Let this be a warning to the Cincinnati Bengals. Last week, the Patriots came in tired and cranky after a late-night demolishing of the Chargers the previous Sunday evening. And it showed in a sluggish start against Buffalo. By the end of the game, it was Buffalo that was sick and tired - of seeing New England put up a seemingly endless stream of points on the board in a 38-7 romp.
Let this be a warning to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Last week, the Patriots came in tired and cranky after a late-night demolishing of the Chargers the previous Sunday evening. And it showed in a sluggish start against Buffalo.
By the end of the game, it was Buffalo that was sick and tired - of seeing New England put up a seemingly endless stream of points on the board in a 38-7 romp.
"You play on a Sunday night and don't get home 'til 2 in the morning," said quarterback Tom Brady. "Believe it or not, those things affect you. It carries over for days. ... We've got a bunch of old guys on this team. It takes us a little longer to recover."
Bad news Bengals. This is Tom Brady short on rest - 23-of-29, 311 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Buffalo on Sunday.
And you get him next Monday night with a full extra day of rest for those creaky old bones he somehow manages to use to torture defenses.
"I don't bounce back quite as fast," lamented Brady, who turned 30 last month. "You want to have all of that energy all of the time, but some days you just wake up at 6 a.m. and say, 'Ugh, it's going to be a long day."'
Lately, it's been any defensive player trying to slow down Brady and the Pats offense who has been having the long day. New England has scored in each and every one of the 12 quarters it's played this year, and has a string of points in 31 consecutive quarters dating back to last December.
They've had a TD in 11 of 12 quarters this year and double-digit points in six of them. Opponents, meanwhile, have scored a single TD in five quarters and been blanked in the other seven.
Brady has been behind the bulk of that domination, putting together the best three-week span of his storied career. The numbers are mind-numbing: 70-of-88 passing for a completion rate of 79.5 percent, 10 TDs to just one interception, 887 yards spread out to nine different receivers and a QB rating of 141.8.
If thinking about how to slow that juggernaut down with a defense that gave up 51 points to the Cleveland Browns isn't enough to get Bengals coach Marvin Lewis reaching for the extra-strength Rolaids, then these words from his Patriots counterpart should certainly get him searching through the medicine cabinet for some relief.
"I think he's played well, but he's had some other games that were pretty good games," said Patriots coach Bill Belichik when asked if Brady's recent run has been as good a stretch of play as he's seen from his star QB. "It doesn't really matter. We've got a long way to go, we need to keep improving each week."
Even scarier, Brady has taken the same approach, seemingly oblivious to the historic numbers he's putting up this season.
"There are things we definitely have to improve on," said Brady. "I'm glad we won, but we've got a big week this week."
The Bengals are one of the few teams in the NFL capable of matching New England's offensive firepower. Quarterback Carson Palmer has a lethal duo to throw to in Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, along with a potent ground game led by Rudi Johnson.
While the Pats might not be able to top Ocho-Cinco's celebrations in the end zone, no one in the league is getting more chances to try as New England is reaching pay dirt with alarming frequency.
Brady can thank a pair of his new targets for much of that. Randy Moss has been rejuvenated with his move to New England, where he's become the first player in NFL history to record three-straight 100-yard receiving days in his first three games with a new team.
"He's a mismatch every time he's out there when it's one-on-one," said Brady of Moss, who has 22 catches for 403 yards and five scores in three games as a Patriot.
And when opposing defenses do double Moss, that just frees up other receivers like Wes Welker, another newcomer who leads the club with 23 receptions, good for 221 yards and a score.
"Anytime you look at Randy, he's out there making great plays and you know the defense is thinking about him," said Welker. "They're looking to focus on him, so it's going to open up some other things."
The Patriots' balanced attack has opened up plenty this year. And led to plenty of opposing coaches opening up those medicine cabinets.
(Douglas Flynn is a Daily News staff writer. He can be reached at 508-626-4405 or email@example.com.)