|SoB Fantasy Football Top 50 Big Board: Week 15||Video: Celtics Honor Doc Rivers in his Return||Winning the Wire and the Playoffs: Week 15 Fantasy Sleepers||MLB and NPB Agree to New Posting System; Masahiro Tanaka Posting In Doubt|
The Patriots sure aren’t doing a good job at protecting their undefeated regular season streak. Behind five touchdowns from Drew Brees, the Saints obliterated the Patriots defense from the opening drive and scored their 11th consecutive win of the season, 38-17.
After the Patriots took a 7-3 lead on a Laurence Maroney touchdown in the first quarter, the Saints scored 21 of the game’s next 24 points and never looked back. There were broken coverages, bad match ups and cases of perfect execution which made the Patriots defense look like a scout team. Brees finished 18-23 with 371 yards and five TDs, all to different receivers/backs. For the Patriots (7-4), it’s another example of a young defense going through some major growing pains.
Tom Brady looked strong in moments and weak in others as he was harassed by a tenacious Saints defensive front seven. Brady threw two interceptions, one in Saints territory which really swung the momentum in New Orleans’ favor. The lone bright spot for the Patriots was Maroney, who finished with 64 yards on 15 carries (4.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Unfortunately the Patriots were down most of the second half and had to abandon the run game.
The Pats did have more time of possession and did not commit a single penalty yet surrendered 480 yards of offense. Not good enough.
My Take: The Pats have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way but their failure to stop good quarterbacks on the road will ultimately come back to haunt them. Between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, the secondary has been unable to make the championship caliber plays you need in a playoff run.
I can see how the rest of the season will play out in my head. The Pats will finish a respectable 11-5, host a team like Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs and win, then head to San Diego in the Divisional Round and pull the upset, then in the AFC title game go up to Indianapolis and lose in a shootout. Anyone disagree?