In my absolute boredom (it is the offseason, after all), I thought it would be interesting to look over this past season and the amount of accomplishments the Patriots had despite not making the playoffs. We saw the regular season winning streak extended to 21 (finally ended against Miami), Jerod Mayo crowned the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Bill Belichick's 150th win as head coach, etc.
We also saw Matt Cassel put together an impressive body of work when many people (Pats fans included) doubted he could play in the NFL. No doubt he had a few stinkers (Miami and San Diego come to mind), but overall he played pretty damn well, so I started putting a list of his accomplishments together and this is what I ended up with. It's essentially a list of his basic info, 2008 stats, awards won, game-winning or trying drives, wins in different weather conditions (a must for a New England quarterback), videos to accompany these different occasions, and a special "Eff You" to a certain talking head. Enjoy.
Date of Birth: May 17, 1982 (age 26)
Place of Birth: Northridge, California
Height: 6 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 230 lb.
College: Southern California
NFL Draft: 2005 - 7th Round - 230th overall
Roster Status: Franchise Tag by New England
2008 Season Statistics
Pass Attempts: 516
Pass Completions: 327
Completion Percentage: 63.4%
Passing Yards: 3,693
Yards Per Attempt: 7.2
Touchdown Passes: 21
Times Sacked: 47
Yards Lost on Sacks: 219
Passer Rating: 89.4
Rushing Yards: 270
Rushing Average: 3.7
Longest Run: 19
Week 7 (vs. Denver Broncos) - AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Week 12 (vs. Miami Dolphins) - AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Vizio "Top Value Performer" Award - 2008 (Received over 42% of votes)
- Longest scoring drive (# of plays) in Patriots history - 19 plays and 9:08 off the clock vs. the Buffalo Bills (Week 10)
- Threw for 400 yards and rushed for 62 yards - first player since 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have 400 or more passing yards and 60 or more rushing yards in a game (Week 11)
- First player in Patriots history to have 300 or more passing yards and 50 or more rushing yards (Week 11)
- NFL Record & Patriots record for most consecutive games with 400+ yards (2 games - 5 way tie) (Week 12)
- Patriots record for most games of 400+ yards in a season (2 - tie) (Week 12)
- Season record low of 57 penalties with Matt Cassel at quarterback (previous record-low was 59 set by the Seahawks in 2007)
When the game's on the line...
Week 8 (vs. St. Louis Rams) - Down by 3 points early in the fourth quarter, Matt Cassel engineered a game-tying drive for a field goal with 8:29 left on the clock. After a three-and-out by St. Louis, the Patriots received the ball back with 6:57 to go on their own 47 yardline. Matt Cassel would be sacked on the first play for -8 yards, but would operate out of the shotgun for the remainder of the seven-play drive, going 4-of-4 for 49 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown to Kevin Faulk with 3:19 left in regulation.
Week 11 (vs. New York Jets) - The Patriots fell behind early, heading into halftime trailing 24-13. By early fourth quarter, the Patriots tied the game at 24-24, only to have the Jets march down the field and score a touchdown, taking a 31-24 lead with 3:14 left on the clock. After a three-and-out, the Patriots were forced to burn their timeouts, eventually getting the ball back with only 1:04 remaining. Beginning from New England's 38 yardline, the Patriots went to the No Huddle offense. On an eight-play drive, Matt Cassel would go 5-of-8 for 67 yards, including a 16-yard strike on 4th-and-1 to Randy Moss in the endzone for the game-tying touchdown with 0:01 left in regulation. All three of his incompletions were spikes to stop the clock.
Week 14 (vs. Seattle Seahawks) - The Seahawks, despite a 2-11 record, gave the Patriots all they could handle at Qwest Field. The Patriots entered the fourth quarter trailing 21-13, with their defense decimated by injuries (losing NT Vince Wilfork and LB Tedy Bruschi in the first half, and Rosevelt Colvin & Junior Seau filling in). After a field goal with 12:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Patriots now trailed 21-16. Taking over at New England's 29 yardline and 8:47 on the clock, the Patriots put together a fourteen-play 71-yard drive, with Matt Cassel throwing 5-of-8 for 60 yards and one rushing attempt for 9 yards. Sammy Morris capped the drive with a run up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown, and Cassel succeeded with a two-point conversion attempt to Wes Welker to put the Patriots ahead 24-21 with 2:44 left in regulation.
Cassel weathers the storm...
Week 15 (vs. Oakland Raiders) - Rainy conditions. However, the bigger issue was Matt Cassel playing less than a week after the death of his father, Greg. With a heavy heart, Cassel led the Patriots with 18-of-30 for 218 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to beat the Raiders 49-26.
Week 16 (vs. Arizona Cardinals) - Snow, sleet, and freezing rain conditions. Matt Cassel would go 20-of-36 for 345 yards and three touchdowns playing in snow for the first time ever. His counterpart on the field, Kurt Warner, completed just 6-of-18 for 30 yards as the Patriots beat the eventual NFC Champion Cardinals by a score of 47-7.
Week 17 (vs. Buffalo Bills) - Extreme wind conditions. Words will not do the winds in this game justice. The winds were strong enough that the goalposts had to be re-aligned and held down by the officials for field goal attempts, gusting as high as 55-60 mph. In a game dominated by rushing attempts, Matt Cassel threw for an efficient 6-of-8 for 78 yards in a 13-0 Patriots win.
Proving idiots wrong...
Whenever you can make Marshall Faulk look like a fool (and believe me, he does that well enough on his own), you are definitely a winner, in my book. Unfortunately, the YouTube video has since been removed, but Faulk's harsh criticism for Cassel and his projections for the young QB in the NFL have since been proven false.