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Week 1 vs. KC
Passing: 13 - 18, 152 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 13 / 0
Cassel looked like a completely different player than he did in pre-season. The pre-season Matt Cassel (through four games) went 19 for 34 for 165 yards, no TDs, and one interception. He looked paranoid, nervous, and as if he'd rather be sipping Gatorade on the bench. Tom Brady emergency fill-in Matt Cassel went thirteen of eighteen for 152 yards, one TD, and no interceptions. He looked calm, collected, and as if he wished he could do this type of thing every single day. The 51 yard strike to Randy Moss on his very first throw may have had something to do with this.
Week 2 vs. NYJ
Passing: 16 - 23, 165 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 7 / 0
QB Matt Cassel made his first start in any football game since high school in week two against the New York Jets. The Patriots ran a very conservative offense consisting of screens, quick passes behind the line of scrimmage, and short passes over the middle. Cassel did attempt one deep pass but it was not well thrown and WR Randy Moss could not reel it in.
Cassel managed the game well enough to win but there were a few instances of confusion before and during plays for the offense. He did not turn the ball over but also showed some inexperience on plays where he should have thrown the ball away instead of taking the sack. He did not appear to sense pocket pressure very well. Cassel also overthrew WR Wes Welker in the end zone in the first quarter and the team settled for an easy field goal.
He was shaken up at one point and limped noticeably for a few plays but showed no ill effects as the game progressed.
Week 3 vs. MIA
Passing: 19 - 31, 131 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 5 / 0
Cassel's second start looked more like what we thought we might see from him in his first start last week. Unlike in week one, where it looked from the play calling that the training wheels were kept on, the QB was given a more varied, training wheel-less approach in regards to the play selections. He looked unsure, was inaccurate, took a four sack beating, and was constantly hurried all day long. His yards per attempt also finished at just over four. All in all, it was not a good day.
Week 5 vs. SF
Passing: 22 - 32, 259 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 4 / 5 / 0
QB Matt Cassel was picked off twice early in this game and forced the Patriots offense to become even more conservative than they have been in past weeks. Cassel hit WR Randy Moss for a 66 yard touchdown pass but one of the defenders on the play fell to the ground and Moss was uncontested on the catch as the other defenders were unable to cover him.
The team focused on the running game despite the absence of RB Lamont Jordan and effectively ate up the clock for most of the second and third quarters. Cassel was not given the opportunity to throw the game away and the Patriots were able to hold on for the win.
Cassel was hit while throwing his first interception and he under threw Moss on the second pick. He also had trouble avoiding pressure and nearly fumbled a snap from the center. The Patriots were also flagged for an illegal offensive formation and were forced to call timeout another time due to confusion at the line of scrimmage.
Week 6 vs. SD
Passing: 22 - 38, 203 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 7 / 29 / 0
Cassel played very poorly for the Patriots. It took him nearly forty passes just to top 200 yards (5.3 YPA) and he failed to get the team into the end zone until the game was already well out of reach. On the team's final two possessions (trailing 30-10), he went 7-10 for 74 yards. Up until that point, he was 15-28 for 129 yards (4.6 YPA) with no touchdowns and an interception. He was also sacked four times, including once at the goal line even though tight end Ben Watson was wide open five yards to his left. Cassel was only intercepted once, but that was only because every time a San Diego defender got near him to apply pressure, he threw the ball into the ground. He very nearly tossed a second interception, but it was ruled that CB Quentin Jammer hadn't maintained possession all the way to the ground. Cassel also nearly lost a fumble, but it was recovered by New England just before S Eric Weddle could pounce on it. Cassel did make two decent throws to Randy Moss downfield, but both were knocked away on nice defensive plays by the aforementioned Jammer. On the one instance that Cassel had Moss wide open in the end zone, his pass was nowhere near the intended target and it fell incomplete. Against one of the worst statistical defenses in all of football to this point, Cassel led the Patriots on exactly two scoring drives - one of which came with a short field after a turnover and with San Diego in prevent defense mode.
Week 7 vs. DEN
Passing: 18 - 24, 185 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 1 / 0
Cassel spent the game throwing a lot of short and medium passes to his receivers as he finished the night averaging just over 10 yards per completion. Misfiring on only six passes, the New England signal caller did an effective job moving the chains as he helped lead the Patriots on six scoring drives that resulted in 41 points. Despite the three touchdown passes and 75% completion percentage, Cassel did seem to hold onto the ball longer than he should have as he was sacked six times by the Denver defense.
Week 8 vs. STL
Passing: 21 - 33, 267 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 7 / 22 / 0
Cassel had a pretty good day, though his final line shows more interceptions than touchdowns. He was able to find Moss and Welker all over the field, mostly on short routes, and they helped him out by adding yards after the catch. The game plan appeared to be rooted in simplicity; when he tried to do too much, it backfired. He showed good decision making, but poor awareness (for example: scrambling away from the rush, he slid to the ground while in no danger of getting hit, a full two yards short of the first down. While another time, same situation, he had passed the first down marker and took the hit instead of going down).
Week 9 vs. IND
Passing: 25 - 34, 204 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 5 / 20 / 0
QB Matt Cassel continues to run a very conservative offense for the New England Patriots. He was able to lead the team on a series of sustained drives in the loss but rarely went deep. Many passes to the wide receivers were at or behind the line of scrimmage. The team continued to use a lot of short passes and screens.
Cassel was also forced to run for a few first downs but managed to avoid sacks. His only interception was deflected into the hands of DB Bob Sanders on a fourth and fifteen late in the fourth quarter.
Cassel also lined up as wide receiver when the Patriots used the wildcat formation.
Week 10 vs. BUF
Passing: 23 - 34, 234 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 9 / 22 / 1
Cassel is developing poise and is starting to look more comfortable directing the Patriot offense. He completed 23 of 34 for 234 yards, and while he failed to throw a TD pass he also failed to throw an interception. With New England clinging to a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, he directed a 90 yard, 19 play drive that ate up over nine minutes and led to their final touchdown.
Week 11 vs. NYJ
Passing: 30 - 51, 400 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 8 / 62 / 0
Cassel showed excellent scrambling abilities and was often able to run for more then ten yards at a time. During the first half he seemed a little stiff and like he was afraid to mistakes. All of his throws were conservative, and thrown only where his receivers had a chance to catch the ball. This led to a few poor early throws. As the game progressed he made better reads and took advantage of single coverage when possible. The signature play of the game for Cassel was out routes all based on timing. They ran variations of this play to both Gaffney and Watson and probably had success in the neighborhood of about ten times. He did a great job of distributing the ball to various targets and run the hurry up offense extremely efficiently. Cassel struggled to find rapport with Randy Moss on his deep throws throughout the game and missed some opportunities for potential easy scores.
Week 12 vs. MIA
Passing: 30 - 43, 415 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / 14 / 1
Cassel had a second straight game with over 400 yards passing. He threw three touchdown strikes to Randy Moss and scrambled for another TD himself. His lone interception was the result of an unlucky bounce, and the key to his success was that he really made very few mistakes. He struggled some with the accuracy of his throws, but whey you can hit Moss three times for the score, that kind of flaw gets overlooked by most.
Week 13 vs. PIT
Passing: 19 - 39, 169 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 2 / 1 / 0
Cassel was unable to continue his recent pace of great passing games, where he threw for over 400 yards the past two contests. He was under constant pressure all day, taking five sacks. He also was unable to use his legs, a normally reliable tactic for him, to keep the chains moving. His most glaring statistic was an anemic one for thirteen conversion rate on third down. That kept the New England offense off the field and when they were out there, Cassel made two critical fumbles. Fantasy owners should not read too much into his poor performance due to weather and the league's best defensive unit.
Week 14 vs. SEA
Passing: 26 - 44, 268 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 7 / 14 / 0
Cassel had another productive game for New England, as he finished 26 of 44 for 268 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He completed passes to six different receivers, but was locked in on Wes Welker for most of the game. His only touchdown of the game came on a two yard scoring pass to TE Ben Watson. Cassel made another big play for the Patriots on their last score of the game, where he connected with WR Wes Welker for a successful two point conversion to give the team a three point lead late in the game.
Week 15 vs. OAK
Passing: 18 - 30, 218 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 7 / 18 / 0
QB Matt Cassel did not need to spread the ball around against an apparently inept Raiders' defense. Cassel threw 17 of his 18 completions to only WR Randy Moss, WR Wes Welker, and RB Kevin Faulk. WR Sam Aiken was the only other player to catch a pass from Cassel during the romp.
Cassel rarely faced pressure from the Raiders and was very effective throwing the ball from the pocket. He threw the ball away when nothing developed and did not force any passes.
Week 16 vs. ARI
Passing: 20 - 36, 345 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 19 / 0
Cassel looked well in control of the offense leading the team to a 31 point first half lead. He also had a key fourth down 16 yard scramble to keep a drive alive en route to the team's fourth touchdown drive. Cassel finished the game with 345 yards on 20 of 36 attempts and three touchdown passes. (11, 15 and 76 yards.)
Week 17 vs. BUF
Passing: 6 - 8, 78 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 3 / 19 / 0
Cassel wasn't given too much opportunity to let it all air out but he did manage to complete six of eight of his passes for 78 yards as well as a crucial 19 yards on the ground with three attempts. It was the very definition of game management in such windy conditions.