Turnovers, not injuries, reason for loss
First, an announcement: By popular demand we're moving the mailbag from Friday to Thursday, giving you more time to enjoy it late in the week while at work. We've received several e-mails asking if we could make this possible, and I also ran into a few fans in Washington who echoed the same sentiments. We'll begin this week, so send in your questions now.
Bill Belichick and his players don't want to be judged as a team decimated by injuries. Fair enough. We won't judge them that way. The facts are they turned the ball over four times, Tom Brady threw three picks, Kevin Faulk had a horrible fumble which led to a score and Adam Vinatieri missed a 46-yard field goal, certainly not a gimme, but usually money in the bank for him.
The coaching broke down at the end of the game. The final drive should have been handled completely different. Why the longer passes when all you need is about 15 yards to give Vinatieri a comfortable field goal for the tie? Fourth and three, why are you looking down field? Why not five yards to Larry Centers for the first down, run a couple of more plays and boot the field goal? Where was the timeout on fourth down? I'm not too upset about the draw play with Centers because there was enough time on the clock to try it and they very well could have surprised the Redskins defense.
The Patriots played with heart from start to finish, a tribute to the players because they never quit. The Redskins were extremely lucky to come away with a win because they fell asleep. How can you only beat a team with nine starters out by three points and have it come down to the wire like that?
The good news is the Patriots are 2-2, tied with Buffalo, a half-game behind Miami. It's still all bunched up in the AFC East. Buffalo has come back down to earth and it appears they woke up Philadelphia, who I always thought would be a dominating team. While it appears David Patten and Damien Woody at least return to the lineup next week against Tennessee, the Titans are such a physical team, I don't see how the Patriots can win the game unless the Titans try to give it away like the Redskins almost did.
Here's the upside to all these injuries: if they hang in and stay around .500 or better until some of their guys come back, the younger guys who are playing are just going to develop as players. Obviously, Rosey Colvin and Mike Compton aren't coming back, but Ted Washington and Ted Johnson, if I had to guess based on what I've heard about their injuries, would be back Game 11 or 12. It might take Washington longer because he's 35 and a big guy, but I think we'll see these guys playing by the time December hits and maybe sooner. Dan Klecko had a pretty good game with a sack and a blocked field goal. Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel continue to gain valuable experience against top receivers. Ty Warren even got some playing time as did Tom Ashworth and Russ Hochstein as well as rookie center Dan Koppen. I thought David Givens did some goods things, and has showed that he might be the answer as their "big" receiver. Continued...