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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pats / Bills 2nd Half: Comeback time...

This post was a bit delayed because as soon as the game ended, I had to get out and cut my lawn. Hey, that's life.

The Pats came out in the 2nd half and were still sputtering a little on offense but the defense continued to get better as the game continued. The play of the game was a huge defensive stop by the Patriots, when The Bills decided to go for it on a 4th and 1 at the Pats 7 yard line. That was the turning point of the game.

A score of any kind by The Bills at that point would have put a lot of pressure on the Pats passing game, which was obviously not at it's best today. A field goal would have made things difficult for The Pats. A TD probably would have put the game out of reach.

Thankfully, the Pats defense kept The Bills from putting up more points on the board. On the following drive, Tom Brady started to click with his receivers and The Pats were able to drive 93 yards for a TD. That cut the Bills lead to 17-14.

The Pats had gained the momentum and even though they were still a bit inconsistent at times, they got the job done. A field goal by their rookie kicker, Steve Gostkowski, tied it up 17-17, and on the next series, The Pats came up with a safety after sacking the Bills QB in the end-zone to make it 19-17, Pats.

As the 4th quarter ticked away The Pats were able to mount a long, clock killing drive. They moved into position to put more points on the board, but thankfully it was unnecessary. The Pats had been able to work the clock down to under two minutes and were able to kneel on the ball to take the 19-17 score into the locker-room as the final outcome of the game.

As for me, this game was stressful to watch. I got that familiar, tight chested feeling that often happens to me during games like this. Don't worry though, I'm not going to be keeling over any time soon.

My baby daughter got to take in her first ever Patriots game and I think she liked it. She seemed to particularly enjoy the part where I ran around the room a few times after Brady had tossed a TD pass to Pats running back Kevin Faulk, cutting the score at the time to 17-14, Bills.

Offensively, The Pats were inconsistent overall, but they made the plays when it counted. The lack of any kind of intimidating receiver that could keep the secondary honest seemed to really hurt The Patriots passing game. This is an area of concern but I have a feeling we will see an improvement next week.

Defensively, things started off slow, but continued to get better and better as the game wore on. The Pats D seemed to become more ferocious with each ensuing play.

Both the offense and the defense seemed to be out of rhythm at the start of the game, almost as if the team was remembering how the pace of a real NFL game worked. The good news is that the play on both sides of the ball improved throughout the game. I'll take that as a good sign and leave it at that.

One interesting thing to note was that the crowd noise at The Razor was able to cause Buffalo some problems on offense today. Incredibly, the new NFL commissioner talked in a pre-game interview about the fact that he is looking for ways to prevent the fans from having this kind of an impact on the game. He is effectively trying to take away a big part of the home-field advantage, which is the 12th Man, THE FANS WHO ARE PAYING TO SEE THE GAME. Insanely stupid. That is the only way I can think to describe what my feelings are about this plan the comish has hatched...

Game one is in the books. 15 to go. Damn I'm glad The Patriots are back.

(Oh, and the lawn looks great!)


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