Monday, October 15, 2007
HOW BOUT THEM PATRIOTS?
The Patriots hadn't played a team with a winning record until yesterday. It was only the 5th time in NFL history that undefeated teams played each other in week 5 or later.
The Patriots have now outscored their opponents by 138 points this season (23 points per game). To put that in perspective, in their 21 game win streak in '03 and '04, the Pats outscored opponents by 190 points (9 points per game). These are not your older brother's Patriots.
Yesterday's victory was much closer than the 48-27 score would suggest. The Pats scored a garbage time touchdown. This wasn't running up the score. This was a rushing TD by Kyle Eckel, and was essentially a reward for the Naval Academy graduate for busting his ass in practice week in and week out. See, Coach Belichick was indeed programmed with a heart.
The Cowboys were the only team to have a 2nd half lead over the Patriots so far this season. They're also the first team to put up more than 20 points. They're also one of the few teams to force a turnover from Tom Brady.
After the game, Terrell Owens said "The game could have gone either way." Tony Romo said "It wouldv'e been interesting had there not been a holding call on that 4th and 1 play" referring to an apparent 4th down conversion pulled back because of a penalty, which forced Dallas to punt.
The Cowboys were penalized 12 times for 98 yards. However, the refs did not seem to have it in for Dallas. Most of these calls were procedure penalties before the snap. Dallas was offsides three times, started falsely twice, and had an illegal shift penalty.
Neither team played their best possible game. Maybe it was all the mid-week hype. Maybe, for Dallas, it was their emotional trip to Buffalo and a short week. Maybe, for the Pats, it was playing a great team on the road for the first time this year.
Dallas was penalized incessantly, this coming after an offensively impotent 1st quarter. The Cowboys did not get a 1st down until 14:39 had elapsed in the game.
The Patriots tackled sloppily. There was no better example of that than Marion Barber's safari through the end zone, being wrapped up by four different Patriots, none of whom could complete their tackles and bring Barber down for a safety.
The Pats also hurt themselves with penalties. On defense they seemed slow at times. On TO's TD in the 2nd quarter, Samuel and Wilson ran into each other. On special teams, they allowed a big return. Then there was that sack and fumble which kept Dallas in the game early on. Had Brady held onto the ball and the Pats score on that drive, the game would have been close to over.
Tom Brady was the star of the game with 388 yards, and a career high 5 TDs. It would have been 6 touchdowns (a new franchise record) had the officials not called a bogus pushing off penalty on Moss. Brady also ran for two 1st downs.
An unsung hero of this game was Kevin Faulk, who replaced the injured Sammy Morris, who replaced the injured Laurence Maroney. Faulk had 13 carries for 50 yards (3.8 YPC) and also caught 3 passes for 24 yards.
The Patriots won in Dallas for the first time ever. Dallas is not an easy place to play for any visiting team, especially with the Cowboys playing so well this year. This is the most impressive win of the young season for the Patriots.
The Pats stay on the road next week, going down to Miami to face the 0-6 Dolphins. This game has "TRAP" written all over it, and Miami has always been a tough place for us to play in.