Was this the best game of the weekend in the NFL? You make that call, based upon what I saw from around the league it was the best. Although the Giants and the Cardinals come a close second. From what we saw in the New England Patriots 48-28 win over our arch rival the Miami Dolphins, was plenty of offense. Just plain good ole pound it out anyway you can football. The Patriots walked away with a much needed win, a win they needed even more since the Jets beat up on Tennessee. We stay within one game of the division leading Jets, as the Patriots prepare for another huge game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yesterday’s performance from both teams can be boiled down to the basics. Hard hitting throughout the game left players on both teams battered and bruised. And for fans of the offense, we had plenty of it all afternoon. The teams totaled over 900 yards of offense. Which isn’t that hard to do since neither teams defense came out and was spectacular. Yes their were moments of fine defensive play at times, but they were few and far between. The two big play makers on the Pats side of the ball were Matt Cassel who again threw for over 400 yards and helped the Patriots cause by adding four scores. Three to Randy Moss and he decided to also run another one in early in the game. Moss had by far his best offense game as far as stats are concerned. With hauling in the three touchdown passes from Cassel, he also totaled 125 yards receiving on the afternoon.
Not to be outdone the play of Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington needs to be mentioned and praised. Pennington kept Miami in the game for the majority of the game with his arm and his legs. As he was 24 of 41 for 341 yards and also had four scores. Three to different receivers and added another on the ground. It was his first rushing touchdown in the last few years. Miami helped their own cause by creating two early turnovers that they converted into 14 first half points. With an interception of Cassel off a tipped ball, and another fumble recovery thanks to linebacker Matt Roth. The Roth play was just a pure display of strength as he is falling backwards to the ground and still some how manages to strip the ball from the Patriots running back Sammy Morris. It was plays like that early on that made this game a nail bitter through the first three quarters, until the Patriots broke it open mid way through the fourth.
The Patriots used just about every weapon they could of needed to win this game. The NFL had it’s first back to back performance of over 400 yards from a quarterback since Billy Volek did it last in 2004. And trust me we needed all of those 415 yards passing in this game. Using his weapons at ease throughout the afternoon, he quickly got Kevin Faulk and Wes Welker involved very early in the game. On their first series of the game, he came out hitting Faulk for a quick fifteen yard strike to start moving the chains. And with the play of Jabar Gaffney quickly improving with each passing week, only gives Cassel another go to deep threat. Gaffney can only help his cause by nixing all the dropped balls that are mounting up on him this year. He fixes that little problem and defenses will need to start fearing him as well.
The Dolphins again used their “Wildcat Formation” but without much success. The Patriots had an answer for it and thankfully they did. They only had two months to try and figure it out. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams not creating much in the running game as they only accumulated 58 yards rushing on 16 carries. And with the “WC” being used for at least half of those carries. Williams was able to add a TD late in the game on one of Pennington’s three touchdowns. Williams closed out the Miami scoring with a nice over the shoulder 13 yard catch. His catch brought the Dolphins to within three shortly into the fourth. But then the Patriots quickly scored ten points on Moss’s last score of the game. And a Stephen Gostkowski 30 yard field goal. The FG was set up by Miami’s only turnover of the game. The first offensive play for the Dolphins following the Moss touchdown was a Pennington pass intended for tight end Anthony Fasano that was picked off at the Miami 37 yard line. Brandon Meriweather returned the pick, his fourth on the season for nineteen yards down to Miami’s own 18 yard line.
Now that pretty much summed up the game, with one exception the battle that ensued between the Patriots Matt Light and Channing Crowder of the Dolphins. The melee happened after Gostkowski’s field goal in the fourth. From replays you see them throwing each other to the ground, and a few fists being tossed back and forth, helmets being removed and both players finally being ejected. What’s to come I’m sure a suspension for one of them and more than likely some huge fines. We shall wait and see how fast the commissioner handles this matter. But all in all it was a great day for the Patriots and their fans. We got the much needed win in the game. We showed consistent offensive play and improvement again this game. So let’s enjoy it for a day or so, get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday come quickly and prepare for another gridiron battle with those AFC North leading Steelers coming to town.
Topics: Anthony Fasano, Brandon Meriweather, Chad Pennington, Channing Crowder, Jabar Gaffney, Kevin Faulk, Matt Cassel, Matt Light, Matt Roth, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Moss, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Sammy Morris, Stephen Gostkowski, Wes Welker