Sunday, December 26, 2004


Chad Pennington sucks. Tom Brady is the man. Yes, he sucked last week but he rebounded like he did after the Denver game in '01, or the Buffalo game in '03.

Tedy Bruschi had the first big play of the game when he intercepted a Chad Pennington pass and returned it for 36 yards giving the offense great field position. Bruschi doesn't get too many picks but when he does, it is typically because the QB can't see him stooped in coverage waiting for the ball or a receiver to come into his zone.

The offense didn't get going and punted the ball. They did give the Jets pretty poor field position which was nice considering Pennington led a 50 yard drive downfield that still did not put them in scoring range.

The Pats weren't able to do much with their next drive but a 29 yard pass to Givens gave them the edge in field position. After the Jets went 3 and out, the Pats got the ball on their own 31. Then they kicked it into high gear. Dillon ran for 3 hard yards up the middle. Brady hit Fauria for 15 yards. Dillon ran for 2 yards and then 6 more the next play. Brady ran for 5 up the middle for a 1st down. Pass had a big reception for 18 yards but it was taken back because of an offensive holding penalty.

Brady hit Dillon for 5 yards, then hit him again for 7 more. Pass then rushed around the end for 5 yards. He ran for 10 more after Brady threw an incomplete pass. Dillon ran up the middle for a yard, then Brady hit Pass for a few more. The drive finally stalled and the Pats were forced to kick a field goal. They did beat the Jets defense and had a small number of plays that didn't go for 3.3 yards or more, the average amount that is needed to get a first down on 3 plays.

The defense held the Jets to another 3 and out and once again the Pats offense rumbled down the field, this time into the end zone. The big play of the drive was a 35 yard pass to Givens that was perfectly delivered. Brady hit Graham in the end zone a few plays later.

The Jets once again went 3 and out and once again, the Patriots moved the ball down the field and scored. This time it was a field goal. The drive only took 1:06. It seems like whenever the Patriots have the ball in decent field position at the end of the 1st half, they will always march down and get that score that gives you momentum going into halftime. The Jets nearly allowed them do score again as they mishandled Vinaterri's well-executed squib kick. The Pats recovered the ball but 50 yards into the wind was too difficult of a kick for Vinaterri to nail.

The Patriots were able to move the ball a few yards in the opening drive of the 2nd quarter, but were unable to get past midfield. They were forced to punt. The Jets moved the ball into New England territory but the defense tightened up and forced a punt.

The Patriots got the ball on their 13 yard line and drove for 7:31 to score another field goal. Dillon and Pass were the featured players on the drive, rushing the ball and receiving it.

The Jets were down 16 points and needed to score to stay in the game. They started their drive on their 30 yard line. Ty Warren did a good job of holding up Curtis Martin at the line of scrimmage and Rodney Harrison finished the job. On 2nd and 9, the Jets hurried to get a play in before the 3rd quarter ended. Jarvis Green took Pennington down for a loss of 10. After a false start penalty, the Jets were looking at a 3rd and 24. Pennington is not exactly the greatest long ball QB and this was demonstrated as Eugene Wilson picked him off.

The Pats did not have much of a field to march down. They moved the ball 15 yards. Branch got the TD reception when he beat the CB covering him causing him to fall down.

The Jets were able to march down field, however, and scored a TD with 9 consecutive pass attempts. They thought about going for 2 but settled for the extra point. For a moment, it looked as though the Jets might make the game interesting.

The Patriots moved the ball to the Jets 25 yard line but Dillon was stopped on a 4th and 1. The drive did take 4:00 off the clock, however, and left New York with 5 and a half minutes to score twice.

Pennington threw to Moss for 17, then to McCareins for 18. He then hit Chrebet for 6. The drive stalled as Pennington passed to Jordan for a loss. He then threw incomplete to Moss. He hit McCareins on 4th and 6 but Asante Samuel made a great tackle to hold McCareins to 5 yards and not allow him to reach the ball across the plane of the 1st down line. The Patriots regained posession.

The Pats went 3 and out but took 1:11 off the clock with 3 straight runs and forced the Jets to start from their own 19. The Jets gained 10 on a pass interference call, then 36 more with a pass to McCareins. On 1st down, Roosevelt Colvin came on a blitz and sacked Pennington. Chad put the ball on the ground and it was recovered by Jarvis Green.

The game was all but over. Abdullah rushed the ball twice getting the required 1st down. Brady then took a knee three times. Game over.

The game was a great rebound for the Pats. Even without Ty Law, Bethel Johnson, Randall Gay, and Kevin Faulk, the Pats were able to go into the Jets' house (where they were 6-1) and completely dominate them. The Pats knew that a win secured a 1st round bye and they also knew that after this game is an easy and meaningless one against the hapless 49ers (which I am going to).

It seemed like everyone on the Patriots had a very good day. No-one screwed up. Brady was 21/32 with a pair of TD passes, and 264 yards. Dillon ran the ball 29 times for 89 yards and passed Curtis Martin for the Patriot single season rushing record. He also caught a pair of passes for 12 yards. Patrick Pass filled in nicely for Kevin Faulk rushing the ball 4 times for 17 yards. He had 5 receptions for 32 yards. Branch caught the ball 7 times for 82 yards and a TD. Givens had 2 big receptions for 64 total yards. Fauria had 3 catches for 44 yards. Graham had 2 for 30. Tully Banta-Cain had a solid special teams day recovering a fumble on a Vinatierri squib kick. Adam had 3 field goals and 2 XPs, giving him 11 more points. Miller had 2 punts inside the 20. Bruschi had 6 tackles and an INT. Johnson also had 6 tackles. Davis had 4 in off-and-on duty. Vrabel, Colvin, and Green each had a sack. Troy Brown added 2 tackles to his season total.

The Man of the Game is tom Brady. He looked very good once he got going. He made all the right decisions and helped win the game for the Pats.

The Pats sealed up the 2nd seed in the playoffs. The Steelers are the #1, the Colt s are #3 and the Chargers are #4. Right now, the Jets and Broncos are the 5th and 6th seeds. The Bills are currently tied with Denver but have a weaker conference record. Buffalo will be in if they beat Pittsburgh and either Denver or the Jets lose. The Jets are in if they win. The Broncos are in if they win. The Jaguars and Ravens need alot of help to get in.

Okay, I'm glad we kept Tek, and i'm even happier we named him captain even though the title isn't what is important, how he acts is what counts. I do think $10M a year is a bit much for a catcher in his early 30s. I'm glad the deal is only 4 years but nevertheless, he'll be 37 when the deal ends. I guess an eventual move to first isn't completely out of the question.

We've got Mueller, Millar (for now at least) and now we have Wade Miller. I think this is a solid pickup of a good pitcher whose arm is in question. For $1.5M this is a low risk, high reward gamble that might pay off alot.

One thing I don't like too much about this offseason is the amount of money we're spending, or rather not spending on pitching. We've got Schilling at $13M, Wells and Clement at $8M each, and the rest are pitching for peanuts. We've spent the same amount of money on 6 starting pitchers as we are spending on our 3 starting outfielders.

The Patriots can clinch a 1st round playoff bye with a victory against the Jets.

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