Game Balls & Goats: Patriots - Cardinals
Matt Cassel doing things like a veteran
Matt Cassel doing things like a veteran
PatriotsInsider.com
Posted Dec 22, 2008


Matt Cassel shined bright in the middle of a snowstorm in Foxboro on Sunday as he led the Patriots to a 47-7 blowout of the Cardinals. Cassel's three-TD performance earned him a game ball. See who else gets one.

Game Balls and Goats

GAME BALLS

Matt Cassel - You can't say enough good things about Cassel. He had his opportunity to upstage his former teammate Matt Leinart, the guy who beat him out for a starting role in college. Cassel didn't waste the opportunity completing 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards, three touchdowns and a 116.1 QB rating. Cassel's three touchdowns in 14 starts gives him 21 on the season, moving him ahead of Tom Brady's first year as a starter (18). Cassel also had a pair of runs for 19 yards.

Patriots Offense - 514 total net yards against the Cardinals in a snowstorm? It was the Patriots' third 500-yard performance this season. The 2008 Tom Brady-less Patriots have produced three of the team's top 6 offensive outputs in franchise history! The 40-point margin of victory was the fourth biggest home victory in team history and the fourth time the team has broken the 40-point mark this year tying last season's franchise record.

Stephen Gostkowski - Four for four on the day in horrendous conditions. Gostkowski hit on field goal attempts of 38, 35, 24 and 30 yards. With his third kick, he passed Tony Franklin's team record 32 field goals in a season. Gostkowski set the record for most successful field goals, and is second in single season field goal accuracy (91.9%) behind only Adam Vinatieri's 2004 performance by making 31 of 33 attempts (93.9%).

Honorable Mentions:
Sammy Morris - 88 yards on 15 carries (5.9 avg.). Morris ran hard and was one shoestring tackle away from breaking big plays at least twice.

LaMont Jordan - Just 28 yards on 10 carries (2.8 avg.), but a pair of scores. Jordan rolled through the tough yards near the goal line to get the Patriots into the end zone.

Jabar Gaffney - the Patriots wideout caught nearly every pass thrown his way, including a number of tough catches over the middle. Gaffney led all Patriots receivers with 5 catches for 90 yards.

Mike Wright - The Cardinals had no answer fro Wright who was able to disrupt screen passes, deep balls and draw plays. Wright finished with 3 tackles, a half sack and 4 QB hurries.

Wes Welker - his punt returns put the patriots in prime field position throughout the day. His first return (28 yards) set the tone for the day. Welker finished with a team high 7 receptions, gaining 68 yards and a touchdown. He also returned 5 punts for 56 yards (11.2 avg.)

The Seattle Seahawks - for knocking off the New York Jets to improve the Patriots chances for the postseason.


GOATS

The Kansas City Chiefs -- for letting the Miami Dolphins back into the game today. Kansas City had a chance to put the Dolphins away, but a pair of interceptions by Tyler Thigpen and a late defensive collapse doomed them, setting up a "Must Lose" scenario for Patriots fans.
The Dallas Cowboys -- for letting the Baltimore Ravens run straight up the gut twice on Saturday night for 77 and 82-yard touchdown runs to steal the win keeping the AFC East teams in elimination mode.

The Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals didn't bother to show up on Sunday. Bad offense, even worse defense led to a complete blowout. The Cardinals may be in the playoffs, but they're not playing like a playoff team.

Dishonorable mentions:
Ellis Hobbs -- for allowing Larry Fitzgerald to get by him for the Cardinals only score - a 78-yard catch and run TD.


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