posted on Sep, 10 2004 @ 07:05 PM
FOXBORO, Mass. -- One game into the season this is what we know about the New England Patriots. They absolutely, positively can't lose to the
Indianapolis Colts. They make the right plays at the right moments. And their quarterback is just as good as he was the last time we saw him.
But there was something new, something different and something downright disturbing about the defending Super Bowl champions in Monday's 27-24 victory
over Indianapolis. Their defense looked like last year's Kansas City Chiefs.
And that is not good.
Sure, the Patriots forced three Indianapolis turnovers inside their 20 -- including a crucial fumble by Edgerrin James on the 1 -- but they
surrendered 202 yards rushing, 142 of them by James. Not only didn't an opposing back puncture them for that many yards last year but no team did it,
But that's not all. No opponent ran for more than 119 yards last year, and only twice in the past 15 games -- including a playoff win over
Indianapolis -- did a club produce 100.
"We played a very bad game," said safety Rodney Harrison, sounding more like a survivor than a victor. "There was so much we did wrong that there were
a lot of guys disappointed. There's a lot of room for improvement."
The good news here, of course, is that despite their shortcomings the Patriots prevailed -- winning their 12th straight game at home. But they
prevailed because quarterback Tom Brady played like the Super Bowl MVP he is, hitting 26-of-38 for 335 yards and three touchdowns. As is his custom,
he spread the ball around -- hitting seven different receivers -- with seven completions of 20 or more yards.