Morning after: Quick-hit thoughts

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
10:00
AM ET


LANDOVER, Md. -- Quick hits thoughts the day after the Patriots’ 34-27 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field:

1. Anyone else have this thought when thinking ahead to Broncos-Patriots? Tim Tebow is being praised for winning, even though it doesn’t always look pretty. The Patriots are getting crushed, mainly because of their defense, even though they’re 10-3. Interesting contrast this week.

2. Along those lines, a quick hit from Redskins coach Mike Shanahan after the game: “Well, we’re all judged by winning and losing.” Shanahan was talking about Rex Grossman’s performance against the Patriots, which looked OK on the stat sheet but didn’t produce the win.

3. Will the Patriots' defense be good enough when it counts? That's been one of the big questions all year.

4. When it comes to the much-talked-about Tom Brady/Bill O’Brien sideline exchange, I appreciated it more the longer I thought about it. Competition. Emotion. Passion. It’s rare to see something so unfiltered between a Patriots player and coach. When it happens, the first instinct is that it’s a negative thing. I don’t have that feeling now.

5. Linebacker Gary Guyton dressed for Sunday’s game, but did not play. His playing time has been down this year, and his role was most affected by the return of linebacker Dane Fletcher from injury.

6. I think part of cornerback Devin McCourty's struggles are related to his shoulder injury, but no player is going to blame an injury for a dip in performance, especially not a stand-up guy like McCourty. At the same time, his pass interference penalty on third-and-18 against the Redskins was more of a mental error than a physical one.

7. Tom Brady to sports radio WEEI on Monday on the physical vs. mental challenge of playing in Denver: “The years I played out there, maybe the first five minutes of the game I think you feel a little bit of the Mile High air. After that, it’s football.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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