I just posted about the first half of the game. The second half has begun and unfortunately, it does not look good. The Patriots just turned the ball over again; turnovers like these will kill you. Fortunately, the defense was able to hold the Colts, but the Patriots cannot keep doing this to themselves and expect to win the game.
The 4th quarter just started, and the Pats are still struggling. The biggest concern is that the offense looks confused. In the first half they seemed to be in rhythm and were playing well, but that seems to have disappeared in the second half.
The Pats just keep killing themselves. Chad Scott intercepted Manning and then Brady gives it right back. Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!
Most of the sports types this week have been lamenting the upcoming game between the Patriots and the Bengals. The Bengals has an outstanding offense with tall wide receivers and Carson Palmer leading the way. This is not a good pairing with the Patriots who have at best a questionable secondary and at worst a non-existent one. The only hope for the Pats is to play a position game using Dillon, Maroney and Faulk and try to create long drives and keep the Bengals offense off the field. We also need to hope that Tom Brady looks better. As I previously posted, Brady looked off of his game last week and if he plays the same this week, the Patriots are in serious trouble. Interestingly, the last I heard is that the Vegas line on the game is the Bengals by 6. That is not nearly as bad as I would have expected. Now I am not a gambler, but if I was, there is a good chance that I would take the Bengals despite the spread.
Wow, I am reeling from the game today. As I had previously posted, I was gave the Pats little chance of winning today. The Bengals looked too strong and the Pats too befuddled over the last few games. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. This was a huge game for them because the team had yet to step up with a championship game performance. They just barely won in the past games. In this case, they did exactly that and showed why it is they have won superbowls. The biggest question marks for the Pats this year has been the secondary and more recently the receivers. In this game, the secondary deserves extremely high marks by effectively shutting down Carson Palmer and the Bengals potent offense. They also had the ability to raise their defensive game when it counted. One of the weaknesses this year has been the defensive team's weakness on third down. This was not evident tonight and they were able to make big plays on third down. The receivers also looked good. Brady looked comfortable in the offense and with the receivers which is a dramatic change from last week. Hopefully this marks the turning point for the offense and we will see more consistent performance from them.
I have been pondering Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos game. It is clearly too early in the season to be excessively depressed about the team, but they clearly were not the team that we have come to expect. Tom Brady looked very much of out of sorts and I cannot help but wonder whether the issue is the departure of Branch and Givens. It felt to me that Brady was uncomfortable with his receivers and that he seemed to focus primarily on Troy Brown. The reality is that the Patriots need a balanced offense. Their passing game is not good enough to carry the team and so they need the running game. Fortunately, they have Dillon, Maroney and Faulk all of whom are very talented. This should help bring more balance to the offense, but this was not evident on Sunday. The Patriots have a tough game this weekend versus the Bengals and hopefully they will use it as an opportunity to get back on track.
It is amazing, but the 2004-2005 season started last night with the Hall of Fame Bowl between the Redskins and Broncos. I cannot believe that it is time for football already. I, of course, am very excited another season and am keeping my fingers crossed that the Patriots continue their winning ways. It is always difficult for a Superbowl winner to come back and repeat and in fact in many cases Superbowl teams do terribly the next year. (Remember the last time they won the ‘bowl? They did not even make the playoffs the next year.)
The challenge for the Pats this year is the loss of some of their offensive and defensive linemen. Clearly they drafted well and got some other players from free agency, but it remains to be seen whether they will have a replacement for the dominant Ted Washington.
That not to say that things are looking bad. The acquisition of Corey Dillon and the return of Roosevelt Colvin both bode well for the team. Most importantly, the team is not so much about individual talent, but rather about collective success. The big question is whether they can come into this season with the same hunger and drive from last year or whether last year’s success will impact their outlook.
We shall see. Needless to say, I am keepin my fingers crossed that they show the same fire as last year.