Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bleech    

The Patriots looked pretty crappy last night, huh?

RUN DEFENSE: C-
Tatum Bell and the Denver O-line had their way with the Pats all night long.  While the Denver unit can run on anyone, the extent to which they ran on the Pats and their star-studded front seven is troubling.  Maybe Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau are too old to stop the run.  But it's not like there's any way to make the club better without the players themselves playing better.  The team's only option is to hope those guys remember that whole thing about tackling the guys on the other team when they're holding onto the ball and running towards them.  Instead of, you know, getting shoved out of the way by the fat guys every time.

PASS DEFENSE: D
Then again, what's the point of forcing a 3rd and long if the moron cornerbacks allow Jake The Snake to convert anyway?  Hideous pass defense on the two Walker touchdowns, and in general.  When did Willie Clay start coaching their DBs?  Based solely on last night, it looks like the trend of Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs failing to make any kind of contribution on defense, apart from treading water, has continued.  They do realize they can run in front of the ball and knock it away, right?  Hey, I wonder if Otis Smith is available...

RUN OFFENSE: C+
The de facto bright spot.  But they had a rough game too.  I'm feeling somewhat forgiving towards them, because Denver has a pretty good run defense, and Corey Dillon got hurt.  And we know there's no problems, as a whole, with the run offense.  So I'm cool here.

PASS OFFENSE: C
With the exception of Ben Watson and Laurence Maroney, brutal.  Scrub my eyes with a Brillo.  They did get it together eventually, and looked pretty good in the no-huddle offense, so I've given them credit for that.  The deficiencies at WR are obvious, but that's not what bothered me the most.  What really infuriates me is that Hollywood Tom didn't play with the remotest sense of urgency until he was down 17-0.  Oh, how dreadfully boring it must be to play these regular season games.  What an imposition.  P'shaw, I say.  You remember back when you couldn't watch five seconds of a Pats game without hearing how the team really got behind Tom Brady, how he energized the team, etc.?  I thought it was 100% Grade A bullshit up until last night.  He looks bored, frustrated, and pissed, and his teammates followed suit.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F-----------
Atrocious.  Two blocked figgies in two weeks, and nothing happening in the return game that wasn't nullified by penalty.  In fact, the reason for so few minuses up there is that Denver was pinned, more than once, inside their own five by the punt team.  OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but this is an area in which the Patriots are supposed to never fail.  This is supposed to be a bread-and-butter area.  What the hell happened?  Does anybody remember that they only advanced to Super Bowl  XXXVI because their special teams bailed them out?  It's not like special teams guys get paid much, and that's the only factor I know of that should result in poor talent on this roster.

CONCLUSION
Not looking too good for the Patsies.  They're still head and shoulders above their division opponents, and will still grab a playoff spot without too much trouble.  With two jackhammer running backs and a solid O-line, they've got a chance to control more games than they probably should.  But given the hand they've been dealt at CB and WR, I don't see it going much further than the second round.  I mean, Denver has a glaring, interception-throwing, Honda Element-driving, easily-exploited deficiency, and the Pats did nothing to force him into mistakes.  If they can't force Jake Plummer into a mistake, I don't know what they expect to do against someone good.  But my fingers are still crossed... eternal optimism and all.

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