(Thank you Google Images. This still makes me laugh)
A few thoughts on the Patriots after two weeks ...
- I underestimated how long it would take Tom Brady to find his groove. After a few good preseason outings, I just figured he'd come right back and be the Hall of Fame QB we know. Instead, he played one of the worst games of his career yesterday. Some credit goes to the Jets defense, but there were plays to be made. Sammy Morris was open a few times for long gains and Brady just missed him. And, toward the end of the game, he was not stepping into throws. He'll get it back, but in the meantime, it just feels wrong to watch a Brady-led offense this dysfunctional.
- Was anyone out there like me when the Pats had a 3rd and 2 late in the game and came out in their jumbo set and thought, "There's no way they're getting this?" Once upon a time, this team converted those opportunities often. This year, they've been stuffed each time. You don't win Super Bowls with a running game that can't get two yards when needed. They better fix it soon. It's embarrassing.
- One pleasant surprise? The play of the defense. Without Jerod Mayo, I expected Leon Washington and crew to pitch a tent in the middle of the field all day. The Pats shut them down in the first half, but New York moved the ball on them in the second. All in all, not bad. They played well enough to win.
- One caveat: New England knows it's OK to play defense on third-and-long, right? Because lately teams have had too easy a time converting them. Case in point was the third-and-long conversion in the fourth where Leon Washington ran up the middle, turned around ten yards down the field, caught the ball and made the first down without having to break a single tackle. That's inexcusable, but too often a pattern with this defense. Sometimes, teams don't even have to work for it. When New York had 3rd and 28 in the first quarter, I was legitimately afraid they would convert.
- While Mayo was missed, Wes Welker was missed even more. He's the go-to guy when Brady absolutely needs to complete a pass. He's the hot read on the blitzes. He's the one who gets the extra few yards that Julain Edleman can't. Here's hoping this isn't a long-term issues for the sake of the Pats and my fantasy team.
- I had no idea before this season that Rex Ryan was gigantic. Bill Simmons made me laugh when he said you don't want to follow Rex Ryan into the bathroom. Most NFL coaches aren't in great shape, but my goodness Ryan is big. He won't have to kiss Belichick's rings, but he certainly love making out with Ring-Dings. (I thought of that myself. I should write for Leno.)
- The troglodytes on the Internet have already declared Tom Brady's career over and the Patriots season done. In an odd way, I'm kind of glad the Pats aren't peaking in September and October. They peaked too early in 2007. When they won their Super Bowls, this team found it's niche in November and December. This still won't disqualify me from swearing at them during games, but let's put this into perspective. They started 0-2 once and won a Super Bowl. They started 2-2 and won a Super Bowl. This team will play better. I'm sure of it. Unlike Jets fans, we Pats fans know championships aren't won in September.
- When I watch the Ravens and Steelers on defense, I wish the Pats were a bit more like them, flying to the ball and swarming with fierce tacklers. Belichick employs more of a read-and-react defense that seems to be on its heels. For instance, why weren't they blitzing the hell out of a rookie QB? Put some pressure on him, force him into mistakes. Instead, Mark Sanchez had eons to throw and any QB will look good without a pass rush. This has been a problem for several years. New England just can't get consistent pressure on quarterbacks, therefore making guys like AJ Feeley, Seneca Wallace and Mark Sanchez look like Troy Aikman.
- The Jets are going to the Super Bowl. Haven't you heard? I might as well brace myself for the migration of obese, disheveled and obnoxious Jets fans with their Bubby Brister jerseys as they stroll into town in February with the firm belief that they don't root for one of the most pathetic franchises in sports. Maybe I'm just bitter. They did win a championship yesterday and anytime the media jumps on the Jets bandwagon, it means rings galore. Just like last season when the Jets beat the Pats in overtime and everyone put them in the Super Bowl. That worked out wonderfully.
- I do have to say that Jets defense looks very good. However, I also have to say there were plenty of plays to be made on them as well. Plenty. The Mean Green D might not be so lucky in Foxborough later this season.
- Where can we find a third receiver who can, you know, catch the ball? First we had Reche Caldwell. Then Jabar Gaffney. Ben Watson has his issues. Doug Gabriel. Now Joey Galloway. One drop happens. Three, four drops and you should be playing for 0-3 Northeastern. Please, Wes Welker, get your ass back on the field!
- The Atlanta Falcons are next. I want to see an offense that is finally starting to find its timing and a defense that scares people, like the Dynasty ones used to. They should be able to do some of that on Sunday. Also, this team plays well after terrible losses. Pats 28, Falcons 20.