The Biggest Patriots Game of the Year, Briefly Deconstructed

It's never felt better to be a Patriots fan.

That tweet pretty much sums up Monday night’s Patriots’ victory. New England pummeled the Texans, 42-14, and once again, Tom Brady was freakishly precise. I often say that watching an NFL game on television is a far more enjoyable (and less hazardous) experience than actually being there, but not this time. Even from the glass-enclosed bubble of the press box, you could tell that the Gillette Stadium crowd—which isn’t exactly known for its collective zeal—actually seemed, well, loud.

The best moment of the game came late in the first quarter when Brady pretended to hand the ball off to Stevan Ridley and hit Brandon Lloyd for a 37-yard touchdown. The absurd fake didn’t just throw Houston’s defensive backs, it confounded pretty much everyone. Later, in an attempt to figure out how one might guard against such intricate sleight of hand, I asked New England cornerback Kyle Arrington about the play. He laughed a little bit. “It was a heck of a fake,” he said. Not exactly in-depth analysis, but nonetheless, a correct assessment.

Maybe more than any other regular season game, Patriots-Texans felt like an event. On Twitter beforehand, Donald Trump even wished “Coach Bob Belichick” good luck, before correcting himself. And there were Mark Wahlberg and Doc Rivers sightings:

mark wahlberg
Photo via patriots on Instagram

doc rivers at patriots game
Photo via patriots on Instagram

Before the third quarter, Rajon Rondo—in a Wes Welker jersey—strolled through the bottom floor of the press box. And like always, Bianca Wilfork, Vince Wilfork’s wife, seemed to be enjoying her husband’s big night: