Patriots-49ers: Hot Reads Seal Victory for New England

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IOctober 5, 2008

My Hot Reads on an excellent come-from-behind win for the Matt Cassel-led Patriots:

The pass defense didn’t look so good in the first half, but they buttoned up in the second. This will be an area to keep an eye on. They were inconsistent, but made the plays that they needed to make.


Deltha O’Neil looks like he's still figuring it out.


Meriweather showed up on both sides of the plus/minuses; he had an excellent interception, but also a third down pass interference penalty that kept the 49ers' offense on the field.


Cassel’s TD to Moss was a glimpse of 2007. We miss you, Tom.


For all the talk about Jerod Mayo, (who has been great so far), Gary Guyton is an undrafted rookie free agent getting a lot of time on the field. Wait for Mike Reiss’s breakdown this week of defensive snaps played. Guyton was out there a lot; he has great speed and obviously coverage skills. The Patriots got two rookie ILBs this year, something they’ve badly needed for a while now.


Rodney Harrison had a throwback game. He made some great plays in run support, made his presence felt in the passing game, pressured the quarterback, and had an interception, along with a tipped ball that gave Deltha O’Neal an easy pick. Veterans step up when their team needs them to and this was a classic example of that.


Another vet who stepped it up today is Matt Light. It looks like the much-maligned offensive line wanted to make a statement today. Of particular note was his pancake block on 'Mr. Future Hall of Famer after only 19 games' Patrick Willis. They gave up some sacks but Cassel had time. I’d much rather see sacks than interceptions any day.


Cassel played a great game. He faced the adversity of being down a touchdown early and led the offense on an 80-yard drive for a touchdown to close out the first half. It wasn’t easy, but it looks like he is improving and that is all we can ask.


It’s official, Sammy Morris is the No. 1 running back on this team. Laurence Maroney had another pedestrian day and had Lamont Jordan not injured himself making a cut, LoMo might’ve played even less than he did. I can’t call Maroney a bust yet, as I believe it’s just an issue of consistently running hard for No. 39. He has the talent and can play at an NFL level. He just has to do it every game. Or else he won’t play.


Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Jonathan Wilhite is ahead of Terrence Wheatley on the depth chart.


Kevin Faulk and Tedy Bruschi also stepped up today. Faulk hasn’t had a touchdown since the Colts game last year, today he had two. That included a two-yard direct snap to him that was the same play the Pats ran in the 2006 AFCDG against the Chargers when they needed a two point conversion to tie the game. Bruschi had at least one big stop on Frank Gore on third down.


Stephen Gostkowski deserves Pro Bowl consideration. He has made 16 straight field goals, is getting touchbacks on just about every kick off, and has come through in every clutch situation he’s faced this season. He was an offseason award winner for the Pats and it looks like his hard work is paying off. Through four games he’s the best kicker in the NFL.


Where was Heath Evans today? Hochstein was taking snaps at FB.


Did the Patriots learn in the short time with J.T. O’Sullivan that he can’t throw when moving left? Seems like they were forcing him that way a lot. Or was he just evading their spotty pass rush today? The pressure was good but there wasn’t a consistent finisher.


Time of possession: New England 39:52, San Francisco 20:08. That’s the game in a nutshell.


Miscalls and mistakes made by Dick Enberg: 10 counted


Cassel made the right read on his second interception. He just couldn’t throw it as far as it needed to go for another Moss Bomb TD.


Run defense was solid. I was confident they would shut down Frank Gore and they did. Seymour, Wilfork, and Warren do not have bad games back to back.


This is the fourth straight game in which the Pats have worn white uniforms, and the streak will likely continue for next week. (I am already praying the Chargers wear their baby blues on Sunday night.)


Initial thoughts on San Diego: The Chargers are a team that needs a win badly and it's not like they needed any extra motivation for the Patriots. New England will need a good week of preparation to face a team that will come at them with everything they've got.