September 27, 2016

Cassel’s rally for naught; Pats D allows last second field goal to lose 06 debut, 26-23

Okay, so who is Patrick Cobbs? I don’t care if he ever does anything else, that 57 yard TD off a screen play was as enjoyable as a first pre-season game gets. I love how he accelerated out of the grasp of a trailing Atlanta defender who seemed sure to catch him from behind. This Bud’s for you, Patrick.

Cassel finally came to life with a 77 yard touchdown drive to open the fourth quarter, hitting both Cobbs and Garrett Mills on nice sit-down routes against an Atlanta zone, before going to his right to hit (in stride) a streaking Mills for 31 yards to the Atlanta 1. Heath Evans followed with an easy TD run to draw the Pats to within 3, but my memory of this drive will be Mills’ sprint and stretch for the goal line. He looked like a real player on that one.

The good times for the offense continued after a brief Atlanta possession and punt to the New England 8. Cassel drove the Pats 80 yards, keyed by a 17 yard pass to Mills on 4th and 1 from the Atlanta 46, amd then with 15 yard scramble on 3rd and 11 from the Falcons 30. The offense-heavy draft class had a good night for itself. UDFA Cobbs kept plugging like a good fire hydrant should, and he continued a strong evening for the New England ground game, which netted 160+ on the Falcons. It all set up Gramatica’s tying field goal from 30 yards with a little over two and a half minutes left.

Thanks to Cassel’s resurgance after a slow start, the Patriots defense was barely on the field in the fourth quarter. And it was the best they looked all night. They were fairly well abused throughout the third quarter by a guy named Brian Randall, and rookie runner Jerious Norwood looked like both Jim Brown AND Marshall Faulk against a squishy Pats defense. And when DJ Shockley got the ball for the game’s final possession, he drove the Falcons almost 60 yards as we suspected he would.

They didn’t hold the point of attack (they were worse than the Falcons, giving up almost 200 on the ground), they didn’t rush the passer, they didn’t cover, and on the rare occasions they had the chance, they didn’t tackle anybody. Now, we’re talking about a group of guys competing for the final spots on the roster for the most part, but still, they stunk. As a result, Michael Koenen, who is like Superman against the Patriots, stroked his fourth field goal of the night as time expired. I’m guessing we hear a little bit of handwringing about the defense this week. They probably deserve a little.

You know what else is rockin’ about the Bethel Inn? That Golden Tee 2005 video game in the tavern. I may need that tomorrow night.

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