New England Patriots fans held their breath as someone besides reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady started under center for the first time since September 30th, 2001. Cassel managed to best Brady’s debut passer rating by ten points. Matched up against the Colts in ’01, Brady hit 12-23 for 168 yards and no tds/ints with a passer rating of 79.6. On Sunday, Cassel eclipsed that by making 16 of 23 passes for 165 yards with no tds/ints for a rating of 89.9. Cassel effectively managed the Patriot offense, balancing a lighter-than-usual passing game with an effective running attack.
After the Jets turned an opening drive into a missed field goal, the Pats marched 76 yards down the field to get on the board first with a Stephen Gostowski FG.
Of the 9 times the Pats had the ball, they scored 5 (4 FG, 1 Sammy Morris rushing TD) and were within field goal range while running the clock out on their final drive. The Patriot defense showed up big, keeping the Jets out of the end zone in their only trip into the red zone in the first half. New England stuffed the run three times in a row and held the Jets to a field goal.
The Jets threatened in the 4th quarter, putting together a 80-yard touchdown drive to get within 6 points. The Pats fired right back with a clock-killing 70-yard drive that ended in another field goal, making it a 2-posession game. The Jets couldn’t make anything out of their next drive, and the Pats held on to notch their 21st consecutive regular season win.
Next week the Pats host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. 1:00pm kickoff on CBS/WBZ 4, and WBCN 104.1 FM.
According to Yahoo Sports‘ Michael Silver, Tom Brady is out for the season with a torn ACL. While the Pats have yet to confirm this, Brady will have an MRI today to assess the scope of the injury. In his absence, backup QB Matt Cassel and the Patriots defense stepped up.
Cassel completed 13 of 18 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, and is projected to start his first football game since high school next Sunday. The New England running back corps combined for 126 yards, including 51 from Laurence Maroney, and 53 and a TD from Sammy Morris.
Morris, whose 2007 season was over after a sternum-clavicle injury in week 6, knows what it is like to miss significant playing time.
“I was standing right there,” said Morris in an interview with the Boston Globe‘s Bob Ryan, “and I couldn’t help him up. It’s a tough feeling, but it’s part of the game.”
The Patriots defense looked energized with the infusion of young talent to go with the veteran defenders. Rookie Jerod Mayo registered 6 tackles and seemed like he was involved in every defensive play. With the Chiefs down 7 on the NE 5 yard line, the Pats defense held on to break up 3 Damon Huard passes and stuff a Larry Johnson run for no gain to end it.
Former Tampa Bay QBs Chris Simms and Tim Rattay will be working out with the Patriots today, who are likely shopping for a veteran to back up Cassel. While the situation looks dire, the last time the Patriots lost a starting QB, their untested backup (Brady in 2001) worked out pretty well.
The Patriots will travel to Jersey to play the Jets at 4:15pm next Sunday, September 14th.
When the Raiders drafted Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, it didn’t take long for them to show Lamont Jordan the door. It also didn’t take long for him to find a new team; the New England Patriots had a need for depth at the running back position. Backs Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris missed significant time in 2007, forcing 3rd down specialist Kevin Faulk and backups Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel to fill the gaps. The Patriots hope that Jordan can relieve the starters for a few reps, or even find a specific role to play in the offense.
The veteran had a solid 2006 season, racking up 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns, but had a 2007 campaign that was hampered by injuries. Jordan only managed three touchdowns and 549 yards in 12 games (7 starts). He said that his body seemed to be responding to contact in practice normally, and that he is starting the season healthy.
In his first practice sessions with the Pats, Jordan worked on red-zone plays and screen plays, possible long term roles for him to fill.
“Lamont adds some quality depth to our backfield,” coach Bill Belichick said after the first practice. “He’s tough to tackle, a hard runner, and good in the passing game.”
One of the most exciting additions to Patriots Place by Gillette Stadium is Showcase Live. The 16,000 square foot venue is set to host many concerts, comedians, and theater events that normally would not have a place in Mass.
Showcase live seats 500 for seated shows, and 1,000 for general admission concert performances. The Kraft Group and National Amusements have joined together to create an upscale concert experience. National Amusements President Shari Redstone said they want it to be a place “where everybody who walks in feels like a star and is treated like a star”. Showcase Live will feature luxury dining and drinking, as well as state-of-the-art visuals onstage behind the artist.
The inagural list of performances at Showcase Live:
Sat, 08/16/08 Al Jarreau
Mon, 08/18/08 Chaka Khan
Tue, 08/19/08 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Wed, 08/20/08 Boyz II Men
Sat, 08/23/08 Dave Attell
Tue, 08/26/08 Squeeze
Thu, 08/28/08 John Hiatt & the Ageless Beauties
Fri, 08/29/08 Savion Glover
Thu, 09/04/08 Robert Earl Keen
Fri, 09/12/08 Evening with Peter Frampton
Thu, 09/18/08 The Average White Band
Sat, 09/20/08 Gin Blossoms
Tue, 09/23/08 From the Jam
Sat, 10/04/08 David Grisman Bluegrass Experience + John Sebastian
Sat, 10/18/08 Hanson
Sun, 10/19/08 Hanson
Sat, 10/25/08 Joe Bonamassa
Wed, 11/12/08 Bayside More Info
Fri, 11/14/08 Girl Talk
Sat, 11/15/08 Ska Is Dead Presents Skanksgiving Feat: the Toasters and Mustard Plug
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