Patriots 41, Broncos 7 – Dear God, it will be nice to not care about this Denver team for a week. The bye is a relief after watching Jay Cutler throw two interceptions, watching several fumbles (if any team has as bad a case of fumbleitis in the league, I’d like to see them), and the leaky, horrific defense let Matt Cassel throw three touchdown passes, two to Randy Moss, and Sammy Morris rush for 138 yards on a defense that can’t stop the run to save its life. Of course, it only got worse when the Brothers Bailey, Champ and Boss, left due to injury. It looked horrible from the moemnt when Cutler hit his thumb on Vince Wilfork’s helmet.
Bob Slowik, the Broncos D-coordinator, should be ready to schlep his resume somewhere else, and again, barring some bizarre turnaround after the bye, he will get that offer when Mike Shanahan issues him his walking papers come the end of the season. There’s not enough of a pass rush, even with six sacks of Cassel. The linebacking crops is probably undersized, Bailey and Dre’ Bly are getting beat regularly, and the team has safeties that don’t help well, paricualarly if the play goes deep. If it comes to pass, that will make three defensive coordinators in the past three years (technically, Slowik held the position in 2007, but Jim Bates was in charge of the defense as associate head coach/defense after Larry Coyer was let go in 2006.)
Here is how much the defense allows in offensive yardage by its opponents, week to week:
- Oakland: 317
- San Diego: 486 (Denver had 30 fewer, won only due to Ed Hochuli)
- New Orleans: 502
- Kansas City: 370 (outgained by Denver, still won — with 200 of those yards belonging to Larry Johnson)
- Tampa Bay: 307
- Jacksonville: 417
- New England: 404
You just can’t gunsling your way out of that, especially with the fumbling propensity evident on this team. As for the Patriots? We still really know nothing. They get beat by San Diego, they beat up on Denver — who can tell what’s the real version of this team with Cassel under center?