EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 24, 2008

Brady who?

Cassel becoming one of the greatest stories ever in NFL

Bill Burt

What do Matt Cassel and "Bob from Accountemps" have in common?

They both are making life difficult for the people they have replaced.

OK, I'm joking. Tom Brady's job is safe. I stand by the point that Brady may indeed be the best NFL quarterback. Ever.

But you get my point.

Cassel is an ugly Jabar Gaffney drop in Indianapolis and a coin toss in OT against the New York Jets from leading the New England Patriots to a probable AFC East division championship and first-round bye in January.

While neither will probably happen - the Jets are officially for real after their convincing win in Tennessee yesterday - after his performance yesterday in a 48-28 win over the Dolphins, I wouldn't bet against the Patriots with Cassel at quarterback.

This is becoming one of the greatest stories in NFL history.

Yes, history.

We have to remind ourselves, Cassel never started a game in college. He never was "The Man" on a college campus or NFL city. He never engineered a fourth-quarter comeback. He never had to score on almost every possession. Heck, many wondered if he'd even make the team after he struggled in the preseason games (19 of 34, 165 yards, 0 TDs, 1 interception, puny 56.6 QB rating).

Carrying a team? The only thing he had experience carrying the previous seven years was his helmet and a clipboard.

Here we are, a week from December, and Cassel continues to outdo himself.

Cassel was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance on Oct. 20 against the Denver Broncos — 18-for-24, 185 yards, 3 TDs.

Actually, that was one of Cassel's so-so performances.

He was even better in Indianapolis — 25-for-34, 204 yards — outdueling Peyton Manning before Gaffney dropped a sure touchdown.

A week later, he was a tad better against the Bills, a 20-10 win. Cassel completed 22 of 32 passes for 234 yards, rushing for one touchdowns.

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