By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Typically, football games — and particularly those played by the Patriots — are memorable affairs. Because there are only 16 per year, plus between one and three in the playoffs, each one stands out as its own little mark on history.READ MORE: New High-Capacity COVID Testing Facility Opens At Bruce C. Bolling Building In Roxbury
I know I’m not alone in being able to remember in great detail the Colts-Patriots game in September 2001, aka Tom Brady’s debut as a starter (Peyton Manning threw three picks). I remember standing in the electronics section of Sears at the Burlington Mall in Week 17 of the 2002 season, huddled around a bunch of husbands who drifted away from their wives to watch as the Patriots rallied in regulation and won in overtime. I remember watching in befuddlement as Charlie Weis dialed up a draw to Larry Centers on a third-and-5 at Washington in 2003. It didn’t work, and the Patriots lost, but they’d win 21 straight and 23 of their next 25 after that. I remember the 2009 opener, when Brady returned from his torn knee and pulled off perhaps his most ridiculous comeback ever, throwing two touchdowns to Ben Watson in a span of a little over a minute to get a win over the Bills. Leodis McKelvin botched a kickoff return between those scores; Jerod Mayo was injured early.
The point is that many, many games played by the Patriots remain memorable for a variety of reasons. But Sunday’s win over the Redskins will not fall into that category.
Sunday’s game was equal parts boring, uninspiring and just plain bad. The Redskins couldn’t catch passes. After a rocket start, the Patriots looked like they were taking part in a Wednesday practice for most of the afternoon. Two key offensive players went down with injuries. Tom Brady’s offense twice got stuffed at the goal line, leading to chip-shot field goals.
Chip-shot field goals aren’t very exciting.
It was a fine game, in the sense that the Patriots did what they were expected to and improved to 8-0. But it’s very likely that this one washes away in the fog instead of standing the test of time.
So before we forget this game forever, let’s take a stroll down memory lane with some leftover thoughts from the Patriots’ dreadfully boring 27-10 win over the Washington Redskins.
–I can’t say with any shred of accuracy how the game would have gone if the Redskins had just caught passes. Such speculation would be specious, considering each catch would have changed the timeline of events in the game thereafter, and so no grand statement can be made regarding the impact that these potential catches would have had.
Nevertheless, if you would, please enjoy this montage of drops from Redskins players on Sunday.
Onside kick, right in your gut, Ryan Grant. Drop.
The Redskins didn’t possess the ball until the game was 8:22 old. And on their first play, Pierre Garcon let the ball bounce off his face and into the air for an interception.
Derek Carrier, wide open, hit in the chest in stride. Gain of at least 40. Drop.
First play of the second half. Matt Jones, all alone. Drop. (This drive would end with a Matt Jones fumble.)
Second-and-9. Let’s pick up some yards. Nope, Jamison Crowder’s looking the other way. Drop. (Washington got penalized for a false start on the following play and then punted.)
OK, we’re out of the game now, but let’s move the ball and get in the end zone oh wait Chris Thompson dropped it.
Again, you can’t sit there and say, “Well, it would have been a closer game if Washington had just made those plays.” But you can say the game might have been slightly more interesting if the Redskins executed the most basic of basic plays.
–I knew the game was over on the first play, when Dion Lewis took a handoff and had this giant hole staring him in the face:
The Redskins stink.
–Prior to suffering the knee injury, Dion Lewis did two things that really stood out. One was his homage to Shane Vereen, who always had a knack for dropping wide-open passes after running wheel routes up the sideline. Lewis didn’t really run a wheel — it was more of a simple fade — but the form on that drop was impeccable.
I also noticed his blitz pick-up on Keenan Robinson, who came charging through the A gap untouched looking to piledrive Tom Brady. Little Dion came out of nowhere, and despite giving up seven inches and 43 pounds, Lewis stood him right up and actually drove the linebacker about five yards off to the side.
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Dion Lewis is awesome. It’s reportedly a torn ACL, and that is a real bummer. He’s been a lot of fun to watch.
–Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have some juuuuuuuuuuuukes in their arsenal.
One play after absorbing this hit to the face …
Edelman casually popped up and turned this …
Poor Will Blackmon.
And Amendola nearly broke poor Trent Murphy’s entire body with a ferocious juke on the Patriots’ next offensive play.
Jukes for days, with those two. Jukes for days.
–This is just about all the analysis necessary for this game:
–The offensive line is getting major credit after this one, and it would really be hard to overstate what that group accomplished on Sunday. Bryan Stork hasn’t played since February 1, yet he played well out of position at left guard, and then did a damn fine job when he was moved even more out of position at right tackle. Cameron Fleming, who was essentially a sixth lineman/giant fullback on running formations last year and was on the practice squad last month was manning the left tackle spot. He, too, did just fine. Shaq Mason, on a bad knee, played well, and Josh Kline remained steady at right guard. And of course, David Andrews made every single snap and played a solid game.
It would be hard to say that this type of thing is sustainable. The O-line did have the benefit of going up against a weak Washington front. But that shouldn’t take away from one of the more impressive afternoons that group has put together in a long time.
On that same note, it’s a credit to Tom Brady for adapting. In 2013, he struggled behind a shaky offensive line, and he obviously got off to that rough start last September. The rebirth of the O-line has as much to do with Brady figuring out how to get rid of the ball quickly as it does anything else.
–The last time Kirk Cousins played, it was basically the best day of his life. This time … it was not. He did not seem to like that.
–Every time I say something complimentary about LeGarrette Blount, scores of people rush to tell me that he’s slow or bad or useless or something like that. I’ve never quite understood it.
When that guy’s going north to south, there’s not a man alive who would like to get in his way. The guy can move, he can slip through holes, he can break tackles, and he can do some pretty damn impressive things with the football in his hand (see: his circus run late in the third quarter for further evidence).
LeGarrette Blount is good. Deal with it.
–Wild statistic of the week:
–Was this an intentional 18-0 jab from ESPN?
Survey says … yes!
–The Patriots beat the Colts by 7 points. The Colts beat the Broncos by 3. Therefore, through the transitive property (or is the associative property?), the Patriots will beat the Broncos by 21 points. It’s just simply math, folks.
–I’ll end with this. See you next week.
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