, I had the same feeling after yesterday's win that I had after the first Super Bowl: total elation. It's okay to still be savoring this, right? So before we move on to the Colts, one final question: Where does this victory rank in your mind? Is it bigger than any of the postseason wins over Pittsburgh or Indy? Is it - dare I suggest? - more enjoyable than any of the Super Bowl wins? Let me know your take. As you can tell, I'm still trying to put the game into perspective.