Not to be confused with the utter war-crimes committed by Zeebras upon the state of Wisconsin on Monday Night Football.
One thing I learned is Stevan Ridley should probably be getting most of the workload over Danny Woodhead. Danny is a change of pace guy you bring out once in awhile to take D's off-guard. He is not a feature back and while he had a tall order going against that Ravens front-7, we could have had someone with more pop in there. Especially on those draw plays, but even off the Tackles where Ridley has shown a great combination of speed and power. What gives?
Nate Solder is looking good. So is Vollmer. I still expect OLine to get addressed in the 2013 draft.
Julian Edelman is still looking like Julian Edelman- a useful role-player. But just because you have him doesn't mean you got to try running gimmicks against a veteran D. He's not Patrick Peterson or Jeff Demps. Gronk and Hernandez are better targets but at least Edelman looked better in this game than he did against Arizona, which may not be saying much. The dropped-TD was a good play b Ed Reed and the OPI looked mostly-dumb considering Williams was making some contact. If those two things don't happen, Patriots likely get 2 TDs instead of 2 FGs from those drives.
Brandon Lloyd's proficiency wide of the numbers is exactly what the Offense needed last year.
Wes Welker is still good. He and Lloyd combined for 17 catches with 250 yards between them. Imagine if Hernandez was adding to the talent in this passing game? Not to mention a little more explosion from the run game. Oh, and Gronk the Receiver.
Rob Gronkowski is still good at blocking. Pats would have been well served if they looked for creative ways to get Gronk into a route. Ravens D was very zealous, just like their O-Line. Speaking of which..
The front-7 of New England was mauled. What did you think would happen to the secondary when that happened? There was a lot more double-teaming and holding on Jones then there was on Ninkovich. His place on the roster will eventually be secure because of his versatility, able to play 43LDE, 43SAM, and 34SOLB. Rob Ninkovich's game reminded me of Week 8 last season @Pittsburgh when he got completely obliterated. Jones caught a number of full on double-teams from a mix of LT/FB or LT/TE, and of course chip-blocks. He was also held often especially when left 1-on-1. The rookie needs to learn how to draw flags because he was abused like fresh-meat that didn't know any better than the replacement refs. On many of the big plays, something is being done to Jones. Expect for Ray Rice's TD run, in which Jones completely forsakes the edge.
I love Brandon Spikes but I don't think he's a 3rd-and-long guy. Bring in Tavon Wilson for those situations. Dont'a Hightower looks like a promising rookie, but still a rookie. The Pats played more base-D in this game, which was probably because of the hurry-up and the Leech/Rice combo at FB/RB. Also the Pats relied on their front-4 to create pressure, which would have worked if the regular referees were there to enforce the holding-penalty. Pats blitzed 5 times, 4 with Mayo as the blitzer.
A lot of people will make Devin McCourty the goat of this game because of the 4th quarter and because of last year. Also, he dropped 2 interceptions which means he now averages a dropped-interception a game in 2012. But hey, that's an improvement over last year when he never even seemed to be that close to the ball. Anyone who drew Torrey Smith was going to have a tough assignment. Remember Brett Favre when he played the day his father died? While I thought McCourty miscalculated badly when he hooked up with Gregory to share one hell of a missed-tackle on Pitta, I thought he did a good job overall. The last quarter came after he played every snap on defense and KR as well. The 1st DPI call on him was bull but that huge 2nd one on the last drive was legit. Also, unlike Arriington, he has been more consistent. Arrington couldn't even make it to what should have been the easiest-interception in history. Plus, Arrington was the largest liability in both of the previous games. Sterling Moore once again wasn't great either. Moore got 32(of 73 overall) snaps versus a mere 12 for Tavon Wilson and 4 for Ras-i Dowling.
I wouldn't mind seeing less;
Danny Woodhead, Rob Ninkovich, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore, holding on Jones, and clueless Zeebras.
I wouldn't mind seeing more;
Stevan Ridley, Jermaine Cunningham, Tavon Wilson, and either Dowling/Cole/Dennard.
The Pats are still contenders. Arrington gets to the easy interception, Boldin doesn't knock that interception from McCourty's hands, game over Flacco blows a 2-pick game. The refs don't suck? New England might have blown them out. But just like Brady sometimes has a bad day, sometimes shit just happens. If the situation with the officials isn't resolved by Week 6 the fans of all 32 teams should unite in a boycott of NFL gear. It's atrocious, and after what happened to Green Bay it should be clear that it can happen to anyone. Especially visiting teams.
If this game proved one thing, it's that the Pats O isn't dead yet. SI has the Pats ranked as having the 10th O and 10th D in the league. That's not bad for a 1-2 team.
What say you?