happened to my Patriots?
Last Sunday started off well, with the Patriots performing as expected in the first half, kicking butt and taking names. I felt so confident that I started catching up on chores during halftime. I settled back down to watch about 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter and it was like I was watching a different game. I was in Bizarro World. Sanchez was looking more Brady-like than Brady, and the momentum had swung to the Jets.
To top it off, my all time favorite Patriot’s running back, Kevin Faulk (actually, it’s a coin toss between he and Mosi), was down and out with what looked like a serious injury, and was in fact a season ending torn ACL , but that last strip sack of Brady was the dagger in my heart. No last minute heroics, just the Jets squatting on the ball to run out the clock.
As I sat there fuming, one thought kept muscling its way to the forefront of my mind;
“This is just like last season. They hang in there against the cream puffs, but cough it up late against the tougher teams.”
What’s up with that? Are they poorly conditioned and unable to sustain the intensity for a full game? Is the team so predictable that the opposition can adjust at the half and just shut them down, and if so, why don’t the Pats have a plan to deal with that? Is Bill trying to do too much? The whole; no offensive or defensive coordinator thing doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. That’s a lot of ground to cover for one man.
Maybe it’s Brady. Does he feel like he has to shoulder the load, and consequently puts too much pressure on himself? Some of his decisions towards the end of the game were definitely questionable, like jamming the ball in to Moss when there were other receivers open. Was he trying to feed Moss in an effort to help him prove that he could beat the Jet’s coverage? I hope not, but whatever the reason, it just wasn’t working. I’m still surprised he didn’t see Jason Taylor bearing down on him. I know it developed quickly, but he’s usually more aware of what’s happening on his periphery, always ready to duck, or slide forward for one more quick look. Not this time. He was blindsided by Taylor, BLAM, and didn’t even have a chance to secure the ball.
Most likely, their problems are a combination of all of the above, served up with a large side of poor blocking and a heaping helping of suspect defense. Whatever the reason, they need to pull it together this week. They have to beat the Bills. They’re not gonna get too many bunnies like this, plus it’s a divisional game, so they can’t afford to squander the opportunity.
Their biggest problem going forward, aside from choking, that is, is the loss of Faulk. The man has been a first down machine, and someone has to step up and fill that role. With Taylor doing the bulk of the running, Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be able to fill the void on third down, but God help them if anyone else gets dinged. Dumping Maroney for a draft pick to be named later doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore, I guess.
So, they need to come out firing on all cylinders today, and they need to keep the pedal to the metal until time runs out. 60 minutes of hard fought football. Not 30, not 45, 60, that’s all I ask, and if they provide it, they should be able to steam roll over the Bills. A Patriots romp, followed by a sweep of the Yankees and seeing the Jets get pounded by the Dolphins would be the ultimate Sunday for me, but I’ll settle for just a win from the Pats.
Come on guys, time to step up.
That is all.