Things to consider while wondering who had a Patriot defender nearer to him, Sidney Rice or Felix Baumgartner?:
*I probably shouldn’t write this in my current frame of mind and say things I can’t take back. Maybe I’d be better off taking a long walk on the beach or having a talk with my spiritual adviser first to collect my thoughts because like the lawyers say, you can’t unring a bell. But this column isn’t called “Well Thought-Out Reactions After Giving it Time to Mull Things Over” for a reason. So I’ll fire away. You may want to get the kids out of the room because there’s going to be some grown up talk: I am sick to goddamned death of Bill Belichick’s defenses.
*I know this is blasphemy. But how many slapdick quarterbacks do we have to see being made to look like 1999 Kurt Warner before we get a grip that it’s not just “Bend-but-don’t-break” or a couple of Wilhitey-Weatleyish draft picks that didn’t pan out or injuries or whatever? The problem is systemic. Whatever The Hooded One is doing to scout, acquire, coach and deploy defensive backs flat out doesn’t work and needs to be changed. Now.
*I say this because I knew they were going to squander that lead yesterday. I knew it in my bones. To a moral certainty. By the start of the 4th I saw it in my head like it had already happened and was now a memory. Ordinarily when it comes to the Patriots I’m as Pollyannaish as they come. But this is what watching them win the “Society of Mediocre Quarterback’s Secondary of the Year Award” three times in a row will do to even the most shameless asskissing Patriots fanboy.
*As far as I can tell they’re playing their typical base of deep Cover-2 shell and mixing coverages underneath. Some zone, some man, and some pattern reading (which is kind of like a matchup zone in basketball where you play zones built to stop your opponents favorite plays or tendencies). On that final touchdown to Rice, I think that’s what they were playing. Devin McCourty had Rice through his zone, then released him to Tavon Wilson who was simply overmatched. Nate Ebner was playing up in the Robber spot and had no chance to get back. When a defense designed to stop the deep ball can’t stop the deep ball? In the words of the great Joe Biden, that’s a bunch of malarkey.
*One place the Pats could start is by drafting bigger, more physical corners. Seattle’s Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are 6-4 and 6-3 respectively. Watching either of them line up across from Wes Welker reminded me how much I miss Calvin & Hobbes.
*Speaking of politicians, I’m in such a bad mood even Arlen Specter dropping dead can’t cheer me up.
*I’m not done writing my angry, strongly-worded letter to the secondary by any means. But I do want to spread the blame around. Brady clearly had an off day. He threw a lot of high passes that almost lead to picks. Had two intentional grounding calls. And bounced more throws than Jacoby Ellsbury. Seriously at the start of the 3rd quarter he threw one to Wes Welker’s feet that was so low it wouldn’t have been a lane violation in your bowling league. And that first interception, with Richard Sherman wearing Deion Branch’s girdle pads, was inexcusable. Practically Cutlerian.
*And the offense on the whole just didn’t finish drives. Maybe it’s true what they say about playing in Cuff Link Field or whatever it’s called. Maybe it’s too loud for the no-huddle. Or maybe the Pats were intimidated by all those NFC West Championship banners. To me that weird end zone section is built like the kind of temple the Mayans used to roll heads down to appease the gods. Which was sort of appropriate yesterday.
*I just don’t get what it is with the Pacific Northwest that they love football, but need to ruin it with goofy uniforms and bizarre colors that don’t belong anywhere near the gridiron. That day glo green the Seahawks use hasn’t been seen on this Earth since I was rocking the Jams at Craigsville Beach and hitting happy hour at the Mill Hill Club in Dennis. Better represent, Seattle.
*Can the networks just say “enough is enough” with the stupid cliched B-roll footage of whatever city they’re in? Seattle? Better get film of them tossing fish in the market. Buffalo? Need video of a guy making wings. Baltimore? Steaming crabs. Philly? Get me a guy making cheesesteaks. We get it. Enough already. Unless they want to get real and show a New York deli guy blowing snots in someone’s sandwich or a guy in Detroit dropping a syringe into the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Then I’m all for it.
*I somehow managed to get through the week without once hearing a “Sleepless in Seattle” reference. But avoiding a “When you look up ‘Slot Receiver’ in the dictionary, you see Wes Welker’s picture” out of Dan Fouts was too much to ask for. Hey, Dan. 1984 called. They want they’re cliche back!!! (See what I did there? When I’m pissed off I get all ironic.
*OK, it wasn’t all bad. Chandler Jones had a good day against Russell Okung and the Seahawks tight ends. And after beating James Carpenter for a sack he did the Pee Wee Herman Big Shoe Dance. It’s as if Jones is trying to make me love him. And it’s working.
*Someday I’m going to tell my grandkids about how before they were born we had things called bookstores, newspapers and kick returns.
*Seattle came out trying to stretch the field running 3- and 4-verticals, rolling Wilson out of the pocket to buy time, then checking down to the underneath stuff. And the Pats were only too happy to oblige. Last week on the sidelines against Denver, Belichick was yelling at the bench to let them take the curls and flats because they weren’t getting any yards that way. As maddening as that is to watch, nothing is more demoralizing then watching Russell Wilson… or Sidney bloody Rice… throw it up knowing as soon at it leaves his hand it’ll either be complete or a penalty.
*A play where you commit Pass Interference and the receiver catches the ball anyway shall henceforth be known as “The Patriots Defensive Back Quinella.”
*Sorry to be so negative. I’ll try to think happy thoughts the rest of the way. Derek Jeter’s ankle. Derek Jeter’s ankle. Derek Jeter’s ankle.
*Here’s a positive: Danny Woodhead. I still can’t figure out how he gains the yardage he does in heavy traffic. Like in the 4th Brady hit him on a bubble screen with no blockers in the middle of a forest of Seahawk defenders and he got through for the 1st down. Another time he dragged 284 pounds worth of Greg Scruggs five yards for another 1st. And on several inside runs he looked stopped at the LOS and just burrowed through the wall of bodies. He had one (I think) 11 yard run that if he’d tunneled any harder he would’ve released the Balrog of Morgoth.
*Another positive: McCourty doesn’t escape blame. Golden Tate outfought him on a ball Wilson just heaved up and that’s on him. But I do feel the need to pump his tires by saying there is no better tackler at corner in the league. Even his harshest critics have to hand it to him that as a force player on runs and screens, he’s as good as they come.
*Walking Dead Spoiler Alert: Between the loss, every other AFC East team winning, injuries to Lloyd, Chung and Slater and the Giants beating the best team in football- again- I think I had a worse day than Herschel.
*The Seattle punter could’ve had 20 booming kicks and pinned the Pats at their own 1 a dozen times. Nothing would make up for that fumbled snap and him running around in his little punter panic with the ball against his crotch going “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod whatdoidowhatdoido?!?” Because nothing is as entertaining as punter hijinks. Nothing. They’re the only subset of American society funnier than cantankerous Jewish sitcom dads.
*Geico, might I suggest: “How happy are people to save money on their car insurance? Happier than Brandon Spikes without a homosexual in his bathtub…”
*This week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “Wilson! Wiiiilllsssooonnn!!!”
*Mark Sanchez, get ready to have the statistical game of your life next week.