Yes, I feel like I am the only one working on MLK day (one of the very few and far between on the train in this morning), and, as such, have only a brief outline of observations from the Pats game yesterday. I will follow-up later, but here is what I can scratch out on the ride into the city and post at lunch time.

The defense stepped-up BIG TIME: Forget the numbers. Forget how LaDaniain Tomlinson ran for almost 125 yards. Forget everything except for the fact that San Diego had a short field for a majority of their possessions. San Diego had a HUGE advantage as far as field position throughout the game. Beyond that, after the Patriots tied the game at 21, what was glossed over in the news and media was the stop by the defense. The Patriots defense had to be exhausted, both mentally and physically. After Tomlinson ripped off five yards on first down, it looked to me like another long, clock-consuming drive was about to take place. Then, for whatever reason, the Chargers had Philip Rivers dropping back and throwing to his horrible receivers. The much-maligned Patriots secondary stepped-up and as the D-Line got some push up front, the D-backs kept the passes on the ground and gave Brady his chance to drive to victory.

Who has receiver issues?: Jabar Gaffney: 10 receptions for 103 yards and a TD. Previous week: 8 receptions for 104 yards. Reche Caldwell: 7 receptions for 80 yards and a TD (including the play of the game). Funny, it looks like the Patriots have two legitimate receivers plus Troy Brown as the third-down specialist here in the playoffs. Factor in the ever-dangerous Ben Watson at tight-end and the resurgent Dan Graham (two great 19 yard receptions down the seam against San Diego) and the Patriots look almost dangerous. As far as the Chargers, who would believe they would miss Reche Caldwell so much? Their receivers seemed afraid of a hit every time they went for a pass and really only had one significant completion. There were numerous drops, as if they were looking to get jacked-up by a defensive back or inside linebacker dropping into coverage. Nothing was said about the Chargers sad-sack receivers, although in retrospect, I guess the less said about them the better for Chargers fans. The Chargers should be putting their package together to trade-up and draft Ted Ginn Jr.

LaDanian Tomlinson showed his true class: What was he doing out there whining and crying about being disrespected? The Patriots did the Merriman Dance on the logo? Boo-freaking-hoo. If you do not like teams celebrating on your home turf, win the damned game! The Patriots have had teams celebrate at Mach3 Park more times than I want to think of, and on no occasion do I recall them ever getting into a little hissy fit. Tomlinson should be taking his anger out at his offensive coordinator who, with a tie game and plenty of time on the clock, handed it to him once before putting the ball in the hands of Philip Rivers.

Bring me the head of Peyton Manning: Patriots vs Colts. This is getting to be like the Red Sox and Yankees here, meeting-up with the championship on the line every year. Trading blows and momentum every other year, one team getting the upper-hand, the other adapting, then re-adjusting, re-adapting. It is going to be a hell of a game Sunday night!

* * *