|Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets||Smart Era Gets Off to a Good Start with Win over T’wolves|
The road to Revis Island is littered with mediocre wideouts that don’t even get the full treatment and still get shut down. But, only the true stud wide receivers actually make it to, and get the all-inclusive package, on Revis Island. Randy Moss was one of those studs in 2009. In two games against the Jets, Moss racked up 9 catches for 58 yards and one score. While those numbers aren’t abysmal, they are a far, far cry from what has come to be expected from Randy Moss.
Based on what we’ve seen already from both teams I’d say the Patriots roll on Sunday and Randy Moss plays a big part of the effort.
On Monday, Revis seemed to do a good job with the undersized and aging Derrick Mason when he drew him in coverage. Boldin looked like the dominant receiver Baltimore so badly needs while he amassed 7 catches for 110 yards, granted none were on Revis. However, with Flacco doing his best Scott Zolak impression, I’m not sure it really mattered.
A lot has already been made of Darrelle Revis, not to mention the clearly overrated Jets. Although their defense looked stout, it wasn’t dominant. Ray Rice had a tough time against the front seven, but in addition to good defense, I would chalk that up to terrible play calling and the quarterback. Honestly, I haven’t seen a quarterback perform that badly since Scott Bakula showed up for the Texas State Armadillo’s pre-season camp.
Also, when you have one of the best backs in the league, it’s beyond me why Willis McGahee should even sniff the field, let alone at the goal line!
On the other hand, the Patriots looked primed and ready to go. The Patriots exceeded expectation in all phases of the game. They blew out a team that won the AFC North last year (Baltimore’s division). The score would have been more lopsided had the Pats not lost focus for a good stretch (which we saw them do in 2008 when they went up big). But make no mistake about it, the Bengals defense is good. Consider this. The Bengals defense has climbed from No. 27 to No. 12 to No. 4 in the previous two seasons under coordinator Mike Zimmer, and was supposed to be the foundation of a Super Bowl run.
Here’s what Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko had to say:
“I think at end of the first half, we were like deer in the headlights. Our eyes were wide open. We were worried about so many different things we weren’t playing fast.”
Deer in headlights? Sounds about right. Oh yeah, the anchor of the Jets D-line, Kris Jenkins, is done for the season.
The Pats’ defense had lightning speed and looked vicious. Sure, the Bengals hung 24 on them, but despite people’s claims that Carson Palmer is done, the guy is still an above average quarterback with arguably the best core of wide outs in the league. So, is 24 points of concern to the Patriots? Absolutely. They’ll be the first to admit they need to improve every week.
But, is Mark Sanchez Carson Palmer? Hardly. Combine that with Braylon Edwards not being able to catch a cold and what does the Jets offense rely on? Yes, Santonio Holmes is sick but suspended. Shonn Greene might not sniff the field until Week 6 after that showing on Monday (did anyone else get screwed in fantasy by this bum?). So what’s left? LaDainian Tomlinson! Perfect. Something tells me the Jets will have to wait until Week 3 to score their first touchdown of the season. Pretty good for the Super Bowl favorites.
Heading into this weekend, the primary story line is going to be how Randy Moss performs against Revis. Despite his claims that he’s not disgruntled Moss is definitely not sending the Pats front office edible arrangements anytime soon. Disgruntled or not, he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder this year regardless of the opponent.
Moss is a first ballot Hall of Famer and third on the all-time list of receiving touchdowns with 135 (Terrell Owens is # 2 with 139, and Jerry Rice is #1 with 197). Keep in mind that Owens has played two more years than Moss as well.
Moss is the receiver of his generation. He’s got the best quarterback of this generation throwing to him AND he willingly admits he’s built his off-season training around Darelle Revis. Would I be surprised if Moss blows up for 130 yards and two touchdowns? Not at all. But as we all know, that’s not always the game plan with Randy. As Belichick always so candidly states; Moss’s purpose is to blow the top off the opposition’s defense and open up space underneath. If and when that happens, expect big games from Wes Welker and Brandon Tate. If the Jets defense tries to adjust to the short game, there’s Randy Moss. The important thing to understand is what Moss’s job is on the field and analyze that appropriately.