The Patriots-Bears game today was incredible! It really had playoff intensity. I'm sure it was important for the Patriots to beat a good team, and Tom Brady really showed that when he faked out Urlacher to run for a first down. I think the defense played admirably, especially Asante Samuel with his three interceptions. They played above their level, as far as I'm concerned, though they did have a noticeable letdown when Junior Seau went out.
Brady played well for the second week in a row. It's too bad that his receivers lost the ball so often, otherwise his numbers would have been bigger. Who would have thought that you could win a game with five turnovers? That was really ugly, and man, that Bears defense is ferocious. If they had an offense, they'd be dangerous.
So, I think that the Patriots are ready for the playoffs if they can keep competing at this level. The next toughest game will probably be with Miami, although Jacksonville is usually tough and Tennessee is showing that they can catch a team sleeping.
Instead of a post saying how happy I am about the Patriots 35-0 whoopin' of the Packers, I thought I'd drop some football knowledge. While watching the game I found myself thinking about strange rules in football. So, here's some rules you may not know about:
- A regular season game can end in a tie if the game is tied after regulation and no one scores in the overtime. All playoff games will continue into another overtime if tied after one.
- A team can't call two timeouts in a row. It's a five yard penalty for the team that tries.
- The offense must have seven players on the line of scrimmage.
- An offensive player cannot help a teammate by pushing him forward.
- If a team delays the start of a half, it's a 15 yard penalty.
- If a punter, kicker, or holder simulates being roughed up, it's a 15 yard penalty (although it seems like this one is rarely enforced).
- If the defense commits a penalty with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, the offense can choose to accept the penalty or allow time to expire.
- There's a modified set of rules for play within the final two minutes of a half.
Hope that's enough to whet your appetite. There's so many little rules in football that we all don't know...sort of makes you wonder if the referees actually know them all.
For the second straight week, the Patriots have looked completely horrible. I don't understand the lack of enthusiasm being shown by the team in general. This week, there were only three players who looked like they wanted to win the game: Laurence Maroney (who is in this category every week), Corey Dillon, and Reche Caldwell. Those guys were giving their all out there, especially Caldwell, who made several great catches and pulled a tipped ball out of the air and ran it in for a touchdown. Everyone else, including Brady, just looked like they were going through the motions.
The offense is completely out of sync. Two weeks ago at Minnesota, the offense couldn't be stopped. Everyone was running their routes and Brady threw the ball great. Now it seems like Brady can't buy a TD reception, although he's giving away interceptions left and right, making really bad decisions. And the defense...absolutely horrible. What was so dominant two weeks ago has been blistered the past two weeks by Manning and Pennington.
Every year, I say you don't know what your team is until halfway through the season, so this is what the Patriots are. They're an average team that's beginning to play worse and worse with every passing week. They haven't beat a good team this year, and all three losses occurred at home. The only real good team left on their schedule is Chicago. If the Patriots can beat them, then I think they'll be fine for the playoffs; if not, then I'd hope that the Jets win the division and the Patriots can save face by not being destroyed in the playoffs again. At least the Jets play with heart. It pains me to say this for the second week in a row, but the Patriots deserved to lose this game.
I don't understand what was wrong with the Patriots today. The Colts are a good team, yes, but they're not so good that the Patriots should have had this much trouble. We have a great run game and we did't run. Brady played horribly, the receivers played horribly, and the defense played horribly. And it wasn't like the Colts didn't give us chances.
I knew the game was over when the Patriots got a fumble on the kickoff following a 49 yard field goal and got nothing out of it (a Gostkowski miss on what should have been an easy 3 points). That was the point when we should've gone in, got a TD, and tied up the game. And of course, the other turnovers we got also turned into nothing, or we just turned it back over.
As they say, you won't win too many games when your quarterback throws four interceptions. After last week, we all thought the Patriots were finally the team they should be, but apparently the Vikings aren't as good as everyone thought they were since they lost to the 49ers today.
Playing aside, this was also some of the worst, uneven officiating I've seen since the season started. What exactly did Troy Brown do to get a taunting call? Why is it that whenever Manning threw an incomplete pass it was because of a penalty? How come every time a Patriots DB looked at a Colts receiver it was a penalty?
So guess what? The Patriots are mortal, they can't overcome losing their top two receivers and their kicker. This is a rebuilding season, not a Super Bowl season. I need to go take a shower now...I just feel dirty after having watched that disgraceful performance.