"Sorry if you had to rewrite some of those stories at the end." So said Bill Belichick after the Patriots shocked everyone by defeating the New Orleans Saints on a last-second touchdown - this after blowing a 17-7 lead, coughing up a late Saints touchdown, then throwing an interception that effectively ended the game, or so everyone thought.
The Patriots have spent nearly fifteen years proving the experts wrong. Now they're doing it again and doing so in a prolonged rebuilding period. The receiving corps is basically brand new, this after a multi-year effort to rebuild a defense accused of being old. The Patriots have been ripped for allowing Wes Welker to walk in free agency, this even though he was grossly overrated as a receiver beyond the enormity of his volume stats. The Patriots are also facing the spectacle of Rob Gronkowski, cleared to play by team doctors but who is basically holding out, claiming other doctors have proclaimed he isn't ready to play - this even though he has practiced and has shown he is ready. The excuses being made for Gronkowski in some areas of the media are nonsensical, because it's not about him, it's about the team.
Some other NFL items as the press people had to submit rewrites after the Patriots game -
The Bills good news-bad news season continues - The Bills bypassed their erstwhile backup quarterback, fell behind 24-10 to the Bengals, then rallied to tie the game - only to fall in overtime. No matter what the Bills do, they can't get over any hump, even though overall they've played some legitimately good football.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not getting anything done for the Titans - The Seahawks have been exposed as beatable and the Titans bullied them into mistakes and poor play, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was a key reason to the Titans lost, thanks to another interception. The Titans are now 3-3; we thought Fitzpatrick could keep them in contention, he's not doing that.
The Ravens are not a playoff team - Against an overrated Packers team the Ravens simply didn't make enough plays, and that's been the story of their season right now.
The Broncos are not a 16-0 team - The truth about Peyton Manning is he's not even a playoff-winning quarterback. The Broncos nonetheless are certainly good enough to match last year's 13-3 with one of the highest scoring offenses ever seen. But they are eminently capable of being bullied into losing. If last week's 51-48 shootout didn't show that, this game against the winless Jaguars (a team that's had some clutch wins over Peyton in recent years) did.
Matt Schaub has to go - The Texans can't try and hide him anymore, because they're falling apart.
We still await the Sunday and Monday Night games, but for now the league signs off until Talladega weekend.