In case you haven’t heard, all indications are that Tom Brady is done for the year. Last year, the Patriots talked about playing through the adversity of Spygate, etc — but they had all their players remain reasonably intact. The rush of air you feel? The rest of the AFC East breathing a sigh of relief. While the Belichick-era Patriots are resilient, losing their superstar quarterback may be too much. The Patriots are definitely more mortal now, and the division is completely up for grabs now.
Meanwhile, I watched my Chargers and the Panthers tangle to the last second, when a Jake Delhomme miracle throw was caught by Dante Rosario for a game-winning touchdown with no time left. Incredible! I hate seeing the Chargers lose, but losing to the Panthers is the only team I can accept them losing to. The Panthers haven’t looked this good in years. Having Steve Smith out may not necessarily be a bad thing for Delhomme; he spread the ball out to everybody. Delhomme always seems to lean on Smith when he’s in the game. The playcalling was very well-balanced (though going for it on fourth-and-1 on their second drive of the game was foolish), and the defense was as strong as ever.
This game is a gut-check for the Chargers, who need to strongly rethink their policy of leaving players out completely in preseason. Everybody was shaking off rust, and the regular season just isn’t the time for that. One silver lining: Philip Rivers looks as sharp as ever. His mobility was all there — it’s uncanny considering that less than seven months ago he had his ACL reconstructed. The Chargers will bounce back and will be fine; they needed this game to get a few things in check.
Looks to be a fun and wild year ahead; I’m really glad football’s back, especially after such a dismal baseball season.