Boy, was that ugly. After Stephen Gostkowski missed the 48-yarder which would’ve tied the game, 3-3, the Patriots never sniffed a victory. A total domination on both sides of the ball and I’ll dive more into the absence of Tom Brady in my 2-Point Conversion column. Here’s a look at the answers to the questions I posed heading into week 6:
- Will the Patriots get off to a fast start? In my game preview I said the Patriots needed to get off to a fast start or the Chargers could run up the score quick before the Pats knew what hit them. On their first offensive play of the game the Chargers went deep on a mediocre Patriots secondary and torched Deltha O’Neal for a nearly 50 yard gain. 30 minutes later the Patriots found themselves down 17-3 heading into halftime and for all intents and purposes the game was over. Matt Cassel couldn’t get a rhythm going and the defense simply couldn’t stop the deep ball, both because of personnel and scheme. The Pats didn’t need to be winning at halftime, but they needed to show some kind of life. The results aren’t surprising.
- Where is the offense going to come from? The only offense really to speak of came in garbage time. Cassel was hassled all night, sacked four times and the running game never established a threat. Randy Moss wasn’t much of a factor (no I don’t think he was dogging it, I think he was covered by a top flight cornerback and Cassel significantly under-threw him several times) but Wes Welker did do well underneath, catching nine balls for 73 yards. Cassel was hit far too many times but he’s got a case of the Bledsoe’s – he waits far too long to get rid of the ball. Andy Gresh said it best last night on Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight on Comcast Sportsnet, his view is that not only is Tom Brady super special in his coolness and skill set, but what Cassel has going against him is that he seems to be afraid to get pulled. He knows that one or two terrible mistakes could see him riding the bench, something Brady obviously didn’t have to worry about. It’s worth thinking about, but he’ll get benched before too long for simply not making plays rather than trying and failing.
- Will the California stay prove beneficial? The answer is obviously no, but I don’t see it as a huge factor. Bill Belichick said today he thinks the stay in San Jose for their week didn’t have anything to do with the game and I tend to believe him. I think the game was just a matter of one team out scheming and out executing the other.
There’s not much else to say other than the Patriots put up a stinker from start to finish. There’s no smash mouth attitude with this team, despite some highly skilled, tough players wearing dark blue. Philip Rivers was not sacked and was not even hit once in the entire game and that’s completely on the front seven. As bad as the secondary has been, we all knew the skilled players were in our front seven. Adalius Thomas and Mike Vrabel could not come off the edge quick enough, the front three had another disappointing game and Tedy Bruschi had as many tackles as Chris Hansen. Just not good enough if you want to win without Tom Brady.
Tags: Adalius Thomas, Deltha O'Neal, Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel, Patriots, Randy Moss, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady, Wes Welker