Monday, January 04, 2010
MEANINGLESS GAME RESULTS IN VERY MEANINGFUL LOSS
The Pats lost 34-27 to the Texans, which would normally be a cause for concern, were it not for the safely stowed AFC East crown in the Pats' pockets. Also, it's difficult to worry about a 2nd rate effort falling short when a Pro Bowl receiver, and team MVP candidate goes down with a knee injury.
I'll preempt Belichick's second-guessers out there. Had this injury occurred in the 4th quarter, you'd have a case. Maybe even the 3rd quarter too. But this was the first drive of the 1st quarter that saw Welker go down. I don't recall any sane person out there putting forth the argument that guys like Welker shouldn't even dress for this Week 17 game.
Injuries happen. It's part of football. The anti-Belichick nabobs in and outside of New England can gleam with their reactionary Monday Morning QBing. But a quick scan across the NFL on Sunday saw numerous playoff bound stars play deep into games. Donovan McNabb, for instance, was in at the very end, despite the 24-0 deficit he and the Eagles were facing.
Anyway, some reports are spreading that Welker tore his ACL. In which case, well, it's bad. He may miss the rest of the playoffs. And the Patriots without Welker are a racecar with no brakes, a golfer with no wedges, Barry Bonds without steroids. Welker caught about 1/3 of the Patriots total receptions.
Edelman had a nice game filling in for Welker, but Houston's defense is hardly an adequate litmus test. And it's not the production of Welker's replacement I'm concerned with. It's the production of the other receivers on the field.
Oh, and there's also a rumor/report/leak (what's the difference these days anyway?) that Tom Brady has some broken ribs, and has had them since the second Miami game.
But Laurence Maroney and Adalius Thomas remain healthy.
Patriots vs. Ravens sometime next weekend.