WEEK 14: Patriots 34 - Redskins 27
1) Rob Gronkowski – Gronk is a monster. First he steamrolls two Washington defenders on his way to tiptoe down the sideline for another 10 yards, then he escapes a would-be tackler as if he were shedding an unwanted blanket to rumble another 20 yards to the end zone. 6 catches for 160 yards and 2 TDs.
2) Tom Brady – Forget about the INT in the end zone, eventhough that could have been catastrophic. Brady finally got on track to finish with 357 yards and 3 TDs. He has his 29th straight game with a TD, his eighth 300-yard game this year, giving him 42 overall. With 294 career TD passes, Brady is 6 away from John Elway's 300.
3) Andre Carter – Another sack for him on the year led to a fumble which was recovered by New England to setup their first score. It was the difference in the final outcome. He finished with 5 tackles, 1 sack, three QB hits and a forced fumble against his old team. Another hit was called roughing in one of many questionable penalties on the day.
Jerod Mayo – Mayo led the team with 9 tackles. Had a QB hit, an INT and a pass defended.
Tracy White – Without White's tackle on Santana Moss, forcing the bobble that led to Mayo's INT, the game was likely headed to OT
Wes Welker – He reached 100 receptions on the day, just the 3rd player in NFL history to have 4 of them in a career. Another TD gives him a career-best 9 on the year.
1) Patriots Defense – Say what they will about the important part being points (or wins), but the Patriots defense is one of the worst in years. When QBs like Rex Grossman, and Dan Orlovsky are putting up big numbers the pass defense issues are clearly obvious. The Redskins managed 170 yards on 33 carries (5.0 avg.) Washington manages 463 total yards, That showed breakdowns both up front and in the secondary. The trend points to an early exit from the playoffs, when/if the team secures a postseason bid.
2) Pats DBs – The whole defense gets one goat, but this group earned another. They played soft at times, too soft. They missed some tackles, tripped over each other and had coverage breakdowns in their zones leaving big gaps. Their inability to cover tight on third and long situations led to sustained drives. The Redskins converted 50% of their third downs, with 13 total first downs coming via the pass.
3) Officiating – ‘Inconsistent' would be the best term for what we witnessed. Three poor calls stand out. (1) The roughing penalty on Andre Carter for tackling a falling backward Rex Grossman's lower leg. (2) The call that London Fletcher hit Tom Brady's head in a Brady slide. (3) The roughing penalty on Vince Wilfork who used his forearm to land on E. Royster who fell down on the play.
Tiquan Underwood – OK, so maybe it was not all his fault on the end Z=zone INT, but Underwood needs to step up and fight though the (uncalled) hold and maintain his position on that route.
Patriots first half offense – Especially worrisome was the Patriots inability to put the ball in the end zone on back-to-back possessions, settling instead for 20-something yard chipshot field goals for Stephen Gostkowski.
Share yours, or read what others think here