WOW. What a second half there by the Patriots. Not quite what anyone expected, but this was a great win. Most people, myself included, thought this team was a playoff team just based on their offensive firepower. But tonight's game proved that their special teams and defense can make plays. Don't get me wrong, the defense wasn't pretty (unlike Tom Brady, did you see that post game interview!) but they got the job done when it mattered.
A few observations:
1)The first half was all Rob Ninkovitch. I bet most of the people watching the game hadn't ever heard of him, but those who have been following the Pats have seen some flashes of Mike Vrabel in him. Besides their sharing #50, they both are tough guys who fit in well with Belichicks 3-4 defenseive front. Ninkovitch has shown this year that he can make big-time plays and help set the tone for the defense. He had the big forced fumble/recovery in week 1, and may have saved this game with his 2 interceptions (and a sack) in the first half.
2)Before we move onto Pat Chung, lets talk about two other defensive guys real quick: Brandon Merriweather and Jerod Mayo. Merriweather was a pro-bowler last year, but hasn't played much through the first 3 weeks (we saw why when he took a horrendous angle on the CJ Spiller screen pass TD last week). But he had a few big time hits in the first half- the big stop of the wildcat on third and short, and the bone crushing hit he laid on Davone Bess on that screen pass. Both plays I hope to continue seeing moving forward. As for Mayo, I saw him getting a bunch of tackles over the middle, but this dude had 16 tackles, ALL solo. He may not be a playmaker quite yet, but he can damn sure tackle.
3) Pat Chung, probably the player of the game- blocked punt, blocked FG, INT for TD with 5 tackles. I was wondering where Pat was at the beginning of the game when our defense was looking slow. It seemed that Belichick was going with Merriweather and Sanders, both run-stopping safetys, but with Chung's special team plays, he forced his way into the lineup and put the cherry on top with his pick-6. I love his potential, although I would like to see him become more of an all-around defensive player before we crown him the next big thing.
4) I discussed BJGE last time, and now you know why. He looked really good, running hard, busting his way to a bunch of extra yards and a broken tackle 12 yard touchdown run.
5) Don't overrate this game too much. The defense didn't look good on third downs, and the offense wasn't great. Besides the special teams, the biggest spark was definitely the running game: BJGE and Woodhead looked awesome, and this was one of the first games I can remember where we didn't seem to lose yards on any runs (besides for one crappy Sammy Morris run)
On to more football thoughts.
1) The AFC East is looking more and more like a 2 team race, as the Pats and Jets have beat Miami in Miami the last 2 weeks. The Bills, well, they just suck. At least they have Ryan "Sparkplug" Fitzpatrick. By the way, random note, I learned this past week that Fitzpatrick means the son of Patrick.
2) Andy Reid is an unlucky guy. I mean, he commits to a QB, next thing you know- BAM- concussion. Then Vick comes in and looks good, so he sticks with him- BAM- injury. Now Kolb is back in and everyone is second guessing and triple guessing every decision he makes. What would you have done? I would have done the same thing! Give the guy a damn break.
3) Josh Scobee Josh Scobee Josh Scobee Josh Scobee Josh Scobee (copyright- Sports Guy) Did you see what he said after the game? Neither did I, but thanks to my brother, we got this gem: "I don't know what I was thinking. I blacked out for about 10 seconds. It was incredible!" Sounds like a typical Thursday night.
4) Great call by Steve Young: the Kansas City Chiefs being the last undefeated team is the single craziest subplot of this NFL season. The Chiefs!
And finally, a new addition to the blog, links. Everyone loves links, so I figured I would give you guys some sweet sports articles and videos to look at when your bored in class/at work tomorrow:
Ridiculous one handed catch from St. Louis wideout Danny Amendola: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbsrb6E8xHo
Great play all around by the 49ers special teams-
I hope this guy is OK, because concussions are really awful, but what a freakin hit (great song too, turn up your speakers)-
Sorry, I couldn't help myself:
Quick shoutout to the Giants defense who absolutely demolished Jay Cutler and helped keep my fantasy football team undefeated.
A couple Celtics articles for those who can't wait for NBA season:
Fun piece about SHAQ Diesel-
Nice article about one of my favorite former/current Celtics, Delonte West-
Classic LA athlete. Bill Plaschke writing about another pathetic surgery for the Lakers oft injured center, Andrew Bynum-
Last, but not least, the weekly must read for all football fans from Peter King-
Yes, I was nice enough to give you the print version so you only need to load one page.
Week 4 ends (and the Pats are tied for first place), the baseball playoffs are starting (no one in Boston cares), and the NBA is right around the corner. Sounds pretty damn good to me!