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Amy
10-05-2010, 12:17 PM
Can you say 'Patrick Chung and Rob Ninkovitch?' Both of them played lights out. For those who did not see the game, in the first half Ninkovitch had a sack and his first two interceptions of his NFL career, both of which led to field goals. Chung blocked a punt, which led to a Green Ellis TD, blocked a FG which was returned for a TD by Alexander I believe, and had a TAINT.

It was really a tale of two halves. Miami opened strong going up 7-0 and held the Pats to two FGs off of long drives. But Tate took the opening kickoff back 103 yards, the 'phins 3 and outed and had the punt blocked, and just 2 minutes into the 3rd, it was 20-7. Miami did get it to 20-14, but couldn't close after that.

Special teams was clearly the deciding factor, and the defense played well most of the game.

What about the offense? What I find interesting is how the playcalling is evolving with the emergence of Green-Ellis and Woodhead.

Drive 1: 1 run, 2 passes, punt.
Drive 2: 4 passes, 1 run, punt.
Drive 3: 10 runs, 4 passes, 1 sack, FG. This was set up by Ninkovitch pick 1.
Drive 4: 9 passes, 2 runs, 1 sack, FG. This was set up by Ninkovitch pick 2. Brady just misses Moss on a fake spike. Halftime. 7-6 Dolphins. Dolphins would lead for 6 more seconds in the game.
Drive 5: 2 runs, TD. The was a 15 yard drive, set up by the blocked punt.
Drive 6: 7 runs, 5 passes, Brady to Woodhead for the TD. Thank you, Rex, for releasing him!
Drive 7: 1 run, 1 pass, 1 sack, punt.
Drive 8: 5 runs, 3 kneeldowns. Game.

What makes this interesting is the balance: 29 runs called, 28 passes called. That doesn't include the kneel downs, but does factor in the sacks. No spectacular runs - most went for 4, 5, or 6 yards. But it's a consisitency. Green-Ellis gets 5 or 6 yards almost every carry, and Woodhead does the same.

The evolution of the passing game is also coming along:

Moss: 1 target, 0 catches. The Dolphins had him at least doubled every play and dared Brady to find other people. He did.
Welker: 9 targets, 8 catches
Tate: 5 targets, 4 catches.
Hernandez: 6 targets, 6 catches. One negated by a hold.
Gronk: 1 target, 1 catch.
Woodhead, 1 target, 1 catch, 1 TD.

Nothing for Crumpler for the second week, and I don't think Slater was on the field. The interesting thing is the Pats old screen/dump off to running backs game has vanished. With Tate, Gronk, and Hernandez, there are more down the field options.

Offensively, the Pats weakness last year was that we had become predcitable. There was Welker, Faulk, and Moss. Now Brady has at least 9 viable targets, and as he gets used to spreading the ball out again, there always seems to be a mismatch somewhere.

We'll see just how good this offense is in two weeks against the Ravens! I can't wait.

On a side note, I thought the MNF crew did a horrid job. Jaws was good, Gruden was terrible, and on many plays Tirico forgot to let us know how many yards the play went for. I'm willing to give Tirico a pass, since he did the Ryder Cup, flew across the ocean, and did MNF, but Chucky needs to start doing his homework before games. Putting up down and distance markers on the TV screen seemed optional. One game a week, ESPN, put some effort into it, please.

brauneyz
10-05-2010, 12:24 PM
Nice job, Amy. Thanks for the recap and insightful analysis.

footballgal
10-05-2010, 01:42 PM
Very true observation that it was a tale of two halves. In the second, the Patriots managed to do what my Packers need to do: use Some Guys to create a viable, valuable running game.

Another note about the special teams performance is the Gostkowski is really great at kickoffs. You just can't underestimate the importance of field position.

GoBigOrGoHome
10-05-2010, 02:01 PM
Patriots are starting to gel. They are going to be tough as nails come playoff time. A blocked kick, a blocked punt and a pick-six all by some dude named Chung?

In my early days on this site I had the audacity to declare the Pats in decline. That was a bad read.

The 'Phins can play and the Pats flat owned them in the second half. Wow.

As an aside, for all the grief the Big Ten takes for being sub-par to the SEC/Big 12/Pac10, it was nice to see two Michigan QBs do battle.

iwatt
10-05-2010, 04:55 PM
Bill Belichick was alive. I saw more emotion from him yesterday than I've seen in a long time! I think he finally realized that this young D doesn't have the veteran leadership of before, so it's up to him to amp up the players emotionally. Leave the O to Brady.

BTW, I think the choice of going for the Extra point was because his Special Teams were gassed after the Blocked return. Going for the kick would have meant the ST would have had to: return an Int, kick a Field goal, run to stop a kickoff return. That might have caused a mistake and given some momentum back to the Fins.

imiweli
10-05-2010, 09:37 PM
Hopefully the defense is coming around now, Mayo was great last night and at times we got some pressure on Henne against a great O-Line
The good thing is, the longer the season goes the better the defense will get with all these young players gaining experience.

Got no worries about the offense, with Brady leading the way it should be a great year
Still wouldnt mind the Pats checking in on Julius Jones who was released by Seattle

Hernandez is a beast