Each week we hand out our game balls (good things) and our Goats (bad things) for the game. Iif you know the drill, skip to the end and send us your game balls and goats.
Rules: Submit (up to) 3 Game Balls -- good things for plays you liked, players, the refs, or anything that floats your boat. Also, submit (up to ) 3 Goats, for stuff you didn't care for, from referee calls, to TV coverage, radio homers, or even the weather...
Here are our nominations for Thursday Night's 34-31 loss to the Jets.
1) Matt Cassel -- 30 of 51 for 400 yards through the air and another 62 on the ground. Cassel had a monster game. His pass to Randy Moss to tie the game in regulation was a thing of beauty. Cassel's was the first player with at least 400 yards passing and 60 yards rushing in a game since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger * Had the defense held up their end of the bargain, Cassel would be a lock for AFC offensive player of the week
2) Wes Welker -- Another week, another game with the invaluable Welker making plays. 7 receptions for 108 yards extends Welker's streak of games with at least 6 receptions to 10, another NFL record.
3) Stephen Gostkowski -- Three more kicks for the Patriots young kicker. He has made 24 of 26 on the season (92.3 percent). With the three successful field goals, Gostkowski leads the NFL with 24 made attempts.
Randy Moss - One amazing catch makes good on a substandard night because of the coverage. Moss' ability to keep his feet inbounds while reaching out over the sideline in the end zone is what made the catch possible.
Jerod Mayo - Though he missed some plays, Mayo's team high 20 tackles earns him an honorable mention.
Brett Favre -- For scrambling around to buy time for his receivers. No questionable throws by Favre was the key to the game. 26 of 33 for 258 yards and 2 TDs.
Ben Watson - Despite a crucial turnover, Watson still managed to turn in a season-best performance with 8 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Tory Brown - A class act, honored at the game for being a life-long Patriot.
* per the Patriots organization
1) Third down defense -- The Patriots couldn't get the Jets off the field on third down, allowing a woeful 9 of 16 (56 percent). The team's inability to stop opponents on third down has been an issue all season. At one point, the team was the third worst defense in the league in that category.
2) Kickoff units -- Poor containment on the Jets kickoff in the second quarter allowed Leon Washington to run virtually untouched for a 92-yard kickoff return to put the Patriots in a huge hole early. The Jets average starting position began on their own 29, while the Patriots began their drives on average on the NE 26.
3) Ellis Hobbs -- A pass interference while getting beat on a 46-yard heave by Favre to Jerrico Cotchery allowed the Jets to get in position to extend their lead to 24-6 in the second quarter.
Ben Watson -- Fumble in the third quarter was a big unforced turnover the team couldn't afford. It stalled a promising drive that would have allowed the Patriots to close the 24-13 lead at that point.
Patriots secondary -- Brett Favre competed 26 of 33 passes for 258 yards and 2 TDs with no turnovers. New England had no answer for Dustin Keller who caught 8 of those passes for 87 yards.
Poor tackling -- The Patriots allowed multiple ball carriers to fall forward for additional yardage on runs and runs after the catch. Most egregious was Brandon Meriweather and other members of the secondary. Without Rodney Harrison, the unit looks tentative in their hitting.
The Weather - Crappy conditions for watching a game, but that's New England
Cable dispute -- Ongoing dispute between the NFL Network and the cable companies continues to be a concern for fans outside the region who wanted to see the game. After two seasons, it's time to come to some sort of agreement isn't it?
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