It was a funny feeling watching the game yesterday.
In many discussions here and across the web, no one seriously expected the Seahawks to hassle the Patriots. But they sure did.
Odd to go from a feeling of sure victory to a feeling of "season is over" in so few minutes. I'm glad the players have more intestinal fortitude than I do. I thought I was gonna have a stroke, hehe. The Seahawks are better than their record, imo. They may have waited to long to sit Hass down to get better.
But some funny things happened along the way. We took more hits defensively (Bruschi, Wilfork, Sanders, and Vrabel briefly), we really missed Warren, and the guys who signed THIS WEEK had to play. Seau and Colvin played 28 of 57 defensive snaps! If they were not former Patriots that would have been all but impossible. Props to them and to Bill and Scott for making those calls.
Over one game, we saw the defense step up. Really, they were never "bad" after the first half. I think they let up for a split second on the Branch scamper thinking he had stepped out. And it was a good play by Deion. He was loved here for a reason, right?
Cassel is gaining near legendary status
in my books for taking a beating in order to wait out a route and for making excellent decisions under pressure. His ability to forget drops and to stay focused under the gun (from defenses or unfavourable scores) is nothing short of impressive.
If he had another year of live experience on THIS team, he'd become an elite QB. He just needs to deep routes to come together more often and that's learn-able. He certainly doesn't lack the arm strength. What will happen to him elsewhere is hard to guess. Hopefully he bases his decision on a good system to play in. In some of these games, I'm not sure Brady would have done more than marginally better, though again, those deep route passes would be more spot on.
Wes Welker and Randy Moss are both receivers that genuinely warrant double coverage
and will be a fierce tandem for the foreseeable future. Moss did a lot more in that game than he'll be credited with. The connection for him and Cassel seems hard to read, and maybe it's more a product of Cassel being undeveloped than chemistry. Still he made key plays from drawing coverage to making a nice sideline catch. Welker is a beast, though. How the heck this guy can take that kind of a beating is beyond me, but he bounces back by being MORE dangerous. He and Cassel deserve a lot of credit for having us in contention right now, however slim the margin for error might be. In a regular AFCE year, our record is good enough make us feel confident. This is by NO MEANS a regular year.
Gaffney is underrated.
Seriously, we ride this guy and undercredit him, but he's a good football player. I think if it's reasonable, he will re-sign. He's made us angry a couple of times, but he's also been downright clutch.
Our depth on defense is better
than we though. Or at least better than I thought. I was genuinely impressed with our patchwork D-Line. Absolutely everyone was playing well by the second half. Fundamental football ended up saving the day. After this game (two unretired vets and a slew of untested kids taking the field) Bill cannot be questioned as being the best coach in the NFL today. NO other coach can overcome these losses. Look at each key loss and think of how many other teams JUST ONE of them would have brought down.
I don't know what will happen next week
and the Cards game certainly looks a little spooky from here. Regardless, as of today I feel like I am watching a second legendary season in a row
being played out by the New England Patriots, and it's a great feeling!