This was a pretty good football weekend, even if you hate Favre as much as I do. Last night’s game was good enough to keep my attention till Green Bay’s final missed onside kick with under 2 minutes remaining. For a non-Pats game to hold my attention that long is truly a miracle. Monday night football has gotten exponentially better with the current trio in the booth, particularly the commentary between Jaws and Gruden. One of the most interesting thing they talked about was the history of teacher-student quarterback match ups through the years, most notably Joe Montana as a Cheif beating Steve Young and the 9ers. Jaws was recalling just how badly it seemed the Chief players wanted to do that for Joe, and how that same sense of elevated play could be felt in Minnesota’s dome last night.
Like I said, great game, even if you hate Favre and especially if you hate Green Bay.
Go. Patriots. They’re effing awesome. (And don’t worry, I’m not jinxing them because I’ve already been talking sh!t.) For the second week in a row, I headed to Gillette Stadium, this time as a guest of Katfish, thinking I was about to see the Patriots get it handed to them. Joe Flacco is a tough young QB and McClain, Watchyu Talkin Bout McGahee & Ray Rice are a formidable thunder, lightning and rain combination. Though if McGahee is the rain, he was held to a spitty New England mist, limited to 11 yards on 5 carries… Ray Rice however burned us for 103 yards that included a 50 yard scamper on 3rd and 20.
Though there were various frustrating points about yesterday’s game, there seem to be just as many positives. One such yin & yang is Lawrence Marony’s inability to move the ball the ball north & south as Sammy Morris’s skills as a backfield receiver improve. This is, of course, a nod to Coach Bill who elected to keep 5 running backs on the 53 man roster. (BJGE was inactive again last week.)
The most atrocious part of the team is 3rd down D. The Ravens converted on 9 of 14 3rd downs on Sunday and 4 in a row on their first sustained possession after giving the Patriots the ball on the 12 freakin yard line and holding them to a g-d damn field goal. Perhaps the game would not have come down to the last Ravens drive of the game and some stellar defensive back play if we had stopped the Ravens on 3rd down earlier in the game. All I’m saying: I’m not all wet about this defensive unit like every single talk show host seems to be. Nut I am encouraged by the play of Guyton, Marriweather, and now Darius Butler who saved two touchdowns with solid corner play on two very good receivers. (Leigh Bodden also picked off the Patriots first INT of the season).
Randy and Tom got it going a little bit as well, exploiting a goal-line one on one which I was screaming about pre-snap from the stands. I’m almost certain they heard me. My favorite offensive look is Moss, Welker & Edelman, Watson and Faulk, though I don’t think we’re seeing enough Fred Taylor who only had 7 rushing attempts. That said, the Pats backs did exactly what I said they were supposed to do, combine for 100+ yards and a score. (Brady also ran one in. Go Him.)
Every positive factor will need to keep improving this week. Next week we fly to Denver to take on Josh McDaniels (who I told Denver they were lucky to have), Brandon Marshal (who has since stopped beating his girlfriend and teammates and is playing some sweeeeeet football) and Big Broski (who I can’t stand the thought of losing to because he throws temper tantrums… and that type of behavior can never be rewarded).
For the 5th week in a row, including week 1, the Patriots will take on an undefeated opponent. And this 3 game stretch is a huge test: ATL, BAL, DEN. But the Pats have reached the first quarter mark of the season with a low key 3-1 win/loss, some flashes of defensive fortitude and even a few offensive breakouts. We’re 3 wins into a long season and we’ve been given the perception that things are only getting better from here. At least we know the Denver offense pretty damn well.