Game Balls and Goats
Each week our staff hand out Game Balls & Goats for the game. This week, the Patriots cruised to a 48 - 28 win over the Miami Dolphins to secure second place in the AFC East. It wasn't easy for New England at Miami, coming down to a fourth quarter scoring flurry to pull away at the end.
Game balls and goats: ( Submit your own HERE )
Here are ours:
Matt Cassel - Only the second quarterback in Patriots history to pass for 400 yards or more twice. Cassel Joined Drew Bledsoe as the only Patriots to have accomplished the feat. Cassel is only the fifth player in NFL History to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games. The last time it was accomplished was 2004 by Billy Volek. Cassel finished with 415 yards by completing 30 of 43 passes with 3 touchdowns and one interception. Cassel even ran for a touchdown.
Randy Moss - It was only a matter of time before Randy Moss had the type of day he showed in 2007. Moss finished with 8 catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns. He passed Chris Carter on the all time TD reception list. His 100-yard performance was the 59th of his career to tie Marvin Harrison, and trail only Jerry Rice's 76.
Wes Welker - Another 100+ yard game for Welker, his third straight. He has now extended his consecutive streak of catching 6 or more passes by catching 8 passes for 120 yards. His streak extends to last season for 12 straight. The NFL Record is 16, set by Marvin Harrison (2002-03).
Defensive Adjustments - The Patriots defense allowed the Dolphins to compile 392 yards and hang in the game until the fourth quarter. When it mattered most the Patriots defense firmed up to stop the Dolphins offense and didn't let the "wildcat" do any damage compared to week 3.
Offensive Line - after being maligned early in the season the offensive line protected Matt Cassel long enough to have another career day.
Kevin Faulk - Another 100-yard combine performance. Faulk kept the chains moving when the team needed him to.
Penalties - the Patriots were flagged six times for 38 yards, with penalties coming at inopportune times in the first half. New England adjusted to the way the official were calling the game to prevent getting further behind. Matt Light's ejection was a dumb mistake he will probably hear form the Commissioner for..
Third Down Defense - Had Matt Cassel not turned in a career performance, the Patriots defense may have blown another game. The Dolphins converted 50% of their third downs (6 of 12) one week after the Jets converted 56% (9 of 16).
Kick Returns - After leading the NFL early on in the season, the Patriots kickoff return unit has slowly declined to average. New England's return unit only managed to provide an average starting position of the Patriots own 29-yard line.
Pass Coverage - 330 yards through the air, and the secondary almost gave the Dolphins enough chances to get back into the game. Of the Dolphins 23 first downs, 18 came through the air.
Joey Porter - Porter sat down with Keyshawn Johnson for a pregame interview in which he repeatedly said the Patriots cheated against the Steelers when Porter was in Pittsburgh, and that those AFC Championships should be his not New England's. Porter even insinuated that the Patriots continued to cheat after being caught for videotaping signals in 2007.