Things to consider while waiting for the day one of the replacement refs gets distracted by a coach while a player clocks another player on the head with a folding chair:
*Actually, to compare the Refauxrees to WWE refs would be an insult to WWE refs. They’re more like the substitute teacher in a bad city high school who haven’t the first clue how to control the classroom. The bad kids start breaking rules. The good kids can’t get any learning done so they get into trouble. The coaches start verbally abusing them and order can’t be restored. The air is thick with spitballs and paper airplanes. It’s chaos and the NFL had better bring the real refs back or they’re gonna have to start a Saturday morning Breakfast Club. A big one.
*That head ref though looked a little better than he did arguing with a chair at the Republican Convention.
*I didn’t have time to rewatch the game to list all the garbage calls, bogus non-calls and major screw ups. But you saw the game. They made up a non-existent rule about where you can take the yardage on a punt penalty. John Harbaugh got 15 yards for trying to call a timeout. The one sack the Pats got was called back when Devin McCourty pulled a hair off a receiver’s shirt. Everything was a pass interference including one where Julian Edelman got called for coming back to catch the ball, which is his job. Plus that non-call in the picture above where Cary Williams basically did the “Why you hitting yourself? Huh? Quit hitting yourself!” thing to Edelman with the official standing right there. I don’t what the real refs are asking for, but if it’s anything less than a million dollars a minute, pay it. Pay dat man his money.
*The fact that the final field goal was actually no good notwithstanding, the officiating was bad enough on both sides that you can’t blame this loss on it. There’s a disturbing trend developing here of the McOffense killing drives with negative plays. Some of it was questionable calls like the decision to run a direct snap to Woodhead reverse to Edelman two plays after… a reverse to Edelman. Courtney Upshaw was only in his 3rd pro game but he saw that thing coming 13 yards away, which is how many they lost on the play.
*But the most inexcusable were the back-to-back plays on the final drive when Baltimore made it clear to the whole world they were blitzing and still got rushers coming in free. That’s a breakdown in the scheme, the protection call, the execution… everything. That’s the fault of everyone from the owner down to the guy who cleans the puke off the floor of the Gillette ladies room. It normally doesn’t happen to this team once a game. And the fact that it happened twice in crunch time is not a good sign.
*It was fun to see Danny Woodhead pick up Ray Lewis on a blitz. It looked like Old Yeller fighting off the bear.
*On the defensive side there’s a trend that’s just as panic-worthy. And that’s all the big opportunities they miss. McCourty is averaging 1.5 dropped interceptions a week. One got ripped out of this hands, granted. But the other he just couldn’t secure the ball. And Kyle Arrington had a game-sealing INT dangling over his head like a pinata but tripped over hash mark or something and fell flat on his face. 90% of football games come down to one or two plays and they’re making none of them right now.
*Speaking of pinatas, it’s a damned shame the league is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and Aaron Hernandez can’t be a part of it.
*By the end of the 3rd, I had five paragraphs written in my head gushing over how much I’m in love the new McCourty. How he’s back to being the old rookie McCourty. How they’ve let him off the leash and instead of lining up 5 yards off the ball and shading receivers inside or out, they’ve got him up on the LOS, getting in guy’s grill mixes. How he looks stronger, is getting his arms extended and jamming them off their routes. But in that 4th quarter, the Ravens were flat out targeting him. Some of those calls against him were terrible, granted. But on that last PI, Jacoby Jones just blew by him. Granted, safety help from Steve Gregory was later than one of Antonio Cromartie’s girlfriend’s periods. But that’s all on McCourty.
*As far as I could decipher it, here’s the transcript of Ray Lewis’ Obligatory Insane, Rehearsed, Prime Time TV Pregame rant: “C’mooon! We gotta streb trepplin! Be narf amgroffle! Amgroffle jehebenny! Tonight! In dis hooouse!” God, Lewis needs subtitles at least as bad as Honey Boo Boos mom. Like if they ever do an “Airplane!” reboot, they should have Barbara Billingsley say “Oh, stewardess? I speak Ray Lewis.
*Good point by my buddy and Barstool Sports inner circle guy Soog: Brandon Lloyd has 237 receiving yards. About 6 inches of which are YAC. Every catch he makes is a back shoulder catch and he’s out of bounds or it’s a stop route where he catches hitting the deck. Maybe it’s not a big deal and he’s moving the chains. But I’m in a bad mood and it’s my column so I’ll bellyache if I want to.
*Ray Lewis uses the only form of communication C3PO is not fluent in.
*Edelman was the most angry Jew this side of Benjamin Netanyahu. If someone wanted to put together a team of Inglorious Bastards, last night would’ve been the time to sign him up.
*The first sign of trouble was Ryan Wendell snapping the ball when Brady wasn’t ready. The only good news is that the replay is already a finalist for the $10,000 prize on AFV, along with two other tapes of two other guys getting hit in the nuts.
*Further proof, as if you needed it, that Mr. Kraft is the most powerful owner in all of sports: He got NBC to name a new Fall show after his soccer team. Let’s see John Henry do THAT.
*I wish I could say something appropriate about Torrey Smith catching 2 TD’s right after losing his brother, but I can’t. If it were any other team he did it against I’d think it’s the greatest story of the season. And in time I will. Right now I’m just sick of my team being the evil, hideous monster in every other team’s fairy tale story.
*But I will say this: How weird was it when Michelle Tayofa was telling the Smith story? She had this odd smirk on her face like she was fighting back the Inappropriate Giggles. I’m sure she was just inspired by Smith’s courage in the face of tragedy or whatever. But it felt like the Chuckles the Clown funeral episode of “Mary Tyler Moore.”
*My condolences to Smith’s family though. That’s a horrible loss and for him to play like that was incredible. For real.
*I don’t mean to incite panic, but WES WELKER DIDN’T START AGAIN!!! Seriously, he didn’t come in until the 2nd play from scrimmage. Obviously Belichick hates him because he didn’t sign an extension and is trying to replace him with Edelman. It’s the only explanation.
*Though to be honest, I like the new, benched, passed-over, disrespected, phased out Welker.
*Sunday Night Football opens with Faith Hill in a dress so tight you can tell when she last got a Brazilian. Thursday Night Football opens with Cee Lo Green wearing a white vinyl grill cover. NBC for the win.
*I’m sure the rest of you noticed this too, but when Faith sings she’s singing directly to me. And she sounds pretty good for a chick who apparently spends a good part of her week cracking coconuts between those thighs.
*If it’s any consolation, Bernard Pollard, the Patient Zero of Patriots Left Leg Injuries, didn’t hurt anybody. I’ll take whatever small victories I can get at this point.
*More good news: The O-line looked as good as they have so far this season. Brady had a pocket to stand in, at least until those final protection breakdowns. They produced a couple of great goal line rushes with inside zones, which had been a weakness. On Brandon Bolden’s TD Dan Connelly couldn’t get to the double team on Ma’ake Kemoeatu so he bounced it up to the 2nd level and cleared Lewis out for the score. And Woodhead’s TD was textbook. With the D-line pursuing, the O-linemen rode them to the outside, used their momentum against them which opened lanes, and Woody read the cutback perfectly.
*Hat tip to the fans of Baltimore for the clearest, most in-sync “Bullshit!” chant I’ve ever heard. Another game like this with the crowd and the coaches swearing their lungs out and my TV’s parental controls are going to kick in.
*I know Ray Rice is an elite pass catching back. But the Pats haven’t had a linebacker who can cover a back out of the backfield since before Tedy Bruschi lost a step. Those checkdown throws killed them.
*It didn’t help that they couldn’t win the individual battles up front. Chandler Jones was neutralized by Michael Oher, though Blind Side probably got away with a slew of holds. I like the front when they move Jermaine Cunningham to tackle. It gives them a very, very scaled-down version of the Giants 4 DE “NASCAR” front. And Cunningham drew a huge hold from Marshal Yanda in that look. But the hurry up and Rice’s running kept him off the field. And if the Pats sent more than 4 rushers on any pass play, I must’ve been in the bathroom because I missed it.
*Kudos to the Ravens organization for that patch. As the loving husband of a Community Theater superstar, I like to see the NFL promoting Art.
*But what’s with that weird, unecessary collar thing on the new Nike uniforms? It looks like their paying homage to the 1978 Chet Lemon Chicago White Sox.
*The Applicable Movie Quote of the Week: “Crabcakes and football. Thats. What. Maryland. Does!” – Wedding Crashers
*Ironic that the only guy on the Patriots defense who didn’t get called for a hold was Belichick. Though Goodell should get the last word on this one . Hopefully the Ginger Hammer will decide that when the refauxrees are this bad, you get a little latitude when it comes to the whole “No physical abuse” rule.