Monday, November 03, 2008
PATS DO THE BIG THINGS, BUT SCREW UP THE LITTLE THINGS
We're not used to seeing this kind of stuff from the Patriots. Dumb penalties, poor play-calling, horrible timeout management, and all the other little things we've been accustomed to seeing from a Bill Belichick coached team.=
The play everyone will be talking about all week is David Thomas' personal foul for a late hit. It was stupid, but there have been far worse personal fouls this season. It's a shame that a late shove may have altered the outcome of a game.
Jabbar Gaffney's dropped ball was horrendous. He got both hands, and most of his fingers on pigskin and couldn't haul it in. No excuses.
My primary concern with the play calling was the inconsistency. Sometimes the offense would be very aggressive, with gadget plays and high risk/high reward passes. Then it would lean toward the more conservative side, with safe decisions and almost weak plays.
It's just weird to me that the Pats went for 2 with 7:00 left in the 3rd, then they don't go for it on 4th and inches in the red zone. Kevin Faulk throws a pass on 2nd and 10 from the Indy 20, then the next play is a 3rd and 12 draw.
Mixing aggression and conservation doesn't work. You never want to be too aggressive or too conservative, but it doesn't make sense to have Faulk throw the ball, then play for a field goal on the next play.
The challenge of 12 men on the field was the biggest brain fart. It was a challenge for 5 yards. The dumb part, however, was not realizing that Indy's 11th man was trying to run off the field, not the 12th man. The Pats coaches upstairs simply saw a Colt desperately trying to get off the field, and assumed he was the 12th guy out there.
On the bright side, the Pats went into Indy with their 1st string, 2nd string, and 3rd string RBs gone, their backup QB starting, their safety gone; and if not for one or two plays, they would've won.
This was the first time the Pats lost DESPITE Matt Cassel. He had a great game, was solid under pressure, got rid of the ball (wasn't sacked once), and was SCRAMBLING not SCURRYING.
The running game was a pleasant surprise. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk combined for 117 yards on 25 carries. And as a team, the Pats ran for 140 yards.
So let Peyton and the Unicorns celebrate reaching .500. Let the haters out there point out the irony of the NFL's least penalized team losing because of a personal foul. Let them talk about Adam Vinatieri kicking the game winning points. But the Pats are far from dead. They're tied for 1st place with the Bills and the Jets. Their quarterback looks better every week. BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs like we all wanted Maroney to run.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
AP Photo/Darron Cummings