by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
We at Worry Wart feel confused: are these games – like last week’s 31-28 win over Indy – examples of gritty triumphs or previews of impending disasters? This week’s Thanksgiving Day tilt against the Lions will tell us more of what we need to know.
So as we prep the turkey for our nation’s greatest holiday (where everyone’s invited and the biggest thing to remember is your appetite) and break out the Kiss (“Detroit Rock City,” anyone?). Just this once, we’ll give the Worry Wart the week off. Because we have so much to be thankful for…
A Fine Re-Passed: We must give thanks for an 8-2 record, especially considering the Patriots have the worst pass defense in civilization. Stat-wise, this group has been compared to the 1990 New England crew (and less favorably, we might add). Kidney stones, medical exams, driving tests – you can pass anything on these guys. Thank you for some timely interceptions (that means you, James Sanders) and making just enough plays to win.
How Much Would A Woodhead Run? Speaking of turkeys, how about my prediction that Danny Woodhead wouldn’t see much time in New England? Nice. A top special-teamer, he has averaged 5.6 yards per carry and almost 10 yards per reception. As slippery as cranberry sauce out of the can, Woodhead has given this team and its fans a lot to cheer about this season.
Jermaine To The Conversation: Yes, the Patriots pass rush provides about as much pressure as a garden hose with a car parked on it, but rookie Jermaine Cunningham brushing past Peyton Manning threw off the star’s pass just enough for Sanders to make the game-saving pick. Though he possesses just one QB sack, Cunningham has shown some promise on a team that sees only a few more hurries than a tree full of sloths.
Crackers Over Graham: If we can’t have Stephen Gostkowski kicking for the Patriots, we are thankful that Shayne Graham has displayed confidence and competence since his extra-point hiccup at Pittsburgh, hitting on all his opportunities since.
Nothing more to add. In fact, we’ll just be quiet and move on…
This Thanksgiving, Bring The Mayo: Thanks for tacklemeister Jerod Mayo. The middle linebacker has 120 total stops through 10 games, and should figure prominently in keeping Detroit at the bottom of the NFL in rushing.
Bill Of Rights: While we’re at it, we must give thanks for Coach Bill Belichick, who has made plenty of good decisions this year (signing Vince Wilfork, welcoming back Logan Mankins, trading Laurence Maroney and Randy Moss) to help keep this team atop the rankings. Thanks to him for taking a franchise that in 2000 seemed in danger of returning to its laughable past (see the aforementioned 1990 squad) and making it the winningest professional franchise of the region.
Brady Forever Young: New England’s Tom Brady passed former San Francisco QB Steve Young on the all-time passing yardage list, according to Mark Farinella of the Sun-Chronicle. While we’re at it, we should thank that Brady kid for putting in the hard work to stay on the 2000 Patriots roster as a fourth-string QB: Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz, Michael Bishop, Brady. Yeesh. (For a scintillating highlight reel of Michael Bishop at Kansas State, including all of three passes, click here.)
The Birds: Not turkeys – this time, we’re talking Hawks hosting Eagles. Today, most of all, we should give thanks for every form of football. The family Worry Wart will be watching Xaverian Brothers take on St. John’s Prep. With two nephews as Hawks, I’m afraid I’ll have to wish the Eagles luck some other day.
Thanks for spending some time with PD. Have a great holiday.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org