Patriots Nearly Perfect as Snowstorm Stops Titans Cold


Oct 18, 2009

Patriots Nearly Perfect as Snowstorm Stops Titans Cold FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When the Patriots and Titans woke up Sunday morning, they were completely unaware of how the next few hours of their lives were about to transpire.

A driving snowstorm in October? A 59-0 Patriots beat down? Broken records, shattered egos, surprising benchings and flying pigs? Nope, there was no chance any of this was in the game plan. Heck, Pats backup quarterback Brian Hoyer was more productive in a quarter and a half Sunday against the Titans than Donovan McNabb was in an entire game against the Oakland Raiders.

"You never go into a game thinking it's going to be like this," said New England head coach Bill Belichick, who deactivated starting linebacker Adalius Thomas for the game.

But of course, that's how it all went down, with levels of unpredictability reaching unseemly proportions. Tom Brady threw an NFL-record five touchdown passes during a span of 9:44 in the second quarter. Entering the day, he only had six touchdowns in the first five games of the season, and there were a handful of NFL starting quarterbacks who didn't even have five scoring strikes to this point in the year.

"We've won a lot of big games around here," Brady said. "We've played well on offense for a long time. I don't think it really shakes anybody up when you go out there and do that. I think we were just excited that we finally played well and put together 60 minutes of football. I think we've had some good halves. We've had a good three-quarter [performance], but [Sunday] we put together four pretty good quarters."

The Patriots' 59-0 slaughter of the Titans tied the largest shutout victory in the league since the 1970 merger, and it also tied for the largest overall margin of victory in that span. Their 45-0 halftime lead also set a new NFL record.

They set a bunch of franchise records, too, scoring their most points ever in a game, half and quarter (35) and compiling their most net yards in a game (619) and passing yards in a half (345). The Patriots also tied the franchise record with eight touchdowns in a game.

The Titans responded by saying they were "embarrassed," and "disappointed." Many even said Sunday was the lowest point in their careers. Tennessee quarterbacks Kerry Collins (2 of 12 for -7 yards and one interception) and Vince Young (0 of 2 with one interception) completed as many passes to their own teammates as they did to their opponents. For good measure, Collins also lost a fumble.

It all seemed to fit in perfectly — or, perhaps, imperfectly — with the day as a whole, which featured a surprising snowstorm that bombarded Gillette Stadium for hours.

While the Titans weren't prepared to handle the elements, preparation was the name of the game for the Patriots. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said Belichick had the team ready to go from the top down, even making sure the players were wearing the appropriate cleats for the weather. Brady, who said he moves his right hand closer to the front of the football to increase his control when it's wet out, thought the Patriots' offense had a real advantage in the snow.

"Some days when it's snowy like that, it's actually an advantage for the offense, so [Sunday] was one of those days," Brady said. "We had good footing, and it was fun to be a part of it. When we see the weather forecast on Thursday, we're kind of pissed. Once the day comes around, everyone is excited because this is football. This is how it should be."

Linebacker Junior Seau had the rudest wakeup call in Foxborough, since he was merely a week removed from his surfboard and sunny San Diego weather. But if you're going to deal with as many surprises as the Patriots and Titans dealt with Sunday, it was easy to take them in stride after finishing off a 59-point victory. All of a sudden, the snow didn't seem so bad after all.

"That's the real surf to turf," Seau said.

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