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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Turnovers kill Pats again...

That Patriots / Jets game today was one of the most frustrating Pats games I've watched in a very long time, even worse than last weeks loss to the Colts.

The Patriots offense was running in the mud all day, both literally and figuratively. I don't understand why, but it feels like the Pats are almost refusing to go with what seems to be their strength on offense, the running game. Dillon looked great running the ball today, but hardly touched the ball. I think he got 10 carries all day.

The Pats looked great throwing the ball against Minnesota a few weeks ago but overall, the Pats' passing game has felt totally out of sync all season. There have been times when it seems like they are starting to click, but then it falls apart.. This current crop of receivers is not what I would term as 'sure handed'. Yes, they have made some nice catches, Reche Caldwell's catch and run for a TD today was very nice to see, and with the 2 point conversion tacked on, that score pulled the Pats within 3 at the end of the game, but plays like those seem to be few and far between.

It feels like more often than not, passes are getting dropped or tipped. I feel like The Pats are continually taking shots down field and 'going for it' with long passing attempts as well, instead of sticking with what works, consuming the clock and moving the chains with the running game and short to intermediate passes. I wish The Pats would get back to running the ball more and get Dillon more involved. Stop trying to force the passing game. Go with what works.

Defensively, the Pats were missing some key players today. Rodney Harrison was out as well as Ty Warren. Richard Seymour was in the game but spent a lot of time on the sidelines. The Pats seemed to be unable to stop the Jets defensively, who simply moved the chains with the running game and short to intermediate passes, like I was screaming for The Patriots to do.

With the loss, The Pats fall to 6-3 and The Jets climb to 5-4 and only one game back for the Division lead in the AFC East. The result of this game will make things interesting over the next few weeks. The Pats could have effectively wrapped up the division with a win. Instead they are looking at a dog-fight the rest of the way if The Jets go on a run.

Maybe this loss will serve as a wake up call to The Pats. It's not like I think they are putting out less than 100% or playing lethargically, like they are assuming they are going to win these games, they just need to clean up the mistakes. Eliminate the damn turnovers and they are in a different position right now. It's that simple.

The last 2 games were both lost due to turnovers. Clearly Brady is still not on the same page with his receivers. They have made progress since the beginning of the year, but now we are in the second half of the season and this is where teams either elevate their game, of get left behind.

I hope tomorrow I won't hear anyone say, 'This is not how The 3 Time Superbowl Champions play.' Whenever I hear someone say that kind of thing it makes me nuts.. The Pats won the Superbowl two years ago. This is a different team now, a very different team. People need to stop expecting these guys to play every week like the 2004-05 Superbowl Champions.

Thankfully there are still a lot of games left and I think the Pats can pull it together. We are still in good shape at 6-3, but we're looking at another week of living with a loss. That sucks. The Pats ended the last of their many long running streaks today. Until today, they had not lost back to back games since 2002. Now that streak is over. I'm pretty sure that was the last one.

It's time to start thinking of the team as what they are, a 6-3 team who is in the playoff hunt, but not guaranteed anything. Hopefully they'll get back on track next Sunday against Green Bay.


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