There were plenty of questions and storylines for the Patriots heading into Thursday night's NFL opener against the Steelers at Gillette Stadium.
But on this Friday morning there is only one tale to tell that matters to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the defending Super Bowl champions. That's a tale of success and victory over Pittsburgh to kick off the new season in a productive, emotional fashion that's certainly a good building block for another potential impressive year.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now, it's about focusing on all that happened Thursday night in front of a packed house in Foxborough that saw some T-Pain, some rain and a Super Bowl banner unveiled yet again!
The Boston Globe says that after a long offseason, Brady was at "his surgical best" in the opening night victory over Pittsburgh. As good as New England was, the Globe accurately notes that the Steelers "melted in key spots." A big part of that was the Patriots coaches getting the better of their Pittsburgh counterparts.
Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy says the Patriots opened the year with a statement win.
Though not game related, the Globe's coverage of the media coverage of the Patriots takes a hard, critical look at ESPN.
The NFL says that weather played a problem with the coaching headsets at Gillette for the opener, while the* Globe* looks at the impressive Patriots debut for Dion Lewis. Rob Gronkowski was once again dominant against the Steelers, although the tight end said the offensive line deserved some praise as well. The Globe also notes that regardless of what happened with Brady this offseason, it was going to be a banner night at Gillette for the opener.
The Boston Herald breaks down Gronkowski's role in spiking the Steelers to open the year. Despite the unit giving up more than 400 yards of offense, the *Herald *says the New England defense got the job done. That came despite the fact that Dominique Easley left the win early with a hip injury.
Herald columnist Ron Borges looks at Lewis successfully filling in for the suspended LeGarrette Blount. For Brady and the Patriots it was about getting back to winning. That victory came thanks in large part to New England's large men playing tight end.
Apparently the Dropkick Murphy's lead singer barely made it in time for the group's performance last night.
ESPNBoston.com focuses on Gronkowski's fumble recovery as a key play that might get lost in the tight end's three-touchdown performance. The site has far more performers in the Up category than Down after the big win. ESPN also points out that fans in attendance were verbally wondering where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was on opening night, while reminding us all why we cared so much about Brady. ESPNBoston.com notes that rookie Geneo Grissom took over for the injured Easley.
CSNNE.com looks at Brady's impressive opening performance, showing that the 38-year-old QB is still at the top of his game. CSNNE.com also looks at Malcolm Butler taking his lumps with a tough job of matching up with All-Pro Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown. Gronkowski got wide open by lining wide.
WEEI.com accurately declares that it was a banner start for Brady and the Patriots. Mike Tomlin had issues with his headset issues, but so did Bill Belichick. While Gronkowski may not stay on his current pace for 48 touchdowns for long, WEEI.com says it could indeed be a record-breaking season for the tight end.
NFL.com passes along Julian Edelman describing Gronkowski's performance as like watching an eighth grader dominate second graders. NFL.com's story on the headset issues includes the NFL's statement on the situation.