FORGET THE GAME. That part of the night was over before some Meadowlands fans got to their seats.
No, the 33-0 Patriots win, while impressive, became a secondary story Monday night and in the hours after the seventh straight win to start the season.
And it was all about Adam Schefter.
Before the game, the ESPN grid guru said he thought Tom Brady was greasing the skids for leaving New England — yes, perhaps even to play somewhere else.
Then, hours after the game, Schefter broke the news the Pats had acquired receiver Mohamad Sanu from the Falcons in exchange for a second-round draft pick.
“Let’s boil this down to the basic facts once again,” Schefter said. “Let’s look at some simple things: Has he put his home for sale? Yes. Has his trainer put his home for sale? Yes. Has he set up his contract to void after this season to become a free agent? Yes. So if he’s selling his home and his trainer is selling his home and he’s voiding his contract ... what does that tell you? He’s setting up to move on.
“He’s setting it up to move on. There are many times people set up things in their lives to move on and they walk to the abyss, look down and say, ‘Whoa, I’m not jumping now.’ So he could change his mind.”
Then, the deal for Sanu, a player the Pats had coveted for some time. He HAS to help an offense that has been riding the coattails of this incredible defense. He will have to change his number: He wore No. 12 in Atlanta and we know that’s not available.
Sanu, yet another Rutgers guy in Foxborough, is an inside receiver who has caught 33 passes for 313 yards and a touchdown this year. The Patriots wanted him last season, but the Falcons let him go now because their season is down the drain.
Tuesday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked on a conference call about the report the Pats had acquired Sanu and said, “I’m aware of the report, but honestly, we haven’t had a meeting or anything like that. I’ve been in a room since 4:30 this morning talking about the Browns, and I really haven’t had any other conversations about that. So, I’m not going to, myself, speculate on that until I’m told and it’s confirmed by coach.”
Sanu, 30, took to Twitter on his way out of Atlanta, saying, “I appreciate everything the organization has done for my family & I. Mr. Blank, TD, Coach Q, & everyone through the organization, I am forever grateful for the opportunity. To my Teammates & fan y’all know how I feel about y’all love y’all to death. #ThankYou”
By winning the way they did Monday night, the Patriots have now outscored their first six opponents (Jets twice) by a combined 223-48. The plus-175 points is a Super Bowl era record for seven games. The 1966 Cowboys had the mark, plus-160. …
The Pats have won eight straight against the Jets, tying their record for consecutive wins over a team …
Bill Belichick improved to 10-7 in road Monday night games. He is 9-1 at home in such games. …
Since 2013, the Pats are 70-2 when leading after three quarters. …
Sony Michel scored three touchdowns in the game — and the Patriots are now 12-0 when he scores at least once.
Who’s No. 1?
As the argument over who’s better, Stephon Gilmore or Jalen Ramsey atop the NFL cornerbacks, former Patriot Rodney Harrison votes for … Ramsey: “The thing that makes him stand out from every other cornerback is he’s not afraid to tackle … He’s physical… He’s just brought a toughness and an attitude to that defense and that secondary that they didn’t have.”
Chris Simms agrees, saying, “Have we ever seen the best defensive lineman in football (Aaron Donald) on the same defense with the best secondary player in football (Ramsey)? It’s an interesting combination. Wade Phillips is going to be able to be real creative with both of these guys.”
After Sunday’s game against Cleveland, the Patriots visit Baltimore, where the Ravens are flying with Lamar Jackson leading the way.
“The Seahawks went all week looking at ways to stop Lamar Jackson,” Tony Dungy said Sunday. “They couldn’t do it. He was the dominant force running the football.”
Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer reported Monday the Pats were denied when they asked Tampa Bay about tight end O.J. Howard. Remember, the trade deadline is next Tuesday.
Mike Tirico, also on NBC, touted the upstart Bills: “On Thanksgiving, you know who’s coming to Dallas? Buffalo,” he said. “When the schedule came out, people said, ‘Buffalo?’ Yeah, Buffalo. They may be the best team in football at that point… (On upcoming schedule) They could be 10-1 going into Thanksgiving.”
Hey, if you’re thinking 16-0, count Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless among those who think Belichick would be OK with a loss on the record. “I’m just saying, the oddsmakers will say the odds are they’ll go 16-0,” Bayless says. “Do I think Bill Belichick wants to go 16-0? I do not, because I think he would say that would be a recipe for postseason disaster because the stakes rise, the pressure rises and we saw what happened to the 2007 Patriots when they ran into the Giants in the end.”
The Celtics open the season Wednesday night at Philadelphia (and Al Horford) and get right to it with three games in four nights. They host the Kawhi Leonard-less NBA champion Raptors Friday and then visit Marcus Morris and the Knicks Saturday night.
Prior to the start of the season, the Celts locked up Jaylen Brown, to the tune of four years and $115 million.
“I think I have the ability and the talent next to anybody else,” Brown says. “But last year I didn’t get to display it, so I thought that was really going to hurt me.”
Marcus Smart came up with an interesting take on where he fits into the new-look roster, saying, “I’m a stretch 6. That’s what I call myself.” In other words, whatever has to be done he will do as a sixth-man extraordinaire.
Tuukka Rask, originally drafted by the Maple Leafs, was set to play his 500th NHL game Tuesday night — against the team that drafted him. He is the 71st goalie to reach that many games.
“They say it’s just like 1,000 games for the players, so it’s a big milestone,” Rask said Monday. “You think to play 500 games as a goalie, it’s going to take some years. So yeah, just goes to show how old I’m getting, I guess. That’s about it.”
Finally, as the World Series gets underway, Sports Illustrated tells us what Brett Gardner did with the home run ball that eliminated the Yankees but bounced back onto the field. Astros bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte was heading into the celebration on the field when Gardner stopped him.
“Here,” Gardner said, handing him the baseball. “Take this. You guys are a great team. Now go win the World Series. Represent the American League.”
From SI: “It was so classy,” said Bracamonte. “And Aaron Judge hugged me and said the same thing. I have so much respect for those guys.”