by Scott Benson

Kind of a busy morning over at the Mothership (not sure why – what happened?) so I’ve been assigned to handle the links for the Patriots’ 52-7 hammering of the putrid Washington Redskins yesterday, which has set up an epic showdown between 8-0 New England and the 7-0 Colts next Sunday in Indianapolis.

Christopher Gaspar has the Globe game story this morning, and it’s evident right away where he comes down on the whole “running up the score” business, with a snarky “Maybe, Belichick just thought the points against Washington carried over next week to the Colts game” thrown in for good measure. Oh, clever. Can I get you a tissue, Chris? 

When the friggin’ Redskins let Mike Vrabel (now with 10 catches for 10 touchdowns in his career) predictably go out for a touchdown pass uncovered while The Great Sean Taylor bites so badly on a play action that he tackled Heath Evans instead, they’ve got no business pleading for mercy from anybody. Until their minor league  quarterback can see rushers approaching from his right well enough to simply protect the football – job one for any quarterback – they’ve got no business conveniently making the story about poor sportsmanship on the other side. They were bar none the worst team the Patriots have played yet, and that’s saying something, because the Patriots play in the same division as the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. People, the Redskins are so horrible, you could hardly avoid scoring 52 points on them, especially when their allegedly tough defense refused to come out of the locker room at halftime.

Mike Reiss looks at the rebounding Pats defense, which has essentially been facing two offenses every week – their opponents, and their own. As we suspected, the defense had gotten a little too wrapped up in watching the fireworks put up by their offensive mates, but as Reiss points out, they refocused and made a statement of their own with a dominating performance yesterday.

In the Herald, Karen Guregian says the Pats threw another carcass on the pile yesterday, in full view of their NFL rivals, especially the ones in Indiana. Michael Felger says the Pats have become a methodical, unapologetic machine. Pretty easy when the other side sucks as bad as the Redskins.

Speaking of, Felger reports that linebacker Randall Godfrey confronted Bill Belichick at midfield after the game, demanding that the coach “respect the game.” Uh, Randall, I was going to say the same thing to you and the rest of the quitters on the Washington defense after your disgraceful display yesterday. The Miami Dolphins, who have yet to win a game this season, fought for the full sixty last week. You guys, who are supposed by a playoff team with the best pass defense in football, just flat gave up when you knew you couldn’t win yesterday. Who’s disrespecting the game here?

There’s a grab bag of other Herald stories this morning, including Gurgeian’s post-game visit with the returning Richard Seymour, yesterday’s best and worst from Felger (starring Mike Vrabel), Dan Ventura’s plays of the game (starring Mike Vrabel), and a look at Kevin Faulk, whose work on screens yesterday made him the sixth leading pass catcher in the history of the team.

In the ProJo, Shalise Manza Young says the superior Pats defense keyed the rout yesterday. SMY also has looks at Seymour, Laurence Maroney (who got things rolling with some effective running and receiving), and lastly, Jason Campbell, who sniffed that the Redskins “tend to back off a little bit” when they get ahead 38-0. When was that, exactly, Jason, and who the hell were you playing? And about backing off – that’s exactly what your defense did yesterday, when they still had 30 minutes to play.

Bill Reynolds says these are the Glory Days for the Pats, though as we’ve seen this morning, there will always be dinks like Randall Godfrey and Phillip Daniels crying foul. Robert Lee finishes off the links this morning with game analysis and a tribute to star of the day Mike Vrabel.

So, who do the Pats play next week, again? I forget at the moment. I’ll get back to you on it.