As Alfonso Soriano and the Yankees were beating up on poor Felix Doubront and the Sox last night, I turned as much attention as I could towards the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to escape the pain. While I didn’t get to revel in seeing Revis Island in a different uniform than the green and white, and we didn’t get to see LaGarette Blount run an insane 20-yd TD in a minute and a half at slowmo speed, it was still a solid preseason match, and the Pats prevailed 25-21. Here are some thoughts:
Quien es mas macho? Tom Brady es mas macho.
Like every other Pats fan in the world, when I heard about Tom Brady’s left knee being tweaked in a scrimmage against the Buccaneers, I 1) immediately texted every Pats fan I knew with the same “the end is near” messages 2) had a Tebow-related panic attack and 3) peed a little. I had flashbacks to 2008, when I was young and naïve and didn’t know what a season of Matt Cassel and QB would look like.
Luckily, Brady practiced the next day, and was ready to play come game time. I watched that knee brace like it was wearing a black cloak and holding a sickle, but there was little to no worry. Because as if fueled by the dozens of articles wondering whether Father Time would catch up to him, Brady put in a master session in his two series against the Bucs. Brady completed his first 11 passes, ending the game with a line of 11-12, 107 yds, and 1 TD. The Pats offense looked great overall, with a lot of different formations and looks, and should be the same tricky team they’ve always been. And Brady will be right there at the helm.
The Brady/Amendola Connection
The biggest beneficiary of BradyBeastMode was Danny Amendola. After only one catch in last week’s game against the Eagles, Amendola looked good and looked good early against the Bucs. Six catches, 71 yards is nothing to sneer at, and he was the recipient of Brady’s one TD on the night. Danny looks to be the key veteran presence on such a young receiver group, and if he can stay on the field should have a great year.
Ryan Mallett looked fine too.
Mallett definitely had a better game than in the Eagles game, going 12-20 for 137 yds and 1 TD, a beautiful 22-yard pass to Malik Sutcliffe aka Zach Sudfield. What was more impressive than the numbers was how he played. Mallett tried to find MVP candidate and future All-Pro staple Kenbrell Tompkins often in the beginning, targeting him three times (despite only one catch for three yards), before shifting his attention to sure hands Zach Sudfield and Shane Vereen, while also hitting rookie Aaron Dobson on a nice 20 yd pass. While I wouldn’t get too excited about the young QB, this is definitely a step in the right direction. And of course, his cause can’t be hurt when he’s playing with
Tim Tebow is still the worst.
I don’t have anything more to say about Tebow. Don’t see the upside, don’t see the talent. I don’t get it. And he didn’t acquit himself well on the field: 1-7, -1 yds, and and an interception. While he certainly ran better than he threw 4 att, 32 yds), I can’t imagine that, in the regular season, should Tebow come into the game, that they would ever believe that the Patriots would allow him to throw in a big situation, and opposing teams will know that. I don’t know if it’s because Belichick really loves Tebow, lost a bet and now has to keep him, or is too proud to admit he was wrong, but this experiment has gone on long enough.
God I miss Tiquan Underwood. I mean that hair….that amazing hair. The hair that Iman Shumpert sees and weeps at his own flat top’s mediocrity. Underwood had a fine game, hauling in a nice 41-yard pass, but really it’s all about that hair. I mean, my word….
Kind of a mixed bag. The pass rush looked exponentially better, and Brandon Spikes, Chandler Jones, and Rob Ninkovich all collected sacks. They didn’t look terrible against the run, though the second team defense definitely had a bit more trouble, despite the impressive game of Jamie Collins (6 tackles). And the pass defense was, like always, a bit lackluster. Once again, these games should be taken with a grain of salt as long as Devin McCourty, Alfonzo Dennard, and Aqib Talib are all on the sideline. But even with a Logan Ryan INT, the Pats trouble had some trouble, making backup Mike Glennon look fantastic. Next week’s game against Matthew Stafford and the Lions will be another challenge for this young group, and hopefully they’ll show some more promise, and my building a life-size bronze statue of Duron Harmon won’t be for nothing.