Items from New England's win over the Washington Redskins.
Mike Vrabel: The linebacker was as good at avoiding the media after the game as he was at dodging blockers. He had one of the best all-around days ever by a Patriot with three strip-sacks and a TD catch.
Running backs: The Patriots emphasized the run right off the bat and finished with 152 yards on 35 carries (4.3-yard average). Laurence Maroney had 75 yards on 14 attempts (5.4 average), and Mr. Dependable Kevin Faulk chipped in 32 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards (on seven catches).
Randy Moss: He had only three catches for 47 yards, but he snagged his 11th TD and even played DB at end of the first half. Hey, who else would you want guarding against a Hail Mary in the end zone?
Tom Brady: He scored on two TD runs for the first time in his career and added another two TD passes to establish new career high with 30 (through half a season, remember). He's now beaten every other team in NFL.
Richard Seymour: He made his 2007 debut after being activated off the PUP list Saturday. Wasn't credited with a tackle, but give him time.
Asante Samuel: He had another interception - No. 4 on the season and No. 20 for his career.
Rosevelt Colvin: He missed a potential INT on the Redskins' first play from scrimmage but scooped up Vrabel's third strip-sack and returned it 11 yards for his first career TD. Ty Warren recovered the other two fumbles.
Matt Cassel: The backup QB atoned for his INT gaffe in Miami last week with a 15-yard TD run that capped the Patriots' scoring. He was 2-for-3 passing for 28 yards.
Marcellus Rivers: OK, we're reaching here, but the tight end did have two drops by our count, including one in the end zone.
Benjamin Watson, Sammy Morris: The tight end and running back were inactive again with ankle and chest injuries, respectively. And, no, the offense hasn't missed a beat without them. Safety Eugene Wilson (ankle) also skipped the game, and the defense was just fine.
Turning point: In a 45-point spread? How about Vrabel's first strip-sack, which Warren recovered at the Redskins' 21. Washington, down 14-0 and already on the ropes, was effectively KO'd when Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 36-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
Did you notice?
Cornerback Randall Gay took some snaps at safety when the
Redskins used three-receiver sets.
"Each and every week there's a different wrinkle," Rodney Harrison said. "You might see five corners, you might see three safeties, you might see eight defensive linemen. Bill has us so confused at times as to what we're going to do, but at the end of the day it's working."
Also, third-string quarterback Matt Gutierrez logged garbage time on special teams. He covered a kickoff and was up at the line on a punt return, where his rush was blunted by Washington safety Reed Doughty.
It's not supposed to be this easy. And yet the Patriots keep making it look that way. This was probably the toughest defense the Pats have faced - at least the best secondary - and they just devoured it.
Losing cornerbacks Fred Smoot (inactive) and Carlos Rogers (who went out with a knee injury early) didn't help Washington's cause, but still ...
Gee, which team is it? Oh, yeah, the Colts. That might be interesting.