Archive for the 'game review' Category

That looked better!

Monday, December 12th, 2005

It was nice to see the Pats finally roll over a bad team instead of playing down to the level of the bad team as the Pats far too often do. I’m feeling pretty good about the offense (with one big caveat, see later). Dillon looked more like his old self, and Faulk really does turn out to be key at converting third downs. I realize the Jets and Bills aren’t very good, but I think the improved TOP and Faulk returning are not coincidental.

I’m less convinced about the defense. Certainly, they’ve looked great the past two weeks. But they’ve also played two of the worse QBs in the NFL, and then Buffalo suspended one of its top receivers for the game. So while I think the front seven has improved (and Colvin has been a monster lately!), I still reserve judgement on the secondary.

As for the secondary, what it really needs to just have the same players playing together. All the injuries have been big, sure, but I think a lot of the problem is not so much the lesser level of talent, but that there are always different players back there. The DBs need to get time in playing together.

And then there’s the caveat…Brady’s leg. I didn’t think there was much to it — sure, he was limping a bit, but it didn’t look bad and they certainly did nothing to protect him or it. But then I read in “Shank” Shaugnessey’s column that Brady was “limping badly” at the end of the game and that the knee was X-rayed before the team left Buffalo.

The annual Tom Brady stink game

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

One or two times a year, every year, Brady has a meltdown game. Looks like this one was it. Too bad it didn’t come against an NFC team. Of course, that still doesn’t excuse the lack of a pass rush and the secondary being burned deep again and again.

I’m starting to come around to Felger’s view that we can’t keep blaming the injuries. Sure, losing Rodney was big in the secondary. But in the front seven the only people gone from last year are Ted Johnson and Keith Traylor. So I don’t buy injuries as a complete excuse for the execrable pass rush and the bad run defense.

Well, at least the tailgate was fun.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

Ick. Ick-ick-ick-ick-ick-ick-ick. Ick.

It pretty much went the way I had predicted it would.

I really wish I had been wrong.

Better news?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Reiss, again:

PRACTICE NOTES: Defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Ty Warren; running back Patrick Pass and safety James Sanders weren’t present for the first part of practice opened to the media. The first portion of practice included special teams and stretching. Running back Corey
Dillon rode an exercise bike and then loosened up by running. Three players added to the injury report on Wednesday – tight end Benjamin Watson and receivers Tim Dwight and David Givens – were present for the early part of practice. Receiver Troy Brown and cornerback Randall Gay were present for the second day in a row. The team practiced indoors today, with Patriots coach Bill Belichick saying third down and the red area were top items on the agenda.

Game 7: Patriots 21, Buffalo 16

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

That game had to be the poster child for ugly wins. Nevertheless, it’s a conference and a divisional win, so ugly or not, it was very important.

The first half was excruciating, as Buffalo owned the clock for 22 minutes. Amazingly, they were held to only 3 points, courtesy of a missed field goal and an amazing play by Vrabel to knock away a sure touchdown. It also had one of the more bizarre plays one will see, with Patrick Pass just dropping the ball to grab at his hamstring. Then we had the half concluding with a supremely un-Patriotic play — the field goal taking a totally unnecessary delay-of-game penalty that ended up taking 3 points off the board.

At this point, losing Pass looked pretty bad. He had given early indications of having a career game and it was clear the Pats did not want to play Dillon (post-game comments indicated that Dillon’s ankle is still quite sore and that he hasn’t practiced in weeks). And of course there are the downstream effects of losing yet another running back.

The offense finally got it together to start the second half, with Dillon running surprisingly well given his injury (I figure that at halftime they shot the ankle full of cortisone and/or novacaine, taped it really tight, and told him to go out there and play). It was hard to tell he was even injured, with the quick bursts and running over people.

Unfortunately, the defense gave it right back, with Starks being burned yet again for a 55yd TD. From our seats, we could see it unfold as Starks went in motion and then hesitatingly pulled up. The man he was shadowing (before he pulled up) stayed in motion and after the snap cut in behind Starks and hauled it in. Everyone in the building could see where Holcomb was going to go with the pass.

The offense reverted back to ineffectuality, while the defense was unable to stop McGahee on off-tackle run after off-tackle run (please, please, please give us Seymour back!). Still, the Pats were for once able to hold in the red zone and kept Buffalo to field goals.

After Brady fumbled and the Bills extended the lead to 16-7, the exodus from the seats began. Thankfully, I have a rule of staying to the bitter end, and we all know how it ended.

I remain very displeased by the game and feel that if they play anything like that, Indianpolis is going to blow them off the field. I know people like to say “oh, people always say that and the Pats find a way to win.” But in all those past times it was clear that the Pats had the talent to do it and people where over-buying into Indy hype. Here we’re talking about a team that beated up and down the field for most of the game by bad Bills team. Not good.

I also noticed the brainlocks are continuing. I’ve already mentioned the field goal fiasco at the end of the first half. There was also Vrabel disgustedly calling a time out late in the 4th quarter when the defense was clearly confused over who was supposed to be on the field (come people — this is basic stuff) and yet another timeout beyond that having to be called due to the defense not being ready.

The defense also had problems covering screens and the tackling is still not good (though it did improve).

I should note that the forced-turnover-less streak finally ended at something like 16 quarters and that Asante Samuel finally held on to an interception (it was a great catch, actually).

While Brady did have some nice throws (especially to Branch), the offense (aside from Dillon) did not impress and the playcalling leaves something to be desired. I find myself beginning to buy into the theory that it was a mistake for Belichick to not hire an OC.

The final big story of the night (of course) was the return of Bruschi. He was in for an amazing 65 or so snaps and had some nice plays (like blowing up that reverse in the first quarter). He’s not a panacea (as the horrible defensive performance showed), but he’s a lot better than Biesel and Brown (who didn’t even dress). Had to love the crowd reaction to him, as well.

Bruschi’s back!

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

It’s official! Bruschi has been taken off the PUP list and placed on the active roster.


Various game reviews

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Mrs. B’s latest podcast is up.

Zip’s various reviews are up:

Mrs B on San Diego

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Mrs’s B’s podcast page now has her San Diego ‘cast. Here’s hoping the Atlanta road trip podcast will be up soon, so we can have something more positive available 1/2 :).

Zip on San Diego

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Zip’s got his San Diego stuff up:

Week 5: Patriots 31, Falcons 28 (3-2) (2-1) (0-0)

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Whew! Nothing’s gonna be easy this year.

It also looks like they’ll have to win it with offense, since at least for now, the defense appears to be cooked. Sure, there are all the injuries (and Seymour missed the Falcons game, and McGinest reportedly broke his hand during the game), but that doesn’t excuse the lack of physical play and missed tackle after missed tackle. It doesn’t excuse Chad Brown being a waste of space out there. It doesn’t excuse mistakes like Asante Samuel buying a vanilla fake and giving up the tying touchdown. I could go on. Speaking of Seymour, that’s the second time in his career that Seymour’s been injured while playing as a short-yardage fullback. I think Belichick needs to stop the experiment. Put in a real fullback (Pass) or use one of the tight ends. Or Klecko. But it was/is foolish to risk perhaps your best defensive player like that. And it’s happened twice. Please — let’s never see Seymour as a fullback again.

Thankfully, the offense came to play. Brady was on fire. The tight ends were finally given a chance to do something, and WOW. Favorite play of the day has to be Graham’s 45yd TD which included the hurdle over Neal, swatting a safety away, and dragging three people into the endzone. The running game also got going, with Dillon breaking 100 on close to 5 yards/carry. Now we have to hope that whatever his injury was, it’s nothing serious. Even had a couple of hard-nosed runs by Patrick Pass.

The play-calling made a recovery from last week’s debacle, which was nice to see, though Belichick deserves a Football Outsiders Martz Award for having Vrabel call that timeout on Koening’s kick. This is the NFL. Kickers don’t get worn out on a single kick, so why (in effect) give them a warmup/calibration kick?

Anyhow, while I’m glad for the win, this year still has way too much of a 2002 feel to it.