, Newburyport, MA


October 15, 2013

Can Pats ride energy wave over long haul?

FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick, of all people, brought it up on his weekly mandated radio address, how Sunday’s comeback reminded him some of the “Snow Game” in the 2001 playoffs with Oakland.

Great minds and all that, it’s all I could think about as I left Gillette Stadium Sunday.

Tuck rule, Jermaine Wiggins, Adam Vinatieri and the crazy swings — right on deadline Saturday night, mind you — that playoff thriller with Oakland was one for the history books, as was Sunday’s wild affair with New Orleans.

“Sorry if you had to rewrite some of those stories there at the end,” joked Bill Belichick after the game.

For the record, it was nothing compared to the sheer chaos that night at the old Foxborough Stadium.

We all know the history.

The Pats, sparked by that AFC Divisional victory, went into Pittsburgh and stunned the Steelers in the AFC title game and then pulled off one of the great Super Bowl upsets ever over the St. Louis Rams.

Could Sunday’s win ignite the 2013 Pats in a similar fashion? And can New England carry that fire the distance? Don’t discount either premise.

Here’s why:

1. Tom Brady — For a minute, ignore the numbers, good or bad, and zone in on Brady and his well-documented body language.

Is he depressed about Gronk or his lack of receivers? Has it been some kind of mid-life thing, coming up a bit quicker than expected?

Brady just hasn’t been himself. The team is winning and he’s pounding rookie receivers or Julian Edelman for missing a route or dropping a ball. That’s not Brady. This is a guy who loves to play the game and clamors to win at all cost.

We hadn’t seen that till Sunday. Buoyed by the confidence of that comeback, maybe he’ll be a bit bolder and more brash. I just see the real Brady awakening there. You get the feeling he’ll be the best player in the game over the second half of the year.

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