Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
These words are as hard for me to type as they are for you to read, but Matt Cassel has become a fantasy superstar. Or has Bill Belichick installed an offense in which any competent signal caller can thrive?
Since 2002, Tom Brady had thrown for a minimum of 3,500 yards and at least 10 more touchdown than interceptions in every season. Then last year he was off-the-charts good - throwing for 4,806 and 50 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. But is it possible that it's the offense which is making the quarterback and not the quarterback making the offense? That Tom Brady isn't the "perfect quarterback," that he's just in the right system?
New England has three good receivers in Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Jabar Gaffney. They have a third-down running back in Kevin Faulk who catches the ball out of the backfield as well as any back in the league. And they have a coach that like to throw the ball. But Cassel couldn't even start in college at USC and he's throwing the ball all over the place.
Cassel obviously wasn't ready to step in game No.1 this year when Brady went down with a knee injury, but he has improved almost every week. Cassel threw for 200+ yards in his third start and except for a game against Denver when he went 18-for-24 for 185 yards and three scores and the Patriots blew out the Broncos, he's thrown for at least that amount in every game.
Then in Week 11 when his team fell behind, Cassel stepped it up another notch and put together a 30-for-51 for 400 yards effort against division the rival New York Jets.
Earlier this week I said if he could do it again I'd be a believer.
Well, Cassell did just that this afternoon against another division rival - the Miami Dolphins. Miami destroyed the Pats in Week 3 (38-13), but Cassel didn't let that happen today. He went 30-for-43 for 415 yards. The Pats QB threw for three scores and ran for another in a 48-28 drubbing of the Dolphins.
I didn't think it would happen this soon, but I have become a believer. This fantasy star and soon-to-be "real life" free agent has probably convinced GMs around the league as well, so he's about to be a very rich man.
Cassel wasn't the only quarterback to show his talent this weekend. Tony Romo looked much better this week than last, throwing for 341 yards and three TDs. Three other one o'clock starters cracked the 300-yard mark, but all were in a losing effort - Chad Pennington (341 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT), David Garrard (317 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), and Shaun Hill (303 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT).
There was only one running back in the early session who ran for 100 yards or more - Matt Forte. He posted 132 yards and two scores against a very weak St. Louis Rams defense.
Receivers, however, had a much better afternoon. The one o'clock starters were led by Terrell Owens who caught seven for 213 yards and one score. Also cracking the 100-yard mark were: Isaac Bruce (125 yards, one TD), Moss (125 yards, three TDs), Welker (120 yards), Andre Johnson (116 yards), tight end Tony Gonzalez (113 yards, one TD), running back Maurice Jones-Drew (113 yards) and Lee Evans (110 yards).
The late session was nothing like the early one, with no performances the likes of Cassel. But Kurt Warner cracked the 300-yard mark again (351)...so what else is new, Clinton Portis ran for 143 yards, Michael Turner put the ball in the endzone four times to go along with 117 yards and Steve Smith led all second- session receivers with eight catches for 168 yards.