Jerry Ballgame reviews the New England Patriots’ impressive Monday night victory against the Houston Texans.
Question: Can you have a fooball game if one team doesn’t show up? Apparently you can, and it would likely look like this past Monday night’s 42-14 victory by the New England Patriots, over the somewhat “late to the dance” Houston Texans.
It was a particularly disturbing performance by the Texans when you considered that they (Andre Johnson, specifiacally) had proclaimed it to be the most important game in the history of their franchise. It, in turn, was a particularly impressive effort by the Pats, especially when you examine how effectively the Dante Scarnecchia coached offensive line neutralized all-world defensive tackle JJ Watts. (Watts did not have a single swat, or tackle behind the line.) And I predicted it! Well, some of it. At least I got the important things right.
Let the record show that I predicted in my last blog: 1) New England would win by scoring a lot of points and, 2) Dante’ Stallworth would make a single catch which would be for the game winning touchdown. I was pleasantly surprised to have underestimated the offensive production of New England (I said 37, they said 42), but mildly shocked to have been so far off regarding the number of points that Houston’s highly ranked offensive would get- I said 30, they got 7, I know it 14, but that second TD was the very definition of garbage. Also, technically speaking Stallworth’s TD catch was not the game winner, but it was still significantly timed. After jumping out to the 21-0 lead, the Pats had gone about a quarter and half without a score, so Stallworth’s catch and run clearly broke the back of the Texans, and reopened the floodgates. (This just in: Dante’ Stallworth was just put on IR. Deion Branch is back.)
Not to be repetitive, but there are really two obvious, major story lines coming out of this game. The Patriots scoring a ton of points is hardly in and of itself newsworthy. Doing it so effectively without key contributors Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman is, on the other hand, going to grab some attention. But the biggest news flash is that the New England Patriots are playing aggressive, smart, take-away defense, and that should shake up the rest of the conference a bit, and bode well for the Pats going into the post-season.
Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich have been making plays all season long, but now with the added presence of Aqib Talib in the secondary, there seems to be a trickle down effect that has led to more effective play by a number of individuals. Kyle Arrington, for one, has settled in nicely in the nickelback role, Devon McCourty, who had the key interception Monday night, is looking solid at safety and rookie Alfonzo Dennard was equal to the task when he had to fill in when Talib was shaken up. All this confidence in the pass coverage has allowed Belichick to unleash Jerod Mayo on the quarterback, and this certainly made things more difficult for Matt Schaub, leading to two sacks and in general making him very uncomfortable in the pocket.
Will they be able to continue this against the 49ers? My guess is more or less, yes. I expect that this will be a difficult game, but not necessarily a bad match up for the Pats. You know Coach Bill is not going to give them the same looks, on defense or offense. I expect that the Patriots will win 27-17, with Deion Branch’s only catch of the day going for 6 points. Of course, he will get “hurt”, thus freeing up a spot for the return of Rob Gronkowski.
Remember you heard it here……..
Featured image courtesy of: http://www.espanol.patriots.com
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