If your lights dimmed shortly after three o'clock PM Eastern today, no need to worry. That was probably just the cumulative effect of thousands of home defibrillators going off across New England after Tom Brady was speared running for a first down in the fourth quarter, and then rolled around clutching at his shoulder, grimacing in pain, for what seemed like hours.
Luckily I was at my parents' house, and with my mother at the time, because Lord knows I wanted my mommy just then. It was eons before Brady stopped rolling and clutching and baring his teeth...yet more geologic ages for him to get to his feet again and walk off the field (unaided, Thank God).
If that's what it was like for us in the comfort of our home, I can only imagine Bill Belichick was being given amps of epinephrine on the sideline, to say nothing of Matt Cassell. Even flirting with that nightmare is something no Patriots fan (or Patriots player, coach or other affiliate) wants to ever experience--what happened today was quite enough of that, thank you very much. Now I'll thank the football gods to never play that card again, and let us not speak of it after this.
All's well that ended well, anyway--Brady would still lead the team to a crucial touchdown in the second half (the winning points, scored by Maroney on a 27 yard run, during which he was not touched).
But with just under three minutes left in the game once the Jaguars scored to bring it within three again on their next possession, the Patriots couldn't get a crucial first down. With more than two minutes left on the clock, they ended up having to give Jacksonville the ball back, a circumstance that no doubt saw thousands of defibrillators primed again for use in the New England region.
I personally was so overwrought by the end of this game that I went downstairs to change the laundry over (the Sunday afternoon tradition) rather than watch the last two minutes. Luckily, my father and Steve hollered the crucial words: "Sack! Fumble!" clearly enough for me to hear them and smile to myself as I finished the last sweater.
And hey, how about that David Thomas, huh? A shame Watson is hurt, but Thomas' catch to open the third quarter, as well as his preceding dash up the sidelines, will definitely make the all-season highlight reel in just his first start in the NFL.
There are some lingering doubts--like what is with Brady overthrowing Troy Brown all the time? And the sometimes egregious defensive plays for the Pats against the run continued throughout this game. But we beat a great team that had everything to play for today, and we did it on the road. All the weight that was put on this game before it was played should mean we place as great an emphasis on the victory as we would have on a defeat. Much like with the Bears game in November, it wasn't pretty, but the Patriots did what was required of them; I therefore have no choice but to believe, however messy (and sometimes terrifying) the game may have been.
Now, the white-hot Tennessee Titans are coming to our house; it's come down to the last push for a 12-4 record and a good matchup for the postseason. People (my Dad) are already talking about wanting to face the Jets in the first round, to which I say, bite your tongue.