EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 21, 2007

Greatness shouldn't be confused with lack of sportsmanship

FOXBORO - The New England Patriots are running up the score, or so they say.



I tried to keep away from the boring counter-argument, but I couldn't any longer. The Patriots are chomping at the history books and millions of people can't handle the truth.



But I'll give it to them any way.



Here are the 10 reasons why the Patriots are, or make that aren't running up the score:



1. Football coaches are like whales.



Bill Belichick is smarter than Ahab of "Moby Dick" fame. He knows NFL coaches never, ever forget. If he were truly trying to embarrass the other team, hence the other head coach, he would never be forgiven.



2. Randy Moss can't be stopped.



Let's be honest. This guy has changed everything. Tom Brady went from a probable "Hall of Famer" to the "best of all-time" in a just a few short months. Teams have tried double- and even triple-coverage, but to no avail. This is not the Patriots' problem. If he isn't slowed down, then these claims will probably continue.



3. Wes Welker can't be stopped either.



If Moss is covered, which happens from time to time, Welker is usually open. Welker's season (third in catches with 67; tied for sixth with 7 TDs) has been overlooked. Moss is grace, Welker is quickness. Welker has fed off teams focusing on Moss and would be a No. 1 on almost every other team.



Welker is more of a move-the-chains receiver. Apparently, it is impossible to double-team two receivers.



4. Offensive line might be the MVPs of the team.



The untold story of this season's success is the protection Brady has received. While Drew Brees has been sacked two fewer times than Brady (8 vs. 10), make no mistake about the time the Patriots QB has had to find receivers. It is unprecedented.



Brady, who is noted for finding time in the pocket, has received very little pressure. He has not been sacked in half of the games the Patriots have played. Center Dan Koppen, right guard Nick Kaczur, right tackle Stephen Neal, left guard Logan Mankins and left tackle Matt Light have allowed Brady to be the league MVP. Blame them for blowouts as much as anybody.



5. Players want and need to play 60 minutes.



Tom Brady said it best yesterday on WEEI: "Sunday is the day you live for in the NFL, and I want to play."



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