For better or worse, this set of thoughts is going to be a little more haphazard than normal. Between chasing after the kids and running to and from parties, I couldn't quite give the game as much attention as I'd have liked. I apologize in advance for what will most likely be a severe lack of continuity. Now, with that off my chest, onward we march!
* Obviously Randy had two amazing TD catches that we will get to, but I wanted to point out a couple others that might not get as much attention.
1) Moss had another back shoulder catch where the DB actually had excellent position on him, but he waited to the last second to "jump-stop" and have the ball come in behind the coverage. Since noticing it the first time, I have paid particular attention to this type of play, but I have yet to see any other reciever even attept it, let along do it.
2) Randy had an absolutely crazy play where he nearly caught a ball with one had while falling OOBs. As I said before, continuity, I have no idea whether this came in the EZ (I think it did, but I'm not sure) but I'm sure someone remembers it. Even my wife jumped off the coach when he did that. The guy catches better with one hand than most WRs do with two. I am reminded of stories about how the boys of Led Zep used to roll away one of Bonham's double basses because John was that much better with one than most were with two, and they wanted to give him a challenge.
* The TD's do deserve their own spot, though. Even though I think the first one was probably the more difficult catch, having to teap up and reach over the DB, the second one was certainly more visually impressive. I loved how Moss was the one guy left standing while DBs were sprawled on the ground around him. Does anyone have a picture of this play with the DBs on the ground at Moss' feet?
* Further along the jump-ball theme, Brady isn't just an innocent bystander on these plays. To see the QB skill in action, all that was needed was to watch the Denver/Pitt game yesterday. Twice in that game, QBs tossed what were jump balls (I'm being generous to Cutler and Roeth because if they weren't JBs, they were terrible decisions) but both times they didn't get enough height on the ball. In both cases, the DB had postion on the inside and the balls were too low for the WR to make a (legal) play on it. INT. Had Brady made a similar thrown on Moss' first TD, it would surely have been an int.
* I'll repeat what I said in another thread here:
Why do some people get such a defensive reaction to criticism of NE's defense?
They have been good so far, but not much more. I believe that a lot of Miami's success this past week was due to factors that won't happen regularly, namely
1) Oppressive heat & humidity wearing down the team.
2) Ridiculously successful offense somehow scoring 6 TDs and losing the TOP battle handily.
3) Some complaceny setting in when Brown went out with NE in command.
All that said, there is a trend line that is not favorable at this time. And every single team - no matter how terrible on offense - has had at least one long, successful drive.
I do expect the team to get better as they usually do with or without Seymour, but they have been helped significantly by the offense. Optimism and concern can coexist.
* I know that some have been really run up the rail for saying something similar, but here goes nothing: I don't expect Matt Cassel back next year. I know that it was only one play (really two because the first pass to Welker was way off too) but he just hasn't shown enough to invest another year in him, IMHO. PS practice reports made it seem as if Gut... was really lousy, but he only looks about a year gehind Cassel at this point - in his first season. Frankly, at this point, I would be surprised if NE was able to get anything at all in a trade for Matt.
* I'm sure that it had as much to do with RB availability as anything, but I was surprised at how little NE ran yesterday. Miami had been ungodly terrible against the run all year and I was expecting NE to work in Eckel and Evans a little. We see those guys as bottom of the barrel type RBs, but Miami has let guys of similar stature run all over them this year.
Back home to face Washington. I don't exactly have a read on this game other than to say I expect NE to win.
Washington has looked either very good or quite lousy this year - often in the same game. If they somehow piece together a full 60 minutes of their best ball, they could make this matchup a lot scarier than many expect. That said, with their OL issues and Campbell's experience level, I find it hard to believe that they can keep that up all game.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.