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Running Blog of New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints

Between all of the Tiger Woods, Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden news, you’ve probably forgotten that there is something like a football game on tonight. I just found out about it through a friend. I mean, I’ve been watching ESPN most of the day and I have hardly seen any promotion for it.

Patriots @ Saints. This is the Worldwide Leader’s big night. Brady, Brees, Moss, Colston, Welker, Bush … or actually, no Bush. The stars are under the Superdome and ready to shine tonight.

I haven’t done a running blog in quite a while and I need to get warmed up before Saturday’s SEC title game, so this game seemed like a good time to run it, run it.

He will probably torch the Pats' secondary tonight

5:31 p.m. I’ve been going back and forth as to who wins this game. Obviously, the Saints have the great home-field advantage and I think are better on both sides of the ball. But the Patriots don’t lose these games. Not with Brady and Belichick — fourth-and-2 not withstanding.

5:33 p.m. But looking at the matchups, I just think the Pats’ defense isn’t good enough to slow Drew Brees or Pierre Thomas. The Saints, however, have the second-most interceptions in the league. I’ll say the Saints win, 34-27.

5:38 p.m. Like I said at the top, Reggie Bush has been ruled out tonight. He expected to return tonight from his knee injury, but not so much I guess. That means Pierre Thomas should be getting a good amount of touches tonight, but will probably see Mike Bell steal the goal-line carries again.

5:39 p.m. Is it me, or do these Monday Night Football openings get stupider every year? Statutes? Astronauts? ESPN knows that flying helmets can’t go through a dome without creating a huge hole in the roof, right? Whatever.

5:41 p.m. We are underway with the Saints getting the ball first. The return is taken out to the 35.

5:42 p.m. Get used to seeing that tonight. Right off the top, Brees takes a shot downfield to Devery Henderson and gets 33 yards. The Patriots don’t have the talent to keep up with those WRs.

5:43 p.m. Colston hasn’t been very productive lately, but Brees knows that is still his best receiver. I expect him to have a big game tonight.

5:46 p.m. After a nice pass break-up on second down, the Pats get a small victory out of holding the Saints to a field goal. One more yard out and that would have hit the front of the left upright, not the inside of it.

5:48 p.m. Now we get to see the Patriots’ offense. It’s worth noting that Sammy Morris is active after missing a number of weeks due to injury. That should mean fewer carries for Laurence Maroney.

5:50 p.m. I like that first play call. They take a deep shot. You do the same.

5:52 p.m. Maroney has scored in each of the past  five games, but he hasn’t been running all that well. Tonight, he looks fantastic at the start.

5:54 p.m. That was a little low for Moss, but he should have caught that. No excuse.

5:56 p.m. Pressure on the quarterback is going to be important all night and the Saints are getting none right now.

5:57 p.m. With Sammy Morris back, will he take the goal-line carries from Maroney? It would make some sense, but Maroney had no problem with those types of plays when Morris was hurt.

5:58 p.m. Jon Gruden has already told us twice that the Pats like to QB sneak in short-yardage situations. Twice in the past three minutes. We get it. But he’ll probably say it again on their next possession.

6:00 p.m. What a block (or three) by Nick Kaczur as Maroney scores easily. I guess that answers my speculation about goal-line touches for New England.

6:01 p.m. Fourteen plays, 7:40 taken off the clock. What a drive! Great balance.

6:03 p.m. The Patriots are better than their 7-3 record. They certainly showed it on that drive.

6:04 p.m. I know it’s early and it’s only a four-point game, but the Saints need to make sure that they continue to trust Pierre Thomas.

6:06 p.m. Good restrain there from Brandon Meriweather to not stomp on Jeremy Shockey’s head and hit him with his helmet.

Anyone? Anyone?

6:07 p.m. I think Devery Henderson just lost his spleen.

6:09 p.m. Yes, Welker holds the NCAA record for punt return yardage at 1,762. But Alabama’s Javier Arenas needs only 57 yards to break that record.

6:11 p.m. Tom Brady threw that ball like he thought he was Vince Young on the last play of yesterday’s game against Arizona. Results were slightly different.

6:13 p.m. There goes Pierre Thomas. Amazing that this guy hasn’t gotten at least 20 carries in a game all season.

6:14 p.m. End of a very active first quarter. 7-3, New England.

6:16 p.m. Barack Obama would probably get trucked if he went across the middle like that in the NFL. And he should know Bears receivers have no hands.

6:18 p.m. Mike Bell down. Pierre Thomas owners ecstatic.

6:19 p.m. That “Let It Snow” Bud Light really pisses me off. At the “And since we’ve no place to go …” part, the clinks aren’t high enough. Not even close. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does. Somewhere, Sammy Cahn is rolling over in his grave.

6:20 p.m. If Mike Bell was in the game, I’m sure he would have taken that carry, but that was smart by Thomas to go over the top and not try to get the first down with tough running.

6:22 p.m. What a play by Thomas, slipping through two or three tackles for a touchdown. Gruden said “What a season Pierre Thomas is having for the Saints.” Fantasy owners who spent a third-round pick on him would strongly ask: What season? He’s been mediocre.

6:28 p.m. Excuse me, Thomas slipped through four tackles on that touchdown.

6:29 p.m. Welker is such a pest. He knows how to get open so well, he always picks up first downs and he never takes a big hit because he dives to the ground.

6:31 p.m. So in other news, Bobby Bowden will reportedly retire tomorrow while Charlie Weis got fired today. Most people saw these two things coming, but obviously, the emotions are slightly different. Bowden will go down as a legend. Weis will go down as one of the biggest failures among college head coaches in modern times.

6:33 p.m. Nice play by McKenzie as New England goes three-and-out, and Randy Moss continues to be a non-factor.

6:36 p.m. What the hell was that???? There have been a lot of blown coverages in the NFL recently — DeSean Jackson this past weekend or Brandon Marshall against the Redskins a few weeks ago — but that was unbelievable.

6:38 p.m. Oh my God, Ron Jawarski, shut up! Henderson didn’t get open because of Brees’ arm pump or eye movement. He didn’t move the defense! The safety on Henderson’s side just got stupid. There is no reason he has to go to the other side of the field. They aren’t had three guys covering two receivers over there. He just got stupid. And that statement by you was stupid.

6:39 p.m. So, who put Brandon Jacobs circa 2008 in Laurence Maroney’s body?

6:41 p.m. You give Tom Brady that much time, he will find a man, even on third and 13.

6:43 p.m. Remember when Chris McAllister was the league’s top shutdown corner in the early part of this decade?

6:44 p.m. That’s a touchdown if Brady doesn’t throw that ball so far behind Welker, but that should have been a pass interference call on the Saints easily.

6:45 p.m. Welker just has to run that route a little deeper. I know he’s a possession receiver, but he should know where the marker is on third down. Nice job by the Saints’ D to hold the Patriots to just three.

6:49 p.m. That could have been a very productive screen, but Thomas ran in to a couple of his own blockers.

6:50 p.m. We’re only in the second quarter and Devery Henderson is already having his most productive game of the season. His touchdown tonight was his second this season and his first since week one.

6:52 p.m. The Patriots have only 18 sacks this season. They better find a pass rush quickly, or this second half could lose a lot of drama.

6:54 p.m. No pressure, another WR wide open and this is just too easy for the Saints.

6:55 p.m. I shouldn’t say wide open. That was pretty good coverage, but a much prettier throw.

6:56 p.m. The Patriots have 1:50 and two timeouts to score a touchdown. A field goal just won’t do here.

6:57 p.m. Yes, I’m sure Bill Belichick isn’t happy with his defense, but he knew what he had and what his defense had to stop tonight. Somewhere in his mind, I’m sure he feared that this would happen.

6:59 p.m. Some deep shots have to be on the way here for the Pats.

7:00 p.m. Hey, Randy! Nice to see that you could make it to the party.

7:01 p.m. There’s an “OH-HO!” hit by Darren Sharper.

7:03 p.m. They don’t want to, but the Patriots have to kick it. Another victory for the Saints’ defense.

7:04 p.m. And then Gostkowski misses the field goal by a mile. 24-10 at the half. Patriots will get the ball first in the third. That possession will be of critical importance.

7:06 p.m. At the half, you can look at a lot of stats, but it just comes down to pass defense. The Saints have taken away Randy Moss and have limited Tom Brady to just 12-for-21 passing with 124 yards and an interception.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have done absolutely nothing to stop Brees. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing. Two of his 13 passes did fall incomplete.

7:08 p.m. Anyone who compares Vince Young’s 99-yard drive to John Elway’s “The Drive” needs to have a total frontal lobotomy. There is a huge difference between a home game in week 12 and the AFC Championship game on the road. A huuuuuuuuuuuuuge difference!

7:19 p.m. Mmmm, leftover turkey. After Thanksgiving, my family traditionally buys another turkey, solely for leftover turkey sandwiches. It’s the best. And it’s my dinner tonight.

7:20 p.m. We are underway in the second half … with a couple of fumbles. Maroney gets stripped, but Sedrick Ellis has to fall on that ball and stay there. Instead, he gives it back to the Pats and wastes a potential back-breaking turnover.

7:22 p.m. The Saints are challenging that Ellis was down before he fumbled … and after looking at the replay, that was a stupid challenge.

7:25 p.m. Judging by the difficulty that Brady has had tonight in finding receivers down the field, I think the Miami Dolphins better watch out next week.

7:29 p.m. “That’s what you call shooting your gun.” That has just too much sexual connotation for me to ignore it.

7:30 p.m. Brady finally connects on a deep ball to Moss and then Maroney finishes it off with another short TD for him.

7:31 p.m. It’s hard to believe that Maroney opened the season as the team’s fourth running back behind Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk and Morris. He was fighting for that fourth-string spot with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

7:34 p.m. And the Saints come right back, catching the Patriots and me off guard. Colston gets a big-gainer and then two plays later, Brees has another touchdown pass.

7:36 p.m. I was going to talk about how big that fumble by Ellis was and how it led to the Pats getting right back into this game.

48 seconds later, they are right back out.

7:38 p.m. Brees has thrown touchdowns to four receivers and has completed 13 passes to seven receivers. The Patriots can’t stop them. No, they can’t.

7:40 p.m. Matt Slater is lucky he didn’t blow out his right knee on that kickoff return.

7:41 p.m. I think Mike Tirico was joking, but that onside kick idea may not be a bad one. I mean, what’s the difference between a 75-yard TD drive and a 40-yard one, other than lesser time of possession?

7:44 p.m. Is that a Michael Jackson mask???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! OH, THAT’S THE BEST THING ALL NIGHT!!!

7:45 p.m. I guess three yards before the line of scrimmage is good enough to avoid an intentional grounding call.

7:47 p.m. Here’s a fourth-down call by Belichick that no one should question. He knows that his defense isn’t going to hold Brees and the Saints to field goals.

7:49 p.m. Mike McKenzie continues to be quite a find for the Saints. He is playing out of his mind.

7:51 p.m. The Patriots’ defensive line is getting  dominated off the line of scrimmage. It’s a bit too early for the Saints to try to run out the clock,  but if you are getting four and five yards per carry, it’ll work.

7:53 p.m. If Pierre Thomas had cut up on that last carry, he could have run for days. End of the third quarter. 31-17, New Orleans.

7:56 p.m. It’s hard to believe that the Giants and the Falcons are still in the hunt for the playoffs. They have been so disappointing for the past several weeks.

7:58 p.m. This game has been high-scoring, but it hasn’t lived up to the enormous hype. The Saints have shown so far that they are clearly superior.

7:59 p.m. I am enjoying it, but this running blog is going to force me to miss “How I Met Your Mother.” The sacrifices I make.

8:00 p.m. That overthrow by Brady was a microcosm of the night. The Saints are hitting on all cylinders. The Patriots are just a little off.

8:02 p.m. So the Saints are taking away the deep routes and getting pressure on the quarterback. Against the Patriots, with their weapons, quarterback and coaching, that seems impossible.

8:05 p.m. Another 25 yards for the Saints. Yawn.

8:06 p.m. GASP! An errant throw from Brees! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! WE WANT MARK BRUNELL!!

8:08 p.m. This is just pitch-and catch football. Too easy. I’m about one first down away from ruling this one over. I think I’d be late on that call, too.

8:11 p.m. And there’s your dagger. Colston now has four catches for 121 and 1 tonight. He was due for a big game.

8:13 p.m. We are now entering garbage time, where the glory of fantasy football lives.

8:16 p.m. Ravens @ Packers next Monday night. Won’t blog that one, but it should be a good game nonetheless.

8:17 p.m. Well, you knew a pick was coming. Brady had no choice but to chuck it and that’s what happens. Although, what was Randy Moss doing there? At least TRY to get open.

8:19 p.m. You know Payton wanted that one right there! He wanted that cherry on top.

8:22 p.m. Speaking of wanting it, don’t expect the Saints’ defense to drop into prevent here. They want to hold the Pats right where they are.

8:24 p.m. Of course, that shouldn’t be too hard to do with Brian Hoyer at QB.

8:25 p.m. Looking ahead, the Pats should be able to run the table as their most difficult game will probably be at home in week 17 against Houston. But this game has to give them serious doubts. In the playoffs, if they make it, can they depend on their defense to hold someone to under 30 points? They couldn’t do it with the Colts and they didn’t do it tonight.

8:30 p.m. The Saints’ most difficult game remaining is probably a home meeting against the Cowboys in a couple of weeks. 16-0? A very, very real possibility now.

8:35 p.m. Brees: 18-for-23 passing for 371, five scores and a perfect passer rating — 158.3. No shock.

8:36 p.m. Again, this game didn’t live up to they hype, but it would have been hard to do that. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for following along. I’ll be doing another running blog on Saturday for the SEC Championship game, Alabama vs. Florida. See you then!

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  1. November 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    laurence maroney is running like he gives a shit.

    ugh.

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      Finally. He hasn’t been great in the past four games, other than the touchdowns. Tonight, he looks like he’s ready to work.

  2. Charlie Weis
    November 30, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I am drunk watching this game right now…with a numb look on my face.

    • Tiger Woods
      November 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm

      Where ya at Charlie? I need to tie one on tonight too.

      • Johny Daly
        November 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

        Did somebody say BEER?!?

    • November 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

      So, essentially, exactly how you have spent the past five years?

  3. November 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    What a run after the catch. quite nice.

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 6:30 pm

      Quite.

      • Charlie Weis
        November 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm

        What happened? I was praying to the Toilet Gods…err Touchdown Jesus.

  4. Scott
    November 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    With that strike to Devery Henderson, we got drama in the football league!

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 6:41 pm

      Big time! I thinking I am rooting for Art and Mike to win.

  5. Scott
    November 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    That was an idiotic decision by Belichick

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      I completely disagree, Groff. That defense hasn’t been stopping the Saints at all tonight. Belichick had to do what he could to get it back down to a one-score game and then hope for the best. McKenzie made a good play.

      • Scott
        November 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm

        They stopped them on the very next possesion

      • spokes310
        November 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm

        Yes, if only coaches could predict the future instead of relying on trends, how much easier it would be.

  6. Scott
    November 30, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Mike has taken the lead on Rowe!

    (Puts hands on back of head and jumps up and down like Larry Bird after the 1981 ECF)

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm

      Brady gets picked. The clock can’t go fast enough for Stamler!

  7. Scott
    November 30, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I believe Rowe might have just lost by 2.5 yards!

    • spokes310
      November 30, 2009 at 8:34 pm

      I believe you are right. The Pats needed to take about a minute off that clock so that Brees wouldn’t take away a few points on kneel-downs for Mike. They did that.

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