|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Despite unkind weather, the Jets and Patriots combined to put up 65 points Thursday night, but the Patriots came up on the losing end in overtime, 34-31. Jay Feely hit the game-winner from 34 yards out, but Brett Favre led the way all game for New York with 258 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions (shocking, I know).
Favre’s counterpart Matt Cassel threw for a career-high 400 yards and three TDs, and led the team with 62 yards rushing in a tremendous all-around effort. Cassel made a clutch touchdown toss to Randy Moss at the right edge of the endzone with just one second remaining to tie the game, sending it into overtime.
The Patriots special teams allowed an uncharacteristic kickoff return for a touchdown to New York’s Leon Washington in the second quarter. The wet weather probably affected kicker Stephen Gostkowski, as he usually buries kickoffs into the endzone for a touchback. Instead, Washington got a running start and ran nearly untouched for the score.
The Patriots then fell behind 24-6 late in the first half after a Brett Favre 15-yard touchdown pass. Cassel found Jabar Gaffney for a 19-yard touchdown late in the half to get the game within reach at 24-13.
Cassel then took over, tossing to Ben Watson in the third quarter for a 10-yard touchdown, and tossing a two-point conversion to Gaffney to get the Pats within three at 24-21. The Pats tied the game 24-24 on a 47-yard field goal by Gostkowski with just 10 minutes to go.
But, the defense again allowed the Jets to score. Thomas Jones, who finished with 104 yards on 30 carries, scored on a one-yard touchdown with 3:10 to go. The defense has let the Patriots down all season, and continued their poor effort Thursday night. Jerod Mayo finished with a team-high 16 tackles, but without Adialus Thomas and Rodney Harrison, the D is hurting and needs a boost.
SoB’s Jeff will have more in his “Verdict.”