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Postgame Review: Patriots defeat Chiefs, 17-10

This is your "game in review" post, finally.  Sorry, there were a few things going on. ;-).  The best place to start is the "tale of the tape", the statistics.  There's a boat load of stats at nfl.com, so I won't simply cut & paste.  Instead, I'll highlight what I think was important and comment on what I saw.  As usual, comment away on the format or send me an email if you'd like to see something different.  I am but a vessel, a conduit passing on pearly bits.  That last part sounded weird...

Total First Downs

14

18
Yards Rushing 102 126
Yards Passing 182 212
Total Net Yards 284 338
Avg Gain per Rushing play 3.8 4.5
Avg Gain per Passing play 5.2 6.8
Turnovers 0 2
Redzone efficiency 50%, 1/2 66%, 2/3
Time of Possession 30:11 29:49

Fairly equal, huh?  Until you examine how Redzone Efficiency is calculated: 1/2 for Chiefs and 2/3 for Patriots.  TD / ATTEMPTS.  Simple.  No matter how pedestrian, average or equal the numbers are, if the left number is bigger than the right number (numerator vs. the denominator for a little math lesson), you win.  A word of caution: a team could have a Redzone Efficiency of 100% and still lose.  How, you ask?  What if you were 1/1 and the other team was 2/10?  Your Redzone Efficiency is 100% while your opposing team's is 20%, but they win - 2 TDs to 1.  Note: FGs are not counted in Redzone Efficiency.

Some notables:

  • Rodney Harrison was a beast: 7 tackles, 7 assists
  • Rookie Jerod Mayo went 6 tackles
  • Vince Wilfork was 5 tackles and 1 assist; stopping RBs at the line
  • Tedy Bruschi went 2 tackles and 10 assists
  • Cassel to Moss for 51 yards
  • Cassel to Moss for 10 yards, TD
  • Cassel was 13-18 for 152 yards
  • Cassel played 3 1/2 quarters of turnover free ball

Take advantage of a situation, don't turn the ball over, convert - sounds like a mantra for the 2008 season, doesn't it?  Bottom line: Chiefs just couldn't get the engine revved up.  Even that last drive, putting them at the 5 yard line, ended in frustration for KC.  Huard was short on one pass and Gonzalez and Bowe couldn't find the handle on 2 more from Huard.  What concerns me is this wasn't stellar defensive play, but bad luck for KC.

In my mind, we squeaked by on this one.  The defenses held each other, but the difference between Brady and Cassel is that Brady would've put a gazillion points on the scoreboard making the closeness of the defensive game a moot point.  It can't be that way anymore.  The Patriots have to find a balance between offense and defense, preferable both being stellar.  Everyone needs to improve, but I'm leaning on the defense; Cassel's just not going to put up the kind of numbers to negate defensive errors.

Despite Brady's season ending injury, it was a satisfying win for me.  Granted, Tom is out, but we now have a backup who's put a 1 in the W column and his confidence is bolstered in the process.  Keep it up, Matt.  Keep it up.