Leftover thoughts from Pats-Boys

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
10:45
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Leftover thoughts from the Patriots' 20-16 win over the Cowboys:

1. There aren't too many places in the NFL where the owner holds court with reporters after the game to dissect what just unfolded. That's what Jerry Jones did on Sunday (link here). I considered how that would be received in New England if Robert Kraft did the same thing. It made me think of some of the criticism he had received in the late 90s when he simply referred to Tebucky Jones as a press corner.

2. Having seen Tom Brady lead the Patriots on those kind of drives before, I almost felt like I took his late-game performance for granted until revisiting it this morning. Up to that point, it had been a tough day for Brady. His ability to come through in the end reflects his mental toughness.

3. Brady to sports radio WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" program this morning on the wrap he wore on his throwing arm while on the sidelines Sunday: "Just a little precautionary. It’s nothing to worry about." The bye comes at a good time for Brady to rest his arm.

4. Cornerback Kyle Arrington leads the NFL in interceptions with four. When the season began, I thought Arrington (14 starts in 2010) would have a tough time remaining with the top unit, mainly because veteran Leigh Bodden (starter in 2009 before missing 2010 because of injury) was coming back and a team doesn't draft Ras-I Dowling at the top of the second round unless it views him as a potential starter at some point. But in a credit to Arrington, he's playing over both Bodden and Dowling, and the ball is finding him.

5. It might be overstating it slightly, but I think the Patriots saved Albert Haynesworth's career. I can't think of too many other places where Haynesworth would have the luxury of being eased into the mix like he is while also being protected by the strong team culture around him. Using Haynesworth as a sub rusher seems like a smart move by the coaching staff. Haynesworth's presence was notable on Sunday.

6. Andre Carter will get headlines for his two-sack, five-tackle performance, but not to be overlooked is the holding penalty he drew on the Cowboys' first offensive play, a run in which he drew the call on tight end John Phillips. Carter is more than just a pass-rusher. He can be strong against the run, too.

7. Players are off today, before coming back to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then they get Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. As several players walked out of the locker room Sunday night, they said the late-game comeback changed the complexion of the bye, helping them enjoy that time off more. There was some relief there.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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