Oh, whatta game!
This week hosted many great football games and our very own Patriots kept us on our feet throughout their particular game as well. A triumphant 27-21 win over the Baltimore Ravens is nothing to be scoffed at and many signs are pointing to this ship being righted.
Tommy played like a man possessed and geared toward finding his way to the “W” at the 60 minute mark. The Golden Boy even rushed on a QB sneak for a touchdown in this game against the Baltimore Ravens defensive line. Having your QB, who by the way is one of the most prima donna QBs in the history of the NFL, go head to head at the goal line with Ray Lewis, who may or may not have killed a guy in 2000, might just be the best way to state “we’re gonna take this at you!”
Tommy finally started to look more like his old self in this game. He was hitting Welker on the short slants (6 receptions for 48 yards), Ben Watson was getting the daggers down the middle (2 receptions for 51 yards), and Randy Moss saw himself crossing the goal line for his first TD of the season (3 receptions for 50 yards).
The RB situation really started to play itself out nicely in this game as well. Despite my ongoing efforts to support Laurence Maroney, he continues to disappoint and this is coming from someone who bought his jersey in his rookie season. Watching the game yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice every time Sammy Morris (6 carries for 21 yards), Fred Taylor (7 carries for 25 yards), or Kevin Faulk (5 carries for 22 yards) touched the ball they were grabbing 3-4 yard on average. L-Mo had 7 carries for 6 yards, averaging 0.9 yard per rush. I couldn’t help but think, where is he going wrong? Then I saw it. Every time Maroney was handed the ball, he danced left-right-left and tried to get fancy before he even introduced himself to the line of scrimmage. Every one of the others guys buckled down, pushed past the goal line, then made the juke moves they needed to move. This is the problem and to fix it, someone has to tell L-Mo that he needs to push forward before getting fancy. I’ll let Belichick handle it. P.S. Even Brady had 5 rushes for 11 yards averaging 2.2 yards per carry…
The real story of this game was the Patriots defense and special teams.
Right out of the gates, special teams forced a fumble on the opening kick and covered it up in the red zone. This was key to setting the tone in this game to prove Ray Lewis and his reps at Under Armour right and let the Ravens know “WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!”
The defense looked spectacular despite the 21 points and 363 total yards they gave up. Hate to say it but I really have pushed for support on this defense and even more notably, the defensive backfield since day 1. A lot of people came into this season not even knowing who Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs were but they are finding out quickly. Brandon Merriweather quite possibly might be a member of the cast of “Heroes” that we haven’t met yet because that dude moves FAST. Even some of the supporting cast like James Sanders, Darius Butler, Brandon McGowan, and others were high flying and making the backfield look invincible.
The defensive line had some issues. Wilfork was probably as close to an interception at one point in this game as anyone has ever been without succeeding. Somehow Flacco hit Wilfork right between the numbers and obviously not expecting it, Wilfork lost the ball. DT Mike Wright came up with 2 HUGE sacks for a total loss of 17 yards which was the D-Line standout of the day. The Ravens RB core was able to rush for 116 yards on only 17 carries which included a 50 yard jolt of lightening from the quick feet of Ray Rice.
Coming down in the 2-minute drill and down by 6, the Ravens looked like they were certainly ready for a push. The final two plays of the drive included passes to Mark Clayton that BOTH literally bounced off of his chest, leaving the Ravens having given away this game down the stretch.
Joe Flacco (27-47, 264 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) is completely following my preseason assumptions on him, he will be a big QB in this league and is already showing the signs of it. Coming into this game he was 14-5 in the first 19 games of his career, which tied him with none other than Tom Brady as the best start to a career through 19 games. During the game, the booth even mentioned that Flacco grew up with Brady posters in his room. That tells you something about how many years have flown by since Tommy took the helm of this team.
Looking ahead to the big showdown between the Mentor and the Mentee (I know it’s not a word but you know what I mean), Belichick and the Pats are headed to the Mile-High City to take on the Broncos and offensive-coordinator-of-the-greatest-offensive-season-ever-turned-head-coach, Josh McDaniels.
Luckily for Pats fans, the 4pm game on Fox yesterday was the Cowboys at Denver so we got a bit of a peak at what is to come. We will talk more about that a little later in the week.