Appetizer: Recap Patriots 35 – Jaguars 7
Now THAT was a Patriot’s victory. Tom Brady and the boys are now the AFC East Champions for the 6th time in 7 years. We have now achieved one of our goals for this season. New England really came out to play yesterday afternoon and their hunger was apparent to everyone watching. The whole team played solid for most of the game and appear to be in good form for the upcoming postseason.
In this column I will be (trying to) award 5 stars to the players who, in my opinion, contributed most to the game or just played out of their minds. I will also provide the underachievers with a doggy bag because we don’t really want them at the buffet.
The 5 Stars:
* Randy Moss – Doggin’ it? After a “not-so-hot” performance and a handful of Gillette boos during the Carolina game, Randy Moss game back to the home crowd with something to prove. Rather than turning his back on the disappointed fans, Moss kicked his game into full effect and tallied up the points. He wasn’t pulling down spectacular grabs, but 75% of his 4 catches for 45 yards were touchdown passes. December 27, 2009 marked the 9th time that Randy has killed a team for three scores in his career; and his 3rd time as a Patriot (4 TDs at Miami in 2007). Randy Moss now has 148 career touchdowns. If you haven’t caught the Randy Moss vs Kid dance video yet, it is worth a watch.
* Tom Brady – A stellar, almost flawless performance: 23/26, 267 yards and 4 TDs. He also recorded no interceptions and never got sacked. Tom moved to 5-0 all time against the Jags and still has never thrown a pick to their defense. Brady also set a Patriots completion percentage record at 88.5%. He needs to come out with this energy every week from here on out.
* Wes Welker – Again and again Welker continues to amaze. 13 catches for 138 yards. This season Wes has seven 10+ reception games this year; ties an NFL record. He is the most consistent receiver on the Patriots and possibly in the league. Now only if he had more touchdowns…
* The Backup Backfield – With Maroney fumbling the job away, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk provided a more-than-needed boost of energy. Morris totaled 5 yards short of triple digits along with a TD. The large chunk of his yardage came on a 55-yard run from scrimmage in the second quarter. Even Fred Taylor saw more playing time in his first game back. The other runners picked up the slack and helped keep the defense honest; even though it was already embarrassed.
* The Patriots’ Secondary – Crucial stops by Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, and Shawn Springs were vital in the 35-7 blowout. Meriweather came to play with hard hits and an interception; Sanders snagged one to keep the ball out of the end zone. James Sanders, however, set the tone early with a fourth quarter stop on MJD; he tackled him high, just like Tedy said. Sanders’ understanding of the Patriot’s schemes allowed the defense to get after the ball faster and work together more efficiently.
Honorable Mention – Randy Moss’ beard. That thing is a spectacle of beauty and I am in full support. He look likes a true New England-er and Kimbo Slice mixed together. I couldn’t be more happy with that fuzzy #81; I hope he keeps it until something “really good” happens too.
The Doggy Bag (because we don’t really want you at the Buffet today, but you can still eat):
* Laurence Maroney – Without Maroney, the Patriots rushed for a season high 197 yards on Sunday. He has 3 goal line/end zone fumbles this year alone. Maroney really refuses to let the Patriots help him help himself. The sporadic errors and screw-ups earn him a spot on the bench and in the doghouse for another week. Come on… hold on to that ball! It’s obvious that Belichick likes Maroney and he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so it’s time for him to seal this part of his game up.
* Anyone Who Missed Tackles – Even though the Pats held MJD to under 70 yards, his total would have been a lot lower if the defense did a better job wrapping up and finishing their tackles.
There are now no undefeated teams in the NFL thanks to Coach Jim Caldwell’s decision to pull Peyton Manning 3/4 through their 29-15 loss to the Jets. The 1972 Miami Dolphins can now pop open their champagne and the 2007 Patriots can rest assured that their perfect 16 game regular-season record is safe for another year.
Last but not least, check out the Patriots 2010 schedule to see who the Patriots will be dominating next year.
Patriot Fan of the Week:
Another new gem here at NE Patriots Draft comes at the hands of the readers. Send either myself or @nepatriotsdraft a picture that shows that you should be the Fan of the Week with your City, State and you might just win.
The first ever, winner of the NE Patriots Draft – “Patriot Fan of the Week” is Steven Ortiz of Chicago, IL.
Intelligent decision here by Steve to opt out of Chicago football… I would not want to root for Jay “I.N.T.” Cutler either, big guy.
Send us your pictures and thanks for coming to the Buffet!
-B.DelaBarrera (follow Brian on twitter @bdelabarrera)
Tags: Pre-Game Meal