Sunday, December 07, 2008

War of Attrition

It was an ugly win, but I'll take it.

The New England Patriots are tied atop the AFC East with the Jets and Dolphins after a much tougher game against the Seattle Seahawks than almost anyone could have predicted. The team's struggles from last week continued as the offensive line often seemed over-matched by a mediocre defense, Matt Cassel returned to some of the poor decisions that plagued him in the first couple of weeks, and the defense, while it did some good things, it continued its deterioration.

The line and the quarterback both struggled with the blitz. Cassel sometimes tried to run when he should have just loaded up and overthrown a receiver on the sideline. Moss continues to be plagued by the dropsies - a season long problem (and don't tell me that one was good defense; the ball hit Moss on the hands and ricocheted off his chest without the defender ever touching it on the one play). The defense made Seattle's offense look like the second coming of the Greatest Show on Turf on the Seahawks' first two drives.

Injuries haven't helped this season, but they still have to go out and perform.

I want to see the Patriots in the post season, make no mistake about it. That doesn't mean I believe they can actually do anything in the post season should they get there.

Admittedly, the fact that they are still in position to possibly win the division given what this team has gone through is nothing short of amazing.

The team played their first game without Kevin Faulk, Stephen Neal, Nick Kazcur, and largely without Tom Brady. Ty Warren has missed games and when he's played it's been obvious that he's injured.

The list of regulars that have missed multiple games, or have been lost for the season -

Rodney Harrison
Adalius Thomas
Laurence Maroney
Lamont Jordan
Sammy Morris
Ben Watson
Lewis Sanders
Kelley Washington

And other players who have missed at least one game, or a significant chunk of a game...

Tedy Bruschi
Vince Wilfork
Wes Welker
Pierre Woods

I'm sure I've missed somebody in all that mess, but this is what it comes down to - the team has played significant portions of the season without:

  • The starting right side of the offensive line
  • The starting quarterback
  • The leader of their defensive backfield
  • Half the starting linebacking corps
  • The top three half backs on the depth chart
All of that and 8-5 with three weeks to go. No way I would have believed it if someone had told me at the beginning of the season that the team would have experienced this sort of attrition.


Suldog said...

This team should be getting a lot more love than it does. They've played hard and won their share, despite some mind-numbing injuries. Here's hoping they have a relatively easy one versus Oakland.

Kevin Smith said...

There's something about them that reminds me of a weird hybrid of the 01 and 02 teams. They're playing better than they really should on offense, and maybe better at times on defense, but the defense, like 02, is showing some glaring weaknesses.