Things I learned on Sunday....
.....and I learned A LOT. And one of the things I learned is that is it is not easy to find you guys these days. ;)
I have purposely NOT read any of the papers the last few days, nor have I listened to ESPN or the talk media. I wanted to maintain a singular perspective before writting this post.
1. Peyton Manning was the better QB.... Sunday. It isn't like I would trade Tom for him one on one, but this was IMHO his best game against the Pats EVER. It showed to me, that like Tom, he works to improve his game EVERY Year. What I noticed this year was his ability, like Tom, to move in the pocket to buy time is much better than in the past. I also thought he threw better under preasure than he has done in previous years. He really stood in there Sunday night. He was also exceedingly accurate. I hope people noticed how he threw the ball where ONLY his receiver could catch it.
He also has the advantage of working with his receivers long term, and being in an offensive system he has used his entire carreer, with the SAME OC.
2. Marvin Harrison is a wonder. He was both a severe pain, and pleasure to watch. Not only was his TD catch something of amazement, the fact he managed to catch the ball AND get both feet inbounds was UNREAL. It is really depressing to see this guy do what he does, yet all week the only WRs we hear about is TO and "Ocho Chinqo". Harrison is propably the BEST WR of his generation, AND THE MOST UNDERRATTED. ESPN et al should be ashamed. :mad:
3. I learned that the Pats are a better team than the Colts and WILL beat them badly when and if they play in the Playoffs. AND I don't care if its in the Dome or not. Payton ISN'T going to play better than he did on Sunday, and the Pats aren't going to play their worst game of the season. I mean, FIVE TO's. I think their were 4-5 penalties on third downs that GAVE the Colts first down. Guys, things like that are tantamount to turn overs. Inother words we there were 5 occassions where we GAVE the ball BACK to the Colts after holding them. There were way too many offensive penalties, to go along with the prerequisite 2 amazingly bad calls the refs made against the Pats (Troy's PF, and Vrabel's contact to the face).
4. The Colts were the better team on Sunday. They made the bigger plays and fewer mistakes. It was as simple as that. Yet I feel strongly that, even if they meet in Indy, and the Pats bring even their B+ game, they will beat the Colts soundly.
5. Lats week I praised Josh McDaniels. Today I come to BURY him. There were to striking things that stood out to me in that game, both are AMAZING. First was the virtual lack of ANY play action passes (PAP). You know, the play where the QB puts the ball into the back's belly, THEN takes it out and throws.
Damned it, the Pats have 2 legitimate running threats, they were carving the Colts up in 7-12 yd clips, and the only time the Colts could stop the run was when their SS (Bob Sanders) was in OUR back field; YET the Pats never ran a SINGLE PAP where Brady ACTUALLY faked to the RB. The closest they came to it was when they ran those ultra complex screens that never seemed to work.
Secondly, I actually had to admit that John Madden made a legitimat point when he questioned why the Pats were resorting to trickery when they had so much success just using their physical superiority. WELL I WAS WONDERING TOO. When Madden CORRECTLY states the obvious, (which is all he usually does :rolleyes:), you know there is a problem. :mad:
6. Brady had a very bad game.... for him. I'm not negative about the 4 picks. 2 were deflections that weren't his fault and a third was a deflection, but from a badly overthrown pass. No, it was the 2 badly overthrown balls that were picked that hurt. AND I thought he was off target most of the night. Even some of his completions had the receiver off stride when they MADE the catch, limiting their YAC. Another example was when he had Watson up the seem and gunned a bullet that was deflected by the LB, instead of leading him to a TD. They were small things like that. BOTTOM LINE, just a bad game. I'm not concerned, but I do recognize it.. I'll be interested in see what Felger has to say, after I post this.
7. I am constantly dumbfounded why the officiating is so INCONSISTANT this year. We see plays like the Brown and Vrabel penalties, and THEN we see the guy GET IT RIGHT on the Harrison TD catch.
8. We really missed having Rodney Harrison on the field. It wasn't so much that he didn't play, but the fact that we had to move Chad Scott back to safety, and Hobbs left the slot receiver to go to CB, Harrison's loss essentially weakened THREE DB positions against the best passing attack in the game....EARLY.
Now if Harrison is gone a significant time or forever, the Pats CAN recover and upgrade over time and be ready for the Playoffs. The worst time to have an injury is early in the game. It is a lot more difficult jumping into a game and making switches, than it is when you have a week to practice and plan for any losses.
9. My opinion of Thomas' Blocking improved after this game, but at this point of his career, he is no Daniel Graham. I think both the running and passing game will greatly improve when he returns
10. I know some people are getting impatient waiting for the emergence of Chad Jackson, and I'm one of them. However I offer this stat as a temporary band aid until he does. Deon Branch in his BEST season as a Patriot managed to record 5 TD passes caught. Thus far in a very limited capacity, Jackson has managed THREE.
11. Among the reasons we WILL win ...the next one... were evident even in the loss. First the Colts are NEVER going to be able to run on this defense. That will make them one dimensional. I think they average UNDER 3 ypc. They aren't going to consistantly keep the Pats from constantly pressuring Manning, even when rushing only 4 men. Manning did a great job of throwing under pressure, and evading the sack, but you don't want to see your QB under that kind of pressure on a regular basis. ON THIS NIGHT he threw a few balls that were prayers that were answered. He won't always be that lucky.
Even WITHOUG Harrison, You could see the improvement in the defense even from the first half to the second. Finally the Colts aren't going to improve their run defense, which makes me think they will be very vunerable in the playoffs and might not even get to us.
Win or lose, playing them in the regular season offers other advantages of their own. It is like the advantage the Pats got playing the Rams during the regular season before meeting them in the Superbowl in 2001. Sometimes you actually have to see the team in action ON THE FIELD, IN REAL TIME to get a feel of what needs be done. To experience the speed, cutting ability, style of offense, or pace of the attack IN PERSON; is important. Often, you cannot get that feel merely from watching on film. Having that experience against the Rams in 2001 was a huge advantage come the Superbowl
Finally IBWT, BB's record the second time around is nigh on to perfect. I was actually thinking PRIOR to the game that it might not be a bad thing to lose this game, not that it makes much sense to lose a game, but knowing how TOUGH it is to beat teams that SECOND time, and how often the team that loses the first one, wins the second; it wasn't TOO strange...I hope.
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