The Patriots survive blitzes, former teammate Branch, and injuries for a close victory over the Seahawks

The Seahawks game plan for attacking the former bullies of the NFL, the New England Patriots, was simple get an early lead and harass inexperienced quarterback Matt Cassel into making mistakes.  However to the dismay of the Seahawks, Cassel was not the same passer who looked so bad in a week 13 loss to the Steelers (4 turnovers including 3 INTs).  Cassel — 26 of 44 for 268 yards passing and a touchdown, with no turnovers including 5-for-8 on the game-winning drive — stood tall withstanding a constant Seahawks defensive on-rush to deliver an 11-0 fourth quarter scoring barrage that proved be the difference in the Patriots’ 24-21 win over the tougher than expected Seattle Seahawks (2-12). 

Cassel continued to get the ball over and over to chain-moving receiver Wes Welker — season-high 12 passes for 134 yards – as the speedy receiver got the Pats on the doorstep for running back Sammy Morris’ 1-yard game-winning touchdown leap with 2:44 remaining on the game clock. Welker said of Cassel’s play,  “They blitzed us and they were coming after him and he did a great job of keeping some poise”. 

The biggest opposition for the Patriots seemed to be former teammate receiver Deion Branch (4 receptions for 88 yards and 2 TDs).  The former Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots scored his first touchdown since Dec. 16, 2007 on a 14-yard catch.  Then he had a crucial 63-yard catch and run setting up another score and his biggest play only covered four yards, but Branch made a great concentration touchdown catch where he tapped the ball to himself in the endzone.  Playing well against the team that traded him away in ’07 – Patriots got a number one pick from the Seahawks after a nasty holdout – wasn’t enough for Branch as the often injured receiver said, “I’d rather take one catch and win the game”.  He added, “It’s sad, man … You’d almost rather lose by three touchdowns than to lose that way.”

If the Patriots are to win the AFC East or gain an AFC wildcard, they will need to stay healthy and continue to have players step up from the lower part of their depth chart.  This week it was 39-year old veteran linebacker Junior Seau, who came in to bolster an injury-depleted defense.   Seau had recently been signed out of retirement earlier this week and his presence was needed as linebacker Tedy Bruschi injured his knee versus the Seahawks joining OLB Pierre Woods (jaw), DT Vince Wilfork (shoulder) and S James Sanders (ribs) on the sidelines.

The road-win put the Patriots (8-5) in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with the Dolphins and New York Jets with three games left.  The Patriots very well maybe the odds-on favorites to win the division as December is their time of the year (21-2 in the regular season ending month since 2003) and all three of their remaining games seem winnable [@OAK, ARI, and @BUF].  Seau understood the urgency of getting a win by any means necessary when he said, “Trust me, if we don’t take care of this game there is no tomorrow”.


One Response

  1. Hello Sports Fans!!! This may be the last chance New England has an opportuninty to make a push for the division title. The Dolphins and Jets are on their hills. However, New England may have enough veterans to pull through. Let’s see how this plays out. Win or Loose the Patriots have to start rebuilding for the future if they want to compete for a division title every year.

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