To close for comfort for myself, but hey I’ll take the win today. It’s another Sunday, another hard fought victory for the New England Patriots over the visiting St. Louis Rams. And in case you don’t already know this, the Patriots are back in first place for this week tied with the Buffalo Bills. How’s that possible, well I’ll help catch you up on all the happenings. The Patriots won 23-16 this afternoon, and the Miami Dolphins showed some signs of life on the field and handed the Bills another defeat. We win, Bills lose and all is right in the AFC East again. As the New England Patriots are back on top, where we belong.
Now let’s talk about a nail biter in this contest, from the moment the game started to the very final ticks of the clock this game was to close for comfort. What hurt the Rams the most today simply it was themselves, with penalties all afternoon, as they were flagged 9 times for 93 yards. The biggest one of all coming on the opening kickoff in the first quarter. The Rams Dante Hall returned the opening kick back 75 yards into New England territory, but it was all for nothing as a penalty on the Rams wiped out the return. The Patriots on the other hand play a penalty free game as they finished without any flags being thrown on them.
Normally when you think of these two clubs meeting, you think of a high scoring fireworks type of game. With Marc Bulger and Tom Brady lighting it up in the air, and defense not even coming in the equation. But with the Patriots missing Brady for the season, and Bulger not the same quarterback we have known throughout the years. Today’s game had a difference in it, both sides played defense, and I mean they played a heck of a game both teams defenses.
Now when I say that it doesn’t mean neither gave up a big play or played flawlessly. Because we got burned once or twice in the air thanks in part to our secondary coverage. Giving up the Rams first and only offensive touchdown on the day, early into the second quarter. Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery made our secondary look like a high school football team on the play. He just left them in the dust searching for their jocks, by grabbing a 69 yard pass completion and taking it to the house all the while making it look very easy.
This game was like a chess match going back and forth all afternoon. Just waiting for their opponent to make a fatal mistake. The Rams pivotal mistake came on their final possession of the game late in the fourth quarter. With the Rams driving and moving down the field for what could of been the game tying touchdown. Deltha O’Neal made up some redemption for his early mistakes by picking off Bulger’s pass intended for Keenan Burton at the New England 16 yard line. O’Neal who had left the game with an earlier injury, sealed the game for the Patriots with that key interception.
As mentioned in my keys for victory article, the special teams played an important part in this contest. With the teams combining for a total of six field goals between their kickers Josh Brown of the Rams and the Patriots Stephen Gostkowski each nailing three. Brown not only had the three FG’s but he also saved a touchdown on a kickoff for St. Louis. After converting a 25 yard FG, Brown knocked Ellis Hobbs out of bounds and broke up a sure fire kickoff return for a touchdown. That play kept the Rams in lead at the time at 16-13.
Both teams played a great game and if you look at the stats for them you’d agree. With the Rams out gaining the Patriots in total yardage by only 10 yards at 358-348. Time of possession was equally close but in the Pats favor at 30:35 compared to the Rams 29:25. The turnover battle was also in St. Louis’s advantage as they forced two picks by Matt Cassel, while the Patriots only had that one interception. It might of only been one turnover but it came at the most opportunistic time for the Pats.
So to wrap this baby up for now, the Patriots outlasted, and out fought the Rams on Sunday. They walk away with another “W” in the win colunm, and a piece of first place in the AFC East again. All this just helps add to the team’s already growing confidence moving ahead in the season, and with Matt Cassel leading the charge for us. We face another tough challenge next weekend as we travel to Indianapolis for a Sunday night prime-time showdown with the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. So before we lay our heads down to rest tonight, remember to thank the all mighty football gods for this victory.
And this pains me as much as it will you, but we need to thank the Dolphins for a victory also. Without Miami winning today, we’d just be a second place team, looking up at Buffalo. So Miami fans for this week I’ll say it YOU DID GOOD! Don’t allow it to go to your heads, it’s only one week. Good night and GREAT JOB PATRIOTS!
Tags: Buffalo Bills Dante Hall Deltha O'Neal Donnie Avery Ellis Hobbs Indianapolis Colts Josh Brown Keenan Burton Marc Bulger Matt Cassel Miami Dolphins New England Patriots Peyton Manning St. Louis Rams Stephen Gostkowski Tom Brady