GAMEBALLS and GOATS: Vote Now
UPDATE 12:10 am: Game Over Denver wins 17-7
It's amazing how good the Patriots offense can look one dive and how poorly they look the next. The Defense did their best to try to keep the Patriots in the mix, but it was unable to stop Denver when it was close. The defense firmed up in the fourth after giving up the one play, then turned in a decent showing.
The offense misses WRs and while Tom Brady has the ability to move around in the pocket, he needs some playmakers to help him out. The running game ground to a halt without Corey Dillon.
Tom Brady was 31 of 55 for 320 yards and one touchdown.
Jake Plummer 15 of 30 for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns
Patriots rushing 21 rushes for 50 yards 2.1 yard average
Broncos rushing 34 rushes for 144 yards 4.2 yard average
No sacks for either team
SEND your Game Balls and Goats in here
UPDATE: 11:50pm: The Patriots finally woke up on offense after three scoreless periods the team needed something. They moved into a hurry-up offense and drove 80 yards downfield to score. Doug Gabriel caught the ball in the back of the end zone near the goal post and made a "Nice" grab. Where the heck has he been the whole game.
More injuries Dillon hurt his arm and is OUT. Harrison hurt his arm and is back in. Wilson is fighting an injury and was replaced by James Sanders who hasn't looked good.
Ben Watson made an amazing diving catch on the drive to score Sometimes Watson looks amazing in pass patterns. It's the blocking that needs work. Brady looked good and back to his self on the scoring drive.
Maroney looked like a rookie again. There are times he looks amazing, but when a DL hit him, he dropped instantly. Dillon at least falls forward.
Nice job of a Denver defense puking on the field. Their pass-rushing specialist wasn't the only one winded.
UPDATE 11:15 pm: The Broncos scored three plays into the fourth period. Javon Walker ran by Asante Samuel who expected help from the4 safety. James Sanders was in for Eugene Wilson and never made it over to stop Walker.. when he did arrive, he missed the tackle badly. Walker took off down the left hash and never looked back. TD Denver.
Players dropping like flies on the field. Harrison got hurt. Denver's Al Wilson is sidelined. Tatum Bell is out and in, and more players looking banged up.
UPDATE 10:30 pm: The Patriots have looked anything but in-sync in the third period. The announcers have called it correctly, the team looks like they miss Deion Branch or ANY receiver at this point. No offensive cohesiveness at all.
The third period was a battle of field position with both teams showing strong defensive efforts, but nothing much in terms of offensive production.
Corey Dillon is out, and his return is doubtful Dillon injured his arm.
UPDATE 10:00 pm: At the Half
Well, the Patriots closed out the first half of this Sunday Night Spectacular in what looked like uninspired fashion. Down 10-0 after Plummer connected with Jevon Walker on a 32 yard pass to the end zone, New England did what they did all half...not much.
Denver's touchdown came on 3rd and 1. On the play Plummer again had time in the pocket as New England was unable to penetrate the pocket.
Not much has really happened in the game. From a Patriots perspective you could almost say there was a lot of nothing. Even Al Michaels' one-liners are weak.
Both Corey Dillon and Matt Light were troubled by injuries in the first half. Matt Light injured his knee but came back onto the field. NBC's Andrea Kramer, sporting a turtle-neck and matching suburban deshekee(odd), reported that Dillon suffered an arm injury. Kevin Faulk saw a bulk of the action towards the end of the half.
Here's some halftime stats...
Brady - 12 for 19, 135 yards
Reche Caldwell - 3 catches for 46 yards, if he puts up another 46 and scores a TD in the 2nd half I'll call him Reche Reche(as in Rochelle Rochelle...anybody?)
Maroney - only 8 yards rushing on 7 carries but 42 yards receiving
Dillon- 16 yards rushing
Plummer - keeping Jay Cutler on the sidelines with 127 yards passing and a TD
Tatum Bell has 70 yards rushing.
In honor of next summer's China Bowl the field at halftime now looks like a Chinese New Year Parade. Hopefully it's not the year of the chicken nor rat.
It's never been scientifically proven, but if body language tells you anything Tom Brady did not look "into" the first half of the game. Not sure what's going on but I'm sure coach Belichick can't be happy.
UPDATE 9:30 pm: The Broncos have unlocked the scoring stalemate by taking a 3-0 league after a Jason Elam chip shot from 23 yards out. Denver got into scoring range after a 24 yard pass to Ed Mcaffery replacement David Kircus to the New England 24 was enlarged by an extra 15 yards after a borderline roughing the passer call on Ty Warren. With the ball on the Pats 12 yard line New England's defense came up big, especially Ty Warren, holding Denver to 3 points.
New England can't seem to get to Plummer much. Let's see how the offense does for the remaining 7 minutes of the half.
UPDATE 9:00 pm The score is knotted at zero's after the first stanza of play. Denver has shown signs of life in its running game. Tatum Bell has 35 yards on 7 carries. Plummer has been, well, Plummer. Jake is 3 for 9 for 32 yards.
As for New England, they haven't faired any better. Brady's thrown for 40 yards and an early Dillon run compiling for most of his 14 yards has been the few offensive highlights for New England.
It took Al Michaels until the 5:20 mark of the 1st to bring out the Deion Branch/David Givens missing wide receiver story.
It seems like there's more commercials than normal. Must be Costas' salary payments for NBC.
UPDATE 8:30pm: After moving the ball well out of the gates to start the game Denver ended up punting. The punt pinned the PAts down to their own 1 yard line.
The field looks worn as it did week 1 against the Bills. I'm sure the Rolling Stones concert didn't help any.
Al Michaels and John Madden look sharp in matching shiny black suits for NBC, pop singer Pink is annoyingly irrelevant in NBC's broadcast intro and Belichick looks ready for business in his native garb of grey hoodie.
UPDATE 8:00pm The Week 3 weekend of NFL 2006 culminates tonight in Foxboro as the Broncos are in town in this marquee AFC matchup. Denver will try to add on to its 23-15 regular season edge over the Patriots and QB Jake Plummer will try to hold onto his job. The 1-1 Broncos have only scored 19 points so far this season and Plummer has basically put up a doughnut-hole. Jake's 4:0 INT to TD ratio has some in Denver calling for Commodore Jay Cutler to take over the offensive reigns. Perhaps it will be Denver's defense and the now house-hold-name "11 Up Blitz" that will turn in Denver's Fifth win in the last 6 contests between these teams.
To make tonight's game seem more dramatic than I'm sure NBC will, the last time the Broncos were in Foxboro they won 24-16, back in 2002...the first year New England didn't defend the Lombardi Trophy.
For the first Sunday in autumn there is plenty of Summer in the air. Game tine temps call for mid-low 70's with a constant summer breeze shooting through Gillette. It's comfortable temperatures for football, tailgating and Commissioner Roger Goodell. The new NFL Commishoner's attendance coincides with the announcement of the China Bowl, the NFL's continuing attempt to keep pace with the NBA on an international level. Even more coincidental is that the China Bowl, to be played next August, will feature the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
Here are some notables who will only be rooting from the sidelines tonight:
New England - WR Chad Jackson, OT Nick Kazcur, DE Marquise Hill and S Artrell Hawkins are out with injury, while TE Garrett Mills, LB Pierre Woods, OL Gene Mruczkowski are inactive
Denver - DE Courtney Brown, LB Nate Webster, RB Cedric Cobbs all injured, OL Chris Kuper, OL Adam Meadows, WR Todd Devoe, TE Nate Jackson, and DL Elvis Dumervil
Talk about the team on the Patriots