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My take on what I saw yesterday, a day removed.

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brownfan80, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 Rookie

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    I, as some of you might know, have not yet found a good place to watch football. I got some suggestions from a few guys here, but nothing concrete materialized by noon on Sunday so I got ready and went over to a local sportsbar called Charlie's. It's kind of a dive, but they have cheap beer and the food is good and not too expensive.

    I arrived right around 1 o'clock to find that the Pats-Bills game was not recieving. I watched some other game dejectedly while I waited for them to figure out the problem with the Pats game. I saw the ticker at the bottom scroll the 7-0 score and my jaw dropped. The game had just started and already we were behind a TD? I thought to myself 'How has this happened??'

    Soon after, they got the game going and I saw the same thing that you all saw. A horrid passing game and a run defense that was allowing the Bills to basically take what they wanted. The first half ended and all I could picture was Deion Branch sitting at home, rubbing his fingers together in the universal sign for 'show me the money'. I was very upset at halftime.

    I felt as though it was 2005 all over again. We hadn't been stopping the run, Brady was getting beat to hell, the running game looked good, but not much else did. I was officially in a funk (aided by the two pitchers I was quickly pounding through).

    The second half started and the Bills were driving. My funk was stewing into all out negativity. My fiance (http://www.myspace.com/nichelob) was getting ill at how the bad vibes were just oozing out of me. Every completion and run on that opening Bills drive had me grunting in disgust. 2005 is all I saw in every play.

    And then a great third down stop brings up 4th and 1. I said aloud 'Of course they'll go for it! And why not? We've been giving them whatever they've wanted all game! They can get a yard and they know it!"

    My fiance told me to stop being negative. She told me that we were going to come back, she could feel it. I said that I couldn't. But then came the play. 4th and 1, Mcgahee up the gut, it looked close, but NO! Stopped short! And even a good spot couldn't get them to the first down marker.

    The next drive played out, with the running game doing most of the work down the field, Caldwell showed up a bit, as did a HUGE pass to Watson. And then that INCREDIBLE catch by Faulk in the endzone on third down. My negativity abated.

    On the next Buffalo drive a three and out. My negativity and feelings of 2005ness waned even further. A defensive stop! And then our next drive. Another LONG run dominated drive. A fourth down conversion with Tom Brady DIVING up the middle to ensure the yardage. And then our new kicker blasts in the tying score.

    From there it was all defense and running game, and the winning safety. We all saw the ending.

    So today, after letting it settle, I come away with this:

    The first half looked like one of those rotten 2005 games where we simply couldn't do anything right. The run defense was like a broken dam, the offense was one dimensional and didn't score points.

    But UNLIKE 2005, this 2006 team came out in the second half, made adjustments and CAME BACK to win the game! We ran the ball outstandingly well (both Dillon and Maroney) which is something we simply never did in 2005. And the defense, after looking 2005y in the first half, came back to play GREAT football in the second half. The running lanes that had been wide open were suddenly shut. The pressure that was too late in the first half and in 2005 was suddenly all in Losman's face.

    This 2006 team showed me yesterday that unlike last year being down doesn't mean being OUT. The defense doesn't have to play badly for 60 minutes if they've played badly for 30, they can turn it around.

    The WR situation will get better once Gabriel gets more into the system and healthy, and Jackson WILL help once he gets on the field. If Deion gets back, I'm sure things will get better right away. If he doesn't, then the WRs that we have will get better with time as well. Caldwell, Gabriel, and Jackson will all eventually get some chemistry with Brady and even Childress (if he stays on the active roster) will get a better relationship with our QB. Only good things can come from this.

    As dead as the first half looked, this team showed signs of life in the second half that the 2005 team never mustered in bad games. This is a different team. This team stepped up and showed us something.

    Bring on the Jets.
  2. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    My thoughts on the game:

    * The one thing that I was never concerned about going into this game was pass protection. I couldn't have been more wrong. That was the biggest issue with NE offensively.

    * However, the running game, both blocking and running, was very good. To make a comparison, NE rushed for 183 yards even though they only had a 2 point lead for 8 minutes (and that lead was only 2 points) and they were behind by 10 points for almost 2 full quarters. Indy, on the other hand, never trailed and lead by 16 at one point and only rushed for 55 yards. NYG's rush D is better than the Bills, but that does not account for the 130 yard disparity. The rush O is a serious threat.

    * All in all, I am still not concerned about the O-line at all. 4 of 5 are known entities and the other can be replaced with a decent option if he shows incapable. Buffalo took round one, but sometimes teams are just a little more fired up. I honestly think that NE will dominate that team the next time they face off.

    * Buffalo's first defensive call was a great call. Nobody was ready for the blitz.

    * I still am concerned about NE's WRs, but I am optimistic. All they need is one receiver, be it Gabe, Jackson or Branch, to come in and push all the others down to make this a decent corps. The biggest problem right now is that both of the strengths are on the inside of the field. If they can get one guy that the defense worries about 1:1 coverage, that will stretch the field horizontally in a way that it isn't right now. If both Gabe and Jackson eventually step in as the #1 and #2, then no one will worry about Branch.

    * That 4th and two call was ballsy. I actually thought they would kick the FG because the lead was only 2 points. If Buffalo had stuffed it, they would have only been 35 or so yards away from a makable game winning FG. Had the lead been 3 or more, I wouldn;t have had any concern.

    * Again, I think it might be a matter of Buffalo being a little more "fired up" than NE, but I was surprised at how easily Buffalo was running between the tackles early in the game. Some of biggest holes were right between Seymour and Wilfork, and I thought they would be lucky to get 15 yards there all game. It seemed to me that there was a good amount of success between Seymour and TBC as well.

    * I loved how Colvin took it upon himself to encourage the team and the crowd. Calling for crowd noise when the D had not earned it yet, the next two plays were a sack and a tipped pass, both by Roosevelt.

    * I am very optimistic about this team, and I will admit to seeing things a little rosy, but I wouldn't be concerned about the team because of this game. Just in case you don't recall, NE usually startw out a little slow. Even ignoring the 2003 opener, there are many examples of this. For example:

    1) Said 2003's home opener was against a bad NYJ team that had lost Chad in the PS. NY held NE to 14 offensive points lost 21-14. They also had a dropped TD by Chrebet (I believe) on a drive that ended with no points.

    2) IN 2004 Indy ran all over NE. They topped 200 yards and 5 yards a pop. NE had a couple big plays (Bruschi's diving int, Edge's fumbles, Willie's sack) but otherwise the D was terrible.

    Because NE is such a game plan heavy team, they will start slowly until enough game film is created to get a good read on their opposition. Expect the Jet game this Sunday to be pretty close for this same reason. Again, they will beat the Bills handily the next time they face, count on it.

    * I think some of you overlook how unbelievably lucky Buffalo was on this game. They netted 17 points on plays that will likely not go their way again this season. The Spikes play was fabulous, both in call and execution, but I doubt NE lets them get away with that again. The bad snap bounced perfectly into Losman's hands so that, not only could he gather it right away, the play gained 20 yards! If that play happens 100 times, 70 of them end in a loss of 15-20 yards, 10 end with an incompletion, 19 end with a turnover and one actually gains yardage. Then you have to add in that Losman fumbled another snap and the muffed punt return. All four fumbles were recovered by Buffalo and 3 of the 4 improved from there (TD on the recovery, 20 yard gain, 3 gained yards on the muffed punt).

    * I am mildly concerned about the lack of TO's caused by NEs defense. I would also like to see a better pass rush. Buffalo definitely won the game in the trenches, especially early.

    I think that's it.
  3. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    2 excellent posts.
  4. Irish Hooligan

    Irish Hooligan Rookie

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    Buffalo got every bounce and every break, I agree very lucky.
    We are a different team alltogether with Bruschi playing in the middle.
    In the NFL you make life hard for yourself playing without Wide Receivers, look at the day the Panthers had. (us too)
    The better teams in the league would have beat us yesterday, but we found a way to win. I love the Pats, I always believe we will come back, always.
    Drew Bledsoe is f'n horrible, but he is better than K. Collins.
    Maroney is an absolute stud. I am ordering my son a Maroney jersey, he is 5 months old.
    Daniel Graham will drop an important pass, every single time.:bricks:
  5. Ichiro

    Ichiro Rookie

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    Just a few of my observations:

    -TBC and Colvin did not set the edge very well in the first half. The Bills had a lot success running off tackle. Hopefully we can improve here, because both Vrabel and McGinest were phyiscal against the run.

    -Offensive line had problems in pass protection, but I felt Brady held the ball too long. He seemed to wait for those 4-5 second routes developing down the field. He needs to find the check down faster than he did yesterday.

    - Seau and Vrabel were mediocre yesterday, sometimes reacting too late and getting mauled by offensive lineman. They improved in the second half, especially when the DL started dominating.

    -The secondary seemed to play with more discipline than last year. No big plays in the passing game, although they did allow Losman to throw to his first read too often. But again, the defense tightened up everything as the game moved on.

    -Caldwell didn't do that bad. He was solid yesterday, I think he can be a good #3 receiver in this offense.

    -Watson cannot be a huge factor all by himself. He really needs an outside threat to compliment his game. I believe he was the focus of the Bills defensive gameplan and was bracketed by a LB and safety almost the entire game. Hopefullly either Gabriel or Jackson (maybe both) can step up in the next few games and threaten safeties.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  6. SaCaCh

    SaCaCh Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    Good job guys, finally some sanity in this now too frequently insane board. Good points all around, and I think the key difference between last year and this year was adjustments that were made and that they were effective. First games mean nothing whether for good or bad, but there are little things you can pick up that are indicators of the type of team you will have. The adjustments is one, and one penalty in the first game bodes very well also.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  7. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Reading some of your posts has reminded me of a few things:

    * On some of the "up the gut" runs, it seemed to me that Seau did some of his "OLE!" type run D. I still would take him every day of the week and twice on Sundays than Beisel or Brown, but Bruschi will be a huge addition when he comes back.

    * Brady's int was terrible. Watson was never open the DB had the underneath coverage like blanket. The only way that a throw there makes any sense was to go over the top. It could also have been a poorly run route; maybe Watson should have come back towards the LOS. But, assuming that Watson was right, that was about as bad a decision as Brady has made, particularly because NE had just taken the lead and even a moderate drive would likely have broken the Bills.
  8. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Graham's "drop" was more on Brady. Yes, when you get both hands on it you should catch it, but Brady put that ball a yard too far to the left. He needed to put in on that shoulder because a safety was sitting inside Graham, but Brady led it a little too far.

    Not only that, but if Graham had caught that ball, I would have lost my under bet. ;) :p
  9. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Since 5 ring isn't here to warn you about my Graham appreciation, I'll share it with you myself. The TD pass was a bad throw, I'm pretty sure even the announcers corrected themselves, I'll have to check it on tape. I also recall another bad pass from Brady that just missed. No need to mention his devastasting blocking for an offence that is increasingly run oriented. ;)
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Tommy blamed himself for the throw in his press conference, claiming Ben ran a good route, Whitner was in the right defense, and that he should have put more air under the ball.
  11. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    I have to disagree on Graham with regard to his blocking. He struggled with Fletcher, which prevented Maroney getting to the edge after his two early breakaways. His blocking is overrated and his hands are too inconsistent to trust at crucial points in the game. A top flight tight end makes that TD grab. Graham is not that. I see him as the kind of player who may need to move on to another team before fulfilling the potential he showed in college.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  12. friggs

    friggs Rookie

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    That drop was NOT Graham's fault. He laid out trying to catch that ball and it went off his fingertips. He did a heck of a job to get that close. If Brady's pass had been on target it would've been complete. It's not like Graham was standing there facing Brady and it bounced off his chest.
  13. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies, fellas.

    A couple of the topics touched on:

    The OL blocking: Obviously they did well in the Running game. As far as pass protection, they obviously had their struggles there too. I'm sure that the pass blocking will get better with time.

    For Light and Koppen I'm sure there's some rust going on there. And possibly some lingering effects from their injuries. I'm sure they will both be fine in time. Though Light has always had trouble with speed DEs.

    Dan Graham's drop looked like a bad throw, but who knows where the route was supposed to take Graham. It's hard to say whose fault it was without knowing who was supposed to be where. Of course Brady's going to take the fault in front of the media, that's just his way, but it doesn't tell us the real mistake in the play execution.

    Same can be said of the Watson aimed INT.

    It was mentioned in the thread that the edge wasn't being set well in the first half, but on the most notable plays that I watched it was the interior gaps being blown up.

    Several times I saw either TBC or Colvin set the edge only to have the RB fly inside of that to the interior and escape from Seau or Vrabel into the secondary. Several times I saw Wilfork single blocked out of plays in the first half. The second half obviously something changed. Whatever it was, it worked. Seymour seemed to struggle early as well.

    We'll see in the coming weeks which half of football was more indicative of the team we're actually fielding. I'm hoping that the second half is the real team we have out there. :)

    One other note: That pop that Rodney laid that they replayed just for the sound effect was pretty awesome. I love having Rodney out there. No else in that secondary brings the lumber like he does.
  14. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 Rookie

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    As far as Graham's blocking... he has shown over the years that he's one of the top blocking TEs in the league. I think having a rough first outing this season is understandable for several reasons.

    A- he was out for much of training camp and the offseason program because of his injury from last season.

    B- He didn't play consistently last season because of said injury.

    C- He was facing London Fletcher(-Baker), who BB has praised over and over as one of the better LBs not only in the AFCE, but in the NFL as a whole.

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