At least the Jets won't be overconfident on Sunday.
That was seeming like a real problem after the response to routing the Titans. Even for a culture with short attention spans and a fanbase as in need of good news as the Jets', the hagiographies being written about Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez are a bit much for one game.
It looked for much of Monday night that things were going to get worse before they got better. For three-and-a-half quarters, the only Bill Belichick-coached team the Patriots resembled was one of the ones he coached in Cleveland before his ascension to football's Mount Rushmore. They couldn't block, couldn't tackle, couldn't run the ball and, most surprisingly, were quarterbacked by a Tom Brady who looked more scared than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
It might be understandable for a guy coming off a catastrophic knee injury to be a bit skittish, but Brady isn't just another guy or just another quarterback. As much as the hooded genius on the sideline, Brady's the personification of the psychic hold that the Pats have on the Jets and the rest of the NFL. If he's not the same guy, the Patriots aren't the same team and, all of a sudden, the entire football landscape looks a little bit different.
You could almost hear Ryan's chops being licked over the Monday Night Football chatterboxes. The pass rush would be dialed up to 11, the lions taking aim at a wounded antelope and Ryan would wear the pelt on his head during a celebratory press conference for the ages.
And then, just when your thoughts started to drift to what kind of look the Patriots might have in the Meadowlands, the old Brady was back on the screen. Standing in the pocket, which got a little safer as the night went on, and finding Randy Moss, Kevin Faulk and Wes Welker en route to a tochdown that drew the Pats within five points. Then, after a Bills fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was caused by either a big hit or the cosmos resettling, Brady hit Benjamin Watson with a beautiful strike to win the game and quiet any doubters tweeting up his demise during the first 55 minutes of play.
Same old (expletive) Brady and same old (expletive) Patriots.