Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We Beat the PATRIOTS!
Well, we finally beat the Patriots and in Foxboro no less. If any penalty has ever been worth committing, Ryan Clark has found it. I question whether it should have been a penalty at all. The league announced today it would not be fining Ryan Clark. Also, contained in the announcement was that leaving your feet is not a penalty. That's hockey people. If you didn't already think Randy Moss was mailing it in, after Clark nearly decapitated Wes Welker, the Patriot receivers did not seem interested in participating in this game, in the least. If we knew all it would take to shut down the Pats offensive game plan of short passes over the middle was one big hit we could have saved years of frustration and possible won another Superbowl.
Enough cannot be said of the performance of our Defense in this game and this season. In previous attempts to defeat the Patriots, we have been plagued by not getting to the QB and getting gashed by delays and short dump off passes to the RB's. We still got gashed by delays but getting pressure was not an issue on Sunday and that made all the difference in the world. James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, Casey Hampton and Timmons were in the backfield all day. The pressure lead to alot of turnovers. One constant remains; Ike Taylor can't catch. Luckily, Gostkowski shanked a short field goal.
The team speed on D this season cannot be overlooked. Timmons covering in the flat resulted in an interception that almost went the distance except he ran out of gas at the one. Woodley and Harrison coming off the ends; Troy back to form and all over the place. He leads the league in interceptions. McFadden when he was in and will be back this week.
Another key component to this victory was the O-Line. Ben was only sacked once and had alot of time to throw. Max Starks is again perfroming well at left tackle. His situation baffles me but having him as Marvel's backup, even if it is costing $7 million this season does not look as bad as it did prior to the season. (although it is still a highly questionable move) I heard that the O-line has abondoned the zone blocking scheme. Seemed to work for this game at least. Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes seem to trade places. One week one is reliable and makes plays and one drops passes left and right. The next game it is reversed. Both drop catchable balls and then make crazy catches. Nice to see us getting the ball to Heath on a consistent basis. He is one tough SOB.
Santonio actually had a decent punt return.
Mildly concerning is our inability to score touchdowns in the red zone lately. Yes, we put up 33 points but it should have been a lot more with the number of turnovers our D created. Our D will keep us in most games, but we need to score touchdowns when the ball is given to us deep in opposing teritory if we want to win in the playoffs.
-if you would have told me at the beginning of the season we would be 9-3 heading into the Dallas game, I would have been very pleased. But Baltimore is only 1 game behind us and we have a really tough closing stretch
We have 2 out of 4 on the road. Balt has 3 out of 4 at home.
Our next 3 games are against 3 of the top teams in the NFL. They will be great preparation for the playoffs but we could lose all 3. We need to win at least one of the next 3 and then hold serve against Cleveland in the last game of the season.
-Barber and Ware are banged up. I don't think Ware plays. Barber will go. Everyone knows we shut down the run. Our secondary is up to the TO, Witten challenge, especially with McFadden coming back. Our offensive line continues to improve and we run it when we want to and Ben makes some key plays and limits his turnovers.
Steez 31 - Dallas 20
I think we beat Balt, lose to Ten and beat Clev to finish out the year at 12-4.
Anyone else have predictions?