• Welcome!
    Not you?||
  • November 27, 2015

Winning wonderland - The Sun Chronicle : Local News

Winning wonderland

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2007 12:00 am

The Patriots went from strolling down Mercury Morris' street Sunday morning to picking up the newspaper off his front porch.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins' scatback has been the most vocal of the veterans of that unbeaten team during the Patriots' run at their place in history, claiming many weeks ago and several times since that he didn't want to hear anyone talking about the Patriots until they were "at his door."

Sunday, with a hard-fought 20-10 victory over the New York Jets, the Patriots improved to 14-0 and equaled the final regular-season record of that memorable team from 35 years ago. Hello, doorstep!

Yes, the Patriots have two more games to win in their regular season and three more after that to run the slate, but at least now, the '72 Dolphins can feel legitimately nervous that their annual champagne-swilling celebration over another team's failure may have to be canceled.

However, the Patriots will not share their need to look ahead. As wide receiver Randy Moss repeated after Sunday's win at Gillette Stadium, his team's focus remains only upon the next opponent.

"One thing about this organization, we don't look into the future of where we're going," the first-year Patriot and 10th-year NFL veteran said. "We've got seven or six days to prepare for a team, and that's how Coach Belichick keeps us grounded and humble, to know that we cannot look past the teams that we're getting ready to play.

"It's not just for this organization, it's for sports, period," Moss added. "In sports today, if you get too ahead of yourself, things happen and that's one thing Coach Belichick is not letting us do, and that's getting ahead or ourselves."

It wasn't a big day for Moss. The weather conditions - cold, rainy and windy - contributed to an effort that finished without a passing touchdown, thus putting his pursuit of Jerry Rice's single-season TD reception record on hold, short by four. So, too, was Tom Brady's quest to pass Peyton Manning's 49-touchdown mark in 2004, still at 45 with two regular-season games remaining.

But it's not that the Patriots didn't try to go deep on the Jets.

"If you know football a lot of fans who watch the game don't really know the real football concept," Moss said. "And if you really looked at the game today, there were certain times when we were trying to use the wind to our advantage."

One of those times came with 4:53 left to play, when Moss fended off the contact of Jets' defender Kerry Rhodes and made a leaping grab to give the Patriots a 46-yard gain to the Jets' 14. He would have gotten the yardage in any event, given the penalty flag that flew at contact, but Moss does have that flair for the dramatic.

The catch not only led to a lead-padding field goal, it also put Moss over the 12,000-yard mark for his career, only the 15th NFL player to accomplish that feat.

Yet the veteran receiver seemed more pleased to have seen the Gillette crowd at its most enthusiastic early in the game, when Eugene Wilson picked off Kellen Clemens and returned the pass 5 yards for a touchdown. As they did on Dec. 7, 2003, after a Tedy Bruschi interception for a score, the fans reached under their seats for the snow piled under there from the overnight snowfall and heaved it into the air in celebration.

"I found it hilarious," Moss said. "On Geno Wilson's pick to the house, they started throwing snowballs, and the whole stadium was doing it I looked up there to where my people were sitting, and they were standing up, jumping with them.

"They put a lot of fun in the game here," he said. "Whether it's the Jumbotron, or the guy on the microphone (PA announcer John Rooke) or just the fans themselves, we have fun here. Not just among the players, but with the fans also."

But it won't be long before the mood returns to strictly business, Moss warned.

"There's times out there where you might just see us having fun and jumping around," he said, "but that's just between those white lines. Then when you come in here, get the classroom work and go to practice, it's back to normal."

A state of normalcy that has "extraordinary" written all over it.

MARK FARINELLA may be reached at 508-236-0315 or via e-mail at mfarinel@thesunchronicle.com

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.