GAMES I WATCHED
New England Patriots over Seattle Seahawks, 24-21
First, something more important than football. Before I posted this today I checked on the spelling of a few names and read that Matt Cassel’s father has passed away. Condolences to Matt Cassel and his family on the loss of his father.
How the Patriots pulled this game out is beyond me. The offense was erratic, with the exception of Wes Welker, and we had a hard time getting anything going in the running game. This is the first game where I thought the lack of the run, or threat of the run, really hurt us because the Seahawks were able to play the pass and bring pressure, every play. Of course once we got down 14-3 we were playing catch up and using the passing game, with a few long throws to stretch the defense, to try to get back into it. The offensive line played a little better this week than last, but this week the right side of the line struggled a bit. Cassel was okay, but a little spotty at times. But he made the plays when it counted.
Wes Welker is one tough little son of a bitch. I am glad he’s on our team.
This week, once again, our defense gave up tons of yardage but I can’t dump on them like I did last week. Our injuries at defense are mounting. By my count only four players who you could consider “regular starters” were on the field starting the second half: Richard Seymour, Mike Vrable, Jerrod Mayo, and Ellis Hobbs. Of course Meriweather has been playing safety since Rodney Harrison got hurt, and Jonathan Wilhite, a rookie free agent out of Auburn, was playing in place of the benched Deltha O’Neal. But even so, we basically played the second half with a mostly second and third string defensive line up. It’s a bad, bad sign when the just signed 39 year old Junior Seau who hasn’t played in almost a year and Roosevelt Colvin, who couldn’t even make the Texans’ squad as a third down pass rusher, are seeing significant minutes at linebacker. I love those guys, but it’s just not a good situation to be in.
It hurts to think that if we had pulled that game off against the Jets a few weeks ago we would be in first place in the AFC East right now and be in a position to run the table and win it outright. As it stands, the chances of the Patriots making the postseason are pretty slim. I’d like the Patriots to get there, obviously, but even if we do, given our situation on defensive, we might just be in for bitter disappointment.
And all this makes me that much madder, sadder, and sick that we lost the Super Bowl last year. As I told my wife when she asked why I was STILL whining about it, I simply said “because you never know if we’ll ever get back.”
At least I am not a Lions, Bengals, or Chargers fan.
MVP: Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants, 20-14
The Giants had a bit of a hiccup in this game. Brian Westbrook had a great game, as did the Eagles offensive line in keeping Justin Tuck and company at bay. The Giants were plagued early with some dropped balls by receivers and some missed pass interference calls, but overall the Eagles, namely Westbrook, simply outplayed the Giants in this game. Despite two games with Donovan McNabb making plays with is arm and legs, I didn’t think he played all that great. And I definitely didn’t like his body language throughout the game. McNabb seems just a bit off this year, not to mention last year. Given the drama and age of the Eagles, I really wonder what will happen to this team in the offseason.
The Giants are still sitting pretty at 11-2, while Dallas and Washington continues to falter and the Eagles are too far behind to catch up. I still think they are the team to beat in the NFC.
MVP: Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens over Washington Redskins, 24-10
Lifeless, lethargic, uninterested, pathetic. Every week I see the Redskins I see an offense that can’t execute. The Redskins have completely imploded on offense. Two Ed Reed generated touchdowns putting the Redskins quickly behind 14-0 left them floundering and never in the game. The defense actually played rather well but it wasn’t enough. This week Clinton Portis started bad mouthing Jim Zorn. Several weeks ago I put Clinton Portis on my “top jerks in the NFL list.” He’s even a bigger jerk than I thought he was.
The Redskins seem to be finished this year, especially with the lousy play of the offensive line and now the overrated, underperforming left tackle Chris Samuels being out for the remainder of the season with a torn triceps.
The Ravens defense, despite getting a little older, is still one of the best in the league.
MVP: Ed Reed, FS, Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers over Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38-23
I don’t remember the last time I saw the Buccaneers defense get so embarrassed as they were Monday night. The Panthers running backs ran through them as if they were not even there. There is not really a whole lot to say about this game other than the Panthers handed the Buccaneers their behinds from beginning to end on both sides of the ball. I, frankly, underrated the Panthers this year but they put up a statement Monday night that they are going to be a team to be reckoned with.
MVP: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
Defensive Player: Ed Reed, FS, Baltimore Ravens
Offensive Lineman: Jeff Otah, T, Carolina Panthers
Special Teams: Mike Scifres, P, San Diego Chargers
Rookie of the Week: Jeff Otah, T, Carolina Panthers