Patriots Re-Establish Their Dominance
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--Maybe everyone now has learned the lesson:
Just leave the New England Patriots alone.
The Patriots hadn't played well in their last two games. They'd had to engineer fourth-quarter comebacks in three of their past four games. But young Pittsburgh Steelers safety Anthony Smith nevertheless felt the need to poke at them last week, issuing a public guarantee of a victory Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots reverted to being their old, dominant selves and beat the Steelers easily, 34-13.
It probably didn't make any difference. The Patriots were probably due for an improved performance, and the Steelers haven't been a reliable team this season. But Smith shouldn't have said anything. As they've demonstrated in the aftermath of SpyGate, the Patriots know how to use any hint of extra motivation in their favor expertly.
Smith was in the vicinity for three of the four touchdown passes thrown Sunday by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady got in Smith's face after the first of them, and numerous Patriots players had something to say after the game about Smith's comments. Even Coach Bill Belichick chimed in by saying, "We've played against a lot better safeties than him, I'll tell you."
The Patriots re-established themselves as a dominant team and improved their record to 13-0. With the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins up next, they're virtually ensured of being 15-0 heading into their regular season finale on the road against the New York Giants. Any notion that the Steelers are a legitimate AFC challenger was dissipated. Even if they learn to keep their mouths shut, they have a long way to go.
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Posted by: Andy R | December 11, 2007 9:48 AM
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