The New England Patriots won five of their last six regular season games to finish up at 11-5, but still failed to make the cut for the playoffs. In the NFL, it is a rarity for a team with such a record to miss out on the post season tournament. However, the Patriots have nothing to be ashamed of. They played their fannies off and never made excuses for the ungodly number of injuries to star players and key contributors. How about this list of missing Patriots in action for today's game vs. Buffalo?
Tom Brady, Adalius Thomas, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi.
Other Patriots who didn't play today - Laurence Maroney, Pierre Woods, and Gary Guyton.
Key contributors who missed games this season include LaMont Jordan, Ty Warren, and James Sanders.
Honestly, if they made the playoffs, the likelihood of them making it past the first round wasn't good. Their eleven wins were partially a result of a soft schedule and their pass defense has been their Achilles heel all season. Teams in the playoffs don't have the likes of JaMarcus Russell and Seneca Wallace playing QB.
As a 14 year Patriots season ticket holder, I'm proud of this team for the way they kept taking punch after punch. Actually, it was more like haymaker after haymaker, yet they still kept moving forward, winning games, and overcoming the odds. Good job, boys. See you at camp in July.
Lastly, if this was his swan song with the team, a big THANK YOU goes out to Matt Cassel for the TERRIFIC job he did for stepping into what was a seemingly impossible task 17 weeks ago - How would you replace Tom Brady if the best QB on the planet went down hurt? Cassel isn't Tom Brady, but he sure did an admirable job filling in for him, improving each week, and playing with guts and heart. Cassel's performance made what looked to be a bleak season, a fun and interesting one. Considering his impending free agency, let's just say the current recession won't be impacting the Cassel household during the offseason.