Monday, September 22, 2008
FROM UNDEFEATED TO UNFORTUNATE
Last week's victory over the Jets reminded fans of 2001. This week's loss to the Dolphins reminds me of 2002. That was a year of inconsistencies. A defense that held the Jets to 7 points one game, then allowed New York to score 30. An offense that put up 44 on the Jets in week 2, then scraped by to get 17 in week 16.
Both the offense and defense were flat yesterday. Matt Cassel didn't do much that helped the Dolphins. But he didn't do much to help the Patriots. The Pats' first drive started with excellent field position at the Miami 49, but went 3 and out. The second drive went as deep as the Miami 7, but two sacks and an interception resulted in no red zone points, which is inexcusable. So instead of being up 6-0 or 10-0, the game was scoreless, and Miami remained confident.
The defense struggled with big plays all day. Pennington had 4 passes of 20+ yards. And we all know what Ronnie Brown did (4 rushing TDs, 1 passing TD, and a 62 yard touchdown run that sealed the game in the 4th).
The Pats visited the red zone again at the start of the 2nd quarter, but only came away with 3 points.
Give credit to Miami. They played well on defense, pressuring Cassel (sacking him 3 times), forcing two turnovers, and playing tight in the red zone. Pennington had a superb day, throwing 17 for 20, and the Dolphins ran for 216 yards on 36 carries (6.0 YPC).
So the 21 game regular season winning streak is over. But there were 2 playoff losses mixed in there, and Pats fans know what the REAL 21 game win streak was all about back in '03 and '04.
The Patriots lost at home for the first time since November 12, 2006. They had a 15 game home win streak.
The 2-1 Pats are now 2nd in the AFC East to the 3-0 Bills. The last time the Patriots weren't in 1st place was October 18, 2003.
Thankfully, the bye week should get things sorted out in Foxborough. There will be plenty of film for the team to review before playing San Francisco in 2 weeks.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
AP Photo/Winslow Townson