Monday, January 2, 2006

Patriots 28, Dolphins 29 (1/1/2006)

This is just a place-holder email, because there is so little to write about the game. Your New England Patriots lost 28-26, but it didn't mean anything in the standings or as we go forward into the playoffs. The starters played the first three drives, and yet Miami (playing their starters the entire game) barely hung on for the win. Here's the quick-hit email, which will be followed on Thursday with a much more informative one in the lead-up to the Jacksonville playoff game (Saturday night, 8:00 -- make your plans early).

1. Matt Cassel acquitted himself nicely. 11 of 20 for 168 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no INTs. Much better than his disastrous performance against San Diego earlier in the year. (Note: New England's "other" quarterback finished with a league-leading 4,110 yards.)

2. Linebacker Matt Chatham might be a starter soon. He's usually on special teams, but had a great game once he was elevated to the starting role, leading the team with 8 tackles and even throwing in a sack for good measure.

3. I really like this guy, Michael Stone -- as long as he only plays on special teams. If he gets significant time at safety in the playoffs, the Patriots will not go far. Too many blown assignments, too easy to fake out, just not there yet.

4. It is somehow beyond me how Eugene Wilson could play the entire game and get only two tackles. Usually, that would be a good sign (fewer tackles by the safeties often means good play by the front seven), but it didn't look or feel like that to me.

5. I've seen too much of Tim Dwight at receiver. Bring back Troy Brown, and do it now!

6. Doug Flutie, what a kicker!

That really is about it. Not much to say after the fifth "pre-season" game this year. They are in the playoffs, will battle Jacksonville Saturday (I'll be there, screaming myself silly), and 10-6 was good enough to win the division so I guess they treated this week as their "bye."

Enjoy the next few days, and I'll fill you head with information this Thursday so you'll be ready to go on Saturday.

Weekly Water-cooler Wisdom: "Sure, the Dolphins won their last six games, but four of the six teams were terrible and the Patriots almost beat them with their second and third string. And next year's schedule won't be as kind to them, with games against Jacksonville, Indy, Pittsburgh, and Chicago,"

Keep the faith,

- Scott

PS. 10-6!

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