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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX Diary (Part III)

After the second scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history, and the second in as many years, both teams predictably got on the board in the Second Quarter.

Philadelphia 7-0 : Patriots' defense had been left out there too long - that was going to happen eventually. This isn't a good secondary, apart from Rodney Harrison, and Reid's been doing the right thing by continuously going down the field, something Ben Rothliesburger and Bill Cowher couldn't do effectively two weeks back. Brady and company have to respond pronto; one first down in a quarter isn't going to get it done. The offense was partway to blame for this since the time of posession figures were starting to look ugly there.

Tied 7-7 : The Pats' offense finally showed some life, and just when it looks like the Pats were going down the field to do what they've done time and time again...Brady fumbled the ball. I've never seen Tom Brady just flat-out choke quite like that in his career, fumbling the ball as they looked about to score. The defense forced a 3-and-out, avoiding the momentum shift that could have potentially knocked the Patriots down for the count. They were beating the blitz with the screen, and Dillon got some good runs in. The short passing game began to work in the second quarter and helped keep the Eagles defense honest. Nice engineering of the scoring play by Brady (or the coordinator) to Givens to put the Pats on the board. Good way to grab the momentum back. Viniateri puts the equalizing PAT through the uprights with 1:10 to go.

Interesting exchange in the final minute of the half as Reid and Belichek continued their chess match. The Patriots played a prevent and when Reid adjusted switched strategies. The Patriots can ill-afford to lose another defensive back, and Eugene Wilson was injured during the final kickoff of the 2nd Quarter.

An Eagles fan has to be pleased, and a Pats boosted holding his breath a bit. But the New England offense is now moving, McNabb still looks shaky, and I stand by my original 27-20 prediction - for now.


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