Patriots Insider weighs in each week on how the team fared,
both good and bad. For the good, we hand out a Game Ball. For the bad,
the recipient gets a Goat. Fans are encouraged to share their
own, or read what others have said about the team's performance.
Awards can be handed out to anyone or anything from players,
coaches, the media, to the refs even the weatherman is not
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
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.