Things to consider while trying to get my friends and neighbors to join me in a good, all-out, wantonly destructive, post-Ryder Cup debacle riot:
*It’s happened throughout the history of conflict when one man in battle does one thing that changes the course of history. In 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, an archer shot King Harold II through the eye and England fell to the Normans. At Ticonderoga, an Irish sniper named Tim Murphy took out British General Fraser, his troops were routed and were never able to secure the Hudson River and cut the colonies in half. Jar Jar Binks once got a gun caught on his foot and shot a bunch of droids and that did something or other. The point is, Brandon Spikes’ forced fumble on the goal line- that spleenectomy he performed on CJ Spiller- might be the play we look back on in five months and say it saved the season.
*I’m not joking. Well, maybe about Jar Jar. But the rest I mean. Spiller was 6 inches, a broken plane of the endzone, a tedious booth review and a “ruling on the field stands” away from making it a 21-7 game. And since the Bills scored next, we’d have been looking at being down 3 TDs in the 3rd quarter. But Spikes saved us from 1-3 with exactly the kind of play we envisioned when they drafted him. The biggest non-Chat Roulette stick of his career.
*It’s funny how a play like that can get contagious. And before you know it your whole defense is dishing out huge hits. Jerod Mayo (cleanly) lays out a scrambling Ryan Fitzpatrick. Vince Wilfork sniffs out a screen and pummels the ball loose from Donald Jones. Spikes forces another fumble with another huge his on Fred Jackson. And then decleats Scott Chandler blocking on Devin McCourty’s interception return.
*But no hit was harder than Wilfork’s on Jones. If Robert Kosliek is still serious about gender reassignment surgery, Vince could hit him/her like that and save the taxpayers millions.
*Another thing Spikes play on Spiller did was calm the crowd at The Ralph down somewhat going into the half. Which was huge. After the 2nd Buffalo TD they were like the fat, middle-aged, Western NY version of the crowd at a rave. Another score there and it would’ve been like they’d moved up from Ecstacy to Bath Salts.
*You know it’s a hard hitting game when the nerd who collects the ball after kicks and field goals gets hurt. Thanks, CBS for giving us the in-depth coverage and regular updates on the kid’s status. Just because we never noticed or cared that these geeks exist until now doesn’t mean we’re not concerned.
*I cared about any team besides the Patriots I would probably hate Dan Dierdorf like I hate soiling my pants. I think I have a mancrush on Brady? Mine at least is a healthy, mutually-rewarding relationship. Compared to me Dierdorf is Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” In the middle of describing that nice 41 yard throw to Gronk in the 1st he had a full body Dorfgasm.
*When you score 7 in the 1st half and 47 in the 2nd, the difference has to be some adjustment you made at halftime. Some brilliant scheme change or different personnel groupings or fairy dust that turned everything around. And after going over the game a second time I’ve determined this is the change the Pats made: They quit leaving the goddamned ball on the ground and missing goddamned field goals. And that’s it. Let’s see Jaws breakdown a game like THAT.
*Unlike a lot of people I haven’t had a problem with Josh McDaniels’ play calling. Much of what they do is based on what looks the defense gives them. Simply, when Buffalo went into sub packages with smaller personnel on the field, Brady checked to running plays. When they went big, he chucked it.
*And I give credit to McDaniels for using backs to compensate for no Aaron Hernandez. He split the backs out wide or kept them in the backfield depending on what the defense was giving him and it kept Buffalo off balance the whole game. For instance, on Gronk’s 41 yarder, he had an empty set with Danny Woodhead out wide and Shane Vereen in the slot. If there’s a name for that alignment, it’s news to me.
*But when you have 2 100 yard rushers and 2 100 yard receivers, the game ball goes to your offensive line. It’s hard to imagine a month ago the whole region was in an all out, 5 alarm panic over these guys. Nate Solder was a bust and god forbid Logan Mankins goes down and Vollmer would never play a full season. Well yesterday they played a front with Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus in the middle, and two big free agents in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson outside and dominated them.
*And the game ball within a game ball should go to Donald Thomas subbing for Mankins. Thomas is one of those guys you see at camp and assume he’ll just be a name on the roster you pay no attention to all year. And hope never to see play; the O-line version of Seinfeld’s girlfriend understudying Bette Midler in “Rochelle, Rochelle.” But Thomas played his ass off.
*On the best run of the day, on the drive that started the McOffense’s onslaught in the 3rd, the Pats were on their 31. The Bills had Alex Carrington in 3-tech across from Thomas. Ryan Wendell and Thomas doubled him and shoved him like a wheelbarrow right into LB Nick Barnett. Gronk hit the hole from the right side H-back spot to stone playside LB Bryan Scott. Dan Connolly got veriticle push on Spencer Johnson. Seabass had Mario somewhere out past the Futbol Americano logo. And Brandon Bolden burst for 26 yards. On the next play Brady motioned Gronk into the slot and he took Mario out of the play with a nice kickout block on a pitch to Bolden for I think 8. Those are just a snapshot, but typical of what the line did all day against a good front.
*I was especially glad to see the interior guys do a number on Kyle Williams. He’s been a stone in the Patriots urethra for years.
*My Irish Rose on Williams when he drew the penalty for hitting Brady’s knee: “You have to be the fucking Devil to do something like that!” I’ve seen her sing the National Anthem at Fenway and do dozens of musicals and perform at her own dad’s funeral, and I was never more proud of her than I was in that moment. It was like the first time I heard her laugh at the Three Stooges.
*I’m on a one man crusade to defend Devin McCourty’s reputation. The guy had a tough season last year, no question. But there’s been zero carryover. He’s had one bad quarter out of 16. And yesterday was a big part of keeping Stevie Johnson to 23 yards. But you know your public image has taken a hit when you intercept a ball and all they can say is how bad you got beaten on the route.
*Granted, Ryan Fitzpatrick does throw some terrible passes. I did a Buffalo radio show this week and the hosts told me this but I had no idea how bad his decision making is. And he’s an 8 year veteran. It’s like I always say about the Crimsons I work with: You can always tell a Harvard man. But you can’t tell him much.
*I’m glad to see “The Amazing Race” is back. There’s no better way to relax on a Sunday than watching Americans go around the world screaming at cabbies.
*I said this in preseason but it bears repeating for the people who were having a conniption that they let BenJarvus Green-Ellis go. BJGE: 5-11, 220, undrafted out of Ole Miss. Bolden: 5-11, 220, undrafted out of Ole Miss. You don’t break the bank for a guy when there’s an assembly line churning out copies of him like “I, Robot.”
*Brady’s bootleg touchdown brought back a fond memory of the season the Red Sox brought back Bill Buckner. I want to say it was 1990. But he hit one down the right field line at Fenway that got around the corner and he actually got an inside-the-park home run out of it. Only Buckner took less time to get around the bases than Brady took to get in the end zone.
*Is it just me, or is Brady the only QB in the league the sideline mics pick up? Like we heard his entire exchange with Connolly on that 2nd quarter play, plain as day. And weirdly it sounded like James Brown doing call & response with his band. “50′s the Mike!” “Call, call!” “Louie hot read!” “Left?” “Louie hot read!” “43?” “50!” “Read! Read it! Read it!” “Jump back! Kiss myself! Heyyyy!” I’m not saying they have to get the mics off him, but if the Pats could hear an opposing QB like that, there’d be talk of Belichick jail time.
*Speaking of the Red Sox. The Patriots had more guys in their starting lineup with names ending in “-owski” yesterday than NESN had viewers.
*Mathew Slater is hands down the best Special Teamer they’ve ever had. Is there ever a kick when he’s not the first guy downfield? On punts especially, he’s never not withing one or two steps of the returner, even though he’s splitting a double on the outside. And I can’t remember a guy on the punting team catching the ball on the fly like that. I liked Larry Izzo as much as anyone not named Mrs. Izzo, but this guy is better.
*Speaking of the punt unit: After that Arizona disaster, Nate Ebner is no longer blocking on the outside. It’s Tracy White and Bolden.
*So let me get this straight: Bianca Wilfork texts her husband during the game? And thinks he’s seeing the messages? I don’t know how he pulled that off but he owes it to every man in America to share his secrets.
*This week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “Listen, Pocahontas, unless you put your ear to the ground, you’ll never hear the buffalo coming.” – Me, Myself & Irene
*It was nice to see Brandon Lloyd finally catch a ball over his shoulder and beating a corner. Though seeing Brady go facemask-to-facemask with him had to be hard on Dierdorf. You could practically hear him saying “What am I supposed to do?! I’m not gonna be IGNORED!!!” I put the odds of the Dorf ending up in the Brady kitchen wearing a No. 12 jersey and boiling a rabbit at 5-2.
*Not to be the turd in the punchbowl, but I think if you hated watching the soft, 4 & 2 (4 across, 2 deep) shell coverages last year, the ones that leave guys open in the deep middle? You might want to go apple picking or leaf peeping or rubbernecking or something the next couple of weeks because you won’t like what you see. They’ve been burned deep a few times this year and my drunken eyes tell me Belichick is determined to keep the ball in front of the safeties, as painful as that is to watch.
*Take this one play that put them in 1st & goal. It was a weird alignment in that McCourty and Kyle Arrington were on the same side on the WRs, with Mayo split on the other side against Spiller. Spiller tried to get outside him, but Mayo knocked him halfway to the exit ramps on his ass. McCourty (on Johnson) and Arrington (Brad Smith) were on their guys’ outside hips, funneling them into the middle. Smith ran a simple flag route into the deep underneath and had about a half acre of land to himself. It’s what teams did to them all last year and until we see different, you’ll want to build your fantasy team around WRs facing the Pats.
*I think the Chandler TD was an option route where they were in Cover 2 and if he he reads middle of the field open (MOFO) he runs a skinny post. If a safety’s in the middle, he stems it off and runs to the corner. It’s a common read, but what really made it fun was Gronk’s TD was the exact same play using the exact same route run into the exact same coverage. Apparently Dave Wannstadt is reading texts from his wife when his team as the ball.
*Cordy Glenn is a 350 lb rookie tackle who can move. He and Chandler Jones are going to be the Bruce Smith-Bruce Armstrong matchup for this generation, which will be great. Those two go at it was like watching a Bull & Bear fight twice a year.
*Jones did have one sack but it was made by Jermaine Cunningham beating the guard from the inside. I’m 90% sure they said the guard’s name is Chazz Reinhold, so he was probably out of shape from picking up chicks at funerals and eating his mom’s meatloaf.
*I didn’t watch the “60 Minutes” with Schwarzenegger that they kept teasing. Did they talk about the elephant in the room? Because if they didn’t ask him why he ruined his life to bang a chick who looks like Chuy from the Chelsea Handler show, there was no point in having him on.
*Do you get the feeling the old refs are trying to curry favor by putting the whistles away, limiting the bogus, ticky tack pass interference calls, and mostly just keeping the frigging game going? It was almost unsettling to see them talk over calls without every one turning into the Paris Peace Talks.
*So welcome back, real refs. Maybe it’s just the 52 points talking, but… I love you guys.