In The Red Zone logo by Sox & Dawgs

We start with head coach Bill Belichick’s weekly visit with the Big Show on WEEI in Boston.  This week the coach talks to the usual suspects and discusses the win over Jacksonville, the upcoming game with San Diego and what the toughest part about being a coach is.  This seems to be the one time a week when Belichick kind of opens up and you get to have some insight into the mind of a maniac. 

Also just a side note if you have Comcast Sports Net/New England on your cable or satellite system make sure you check out the “Road to Perfection” starting Wednesday night and each night until the game as well as before and after the game on Sunday.  They had some great guests last week and it will continue this week with former Patriot TE Christian Fauria and others joining host Michael Felger.  You’ll also notice that Sox & Dawgs is one of the featured bloggers on their site providing Patriots content during the playoff run.

The San Diego Chargers lost both star running back LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterback Philip Rivers to injuries during Sunday’s game at Indianapolis to knee injuries.

Tomlinson was injured on a second quarter run and limped off the field after being tackled on an eight-yard gain. He had fumbled on the play but the Chargers were able to recover the ball. Tomlinson went to the sideline and was examined and even jogged in front of the bench and rode the stationary bike hoping for a return that never came.

Rivers basically pulled a “Gramatica” when he leaped throwing the ball to Darren Sprowles who went 56 yards for a touchdown. He landed awkwardly apparently hyper-extending his knee. He was examined on the trainer’s table on the sideline and then walked to the locker room. He later returned to the bench but never came back into the game and was seen limping at game’s end.

Both players are listed as questionable for Sunday’s AFC Championship game in Foxboro against the Patriots.

You can probably put tight end Antonio Gates in the same category as he saw limited action with dislocated toes.

The initial forecast for Sunday’s 3pm tilt at Gillette Stadium is for high temperature in the mid-teen’s.

Now that the Colts have been dispatched with a “one and done” does head coach Tony Dungy comeback or walk away?

Since Week 12 the Chargers and Patriots are a combined 15-0.

Back 5 or 6 years ago UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma had a saying when it came to beating his team:

“What it comes down to is we have Diana (Taurasi) and they don’t.”

Pretty much the same thing can be said about the Patriots with Tom Brady. Running back Laurence Maroney may have been the Sox & Dawgs offensive player of the game but without “Tom Terrific” (once again apologies to Mr. Seaver but I think you’ve been outdone) who knows where that game goes on Saturday. Brady quietly set a record for completion percentage in a game, any game, playoff or regular season, by completing 26 of 28 passes for a 92.9% completion rate. Former Giants QB Phil Simms had the playoff record set in Super Bowl XXI when he had an 88% rate (22 of 25). Former Patriots QB Vinny Testaverde had the overall record set in a regular season game set as a Brown in 1993 when he had a completion rate of 91.3% (21 of 23) against the Rams. What do all three games by those players have in common? Bill Belichick. He was the Giants defensive coordinator, the Browns head coach and of course now is the head coach in New England.

The pregame speech or pep talk is a big part of football. If you’ve ever played the game or seen video of pregame talks they can be rather emotional at times. I can only imagine what Bill Belichick says to the Patriots before they take the field. But did you know that after Belichick speaks that Junior Seau takes over? Tight end Kyle Brady said after Saturday’s win over Jacksonville:

“He pretty much always addresses us, talks a little bit after Coach Belichick says a couple of words. He’s a fiery guy. He has a passion about playing the game and he always has a few passionate words before the game and he did it again today.”

It seems Patriot-mania much like Matsuzaka-mania has over taken the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. There has been Japanese media covering the team for several weeks now and one had a couple questions for Brady after the game:

Q. “Watching you play on the field you never seem flustered no matter the situation and from our Japanese point of view, it looks very Zen of you. ”

“I’m all Zen. I’m all Zen.”

Q. “I know you’re from California, but where did you pick up that focus and intensity? ”

“Well, I think I have a lot of confidence in the guys I play with. So when you’re confident in the guys around you, and I’ve been around for eight years [with] the same offense and the same coaches, so I have pretty good confidence going out there knowing that if I just do my job, everything will take care of itself.”

“We were very fortunate this year, and we’re 17‑0 and that’s great, but it all comes down to this week. We have to really play our best game. I hope I’m Zen‑like for another week. That would be a great feeling. “

Brady is 7th all-time in post season TD passes with 23 tying former Dallas QB Troy Aikman. Another former Cowboy, Roger Staubach, is 6th with 24 post season TD passes.