Danny Woodhead, who has effectively replaced Kevin Faulk's role, became the first Pats running back to record over 100 yards receiving since, you guessed it, Faulk did it in 2003. One big and career-long 50-yard run after a reception got him nearly half of his 104 yards receiving to lead all receivers on both sides. It was obviously a career day for Woodhead, who was, as many are aware, cut from the Jets earlier this season.
So how does one explain why the Pats were so dominant and explosive for 60 minutes? One reason is that Belichick and Brady used a couple of intense hours during one of the 10 days off after Turkey Day to study film of the Jets. With the veteran head coach doing double duty as defensive coordinator, he hadn't had time like that to spend with his franchise QB. He was going to do everything he could to avoid losing to the "hated" Jets for the second time this year. (Fact: Belichick has not lost two games in one season to a divisional opponent since 2000.) So that's one explanation.
The other is possible inspiration from future Patriots Hall of Famer and former linebacker and stroke survivor Tedy Bruschi. He was honored by owner Bob Kraft at halftime at Gillette Stadium, and warmed the hearts and minds of a freezing sellout crowd. As Belichick said after the game, he got to see that smile of his before the game and at halftime. And yes, Belichick himself was all smiles just talking about him in the postgame press conference. And why not? After all, Bruschi was "the perfect player" to Belichick.
And with the exception of a few sacks allowed by Matt Light and the Pats offensive line, the Patriots pretty much played as perfect a game as you'll likely see them play this year. And it came in the most important game of the season, one that at least for now, gives them some breathing room in the standings as they head into the final fourth of 2010. Now, it's off to "Da Bears" country.