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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-01-2008, 05:32 AM
Steelers win might doom Patriots' hopes
Monday, December 01, 2008
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- During maybe five mumbling minutes of postgame Q & A, Bill Belichick offered zero insight into something so startling as a 23-point loss at home by a team not even a year removed from being virtually unbeatable, except to say that the Patriots had their opportunities and didn't take advantage.

He was lucky they took advantage of the opportunity to leave the premises after 60 soggy minutes of being brutalized by the NFL's best defense, or he would have had problems filling the plane for Seattle next weekend.

On the day the other shoe finally dropped from a season-opening-and-closing injury to future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, the Patriots were humbled by a raging Steelers defense that went virtually out of control.

James Harrison ran the Light.

Troy Polamalu robbed the Cassel.

And yonder comes a postseason very likely to include no Patriot games.

"Five [losses] isn't going to knock us out," Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel said, even though his team is 4-5 in the AFC and loses tiebreakers to most contenders. "The game plan we had today included a good idea of what they were going to do and, for the most part, that played out the way we thought it would."

New England had turnovers on five consecutive second-half possessions, gained a sickly 267 yards after just having put up 500-yard games back-to-back, went 1 for 13 on third down and scored its only touchdown on a drive that started at the Steelers' 14.

"I put a lot of blame on myself," said big-play wideout Randy Moss, who dropped balls all over the lawn, including one in the back of the end zone that would have lifted the Patriots into a 17-10 halftime lead. "It'll probably bother me until next Sunday. Once you start catching the ball you get into a rhythm, but once you drop one and then drop another, it starts to get to you mentally. But that's why they call us pros; you're supposed to let the bad go.

"The last couple of weeks, from an offensive standpoint, people thought we were riding high. Today some bad things started happening and they trickled on down."

They started happening after the second of Jeff Reed's four field goals erected a 13-10 Steelers lead with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter. The subsequent kickoff hit return man Matthew Slater in the chest, both wrists and one knee before squirting free to Keyaron Fox. Hines Ward scored 28 seconds later. Harrison ruptured New England's next two possessions by blowing past All-Pro left tackle Matt Light and swatting the ball from Cassel's throwing hand. Polamalu ended the next with his sixth interception, and Lawrence Timmons choked off the following possession when he stepped in front of Cassel's lazy out pass to Kevin Faulk at the Steelers' 10 and took it 89 yards the other way.

The New Englanders who've spasmed into the psychotic reasoning that maybe the Patriots should trade Brady got shocked back to coherence here yesterday.

"To be very honest, I'm not going to read what you guys write," Cassel said after his 19-for-39, four-turnover performance. "This isn't about Matt Cassel, or whether Matt Cassel's stock is up or down; it's about a team trying to get better."

To put the Steelers' defensive performance in perspective, you have to remember that Cassel had thrown for 815 yards in the past two weeks with six touchdowns and only one interception. New England scored six touchdowns last weekend at Miami and had more touchdowns in the previous two games (9) than the Steelers had in the previous four (8). Moss caught eight balls in Florida for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Yesterday, he caught four for 45 yards.

New England's challenges for a closing run of exclusively must-win games aren't just on offense either. The defense has allowed 11 touchdowns in the past three games, and continues to start the wildly overmatched Deltha O'Neal at the left corner.

O'Neal was toasted on Santonio Holmes' first-half touchdown, again on Ward's in the third quarter, and would have had the hat trick if Nate Washington would have held on to Ben Roethlisberger's pass after beating O'Neal down the right sideline.

Belichick said more to O'Neal on the Patriots bench yesterday than he did answering 14 postgame questions.

"I thought we played out there; I just don't think we played well," he said. "We didn't play well enough. I thought there was a lot of good effort out there. We just have to do a better job than we did today."

The Patriots walked into this game having beaten the Steelers in six of their past seven meetings, which included ending Steelers seasons at the gate to the Super Bowl at the end of 2001 and 2004. For Mike Tomlin's team to take a dominating win out of Gillette Stadium had to have its own special sweetness, and eliminating the Patriots before November was over had to taste spectacular.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08336/931931-150.stm

warddj86
12-01-2008, 06:21 AM
I hope so, I wanna see a NFL playoffs w/o the Cheatriots

fansince'76
12-01-2008, 08:26 AM
On the day the other shoe finally dropped from a season-opening-and-closing injury to future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, the Patriots were humbled by a raging Steelers defense that went virtually out of control.

Funny, all I've heard for years now is how the "Super-Genius" Belicheat could just plug anyone in at any position and the Pats* would keep right on winning. :rolleyes:

KeiselPower99
12-01-2008, 08:51 AM
Its so nice to see that the Patriots time has come and gone.

BozMan
12-01-2008, 09:25 AM
I hope so, I wanna see a NFL playoffs w/o the Cheatriots

Me too. Would be nice to have playoff coverage without hype about that team.

BrandonCarr39
12-01-2008, 09:52 AM
The Pats will likely make the playoffs when all is said and done, but they'll be one and done against whoever they play.

DACEB
12-01-2008, 10:10 AM
Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel said, "The game plan we had today included a good idea of what they were going to do and, for the most part, that played out the way we thought it would."

Maybe because they didn't know what was coming, like in the past. Yes, that still includes last year with Brady at the helm. He's knee deep (pardon the pun, NOT) in the cheating.

The most obvious difference was that we had both starting safeties this time around. Ask Welker and Moss what difference that makes. The other difference now is the team speed on defense is much better than in the past. The additions of Woodley and Timmons make a huge difference in pass-rushing and underneath coverage. And there's no accounting for what a healthy Troy is capable of.

The thought of the Pats missing the post-season is nice. But the thought of the Pats becoming an afterthought starting this season is SWEEEEET!!

DACEB
12-01-2008, 10:14 AM
Funny, all I've heard for years now is how the "Super-Genius" Belicheat could just plug anyone in at any position and the Pats* would keep right on winning. :rolleyes:

Ya, genius my arse!

Brady doesn't have anything to do with the defense sucking so bad. Belicheat can't even right that ship. F them and their fans, which there seems to be alot less of them lately!