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My Super-long AFCCG Thoughts!

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Great win. SD played a much better game defensively than I gave them credit for, but NE morphed into the team that no one thought they could become - winning with power running and stingy defense. I'm thrilled as can be that the game was decided by the players on the field rather than a boneheaded official. As always, here is my collection of semi-coherant ruminations on the game. :blahblah:

    * I went through all the TOs after the SD/Indy game and concluded that Indy was more responsible for them than SD. I honestly feel that I could do something similar with this game, but at some point I have to recognize that flukes don't have such consistency. SD makes you make mistakes. I don't know exactly what they were doing because I still think that Tommy helped their cause somewhat, but their defense clearly disrupted NE's passing game. Much credit needs to be tossed their way.

    * The trifecta is now complete. I have been pointing out the parallels between this year's playoffs and the 2003 run since the Jax game ended. Every week it seemed that the opponent was similar to their 2003 counterparts. Well, this might be the closest example of all, with the biggest difference being that the 2003 Cats actually won their division. Aaron over at footballoutsiders actually ran though the similarities prior to the NCFFG here.

    * I may get skewered for saying this, but I thought that Brady was pretty lousy. Of course I understand that guys aren't going to play at their peak level when playing in single digit temperatures with wind. For all his grit, it isn't as if Rivers was lighting it up either.

    That said, Brady was just off all night. Normally, even if the weather is a factor you can count on Tommy to make good decisions and protect the ball. To me, I didn't see that same crispness that he usually displays. Even when he made the right decision he was often off. Hell, even when a catch was made the ball was regularly off. Kevin Faulk made at least three amazing catches collecting a few of these potential misfires. K. Brady being overthrown by 10 yards on the first play was huge because that was a 20+ yard reception of the ball was anywhere near him. Had NE scored on that drive, I think that game would have gone much differently. My buddy and I were chuckling about another throw after the game where Tommy overthrew Moss on the right sideline by nearly 20 feet, despite Moss being open only 5 yards past the LOS.

    I can't help but think that it was more than the weather. Brady just didn't seem himself the entire game, and I'm not just talking about passing either. I wouldn't be surprised if it is leaked out later that he was battling the flu or something.

    * One thrown that looked off at first glance was the diving and rolling Faulk first down. It looked originally like Brady underthrew a ball where Faulk was wide open, but I think he made a good play here. If you watch a replay, you can see a defender coming into the play who, IMHO would have had a kill shot on Kevin if Brady had led him in a normal manner.

    * For all the talk about the tremendous play that Seau made prior to SD's 4th FG, I thought that Hobbs deserves just as much credit for his open field tackle of Chambers earlier. Hobbs had to make a nice play going under a blocker and then take out Chris by his legs, and no one was stopping the TD except for Ellis.

    * Was it just me, or did LdT look like Darth Vader on the sideline?

    * Kaeding may have made several FGs, but NE dominated the game on special teams. Aside from Washington's tremendous play that set up Asante's int, Kaeding's kicks were extremely short and NE was still able to get consistent return yardage to boot. NE's kick offs AND their KO coverage were both better than SD's by a good margin and the punt games played to about a draw.

    * IMHO, that was Maroney's best game as a pro. He ended up with the exact same rushing yardage as last week, but SD wasn't running guys backwards at the snap like Jax did. Obviously the OL deserves much credit for dominating the LOS in the second half, but Maroney was able to consistently get extra yardage - even in traffic. I still think that Laurence was closer to this guy all year than his numbers or playing time would indicate, but it must be nice for him to be getting some vindication when the games count the most.

    * I understand why everyone is giving LdT so much grief, but I'm not sure that it is really deserved. On the screen play that was his final play of the game, he clearly had nothing. I don't know if he reaggravated the knee or if he was hurt worse than anyone knew, but he was not the same guy. And it isn't as if SD was without anyone else to run the ball. If Turner had gotten hurt, I would bet that LdT would have seen the field again, but Turner was clearly the bigger threat at that point.

    * I have heard several commentators (I don't like to call them "analysts" ;) ) refer to the pressure that SD was able to get on Brady, but I didn't quite see it. Frankly, I thought that the Giants were in Brady's face quite a bit more than SD was. The only int where Brady was under pressure was the second one near midfield when (Phillips?) beat his man and was careening towards Tommy. Other than that, most of the times that Brady was off - be it an int or just an incompletion - he had time and just missed.

    * As always, the Big Uglies need to be given credit for their performance. Watching last year's game earlier this week and then seeing this matchup was remarkable. Last year, the Chargers looked like they were all 8 feet tall and NE had to work hard to just keep from being eaten alive.

    Fast forward to yesterday and you see a group that essentially stoned SD's pass rush all game and blew them completely off the ball running in the second half.

    Since we have two weeks to kill before the next game, I'll withhold all comments on the Giants and the SB for a later date. :cool: As always, I welcome your thoughts.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  2. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great stuff as always, oswlek, I look forward to your postgame analyses.

    Re: Brady, you're right. He's the best QB on the planet, but yesterday he was not good.

    Faulk made at least 3 catches that had no business being completions.

    The 1st int was a great play by Jammer, the 2nd was a horrible throw to a wide open Stallworth who could only lunge to get a hand on it, and the 3rd was where Brady just didn't pick up the defender on his radar.

    "The Next Game" is in a dome. Look for Tommy to explode the record books against a team that has NO film on the Pats O in good weather or a dome since before the week 9 bye.
  3. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My thinking on the Cromartie pick is that the pass was inexcusable because Brady clearly threw without looking, and it was a poor pass to boot.

    However, I was also thinking, even before the pass was made, that they should have run on that play. I thought the call itself sucked, so I lay the blame on McDaniels as well as Brady. And, for what it's worth, I'm usually a fervent McDaniels supporter.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  4. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    There were a handful of other playcalls that I wasn't a fan of. I can't remember any of them right now, though. I'm not sure if that is one or not, but off hand I don't think so.

    Also, with regard to playcalling, was it moe or was the playcalling down the stretch in the game reminiscent of teams who are trying to protect a liability at QB? Obviously I'm not calling Tommy a liability, but it just seemed like they really simplified things knowing that

    a) Brady was off
    b) There was little chance other than an int for SD to come back.

    Only three passes on NE's final two drives were directed towards a WR - for a total of 22 yards. This was out of 8 passes and I got the impression that the RB's were the first read on those plays as well.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  5. scout

    scout Rookie

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    Great post, again.
    I keep thinking back to Maroney's runs. There were a couple of times where he was right beside a defender after he broke free, and you would think with that defender being so close he was going to tackle Lawrence. Then you see a little juke and Maroney blows right by the guy. Amazing. What a backfield.
  6. JoePats

    JoePats Rookie

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    Great stuff Oswlek...

    I agree completely on Maroney, and remember, he had only 46 yards against the Giants, who did a great job against the run against us (there were very few lanes all night and he did well to get 46). Clearly the OL is run-blocking much much better now than they were then, even though it was only a month ago.

    If we can drop a 38 spot on the road with no running game, I'm looking forward to a dome, with two weeks to prepare, and a significantly improved running game.
  7. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    I don't know who deserves the blame on the first INT (and we'll never know), but there was some miscommunication. I don't know if the route was supposed to go deeper or to where Brady threw the ball (and Stallworth just overran the route), but there was clearly something amiss. Could have been all Brady, could have been all Stallworth. Most likely they both deserve some blame for that INT.

    The second INT to Stallworth was a bad throw, but I wouldn't say Stallworth was wide open (and maybe a better effort could have prevented the INT). Bad throw, nonetheless.

    The third one is all on Brady. That ball was poorly thrown and right at Cromartie. Bad throw, even worse decision. Combined with a lot of off target balls, those INTs really show he was off his game.

    That being said, he still completed 66% of his passes. Tom Brady on an off day is still fairly accurate (we're just used to seeing the SuperBrady).

    Great analysis, Oswlek.
  8. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    Hmmm, from the stands, it looked like the Stallworth pick was catchable, even though Phillips hit Brady a split second after he released.

    On the Kyle Brady overthrow, that was Kyle's fault. He stopped running hard as soon as he got even with the DB. If Brady had been running, that would have been a perfect pass. I think Kyle changed directions 3 times on that route and never imagined Brady would be going to him.
  9. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    TEMPO.... these past two games the Jags slowed the game down bigtime and it seemed like the chargers slowed it down too. I will be curious to see how many snaps the Pats have which is a lsight indication(but you always have field position and big plays that change that).

    because of a slow temp Brady never got rythem.
  10. DonBlackmon55

    DonBlackmon55 Rookie

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    Stallworth also broke up what couldve been another INT by Jammer. Brady threw the sideline go route too high and to the inside.

    Bottomline, Tom had his stinker game of the season, and yet we still win. It was noticeable when the cameras were on the sideline that Tom was sitting quietly and was not pumped up at all and nor was he talking to the O in his typical animated fashion. Seemed like he was under the weather. Maybe practicing with Light gave him the FLU bug too

    Usually he is head butting teammates before games like these and it seemed he was just in a fog all day
  11. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    Completely agree. brady shouldn't have thrown that ball, and it was underthrown to boot.

    I also thought that was a bad playcall and was calling for them to run the ball. They were at the 2 yardline right? Maroney's had a nose for the endzone lately, and seems to punch it in when ever they give him the ball inside the 10. I will say that I thought their playcalling really improved in the second half, and I loved watching NE's rushing attack gash that SD defense.
  12. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree. I rarely complain about playcalling but that series bugged me. First and goal from the 9 they run - I didn't like that as it's tough to run from that spot. Then 3rd and goal from the 2, I'm running on 3rd; and again on 4th if necessary.
  13. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rookie

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    Good observation. I noticed the same thing, Brady looked different and didn't have his usual determined energy. No telling what it was, as neither he nor his teammates will mention this at all, but he was not himself.

    The good news is that Brady has a history of coming back strong after his rare weak performances. The Super Bowl could not be a better stage for this history to continue.
  14. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    This is precisely what I was trying to say earlier when I said he didn't look like hmself. Thank you for expanding on it better than I.
  15. denverpatsfan

    denverpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I honestly think Brady had the flu or "flu like symptoms" or the nasty stomach virus that has been spreading around the Boston area since Christmas. Most of my extended family caught that bug. Hopefully it's not a shoulder injury or something more serious.

    Play calling on 3rd & short is what had me scratching my head. They went to the shotgun a couple of times and it didn't work. Why not call a run which did work a couple of times with Evans or a QB sneak or a curl from a std drop back. Those punts especially the one at the end of the half really upset me. Giving the Chargers a chance to score which they did at the end of the half was not the way you want to go into the locker room.

    Also which has been mentioned here was the lack of the PAP. Two times in the redzone on 1st and goal I thought it was a great opportunity to run it. But they did not. I guess this was by design since another poster noted that the Chargers D doesn't react to the PAP.

    I thought the Jammer INT was an amazing play by Jammer. The guy had to leap 24"-36" in the air in order to make that catch. Maybe Brady shouldn't have tossed it, but the DB still had to make a heck of a play.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  16. DonBlackmon55

    DonBlackmon55 Rookie

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    It was a bit surprising since he played "Lights out" vs Pitt in AFCCG few yrs ago despite having 103 fever/flu, and playing in 20F weather.

    Beng under the weather, the pressure to have a MUST win to goto SB after having a 16-0 season, the fact Moss was taken away from the O seemed to have affected him in first half.

    Faulk and Lomo stepped it up in 2nd half, and the D clamped down hard. That is why this is a TEAM.

    You could see the relief on his face after hoisting the LH trophy, as well in the press conference. This will be a good break to charge up the batteries for 1 more.

    SB could easily become a blowout win by Pats. I just have that feeling they want to make the statement win in a season that only comes along in a generation. doubt we will ever see another 19-0 Team, especailly with FA/Salary Cap era controlling parity(exception being Pats)

    It will be a sad day when Tom decides to hang it up. Enjoy the ride.

    18-0....Still hard to fathom we already are the best team ever, surpassing the 17-0 doofins, and ahead of 18-1 Bears from '85
  17. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    Teams that are scared of their QB making a mistake and calling plays to protect him don't do what the Pats did on their last drive. They called passes on 5 of the first 7 plays, resulting in 4 completions and a sack.
  18. patological

    patological Rookie

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    It would be great if the Pats could somehow snag the kid from Wareham, Stephen Cooper, for it's "aging" linebacker corps.
  19. QuinielaBox

    QuinielaBox Rookie

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    It was a do what it takes to win kind of day. Brady clearly did not have his best stuff but the rest of the team picked up the slack for a solid Patriots AFC championship win.

    The D did a nice job on Darren Sproles, especially that one screen play that worked for a score on (Jarvis Green read that one). Norv Turner was blasted unfairly for pulling LT early but there must have been a reason.

    That 9:00 minute drive to close the game was Papelbonesque. Credit Faulk with the hold and Maroney with the save.

    See you at the bowl, boys!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  20. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Granted, but the feel of this drive was different than just about any I have seen all year. I was a classic drive with the OL manhandling the Chargers and Maroney running wild, so I'm not complaining.
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