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Breaking down Matt Cassel's epic afternoon

11/24/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
MIAMI -- When you accumulate a lot of numbers, there are several ways to break them down.

Over his past two games, New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel has been prolific. He threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns to Randy Moss in Sunday's 48-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins, giving him consecutive weeks with at least 400 yards.

"I think Matt is getting in a comfort zone, and at the same time he's getting in his, we're getting in ours," Moss said. "What I mean by that he has to not just feel out his receivers and running backs, but the offensive line out, too. I think the other team is getting a feel for how Matt is playing.

"He's playing some hellified ball and stepping up, and we're behind him."

Doug Kern of ESPN Stats & Analysis did a hellified job of dissecting Cassel's afternoon in about every way imaginable.

Here's some of what Kern learned:

  • Cassel mostly threw short and let his receivers do some work. All but 14 of his passes were less than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He completed 72.4 percent of those passes for 245 yards, but 182 yards came after the catch.

  • He completed 9 of 14 passes of 10 yards or longer. Those throws went for 170 yards in the air and just 24 after the catch.

  • Cassel was blistering on second down. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 239 yards (14.1 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns. His lone interception also came on second down, but it was a tipped ball, not his fault.

  • Cassel threw all but 11 of his passes outside the numbers. He was 23 of 32 for 348 yards and 14 first downs to the outside. He was 7 of 11 for 67 yards in the middle of the field.

  • He went to the right quite often, completing 15 of 19 for 180 yards.

  • Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington threw for a career-high 341 yards. The 756 combined passing yards are the second-most in the NFL this year, five behind the distance Brett Favre and Kurt Warner traveled in Week 4.

  • In the third quarter and the first two drives of the fourth quarter, Cassel and Pennington combined to go 24 of 32 for 391 yards, four touchdowns, 18 first downs and zero interceptions.

  • Cassel's incompletion breakdown included two drops, four overthrows, six defended and one throwaway.