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Ups and downs

Posted by Mike Reiss, Globe Staff December 7, 2008 10:30 PM

A look at who's up and who's down from the Patriots' 24-21 win over the Seahawks:


  • Matt Cassel -- Quarterback leads a poised fourth-quarter drive that lasts 14 plays, with every play out of the shotgun but the final two, and doesn't have one delay of game penalty despite a raucous crowd.

  • Brandon Meriweather -- Safety ties for a team high with seven tackles, and surges up the middle for a strip sack, recovered by Richard Seymour, that seals the win.

  • Mike Vrabel -- Linebacker plays every snap but one, finishes tied for a team high with seven tackles, and is the glue on a defense that lost starters Vince Wilfork, Tedy Bruschi and James Sanders in the first half.

  • Wes Welker -- Receiver totals a season-high 12 catches and totals 134 receiving yards, bouncing back from last week's performance against the Steelers when he was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a Ryan Clark hit.


  • Gary Guyton -- Rookie starts at outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment, but is eventually replaced by Rosevelt Colvin as he appears to struggle.

  • Run defense -- With four different ballcarriers, the Seahawks total 134 rushing yards on 26 carries (5.2 avg.).

  • Benjamin Watson -- Tight end catches a 2-yard touchdown pass, but could have cost the team with a good-natured celebration that was nonetheless against the rules.

  • 32 comments so far...
    1. Mike,

      Matt Cassel was horrific! He looked like the Cassel from earlier this season. I am surprised you put him in the UP category. He missed Moss, once again, by throwing the ball 20 feet too far. He held on to the ball too long. Made mistakes that seem to negate his progression.

      Anyway, keep up the good work Mike. A win is a win.

      Posted by Brent December 7, 08 10:46 PM
    1. How can you put Benjamin Watson in the down category?.....Because he put a ball under his shirt for his wife thats about to give birth....Thats absurd.....I think he'd be better replaced on this list by, maybe, the WHOLE defense.

      Posted by Boston Tim December 7, 08 10:46 PM
    1. Hey Mike, Oakland next Sunday will be the Pats third opponent in a row who've had 3 extra days rest because each played Thursday the previous week. Pittsburgh, Seattle, and now Oakland. This reminds of the year the Pats played 3 or 4 teams coming off their bye week. So is this fair? Any idea if other teams face this?

      Posted by Inquiring mind December 7, 08 10:49 PM
    1. what about gostkowski? he came up big as well- especially with that 55 yarder.

      also- what about ellis hobbs 55 yard kick off return?

      Posted by gopats54 December 7, 08 10:51 PM
    1. Meriweather? Up? Really? He was out played and out run on almost every play. You have to put his pass coverage (or near total lack of it) on the Down list.

      Posted by Steve Basile December 7, 08 10:54 PM
    1. Mike,

      I think you have to add Lewis Sanders in on the ups.
      He appeared to have a great day on special teams, and filling in on three safety looks on Defense

      Posted by Pete December 7, 08 10:58 PM
    1. Just stating the obvious... What a beast Wes Welker is. I don't know if I've ever seen someone take as hard of a hit as he took last week, but that guy got right up and somehow made it over to the sideline without a stretcher. Then he comes back and just has another warrior performance today, still not afraid to take the big hit to pick up tough yardage. It is a pleasure to watch this guy, he truly plays the game the way it should be played. I'm sure every fan feels the same way.

      Posted by Matt December 7, 08 11:07 PM
    1. I would also give Matt light and Gaffney UP as they consistently blocked for key gains.
      Wilhite did better than the dreared O'neal who didn't play much this week.

      Posted by reza December 7, 08 11:15 PM
    1. Meriweather on the up? Neutral at best. In the first half he sustained 2nd degree burns from the Seattle offense. I will give give him credit though, for coming up with the big play. This was a game that demanded a big play from someone on the D, and he came through.



      Posted by david December 8, 08 12:06 AM
    1. Cassel up?? I can't wait for the Cassel era to be over with. He's terrible. Terrible!

      Posted by Los Angeles December 8, 08 12:30 AM
    1. UP: Deltha O'Neal -- Stayed on the sidelines.

      Posted by Ryan December 8, 08 12:53 AM
    1. Nobody on Defense should be an "up". Three TD's by Seneca Wallace is inexcusable.

      Posted by classless December 8, 08 01:52 AM
    1. I was in Seattle to watch the game live tonight. My observations:
      - I felt the D looked as bad as it has this season and was on par comparable with the effort during first dolphins game and in the chargers game. Seattle's backup QB, backup running backs were moving the ball with ease behind a beat up o-line missing their best player.
      - Great playcall on the safety blitz to seal the win and great execution by Meriweather on the play. However, Meiriweather got burnt all day on the pass.
      -Hobbs didn't defend well in the red zone, getting burned by Branch.

      - The D giving up 5.5 yards a carry to the Seahawks is not a good sign, as Seattle has struggled with their running game all year.
      - I couldn't believe how many fellow Patriots fans were at the game, in a city they haven't played in since 1993. New England may well be America's Team.
      - Lots of injuries on D, hopefully none are too serious. You know there is a problem when two guys who are both in playing linebackers weren't even playing in the league 6 days earlier.
      - Huge win overall, and hopefully with the Jets loss, the Pats can keep the W's rolling. The game came down to two main plays (4th and goal on the 1, and the strip sack.but could have easily gone either way.

      Posted by Pau Pedersen December 8, 08 01:56 AM
    1. How about someone for the short out pattern to Wes on the 2pt con. They had forgotten about Wes in all the red zone troubles this year. I don't remember seeing this pattern ran all year. Last year no team had a answer for it. How Wes is not over Moss in pro-bowl votes is beyond me!!! I bet Randy and Jordan blow up @ oakland next week though and BB can get a look @ free agent Db Asomugha. How soon fans forget? Trade Mr.January and go with Cassel HA!

      Posted by Rog December 8, 08 05:36 AM
    1. what about putting Seau and Colvin up. Played on such a short notice.

      Posted by Pawan December 8, 08 06:28 AM
    1. Other than Cassel and Welker I don’t know how you can put anyone else on the Up list. Let remember who they were playing. A 2 and 11 team, missing there starting QB and 2 pro-bowlers. They were being beat the entire game until late in the fourth quarter. A win is a win, but let’s keep it in context. This team (Seattle) loss to the Giants 44-6 and they had their starters then. I thought they were frankly, embarrassed.

      Posted by ricomandog December 8, 08 06:56 AM
    1. How about Seau on the up??? Come on...the guy hasn't played since last year and has to jump in the fray and makes several tackles. Did I mention he is one of the oldest players to boot?

      Posted by Leslie December 8, 08 07:33 AM
    1. Hey Mike - nfl.com has Guyton at 6'3", 242. Is he that big from what you've seen of him around Gillette? Maybe it's me, but he seems smaller than that. So with that in mind, is he big enough to play OLB in the 3-4?

      Posted by BurkieInBoston December 8, 08 08:37 AM
    1. Mike, I'm not surprised that Gary Guyton struggled outside LB, seems like he has been playing inside all year. I'm hoping that the move to the outside was done out of necessity, and not because he is out of long-term ILB plans.

      Posted by fuzzy1 December 8, 08 08:38 AM
    1. I'm sick of hearing all the comments about putting this win into context because of who Seattle was missing. The Patriots were already missing a number of players on the defensive side of the ball, and lost 4 more during the course of the game. Not to mention they don't have the best QB in the NFL. I am happy that this team continues to fight and not give in despite all the injuries stacking up. Keep it up!

      Posted by leneman1585 December 8, 08 09:08 AM
    1. How bout a BIG UP for the Seahawk fans flying the #12 flags in honor of Brady

      Posted by Rog December 8, 08 09:09 AM
    1. I'd put Wilhite on the down just for the play in the 4th quarter where he pulled up and watched Wallace run past him for 15 extra yards. Maybe he was afraid of getting a late hit flag, but you have to pursue the guy until he's physically out of bounds.

      Posted by Dan December 8, 08 09:20 AM
    1. Pretty funny Rog. :)

      For those who don't know, the #12 is for the twelfth player. The fans themselves. Especially for the noise they make!

      Posted by JohnB December 8, 08 10:01 AM
    1. NE fans are so spoiled. Freaking on our INJURY RAVAGED D that kept us in the game and made the stops when they HAD to....that's all you can ask my friends. And what can you say about Cassel....he lead the season surviving drive when he HAD to. There are no easy wins in the NFL, which is why it's so superior to college football....especially on the road against a more rested team. We should be happy to be watching a competitive team that's TIED for first in our division with 3 winnable games left. I expect a battle in Oakland too.

      Posted by Ush December 8, 08 10:24 AM
    1. A few words about the secondary (because they consistently seem to be down week-in-and-week-out). Belichick, Capers and Pees had to know, working with this group every day, that developed talent was lacking going into the season. Management gambled that Samuel was as much a system product as he was talented. They figured they could squeeze another year from the Rodney Harrison fountain of youth and likely hoped that Hobbs would emerge as a consistent performer under more demanding responsibilities. Branch's touchdown catch exemplified the problem with the Pat's assembly of defensive backs: a highly skilled player overmatched a lesser silled player. I like Hobbs, as a complimentary corner back . Merriweather appears to be the key of this group, can he use the experience that he has gained to develop into a high caliber safety? His inconsistent performance would have to be fairly judged as unlikely at this point, but he is young and the talent around him (in the backfield) is less than suspect. In these final three games we will certainly hear a lot more about Hobbs and Merriweather and as I attempt to balance the see-saw of optimism, I suggest that they could contribute building from the experience that each has gained recently. I sure would like to see Haynes and Calyborn rather than Hobbs and O'Neal.

      Posted by Hugh December 8, 08 10:26 AM
    1. Belichick is coach of the year...Welker should be MVP of the league. Never seen a short-yardage receiver make an average QB look so good at times.

      My game ball goes to those two. I think the defense while terrible really deserves a pat on the back. Who the heck is the white guy playing D-End? I didn't know a couple of the guys were on teh field for the defense. Says a lot that they can stil win games with the Mash Unit they have going out there.

      As bad as Cassell was yesterday I have to give him some props for hanging in there. This was one of those games where things could have turned ugly for the Pats in a hustle. Seattle is a tough stadium to play in, loud as hell...and he's sticking in there at least making the plays it took to win. Don't get me wrong, can't wait to see Brady playing again next year, but this could be a landmark game for Cassell moving forward the rest of the year.
      Also thought

      Posted by MN Pats Fan December 8, 08 10:52 AM
    1. Dan, the Wilhite pull-up on Seneca Wallace caused a "uh--oh, Daddy's yelling at the television again" moment at my house. But don't worry, the coaches will take care of that.

      How about the shot of the Pats sideline following the end game Merriweather sack - was that much-maligned Dean Pees celebrating? That was at least the second effective safety blitz of the game (I believe James Sanders had a QB hurry in the first half).

      I'm with gopats54 re: Gostkowski. Granted the conditions were near perfect, but those were big kicks in every respect: no "W" without both. Would have expected a couple of kick-offs for touchback, though. If he made that fumble recovery an "Up" would have been assured.

      An "Statistically Quiet Up" for Seymour, too. No surprise that he recovered the winning fumble, as spent a good of his day in their backfield.

      Posted by mikeinNH December 8, 08 11:32 AM
    1. Well with jet's surprising loss to 49ers it is a 3 way tie... cardinals will be a huge game for the pats.... with our 2ndary so bad warner might lay 50+ on us.

      Posted by shaselai December 8, 08 12:23 PM
    1. UP: Deltha O'Neal -- Stayed on the sidelines.

      I laughed so hard I spit coffee on my screen!!!!

      Cant wait until the AZ game. I will be there baby!

      P.S. Big up's to Seau and Colvin. I noticed their short presence yesterday and it was significant!

      Posted by Brent from MN December 8, 08 12:37 PM
    1. seymour was dominant....he should be up

      Posted by ned December 8, 08 12:43 PM
    1. Let's hope AZ is dreaming of the playoffs by the time they get to Foxboro!


      Posted by david December 8, 08 01:27 PM
    1. Up for Wilhite. After looking horrible in his previous stint at CB, he looked very good and knew where he was suppose to be in coverage. In man, he was able to play right up with Branch and Engram. His only down was the pull up on Wallace on the last drive, but its not something that can't be fixed. Very impressive for this kid, and finally someone jumps O'Neal again.

      Posted by TJ December 8, 08 01:49 PM
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