Big-time divisional tilt, and the Pats performed when they had to.
Miami rolled out a couple of wrinkles to the catPhish this week, and it had an effect. A second quarter, 5 play, 80 yard touchdown drive had New England running around like a bunch of peewees, and a Joey Haynos reception from Ronnie Brown after what had been a tough goalline stand landed another 7 in the 'Phins ledger.
Pat White momentarily confused the lads, lining up at QB but running the old option (and taking a shot or two for his trouble). New England was having enough trouble setting the edge that they ultimately moved Big Vince out over stud LT Jake Long. It worked, sort of, but it didn't help the pass-rush much.
Speaking of the pass rush, it was still anemic. We can't seem to get pressure unless we bring a big-blitz. Pat Chung had one sack and one sick hit that doubtless helped Henne forget a little more of his childhood.
The Patriots, for their part, unveiled a recommitted Laurence Maroney who ran with a will and a punishing style that we've been longing to see. The line was opening holes and LOMO was finding them. Twice in the fourth quarter we started inside our 15. On the first series, Maroney and BJGE hammered us out to the 48 before we lost momentum.
That brutalizing was the key to escaping the box on the second deep-startng drive, as the 1st play was a play-action pass to Randy Moss for 17 yards that moved him into 17th all-time in career receiving yards.
Speaking of Mr. Moss, he had a couple of beautiful plays today against surprisingly game rookie corners. One was a peach of a one-hander down near the goalline -- a 37 yard reception that had us seeing 2007. The second was a no-soup-for-you special on a crossing route where he stiff-armed the defender and ran away for a 71 yard score. That TD moved Moss into 6th all-time. So a good day for Randy.
Henne made a real game of it, as his receivers dropped two catchable balls on Miami's 2nd-to-last possession (stupid penalties reared their ugly head throughout -- a glaring jump on the o-line at the end ruined what should have been a satisfying clock-killer of a drive).
All in all, an uneven day from the boys in blue. Great to see us running hard (24 for 109). The run defense was adequate considering the foe, but the defensive backfield got fooled a few times. I'm guessing Joey Porter will be blaming the officials, but I don't think he had a single tackle on the day. What's wrong J-Peezy? Nothing to say?
Key Late Games: Nuthin', really, until Pittsburgh and Denver kick off tomorrow at 8:30 (MNF).
Here's a thread for communal jibber-jabber: