I love this picture; I think I rewound it 10 times so the rest of the family could see it. Not to get all weird on you, but it's almost as if Wes is celebrating more than just this touchdown. He's celebrating how good it feels to have come this far with what his Patriots have been through this year. Or, he could just be making a snow angel. Moving on...
On a very snowy Sunday, the New England Patriots absolutely dominated the NFC West Champion Arizona Cardinals. In what could be described as a rout, there's a few possible scenarios: a) Arizona decided to skate through this one and try to stay healthy for a playoff run or b) NE is just that good right now. The stats are simply staggering:
- First Downs - 27 vs. 8
- Net Yards - 514 vs. 186
- Yards Rushing - 183 vs. 44
- Yards Passing - 331 vs. 142
- Possession - 38:36 vs. 21:25
- Redzone Efficiency - 4/7 vs. 0/0
Cassel went 20 for 36 and 345 yards while Warner went 6 for 18 and 30 yards. Interestingly enough, for the short time Leinart was in, he went 6 for 14 and 138 yards. I don't want to suggest this may feel good for Cassel, but we know the story of how Cassel carried a clipboard his first year at USC and then lost the starting job to freshman Matt Leinart for the next three years. Hmm...
From a receiving standpoint, Arizona started the game by trying to shutdown our most dangerous weapons, Moss and Welker. It didn't work. NE has too many targets and Cassel was able to spread the ball around to Gaffney (5 for 90), Moss (2 for 87), Welker (7 for 68), Morris (2 for 45), Evans (1 for 28), and Faulk (3 for 27). In a seemingly "What tha...", Gaffney found his hands for this game and was huge as Cassel's third look. When all the wideouts were covered, he simply checked down to his running backs - powerful stuff, those running backs with hands.
Rushing-wise, our Patriots pounded the rock with Morris getting 5 for 90 and Jordan 20 for 78 and 2 TDs; it's good to have you guys back and healthy. The running game was hugely important until Matt and his receivers had a chance to get their snow legs and feel comfortable in the blizzard.
A must win, but they all are. You can never guarantee a win, but we've owned Buffalo for years with only one loss. Eric Mangini made a colossal error in Jets vs. Seattle and could lose his job over it; the Seahawks were able to best the Jets, 13-3. KC went toe-to-toe with Miami for most of the game, but threw an interception in the redzone which essentially ended the game. A Miami loss would've practially sealed a Division Championship for the Patriots (well, we still need to beat the Bills), but it wasn't meant to be. Mangini needs to man up and beat Miami this coming Sunday at 1pm. If that isn't in the cards, Jacksonville needs to open the door to WC2 by besting the Ravens.
Noone wants to think about this, but if Miami beats NY, this coming Sunday against the Bills could very well be Cassel's last game as a Patriot. The announcers were saying it and I think it's true: Matt's practially printing money with every win. He'll be highly sought after by teams with aging or struggling starters and he'll get a huge pay day out of it. Let's just hope he doesn't go to a division rival.