Patriots Film Review: Ridley, Wilfork Assert Dominance, While Welker Makes Eerie Catch On Seam Route
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a short week and the powerhouse 49ers are coming to town, so you can bet the entire Patriots team has already moved on from Monday night’s 42-14 win over the Texans.
That doesn’t mean we have to.
Tuesday’s “Leftover Thoughts” recapped just about everything there was to recap from the dominant Patriots win, but due to restrictions, it lacked film review. So before we all move on completely to the Niners, let’s look at a few highlights.
–Yesterday, I credited a “linebacker” for getting faked badly and passing up an easy sack by instead going after Stevan Ridley, who didn’t have the football. I think it’s important to make sure, now, that Tim Dobbins gets proper credit. Bravo, Tim Dobbins. Bravo.
–Danny Woodhead made headlines for his catch-and-run that ended in a fumblerooski into the end zone, but I personally enjoyed his other catch much more. He lined up to Tom Brady’s right in the shotgun, ran right as if he was running an out route and then broke in over the middle. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton was supposed to cover Woodhead, but instead ended up falling flat on his face.
It was barbaric.
–Linebackers weren’t the only Texans to get embarrassed by the Patriots, though. The camera didn’t catch it all that great, but you can see the aftermath here of the play when Jerod Mayo absolutely bull-rushed right tackle Ryan Harris, who ended up lying on his back in the backfield without a helmet on, likely wondering what just happened.
–Football is awesome for a number of reasons. One is that even though the games only last about three hours, the preparation for each of them is a full week, and sometimes more. What you see on Sundays (or Monday, in this case) is the end result of all the film study and practice the coaches and players have put in, and at times, things go perfectly as planned.
That was evident on Brady’s play-action fake to Ridley, which allowed for the easy touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd. The receiver said after the game that it was a “scheme play” and they specifically practiced that play all week, so it was cool when ESPN cameras caught Brady pointing right at offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, with McDaniels pointing back before going into an all-out frenzy on the sideline.
Don’t you just wish you could celebrate like that when you do something right at work?
–I thought it was pretty cute when Duane Brown pulled across the line and tried to block Vince Wilfork. Good job, good effort, but that’s not going to work.
–I heard some Houston sports radio hosts criticizing Scott Zolak for saying the Texans quit, which I found a bit baffling. The Texans made it pretty clear they had given up when they punted on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter and then let Ridley and Shane Vereen run right over them for the Patriots’ sixth touchdown of the night.
That 10-play, 68-yard drive was summed up perfectly by Ridley’s ferocious stiff arm on Dobbins. The linebacker has a couple of inches and at least 15 pounds over the running back, but Ridley pretty clearly had the greater willpower. On second-and-6, Ridley turned a 1-yard gain into 9-yard run and a first down. It was simply the difference between one player wanting to win and another player wanting to go home.
–People who hate Bill Belichick love to criticize him for “running up the score,” which is a “classless” and “arrogant” move. That’s obviously a bunch of hogwash, but I would’ve loved to see what they all said if Belichick had actually pulled the move of challenging Houston’s kick return in the middle of the fourth quarter.
With Houston trailing 42-7, Keshawn Martin started bringing Stephen Gostkowski’s kick out of the end zone, but he decided at the last split-second to take a knee for the touchback. Replay clearly showed his foot touch the goal line, while it’s unclear whether the ball remained in the end zone or if it crossed the plane. Either way, it would have been hilarious if Belichick had challenged the play, if only to hear him say after the game, “Well … there was still a lot of time left. … If they score there, and we turn it over and they score again, then you’ve got a three-possession game.”
–Long after the game ended, after the Patriots asserted their dominance over the AFC-leading Texans and after several storylines were already in motion for the following week, I still had trouble getting past one play in the first quarter on the Patriots’ very first drive. That play? Well, it was almost the exact same pass to Welker up the left seam that was dropped in the Super Bowl, with this one being caught instead.
Here’s the Super Bowl drop:
And here’s Monday night’s catch:
I was somewhat surprised we didn’t all see 68,000 fans faint at the sight of that with no warning.
Screen shots courtesy of NFL.com/GameRewind