Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pats find cure for Bengal Fever in Cincy

MY PICK: Cincy 35-27 Score: Pats 38- 13
I knew my reverse psychology would work! It's foolproof: go against your team, especially if there is money involved, and they are GUARANTEED to win. Yep, all of you Pats fans can thank me for picking against them, therefore subliminally propelling them to this gi-normous victory over the previously undefeated Bengals; it's the same method that helped the Sox win the Series. The other deciding factor was that I could not watch the game. The combo of no Dish Network and my son's baseball practice conspired to keep me away from this one, another surefire recipe for favorite team success.

So how did New England do it? How did they overcome what I thought they wouldn't be able to- the lethal law firm of Palmer, Johnson & Whosyourmama- with a patchwork secondary? Simple, by not allowing Carson Palmer any time to find his favorite targets; Palmer was a mediocre 20-35 for 245 yds & no TDs , plus he was sacked 4 times and lost 2 fumbles, each converted into Patriot touchdowns that turned a close game into a romp. This was not one that will go into his game film library, to say the least.

On offense the Pats relied heavily on rookie RB Lawrence Maroney and the running game. Maroney, who is quickly becoming the steal of the draft (yet another from the NE front office) ripped off 125 yards and 2 scores on only 15 carries for an eye-popping 8.3 YPC. Former Bengal back/pariah Corey Dillon contributed 67 yards on 17 carries against his former team, and after scoring the dagger TD to start the 4th that made it 31-13, tossed the ball far into the stands he used to be both cheered and booed from(today it was just boos.) All told New England ran for 236 yards- even Brady chipped in with 21 on 2 carries for a real eye-popping 10.5 YPC.

Speaking of Tom Terrific, all he did was what he always does (except against Denver): run an efficient (15-26, 188yds) and effective (2 TDs, 1 harmless INT) offense, hand the ball to his capable running backs and let them do the heavy lifting. Brady was not the aggravated & discombobulated basket case we saw last week against the Broncos. Instead he was the calm, cool & collected Tommy Boy of the zillions of big wins he has led this team to in his short but storied career.

You gotta think that all the attention being paid to Palmer (raise your hand if you've heard "he's the best QB in football right now" from an analyst this year about Carson) and the upstart Bengals combined with their cockiness & trash-talking gave Brady, Rodney Harrison, Dillon and the rest of the Pats a little more incentive to go out and show the new kids on the block who has owned the block for most of this millennium.
Palmer even half-admitted that the Bengals may have been guilty of reading too much of their own press clippings (how can they not when they're in the police blotter every week?), but he made a foolhardy quote when he uttered these words:
"It's tough to say after a loss like this, but hopefully well be able to look back in a month or two and say we needed this," Palmer said. "I don't know if we were too cocky or too confident, but I know this is a team that we should've beat. Hopefully, well get another shot at them. I know if we play our best football, we can beat them."

Ah, hello, Earth to Planet Palmer: you just got spanked in your crib by a team that was without 3 of its top 4 secondary players, had a 35 year-old WR (Troy Brown) playing in nickel packages, and had only scored 50 points in its first 3 games combined. Not to mention allowing the Pats to rush for 110 yards above their average and you yourself committing 2 turnovers that led to scores. In other words, Carson baby, you had all your weapons (well ,except for WR Chris Jailbait Henry, serving a suspension for being involved in too many illegal activities), you were undefeated, playing at home against a team ripe for the picking after scoring only 7 points in a demoralizing loss last week, and your team was riding high after a big win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

The circumstances don't get more ideal than that buddy. Better be careful what you wish for when you haven't accomplished shit in this League yet, dude.

This was a great win both in actuality, to even their record at 2-2, and symbolically, to regain some lost respect, for the Pats. Down the road this game might be looked at as a turning point in this season. Because coming into this one New England appeared slow, confused and indecisive on the field. Today they looked like what they actually are: 3-time World Champs who know how to win big games. They just needed the cocky Bengals to remind them.

"So Chad, how did I do at that trash-talkin' stuff?"

"Bill, go back to being a nerdy genius and leave the trash talkin' to me, okay?"

"Good idea. By the way, what's the deal with that 'do?

No comments: