|Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Lose 1st Game in Frustrating Fashion; Broncos Win in OT 30-24||Report: Hightower Suffered Sprained MCL in Loss to Broncos||Undefeated Mirage Gives Way to Reality of Flawed Patriots Team in OT Loss to Broncos||Gronkowski Avoids Major Injury|
Have you ever felt worse about a Patriots win as you feel about Sunday’s 38-30 triumph over the lowly Buffalo Bills?
Sure, you have to be pleased with how the offense rebounded from a lousy second half last week against the Jets, but that defense… oh, that defense. They let rookie C.J. Spiller have a breakout game, and let Ryan Fitzpatrick school them like a Harvard professor. Buffalo won’t put up 30 points again this season, and I’m pretty confident in saying that.
But this is how this Patriots team is going to have to win ball games this year. The defense is young, inexperienced, and right now, just plain terrible. So Tom Brady and the offense are going to have to pick up their slack, and on Sunday, thankfully, they didn’t have a problem doing so.
With that said, let’s move to this week’s “PATS on the Back,” which for obvious reasons, will be weighted heavily on the offensive side of the ball.
He’ll have better games this season than he did on Sunday, but against the Bills, Brady did all that was necessary. Completing 21 of his 27 pass attempts, #12 had the offense clicking with relative ease all game long. His three TD passes, two to Randy Moss, keyed the scoring for the Pats, keeping New England one step ahead of Buffalo for most of the game.
Sure, Tom Brady led the offense as he always does, but the Pats’ running game shouldered more of the workload than usual on Sunday. With Laurence Maroney shipped off to Denver and Kevin Faulk lost for the season with a knee injury, the carries will now fall to a quartet of rushers, two grizzled veterans (Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris) and two youngsters, hoping to take their game to the next level (Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead). Green-Ellis led the way against the Bills, running for 98 yards on the day, nearly half of the team’s 200 total rushing yards. His 7-yard touchdown run in the middle of the fourth quarter helped New England get to their biggest lead of the day, going up 38-23 with just over eight minutes remaining.
And I bet you thought the days of watching a #39 run wild in the Patriots backfield were in the past, didn’t you? Think again. Danny Woodhead… please try to keep your childish giggles about his last name to a minimum… came to town just eight days ago, signed after being released by the Jets. He crammed all week long, trying to soak in the New England playbook as much as possible. All that work surely paid off. He only carried the ball three times on Sunday, but he definitely made those three carries count, totaling 42 yards and going in for a 22-yard touchdown for his new team.
Pats fans everywhere were asking, “Where did this guy come from?” And of course the answer is: Nebraska. No, he wasn’t a Cornhusker… he came out of the football factory known as Chadron State, a division II school where the diminutive back set an NCAA record with 7,871 rushing yards in his four seasons. He was also only the second collegiate player to score more than 100 touchdowns in his college career (he finished with 109). Listed at just 5’9”, but honestly looking about 4 inches smaller than that, Woodhead has beaten all odds throughout his short career to make it as far as he has. After Sunday’s brief look at the man, the myth, and the legend that is Danny Woodhead, here’s hoping we get to see his beat some more odds and help the Pats beat some more teams.