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Recap: Patriots defeat Rams, 23-16

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In a very up-and-down game, the Patriots pulled off a win against the Rams.  We'll get into the stats later, but both teams were ridiculously even when looking at the numbers.  The difference makers were Rams penalties and a few very well timed plays: Deltha O'Neal's interception to end a Rams drive and Kevin Faulk's awesome endzone catch to put us ahead by 7.

Cornerback is still a weak position for us.  Hobbs got burned on a few occasions as did rookie Jonathan Wilhite.  Wilhite could've turned around and had an interception as Meriweather had coverage above, but he never looked at Bulger; rookie mistake.  Defensively, I thought the pass rush was pretty darn good; 4 sacks for 33 yards, not to mention all the pressure the blitz put on Bulger; that really made a difference.

I won't copy the stats number for number, but will comment on some interesting ones:

  • Time of possession, net yards, yards rushing and yards passing were incredibly close
  • Pass completions, attempts, and interceptions as well as gain per passing play were neck and neck
  • Rushing yardage and average yards per carry were neck and neck as well

On the flip side, there were some difference makers:

  • Return yardage was 77 for the Pats vs 29 for the Rams
  • The Pats were 2-4 in redzone efficiency while the Rams struggled within the 20, going 0-2
  • Bulger was sacked 4 times for 33 yards while Cassel went down 3 times for 17
  • The Rams had 9 penalties for 63 yards.  The Patriots?  0 for 0

The last stat, in my mind was huge.  This caused St. Louis to make some desperate decisions when they were 3rd and long.  Sure, there was a little bias towards the Pats (Green-Ellis in an out-of-bounds hammering and Seymour with a potential roughing the passer), but this is the kind of stuff coaches hate - killing a game with stupid penalties.

I'm pretty darn happy with a win, but watching this game makes me concerned about our upcoming challenge at The Lube.  Our cornerbacks are still struggling as is the safety position, essentially the defensive backfield is having troubles.  Manning will expose those problems.  With Safety Bob Sanders projected to be back, their defense could be better against the pass.  Joseph Addai is also back, so the running game will be in better shape.

That's all for now, folks.  More to come this week, I'm sure.