Things to consider while wondering if maybe it’s time to make Patriots football less of a priority in my life:
*Seriously, last night was one of those soul searching times when I ask myself why I or any of us puts ourselves through this agony. Like is the reward worth all the suffering? I mean, there were millions of people yesterday sitting at home, going about their lives, completely unaffected by what happened at Gillette. People who read novels or go see plays or are film buffs instead of football fans. They watch reality shows about real housewives with fake lips or douchebag bachelors who try to win a sham marriage and they go on with their lives. Hell, people who love awards shows don’t stay up all night staring at the ceiling if say, “Modern Family” loses the Golden Globe to “Glee.” They just go to bed and wake up in the morning talking about Natalie Portman’s dress. Meanwhile, My Irish Rose spent this morning fielding well-being calls from friends and relatives asking how I’m recovering. This is not normal, and maybe it’s time to make a major life change.
*The good news is I’ll have more time now to do some painting around the house and helping my mother in law at her new place. Does anyone know a website that explains how to make a noose?
*It’s one thing to lose, and God knows Boston teams have blown games a million times worse than this in all our lifetimes. But this was the one team you couldn’t lose in this manner to. For two years now the Jets have assembled a collection of arrogant, cocky, mouthy miscreants and handed them over to a buffoonish, perverted caricature of a head coach. But they left us (and I use the 1st person plural because I mean all of us, team and fans alike) hanging by our wedgies outside the school locker room. And there’s nothing we can do but take it.
*I won’t tolerate any “the Jets were classless after they won” talk. Why wouldn’t they be? They earned it. Like Phil Simms said, if ever there was time to get an excessive celebration penalty, this was it. And the Pats earned it by letting them come into Foxboro and push them around. The only way to get Biff Tannen to stop giving you noogies is to punch him in the mouth outside the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.
*So on that note, I was especially disappointed in Deion Branch, who spent the whole 4th quarter and the post game obsessing over how the Jets were acting, instead of (altogether now) doing… his… job. Then let a crucial 1st down pass go right between his palms. You’re great, Deion. You complete us. But did you think the Jets were all of a sudden going to be handing you nice thank you notes written in cursive and wishing you well? Maybe they did that in the NFC West, but this is real football.
*That said, I’m all set with the NBAification that the NFL has been trending toward. No one could make a 5 yard tackle in that Baltimore-Pittsburgh game without putting on a Pop and Lock marathon. I’d prefer the league just go back to the old school, when Chuck Bednarik or Jack Lambert would just tell you to fuck yourself, then break your jaw.
*When Alge Crumpler made the tackle on that interception return, everyone in New England yelled “Ben Watson!!!” And when he dropped that sure touchdown pass, everyone in New England yelled “Ben Watson!!!”
*By way of full disclosure, I watched the game out with people so I didn’t take notes. I have the DVR of the game which I planned on watching so I could break it down a little, but at this point it would be like watching the video of yourself dancing at a wedding. It would only serve to humiliate you more, and besides, there’s nothing you can do to change it. So the rest of this is just from memory.
*It looked to me like the Jets went with quite a bit of Coach Ryan’s (he earned that respect from me) father’s Bear front look, where they bring the strong safety (Eric Smith and once in a while James Ihedigbo) up to the outside shoulder of the tight end and one of the OLBs to TE-tackle gap. They then played a lot of bump & run on everybody, but particularly with those two guys bracketing the tight end.
*And one of the characteristics of that 46 is that it causes problems on the back end when they bring an extra defender wide outside the weakside tackler. That’s what happened on Drew Coleman’s sack. Brady didn’t realize he was coming. He had Woodhead to that side in pass protection but sent him in motion the other way. Matt Light had the DE and Coleman came in untouched. The two early sacks were just coverage (I didn’t mind the second one at all because they were in FG range and eating the ball made perfect sense), but Coleman’s was Coach Ryan disguising coverage and outcoaching the Brady all the way.
*Of course, when you get fooled by a defense that was invented at the same time as the Huxtable Sweater, you have no one but yourself to blame.
*There’s one episode of the original “Star Trek” when Scotty tells Spock the Enterprise “just doesn’t feel right.” He thinks Spock will tell him that’s not logical, but Spock agrees with him. And sure enough, it turns out that some aliens had disassembled the ship into it’s molecular parts and beamed it halfway across the galaxy in order to get their hands on copies of William Shatner’s “Tambourine Man” or something. Anyway, I was thinking of this yesterday because from the beginning, this game “just didn’t feel right.”
*After the Alge Watson drop, the Jets just seemed to be playing faster. Breaking the huddle quicker, walking with more of a spring. Compared to them it was like the Pats were walking in ski boots. I think the moment though that it really sunk in for me that the Pats were in big trouble was that Logan Mankins personal foul right before the half. With his team trailing and needing a statement drive, Mankins chose to make the statement “They’re in our heads,” and do it five feet in front of the head linesman. That was the dead giveaway that the Pats simply weren’t mentally prepared for what was thrown at them.
*By any chance does this game mean Jets fans can talk about something besides telling that same stupid Joe Namath Guarantee story? I’m just trying to make lemonade from lemons, here.
*Just before the game my brother Jack and I guaranteed each other that Shrex (as I used to call him then) would read his own press clippings, fall in love with his own willingness to take chances, and do something stupid. Onsides kick, trick play… something… that would blow up in his face like a cartoon cigar. Instead it was the Patriots with that fake punt foolishness. The time for that is maybe… MAYBE… on the edge of FG range. Not on your own 40 when, even if you pick up the 1st, there still isn’t much time left to put on a drive. The Pats defense had too many short fields to deal with and this one was the most avoidable.
*And while I’m second guessing, I would’ve liked to have seen them kick the ball away with 2:00 left. There was no way on God’s green turf that the Jets were going to do anything more than pound the ball between the tackles three times and punt like they did on the previous possession. And Julian Edelman could’ve given them a fighting chance at a punt return.
*I honestly haven’t second guessed Belichick since he wore the red sweatshirt at the Super Bowl That Shall Not Be Named. I’m going to be sore tomorrow.
*And as much as we can admire patience, there was no excusing the pace of that long drive in the 4th. When NFL Films sets it to dramatic music later, they won’t even need to put it in slo mo; it already was. Even Donovan McNabb was sitting at home saying “What’s wrong with these guys?! The clock is ticking, dumbasses!!!”
*The Jets on that one defended the deep balls and the sidelines, left the middle of the field open to bleed the clock, and the Pats just continued to stick their heads in the trap. Just like with the New England-Pittsburgh game earlier in the year, this is an example of why passing yardage stats (Brady had almost 300) are the most overrated stat in football.
*On some level I worry if I’m not taking this too well. Like I think there might a lot of repressing going on right now. I’ll know for sure next time someone cuts me off in traffic. If a scotch bottle should happen to fly through their window, I’m blaming the Patriots-Jets game of 1/16/11.
*If there’s any one thing the Jets did better than in the 45-3 game, it looked to me like they were flawless at jamming the Pats receivers. Last time Welker and Branch killed them with quick slants, getting their shoulders inside the corners (Antonio Cromartie in particular) and showing Brady their numbers. Those quick hit routes were never there yesterday.
*The one example of taking the receivers out of the game was that one long scramble by Brady where he moved up in the pocket, slid to the side, pulled his arm out of a grab, rolled out, set his feet again, and threw it at someone’s shins, incomplete. I’ve had waits at the Registry of Motor Vehicles that were shorter than that play, and still no one was open.
*Meanwhile, the Patriots have one cover guy who can get his head around on a pass, and that’s Devin McCourty. Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler are always just far enough behind when the ball is delivered that they’re still trying to close on the receiver as it sails past their helmets. When Santonio Holmes is at the far back corner of the end zone, wouldn’t that be a good time to turn and look for the ball instead of watching him? Where else is he going to go?
*This has got to be the least festive and jolly Martin Luther King Day ever.
*As a final note, this is the last of these Knee Jerk Reactions of the year, obviously. I’m sorry this is by far the least fun of the bunch, but what can I say? I just want to say thanks to everyone who wrote to say they enjoyed reading them or who linked them to their sites and so on. If I regain the will to live and don’t just quit following football to become a theater buff or whatever, I’ll do these again next year. In the meantime, keep sending Patriots related news to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @jerrythornton1.