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    January 03, 2005
PATRIOTS REPORT CARD
By:  Jim Cushing
PatsFans.com Fan Columnist

Despite the Patriot’s generosity in the first half( 2 fumbles,1 int.)the 49’ers were only capable of making 7 points on a shortened field for the entire game.The starting units gave way to the backups in the third quarter in what was a meaningless game for the team.The Patriot’s finish the regular season with a record of 14-2 and preparing for the playoff’s. Conversely,the 9’ers finish an awful 2-14 and preparing their excuses.

COACHING : A

Getting your team motivated to play the worst team in the league is difficult, especially in a meaningless game.Belichick was smart pulling his starters in the third quarter.They had by that time overcome their earlier mistakes and built a solid 21-7 lead over a team that seemed to have had enough and was in a hurry to get off the field.

QUARTERBACK : B

Tom was 22/30 for 226 yds. 1 TD ,1 INT and a fumble all in a little over half the game. He showed poise and made good decisions. Now he can get a little rest for the playoff’s.Rohan Davey played with good composure and handled the offense efficiently.

OFFENSIVE LINE : B

The line(s) did well both in the passing and running game.Brady was given the time and Dillon was given the holes.Dan Graham did not play and in his place was Jed Weaver who caught 4 passes for 62 yds. C. Fauria also caught 3 for 37 yds. Good output by the tight ends.

RUNNING BACK : A

Corey Dillon was 14/116 yds.1 TD and 1 fumble.Corey finished the season with 1635 yds. and a 4.7 yd. average.A week to rest should help make him stronger for what is ahead. The faithful also got to see draftee Cobbs, Pass and pickup Abdullah in action.

RECEIVERS :B

D. Branch had 1 TD and big Mike Vrabel (linebacker) also had 1 TD playing with the offense.The distribution of the ball had a lot to do with keeping the smaller receivers healthy.That was the reason the TE’s led in receptions.

DEFENSIVE LINE :B

Without Seymour playing, the first unit did well at stopping the running game.The backups led by E.Kelly and draftee M. Hill(who I saw get pancaked for playing too high in the position) gave up some garbage time yds.Their day will come just not yet. Vince Wilfork had a strong performance at the nose position as did Warren,Traylor and Green at their respective positions. Willie McGinest had a sack.

LINEBACKERS : B

Tedy Bruschi played with reckless abandon.He talied 9 solo tackles,and 6 assist.He’s the best! Ted Johnson was also active with 4 solo and 4 assist. Tully Banta-Cain added another 8 tackles.

SECONDARY : B

Rodney Harrison put the lumber on a number of 9’ers who made the mistake of entering his area.Ty Law and Eugene Wilson were sidelined leaving the secondary duties to Gay, Moreland, Samuels , Don Davis(linebacker /safety)and Troy Brown(receiver/corner).The net result was only 7 points scored against the defense even if it was just the 9’ers.

SPECIAL TEAMS : B+

J.Cherry had a great game twice pinning the ball inside the 5 yd. line.A very good performance led by team captain,Larry Izzo.

KICKING GAME : A

Adam was 3/3 on extra points. Josh Miller made some great kicks with backspin which helped the special teams players recover deep in the opposing field.

Now it is time to rest .Our turn will come again soon ! Go Pats forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Jim Cushing
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