Monday, October 13, 2008
The Patriots and us fans have, for the most part, been patient with Matt Cassel. After the 38-13 thrashing by Miami, most of us blamed the defense and stood by Cassel, saying "he didn't do anything to lose the game." Those days are over.
Case in point...
First Patriot possession of the game: Moss gets a step on Quentin Jammer, has a clear path for the end zone, Cassel underthrows and Jammer breaks it up. The Pats wind up missing a field goal.
It took Cassel a while to get things together last Sunday against the 49ers. The start of the 2nd half seemed to be a repeat of the trend as he came out firing. But a 12 play, 76 yard drive resulted in 0 points. Cassel was 5 of 6 for 65 yards before the drive reached the red zone. But from the 1 yard line, he was 0 for 2 with a sack.
Matt Cassel choked. There's no other way to put it.
3rd & Goal, Sammy Morris open, Cassel fires a laser right at his ankles.
4th & Goal, Ben Watson wide open, Cassel doesn't see, then hesitates, starts to scramble, takes a step back, then scrambles again, right into the pile.
The game was, for all intents and purposes, over. The Chargers drove 98 yards for a score. Then Cassel hit Quentin Jammer right between the numbers. In a 5:00 stretch, a potential 17-10 game turns to a 27-3 blowout.
But the defense once again did their best to do their worst. The secondary was exposed and ripped apart like Madonna in the 1996 Chicago Bulls locker room. Everyone in the secondary, except Brandon Meriweather perhaps, had at least one embarrassing play. Vincent Jackson simply toyed with Deltha O'Neal. The front 7 also failed at pressuring Rivers with any consistency.
The best Patriot performer of the night was punter Chris Hanson. His open field tackle of Sproles was far and away the most impressive defensive play of the game for the Pats.
The Chargers are not the same premier team they've been the past two seasons. Without Michael Turner, LT loses a step. They have a much weaker pass rush. Their head coach is Norv Turner for Christ's sake! And they dominated the Pats. This is the second time the Pats have lost to a second-tier team.
A good team (Denver) comes to Foxborough next Monday night. Redemption can perhaps be attained with a victory over the Broncos. But a loss puts the Patriots somewhere they haven't been since week 9 of 2006... .500.
AP Photo/Denis Poroy
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi