Against all odds, the Patriots defense stepped up and Matt Cassel controlled the game as New England took advantage of opportunities and beat the Brett Favre led Jets 19-10. Big plays all over the field from the defense led by Ellis Hobbs and Adalius Thomas. Here’s a look at The Verdict:
- How Will the Patriots respond? Asked and answered. It wasn’t pretty at times but the Patriots in all three phases of the game stepped up when they needed to get the win. Field position was huge as Stephen Gostkowski had some incredible kick offs and the Jets started every drive of the game in their own territory – nearly all of which at their own 20. Because of penalties by the Jets, Kevin Faulk was effective on punt returns, routinely running the ball into Jets territory. The defense bent but didn’t break, keeping the Jets out of the end zone in the first half when they faced a first and goal from the 3. More on the play of Cassel below. Big play near the end of the game when the Jets were down nine and Adalius Thomas completely demolished Jets undersized running back Leon Washington and sacked Favre for a 20 yard loss. Game over.
- Will we see preseason Matt Cassel or regular season Matt Cassel? Early in the game the Pats called high percentage pass plays which gave Cassel some confidence. Kevin Faulk and Wes Welker had good yards after catch which put the Pats in position to get some points on the first drive. Cassel did what he had to do, manage the game. He finished 16 of 23 for 165 yards and NO INTs. One play which sticks out as a missed opportunity was the deep throw to Randy Moss which was just under thrown or would have been a long touchdown. Good, not great play from Cassel overall but a good first step for a guy whose last start was in 1999.
- How will the Patriots handle Brett Fav…r-ah: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms kept saying it correctly during the game, the Patriots remained patient throughout the game against Favre. They waited, waited, waited and finally took advantage of a TERRIBLE INT by Favre, even Mr. I drop interceptions Brandon Meriweather caught it! Favre had his usual scrambles and dump offs and a heave or two but overall the Patriots were able to keep him at bay and out of the end zone. There were a few plays where Favre made decent throws that turned into long gainers by good YAC by Jets receivers. Favre finished 18-26 with 181 yards, one TD and the pick. Decent numbers if you’re the Pats defense.
Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind? HAHAHA Jets fans. Even when Brady goes down and our arch rivals smell blood in the water, the Patriots play well enough to win in their stadium. Very fulfilling. Let’s make no mistake about it, today was a good win but the team has a long way to go. There will be tougher opponents this season who will convert inside the red zone better. They will be able to stop Lamont Jordan (who looked a lot like the good Corey Dillon out there today) and will pressure Cassel into mistakes.
Laurence Maroney and Randy Moss had sub par days, Maroney having missed some of the game due to injury and Moss never got into a good rhythm. That will come with time. Welker looked good and for the second game in a row Jabar Gaffney had 0 catches, that has to change. Richard Seymour looked like his old self and Harrison looked his age. Mayo is going to be a stud and Ellis Hobbs played out of his skull (as did Deltha O’Neal).
Today the boys passed the test and next week they should have another winnable game against Miami at Gillette. Lord knows I miss No. 12 as much as anyone, but isn’t it fun for regular season games to be at least a little exciting again?
Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Brett Favre, Eric Mangini, Jabar Gaffney, Kevin Faulk, Lamont Jordan, Matt Cassel, Patriots, Randy Moss, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady, Wes Welker