Before my mind becomes completely clouded with alcohol to numb the pain of that game and take advantage of today's public holiday, I felt like posting my thoughts on just how and where we fucked up today.
Yes, Brady carved us up. There's no shame in that. Better defenses have and will receive similar treatment from Gisele Bundchen's husband. The shame for our defense should come from their appalling run stopping (or should I say run starting) today. Stevan Ridley and the dude with the posh name are good RBs - but we made them look like Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster out there today. Our defense showed that they're still always a possibility of giving up the big play on the ground. Ridley's TD run was especially infuriating - Branch's pathetic attempt at a tackle had me throwing beer cans against the wall. Next week we play the Texans, who may be seeing the real Foster back and either way have possibly the best run-blocking O-line in the league. I'm honestly confused as to how we're going to stop their run game.
Pass defense was, well, passable. Especially considering what we were up against. Our front 4 didn't get as much pressure on Brady as I would have hoped until the last quarter - that seems to be a trend for this group. Not sure what needs to be done to get them rolling all game but Chuck Bresnahan better find out quickly. Routt only allowed one catch to Deion Branch - unfortunately that catch was the game-sealing touchdown. Chekwa, well, he did as good a job as a rookie in his first start against Tom Brady could possibly do. They targeted him and he had his struggles, but he wasn't disgraced either. He'll learn from this game and be a better player for it, for what it's worth. On the whole, given how banged up our secondary was going against the Pats' passing O - I really can't fault them too much.
As for the offense, DMC was solid but to have had any chance of winning this game, we needed spectacular from him. Credit to the Patriots - they came out with the intent of shutting him down and they did as good a job of it as any team can. Our receivers were probably the highlight of our team - the Campbell/Hagan connection continued to look solid, Denarius Moore was Denarius Moore (if I could, I'd place a bet on him making the Pro Bowl) and even Heyward-Bey continued his development. While he made that killer drop in the 4th quarter he also came up with that nice deep ball catch while double covered at the end. I might have to retire the Dick Hands moniker for good soon.
Jason Campbell? Let's be honest here - I don't think we learnt anything about Campbell today that we didn't already know. He's a solid enough QB who can move the chains and won't make mistakes if he doesn't have to carry the team on his own - but when he does things can get a little uncomfortable. I think we all kind of knew in our hearts that the goal-line INT to Chung would be a killer play for us. You can't give the Pats those sort of opportunities. Other than that, he looked passable but again that INT to Wilfork...I'd give Jason a C+ for the game and I think that might be a tad generous.
Speaking of opportunities, penalties once again came back to hurt us. Big Dick was fired up for this game - probably too much so. Again, it comes down to not giving the Patriots opportunities. We gave them some, they took them. That's what the best teams do.
Last week, we learned that we can hang with the big dogs in the NFL. This week, we learnt we're not quite one of them yet.
I still think we can make the playoffs if we beat up on the division again (especially since we have a few very winnable non-division games coming up as well) but next week against the Texans becomes critical. In many ways, they're a poor man's New England - explosive offense (with even more balance than the Pats) but potentially suspect defense. And a QB who (unlike Brady) can be rattled. We have got to leave Houston with a win or our quest for the playoffs becomes a whole lot more difficult.
I'll be making my usual trip to the Texans' blog this week and coming here to talk with y'all as well - but for now I'm going to spend a morning hanging with my buddies Messers Smirnoff and Cuervo.