Sunday, October 14, 2007

Texas Toast

The Patriots pounded the Cowboys today by a score of 48-27. The lopsided score gives no indication that the game was close in the third quarter and that the 'Boys had, in fact, taken a 24-21 lead. It also doesn't include 2 touchdowns - both by Randy Moss - that were taken away, one on a challenge and one by offensive pass interference.

In the process, three much-ballyhooed matchups never really materialized. The first was the obvious pairing of two undefeated teams and the rampant speculation that Dallas could stop the New England offense. Once Tom Brady passed for 3 touchdowns in the first half alone, that speculation seemed to be proven incorrect and New England scored seemingly at will to take complete control of the game late in the third.

The second matchup involves a pair of 81s, Moss and Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens. They both had 6 catches, Moss for 59 yards and Owens for 66, with one TD each. Moss had the two nullified scores but the reality is that neither figured prominently, at least statistically speaking. Moss had a greater impact on the outcome of the game, however, as the double- and triple-teaming freed both Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth from coverage. Welker went 11-124, 2 TDs and Stallworth had 7 catches for 136 yards including a 69 yard throw-and-catch that was New England's longest pass play of the year. By contrast, none of Dallas' other receivers gained more than 66 yards.

The last was the contest between the alleged "cheater", Bill Belichick, and the "bleater", Wade Phillips. By now, most people have probably heard about the comments Phillips allegedly made to Sports Illustrated columnist, Peter King; comments which the head coach now says that he never made. Admittedly, King is becoming a boring one-note wonder with his incessant harping on Videogate but I hardly think he would be so foolhardy as to jeopardize his career by falsely attributing comments to someone by name. (Note to King: take a page from "Shank" Shaughnessy's playbook and go the "unnamed sources in the locker room" route) All Phillips accomplished was to hand bulletin-board fodder to the Patriots and make his team vulnerable to today's beatdown. He telegraphed his intent to double-team Moss "all day" in a radio interview several days ago which obviously gave Belichick time to develop his counter-strategy. In short, Phillips was outcoached and outclassed by the Patriots head coach, both on- and off the field.

With losses by the Jets and Dolphins, and Buffalo's bye week, the Patriots already have a 5 game lead in the division. New England travels to Miami next week to face the winless Dolphins, a trap game if ever there was one.

No comments: