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Everyone has their own reactions to every game. Well, after Monday night’s exciting 25-24 win over Buffalo there was a lot to think about. Here are the five things that I took away from the game:
The one good thing that came from the Patriots defense after Fred Jackson tore it apart is that Meriweather played a solid game. After being a bit of a disappointment in his rookie season, Meriweather made big improvements in his game last year. He stopped dropping interceptions and became more of a playmaker (83 tackles and 4 INT in 2008).
This year he is going to have to step up, not just in his play, but his leadership as well. There is a real lack of veteran presence on that defense with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, and Rodney Harrison off the team. Meriweather recorded eight tackles and made the key hit that caused Leodis McKelvin’s fumble late in the fourth quarter. Hopefully he continues his progression and becomes a star like everyone expects him too. Monday night was a good sign of that.
Yeah it took him a while to get back into his groove, but once Tom Brady found it there was no stopping him. The Patriots got lucky that the Bills gave them a chance to come back, but not every quarterback leads his team to that game-winning touchdown. Brady did it in just three plays! He responded well to the pressure the Bills brought and we should be prepared to see more and more similarities to 2007. Want to know how I know he’s back? After the TD pass to Watson to pull the Pats ahead by one point, was he celebrating with a fist pump? No, the three-time Super Bowl champion was holding up two fingers calling the next play for the offense. That, my friends, is Tom Brady in a nutshell.
I’m listening to the radio and all everyone is complaining about is how we only put up 25 points against the worst team in the AFC East. Well, bottom line is this, 25 points was enough to win the game and a win is a win is a win. Pretty simple right? Consider these factors: it was the season opener on Monday Night Football against a division opponent with Brady’s long overdue return to NFL action. If that isn’t enough to get your adrenaline going on overdrive, then you must be dead.
It’s understandable that the offense started off slow with a bunch of dropped passes and a couple of overthrows. They eventually settled down and got into a rhythm. Expect Brady to attempt more deep balls as he tries to build back that rhythm with his receivers. Joey Galloway only received two targets, probably due to the gameplan, but once he gets involved in the offense more, this unit is going to have two legitimate deep threats to compliment Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk in the passing game.
…as long as Matt Light is at left tackle. The man just can’t handle one-on-one matchups with speedy outside pass rushers. Schobel beat him for a sack and was able to apply pressure on Brady all game. He now has 12 career sacks on Brady, which is ridiculous. Oh, and he returned an interception for a TD on a screen pass. We may need to use that six offensive lineman formation more often against the Bills.
The one thing the Patriots didn’t need other than Brady getting hurt again is this. Reports are that Mayo is going to be out 6-8 weeks so the Patriots are going to need to find some help to replace him. Right now, we are looking at a starting LB squad of Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods, Tully Banta-Cain and Gary Guyton. Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Derrick Brooks, or Junior Seau should be standing by their phones waiting for that phone call any second now…