What a great game by the New England Patriots that was. Now that’s what I’m talking about, it’s what we are use to seeing from our very own Patriots. The 49-26 victory over the Oakland Raiders was needed in more ways than one. It not only helped in breaking open the playbook on offense, but it helps us maintain the three way tie in the AFC East. With victories by both the Jets and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the win keeps our playoff hopes alive.
Matt Cassel who’s still grieving the passing of his father, had a career day. In tribute to his father, Cassel threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns. And he didn’t wait long to start firing those scores. Right off the opening drive he finished it off with a 7 yard scoring pass to Kevin Faulk. As the Patriots were the first team in the NFL to score on their first four possessions. The scoring came fast and very easily for New England.
Also getting into the mix of things were Randy Moss, who scored two more TD’s giving him 9 for the season. And Wes Welker finally got back into the end-zone with a nice catch and run of 13 yards for his second of the season. All of the receivers for New England ended with a huge grin and smile on their faces after the performance they displayed on the field. Even players that didn’t record a catch still were smiling, as they provided much more than receptions. They were involved in the pass protection of Cassel. and tight end David Thomas provided the key block for LaMont Jordan as he scampered 49 yards to pay dirt, midway through the fourth.
This was the first game in awhile that I was actually comfortable and relaxed early on. I mean by the time the second quarter came calling, New England was up for good with the score at 21-7. The defense was playing well, the offense was on fire, and all was good for Patriot fans. Oakland never really was in game at any point. They had trouble establishing any type of offense. As New England pressured and hurried Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell, early and often.
Oakland’s lone first half score came on a nice catch and run by Johnnie Lee Higgins late in the first quarter. I have to say this, Higgins if he can continue to refine his rawness and play making ability should be a deep threat for years to come in Oakland. The score is officially 56 yards in the stat lines, but it was all Higgins. Russell only threw a little eight yard pass, but it was the athletic play of Higgins that busted it open and took it to the house.
New England had no trouble establishing the running game either. From the start and throughout the entire game, they pounded the ball with all their backs. From Faulk, Jordan and Sammy Morristhey used each and everyone of them to protect Cassel, control the clock, and wear the Raiders defense out. With the field and playing conditions in horrible shape, due to the downpour of rain the entire afternoon. Running the ball was the easiest and best way to manage the game. It also made the most sense later in the game, as it helped keep our players from being injured in the sloppy conditions.
That’s not to say that we didn’t have players get hurt vs Oakland. Left tackle Matt Light was injured in the game. We know it was reported as a shoulder injury, but no other news have been released since. Second year player Mark Levoir came in and replaced Light and played pretty well. He protected Cassel from the raiders defense and didn’t give up a sack. I will update the condition of light and the rest of the injured Patriots players once information is released.
The victory by New England keeps them tied with the Jets and the Dolphins in the East. It also maintains their chances for the final wild card spot also. With the loss by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, it now makes the final two weeks very interesting. The Jets travel to Seattle, and the Dolphins head out to Kansas City before their season ending showdown in New York. New England needs to win the next two weeks and hope for some help with either the Ravens losing, or the Jets and Miami.
Topics: AFC East, Baltimore Ravens, David Thomas, JaMarcus Russell, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Kevin Faulk, LaMont Jordan, Mark LeVoir, Matt Cassel, Matt Light, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Randy Moss, Sammy Morris, Wes Welker