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Other Week 7 Game Recaps
ARI at NYGATL at DALBUF at CARCHI at CINGB at CLEIND at STLMIN at PITNE at TB
NO at MIANYJ at OAKPHI at WASSD at KCSF at HOU

Week 7 Game Recap: New England Patriots 35, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7


New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, Pass: 23 - 32 - 308 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0

For a while, Tom Brady was nearly perfect. He Relied on Randy Moss and Wes Welker early on for big gains, but also spread the ball around to keep the defense off balance. Once the Patriots were ahead, he got a little too confident and the Bucs proved that he is human after all. A poor decision to throw into double coverage in the end zone, when he could have easily run it in, resulted in an interception. His second pick was the result of an underthrown deep ball to Brandon Tate. Both interceptions were athletic defensive plays, but it was a reality check of sorts for Brady. In the second half, he seemed to take the lesson to heart, and didn't try so hard for the big play. The Patriots moved the ball efficiently, and put the game away on a 10-play drive in which Brady picked apart the defense with short passes.

QB Brian Hoyer, Rush: 3 - 17 - 0

Hoyer replaced Brady late in the game. He showed a knack for avoiding the sack, and made a big gain on a scramble up the middle. He did not have much of an opportunity to showcase his skills, given the ultra conservative play calling. They called a run play on 3rd and 9, for example.

RB Laurence Maroney, Rush: 13 - 43 - 1

This was a less than spectacular showing by Maroney, and not for lack of opportunity. Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis also got carries, but Maroney got the starting nod and the bulk of the carries. He was hesitant hitting the hole and on the occasions in which he had a little bit of running room, could never seem to shed the first tackler. Maroney's saving grace was a good series to put away the game. From the Bucs 18 yard line, he had consecutive carries of 13, 5, and 1 (for the TD).

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rush: 7 - 6 - 0

Green-Ellis had a few first half carries, then was given the garbage time carries to end the game.

RB Kevin Faulk, Rush: 2 - 19 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0

Faulk was used sparingly in this one. He was productive with the chances he had, but with the game well in hand, it looked like the Pats wanted to see what they had in Maroney.

WR Wes Welker, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 10 - 107 - 1

Welker was everywhere. Catching everything. Basically.

WR Randy Moss, Rec: 5 - 69 - 0

Moss was used on a limited basis but was still productive, though he did not score. He had his bell rung a little bit after catching the ball over the middle and he played a little more sparingly after that.

WR Sam Aiken, Rec: 2 - 66 - 1

Is Sam Aiken "Wes Welker Lite"? He played much the same sort of game, catching short passes and turning them into big gains. He seemed to have Brady's trust more as the game wore on. He had one red zone look on a quick pass, but was covered. Later, he turned a short crossing route into a long touchdown -- he shed one defender and was off. Aiken appears to have a leg up on Brandon Tate for the 3rd wide receiver job.

WR Brandon Tate, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0

Tate was only targeted once, on a fly route that could have been a score had the ball not been underthrown. He also ran a reverse for an eleven yard pickup.

TE Ben Watson, Rec: 1 - 35 - 1

Watson hauled in a nice looking 35-yd touchdown catch. He made it look easy, beating his man by a mile, and had a perfect throw to catch. He also had a 13 yard first down called back on a penalty.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Josh Johnson, Pass: 9 - 26 - 156 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0

Johnson was blitzed heavily all day. His first interception (which was returned for a touchdown) was a direct result of making a bad throw under pressure. His strength is in improvising, and he made a nice completion to Cadillac Williams while scrambling. For the most part, Johnson made good decisions under pressure, and doesn't get rattled after a turnover or a dropped pass. Despite these good qualities, the bottom line for Johnson is that he is inconsistent. He completed a perfect over-the-shoulder pass, deep to Antonio Bryant for a TD, for example. But for every play like that, there was an equally poor one that killed a drive. That, and his receivers are wildly inconsistent as well. Not the best combination. His third interception was the result of a Hail Mary pass to end the first half.

QB Josh Freeman, Pass: 2 - 4 - 16 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0

Freeman made his rookie debut in the fourth quarter, and had a big time pass rush to contend with. He made one nice completion, but also was sacked and hurried on the other two. He was called for delay of game penalty on a 4th down and 2. He also fumbled while scrambling. Overall, it wasn't much of an audition, and he reminded us he is a rookie. He did leave smiling though -- happy to get the first one over with.

RB Derrick Ward, Rush: 13 - 48 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0

Ward played more as the game went on and the Bucs fell behind, as he was used primarily on passing downs. He did not look very impressive running the ball and was not much of a receiving target as he was often called on to help stop the blitz.

RB Cadillac Williams, Rush: 11 - 29 - 0, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0

Cadillac found holes early and hit them hard and showed great power and speed. He made a very nice catch from his scrambling QB. He was stuffed a couple of times in the middle part of the game, through no fault of his. Overall, he looked very impressive but his touches are limited when playing from behind because Derrick Ward typically comes in on passing downs. If the Bucs ever had a lead, it might be a different story.

WR Sammie Stroughter, Rec: 3 - 63 - 0

Stroughter was targeted often, even when other options were open. He is clearly a much better option than Clayton. While still inconsistent, he makes things happen: turning a routine 8-yard catch into 17 yards, for example. Has a strong rapport with Josh Johnson.

WR Antonio Bryant, Rec: 2 - 51 - 1

Despite the low catch total, Bryant looked awesome at times. If he had a more consistent QB, his numbers would likely be much better than they are. He made a beautiful over-the-shoulder TD catch in tight man coverage, but that would be the only highlight of his day. He also had to deal with tight coverage all day, and Johnson was usually unable to get him the ball. Bryant had one bad drop late in the third quarter, which would have converted a big third down in Patriots territory.

WR Michael Clayton

Clayton was targeted deep once, but overthrown. His big problem is that he never seems to gain any separation on the defensive backs.

TE Kellen Winslow, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0

Winslow caught the first passing play of game, for six yards, but saw very few opportunities after that. The Patriots pass rush was fierce, and the Bucs needed all the pass protection they could get.