Sunday, October 14, 2007

Patriots: Will They Ever Lose?

After watching the Patriots systematically take apart the Cowboys tonight, I'm left with one feeling: this team absolutely does not have a weakness. Tom Brady is right now the best QB in the NFL. He absolutely torched a pretty solid Dallas defense tonight. I can only think of one ball he threw that wasn't right on the mark - on the flea flicker when he overthrew Randy Moss by two steps on a 60 yard bomb. His numbers speak for themselves - 31-46 (lowering his completion percentage on the season), 388 yards, 5 TD's. But it's more than that with Brady. He makes big plays at big times. Look at his numbers on third down - 11-13, 167 yards, 2 TD's - converting nine times. Or after the Cowboys took the lead in the second half, he led five consecutive scoring drives yielding 3 TD's and 2 FG's. He makes adjustments and call audibles at the line as much as Peyton Manning does. Imagine the career numbers he would have right now if he had the same supporting cast as Manning.

Let's talk about that supporting cast. First of all, they have one the most explosive wide recievers ever in Randy Moss, who stretches the defense and commands double teams at all times. But when teams put two people on Moss, it leaves room for guys like Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth (who combined for 18 catches and 260 yards and 3 TD's), and tight end Ben Watson. Laurence Maroney is a top-tier back in the NFL, and Sammie Morris proved the last two weeks is more than a capable back-up, even though he never really got it going today. Their offensive line is very good, and you rarely see Brady get sacked (his three sacks today doubled the season total). The three and four WR sets they throw at you spread out opposing defenses enough that it is very tough to blitz, but if you don't their blocking is good enough that you don't see Brady getting pressured. Their defense is loaded with smart, veteran guys like Mike Vrabel, Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison that just know the game.

The most important thing that I come away with every time I watch this team play is how prepared they are. They are the best coached team in the NFL by far. It really is incredible how they just dismantle opposing defenses. If you play up on their recievers, they throw over the top. If you play off, they kill you with underneath routes. It seems like Belicheck is always one step ahead. Perfect example: after stopping the Cowboys and getting the ball back up 31-24 early in the fourth quarter, the Pats ran play-action and hit Stallworth for a 69-yard touchdown pass and for all intents and purposes ended the game. Even when defenses guess right, the Pats are so talented they'll beat you most of the time anyway.

Bottom line - this team is loaded, and it wouldn't suprise me if they went undefeated.

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