New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins, 48-28
Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch this game live because I can’t get DirectTV at my house. I did get to watch it on NFL Replay on the NFL Network.
Thank Matt Cassel and Randy Moss for this important win over the classless Dolphins! This was essentially a playoff game in the regular season for both teams and it clearly showed. The loser (Miami!) very likely will miss the playoffs. Too bad the Titans, Eagles, and Chargers didn’t give the Patriots any help in our bid to get back to the postseason this year. But a loss against the Dolphins would have been nearly catastrophic to the Patriots’ playoff chances given Miami would have the tiebreaker against us with a sweep of the season series and a better conference record. Not to mention we would be two games behind the Jets. As it stands we need to keep winning and hope someone can pick off the Colts and Ravens.
The Patriots dominated the game offensively but let Miami stay in it because two turnovers lead directly to 14 Miami points. Matt Cassel had his second consecutive 400 yard passing game and is one of only five QBs in NFL history to accomplish this (the others being Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Phil Simms, Billy Volek, and now Matt Cassel). Meanwhile Randy Moss made some outstanding catches and recorded 8 catches for 125 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Joey Porter is a classless loudmouth punk and unfortunately he seems to be rubbing off on his teammates. He received a couple of personal foul penalties late in the fourth quarter and his coach tried to pull him out of the game but he wouldn’t leave the field. He’s not only a classless, loudmouth punk but a sore loser too. Matt Light got into a fight with Dolphin linebacker Channing Crowder on a field goal. I couldn’t tell from the replay what precipitated the fight but I’ve been watching Matt Light his entire career and he is definitely not a hot headed or dirty player. The way the Dolphins were playing I’m sure the punk Crowder did something to provoke him then ran away like a sissy when the action got going. It was announced today they both got $15,000 fines but no suspension.
While the Dolphins had a hard time stopping the New England offense, the New England defense wasn’t anything to get excited about. The Dolphins did not have “give me” touchdown drives on either of the Patriots’ turnovers. If the defense lived up to the offense the Patriots would be hard to beat.
Regardless of whether or not the Patriots make the playoffs, this has once again been a season where Bill Belichick, love him or hate him, has proven what a great coach he is (the debacle in the Colts’ game excepted). The team didn’t panic after Tom Brady went down and Cassel has steadily improved all season long. The offense, despite losing its best running back, is performing at a high level. Ironically it’s the defense that has struggled more this year but they too have overcome significant injuries.
And one more thing. Wes Welker rules!!!
Next week will be a tough game against Pittsburgh. I hope Big Ben sends a few of his stupid interceptions our way.
MVP: Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots
GAMES I WATCHED
New York Jets over Tennessee Titans, 34-13
If you could only watch the offensive and defensive lines play and nothing else, barring turnovers, you could pretty much tell who won the game. The team that dominates the line of scrimmage almost always wins. The Jets offensive line put on one of the most dominating performances I have seen this year, and they did it against a great, highly touted defensive line. Nick Mangold has been playing extremely well all season but this was an A+++ performance. The interior line made Albert Haynesworth all but disappear as a factor in the game. Haynesworth lined up at defensive end a few times and once overpowered the overrated D’Brickashaw Ferguson for a sack on Favre. But for the most part the Jets handled the Titans tough defense.
The Jets played a mostly run oriented, short passing game that was highly effective all game long moving the ball and putting points on the board. Their offensive success kept them in third and short situations and they seemed to make nearly all of them. The Jets controlled the ball for over 40 minutes compared to only 20 minutes for the Titans and they really started to wear down the defense in the second half. Even though the game was, to me, already over because the Titans showed no signs of being able to come back, Leon Washington breaking off a 61 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter was the nail in the coffin.
Defensively the Jets also played quite well. They clearly geared up to stop the run and were very successful doing so. Unlike last week, however, the Titans could not generate offense through the air. Kerry Collins didn’t play terribly, the Titans were just in third and long frequently. It didn’t help that his receivers dropped several balls throughout the game, especially the first half, that could have made it a little more competitive.
While this is only one game in the regular season, the Jets have served notice that they are going to be a team to be reckoned with down the stretch. They have a five game winning streak and have knocked off two division rivals and the team most thought was the best in the NFL going into the game. While all their wins haven’t been quite as impressive as this win over the Titans, if they can duplicate this kind of performance every week they are going to be hard to beat.
MVP: Brett Favre, QB, New York Jets
Washington Redskins over Seattle Seahawks, 20-17
As far as professional football games go, this one was a bit lethargic by both teams. It took a third quarter interception by Matt Hasselbeck with the game tied at 10, resulting in the Redskins starting in great field position and going up 17-10, to basically seal the game. While the Seahawks played fairly well defensively, Clinton Portis was the star of the show in the second half, grinding out 143 yards in the game. Ironically for these two West Coast, short passing oriented coaches, the game was decided by a power running attack by the Redskins in the second half.
Maybe it’s just me but the Redskins are not looking like a playoff caliber team. They seem lethargic (I say it again) and without the fire I saw earlier in the season. And not just this week, but lat week against Dallas too. Maybe it’s just a late season slump. We’ll see. Regardless, Jim Zorn is destined to be a solid head coach. I’m impressed.
MVP: Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins
Indianapolis Colts over San Diego Chargers, 23-20
The Colts and Chargers played a pretty even game. The difference in the game was one single turnover. Philip Rivers fumbled the ball in the red zone, on the 10 yard line, which the Colts drove to a 17-10 lead. At least a 10 point swing, and possibly a 14 point swing if they could have scored. Game over. Well, not quite. San Diego did come back late in the game to tie it at 20-20 but left too much time on the clock. Manning quickly got the Colts into very long field goal range but Adam Vinatieri booted a 51 yarder for the win.
I am frankly shocked that the Chargers, with all their talent, are 4-7. I don’t care if Tomlinson is not playing up to his standards or that they lost Shawn “Juicer” Merriman to injury, there is just no excuse for this team to have a losing record.
And while Peyton doesn’t look like the Peyton we’ve seen in years past, he’s on a roll and the Colts are going to be a tough, scary match-up if they make the playoffs.
MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints over Green Bay Packers, 51-29
Drew Brees put on a show with over 300 yards passing and four touchdown passes against the Packers in one of the best offensive showings I’ve seen this year. Meanwhile Aaron Rodgers did his best Brett Favre imitation, the bad Brett Favre that is, with three interceptions, two of them stupid ones that turned into Saints scores. The Saints offense was simply unstoppable all game long. The Packers put up some crazy numbers on offense as well but the turnovers and the inability of the defense to get a pass rush on Brees and his accurate passes and bombs just blew the game totally open in the second half. This was a phenomenal QB clinic by Brees in this game. He just shredded the defense of the Packers again, and again, and again. I think Green Bay is a good offensive team and will bounce back, but their defense, despite having two of the best corners in the league, were really exposed in this game.
MVP: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas Cowboys, 7 catches, 213 yards, 1 touchdown
Defensive Player: Ed Reed, FS, Baltimore Ravens, 2 interceptions and NFL record 108 yard interception return for a touchdown
Offensive Lineman: Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets
Special Teams: Domenik Hixon, 201 return yards and 68 yard kickoff return for a touchdown
Rookie of the Week: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Buffalo Bills, 2 interceptions and 64 yard interception return for a touchdown