This is from start to finish a domination by the Patriots on both sides of the ball. The stats and final score may not indicate it but there was never really a doubt in the second half that the Patriots were going to win the game. The final drive which lasted more than 9:00 was a thing of beauty and despite the loss of another important defender the team is making strides towards becoming an elite AFC team again. Here’s a look at the answers to our questions:
- Who saw this coming? In the words of Dennis Green, they are who we thought they were. The Bills and Patriots both came in at 5-3 but after the game there was no doubt who the better team was. The Bills have now lost four out of their last five games and look more and more like playoff pretenders, especially with the injuries they’ve suffered. Despite their own set of injuries, the Patriots are a lot more consistent than the Bills and it really shows.
- Will Lamont Jordan play and if so, what kind of impact will he have? Despite a report from NFL.com that proved to be erroneous, Jordan did not play which further placates the questions about his durability. I still think he’ll be good to have around come playoff time but with BenJarvis Green-Ellis (26 carries, 105 yards, touchdown) running like a No. 1 back, Jordan may not be completely necessary. It’s tough not to get excited about the emergence of Green-Ellis but we still have to keep perspective on this rookie for now before being comfortable with him taking the starting reins deep into December and the playoffs.
- When will the tight ends show up? Maybe this week? David Thomas did not have a catch and Ben Watson had one for seven yards. Near the goal line he had a horrific drop (even though in the end he did somehow haul it in after it hit a few defenders but it was ruled incomplete). It doesn’t seem like Watson is an important part of the offense and so far it hasn’t really mattered. I think the biggest issue with the Patriots offense right now is making field goals into touchdowns and guys like Watson and Thomas could help that tremendously.
Right now Matt Cassel is the talk of the league as he’s guided this injury-depleted team to a 6-3 record and had made noticeable improvements along the way. His internal clock is finally getting wound every week and he’s stepping up in the pocket a lot more. His rushing ability far surpasses that of Brady at this stage in his career and he seems to be grasping more of the offense as time goes on. Because he’s kept the mistakes to a minimum and is proving he knows what’s going on the offensive play calling will open up a little as a result. Right now the Patriots have some balance and rhythm we did not see early in the year. Randy Moss running slant routes has really involved him in the last few weeks. Another AFC East test is on the horizon.
Tags: Ben Watson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, David Thomas, Matt Cassel, Patriots, Randy Moss