Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Playoffs!

It's NFL Playoff time, baby. The New England Patriots vs. the New York Jets at 1:00 on Sunday... Where's that Cowboyangel at?

William, did you see Vinny Testaverde throw a TD strike to Troy Brown in what will probably be his last set of downs in the NFL? A touchdown throw in each one of his 20 seasons. Quite an accomplishment...


cowboyangel said...

We're coming for you! With all due respect for the many great accomplishments of the New England Patriots football organization in the last few years, you guys are TOAST!


Okay, maybe not. Back in Reality Land, I think the Pats win, hopefully not by too much, though I do fear payback for that 17-14 loss earlier in the year.

I really wanted a shot at the Colts. I thought that was the one playoff matchup the Jets might win. To be honest, I'm just elated that the Jets stayed in competition for 16 games. I hoped for 8-8. They go 10-6 and make the playoffs. Everything else is gravy.

I mean, how does this team get to the playoffs? They don't have a RB (Washington is good in the open field and will be a useful weapon in the future, but he can't pound it out.) Our QB can barely throw the ball. (My, oh my, so many of his passes leave me holding my breath.) We've got two rookies on the O-line, though they've done pretty well. Our defense can't stop the run. We only have one good DB (Dyson, and he's out now). I think it's a testament to Mangini's ability as a coach that this group has accomplished what it has. Yeah, we had an easy schedule, though it wasn't THAT easy in the end. I do think the guy deserves consideration for Coach of the Year, though I'm sure it will go to Payton, and I can't say he doesn't deserve it.

On the other hand, there are a few things that give me some slim thread of hope for Sunday: First of all, it's the playoffs, so ANYTHING can happen. I don't think the Patriots have been very consistent this year. (Just how far do you think they can go?) Harrison's out again. You don't have Adam Vinatieri anymore (How do you feel about that anyway? I think you guys should have paid him. I know the Pats don't like spending big money for players, and they've done okay with that strategy, but a kicker isn't a linebacker or safety. As far as I know, you can't plug Troy Brown in there to kick a 49-yard FG in snow. There are only a few really good ones, and you let the best clutch kicker of all-time get away!) Plus, you're on your 3rd punter in two months. Sauerbrun. (Guess Bill's not too picky about steroids, eh?) So I think the Jets have the advantage on Special Teams. Also, the Jets have played well on the road this year (6-2) while the Patriots were only 5-3 at home.

But then you guys have a great QB in Vinny Testaverde! :-) (I thought it was great that Bill gave him that opportunity. He earned a lot of respect from me for that. Not that he didn't have it beofre.)

Seriously, though, I fear Brady in this scenario. And you have two strong RBs who will probably gouge us for 300 yards. And Seymour will probably be all over Chad.

It will take a miracle and some turnovers for the Jets to pull this off. I'm not counting on that.

Still, I'm a bit miffed that they're 9-point underdogs. The Giants can hardly play football (with the exception of Tiki) and they're only 6.5 dogs to the Eagles! No respect. I hope Mangini's showing that -9 line to everyone in the locker room.

Stupid Denver. I wanted them to go to the playoffs, and I wanted the Jets to play the Colts. But no, they go and lose to the 49ers. What a choke job. They don't deserve to go.

Awful news about Darrent Williams. Very upsetting.

I like the Saints to go from the NFC, though the Bears can't be ruled out, and the Eagles could be a surprise. From the AFC . . . it's tricky. Can Marty move to a new level in the playoffs? I'm not sure. But that's a great looking team right now. LT is unbelievable. On the other hand, I'm not totally convinced by Baltimore for some reason. They look like the best pick for the AFC in many ways - awesome D and Macnair at the helm - but something leaves me cold. And I think the potential troublemaker could be the Pats.

But since I'm not very good picking games, it's probably Peyton Manning's year and the Colts win it all.

By the way, I was disappointed that you guys won Sunday. I really wanted to see Vince Young in the playoffs! It was so improbable for the Titans to go - the Broncos, Bengals and Jaguars all had to lose . . . but they did! Then you go and give Vince so much trouble. Ah well, I'm sure there are no tears shed in Boston.

Jeff said...

We're coming for you! … you guys are TOAST!

Let’s rumble! :-)

The 9-point spread is way, way out of line, especially during the playoffs. An old-time bettor at work told me today to never go on the other side of a double-digit spread in the playoffs. After all, the Jets closed a huge deficit to nearly come back in the first game, and they won the second game. I’m sure Mangini will use that as a great motivator, and he knows the New England system very well besides. The Patriots have had a real hard time putting teams away this year, and it will be especially hard to do without Rodney Harrison. Him and his injuries… The guy is just snake-bit this year.

I’m still thinking the Patriots will win, I’m having a hard time imagining Pennington beating us with that arm of his, but nothing would shock me. Going 10 and 6 was a very respectable record, and not many people had expected the Jets to do that well this year. They still have a great core of experienced players like Mawae, and I put Coles right up there as one of the best wide-outs in the league.

I don’t blame you for wanting to have a shot at the Colts instead as they stagger their way into the playoffs. I think the Chiefs are going to eat them up on the ground. The Colts have lost both of their run-stuffing safeties to injuries. If I was coaching the Chiefs I’d just keep running Larry Johnson as long as the Colts didn’t send everyone, and if the Colts did send everyone, I’d just go over the top to Gonzalez. Heck, even Herm Edwards shouldn’t be able to screw that game plan up. I really do hope the Chiefs win. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Peyton Manning.

You hoped for 8 and 8. What do you think of those Giants going 8 and 8 and making the playoffs? Does this mean Coughlin will keep his job? I’m thinking his players dislike him so much they just might lay down in their playoff game just to make sure he gets fired. :-)

I was very disappointed over how the whole Adam Vinatieri thing went down. A few years ago, I was very uspet with Bill Belichick over the Lawyer Milloy incident, but he turned out to be right in that case, so I hadn’t second-guessed him since. The Patriots are not a very sentimental bunch, and I actually do like their policy of spreading the money around the whole team rather than just reserving the money for highly paid superstars. It’s served them well over the last 5 years, but I really didn’t like the Vinatieri decision. It wasn’t like he was David Givens or Deion Branch, or Damien Woody. The guy is the greatest clutch kicker in NFL history, and he was the guy who won a couple of Super Bowls and a playoff game in a snowstorm with that leg. He shouldn’t have gone out of here that way, but I guess the concern was that he was getting shorter and shorter on kickoffs.

On the other hand, what Belichick did for Vinny Testaverde was pretty cool. Bill Belichick is good that way. He did something similar for Doug Flutie last year. Remember the drop-kick field goal? (By the way, my son intercepted Flutie’s nephew in a conference championship game this year. It was in a losing effort, but I told him that if he could claim anything at all, he could always say that he got a pick off of Flutie). He’s also done some neat things like using Mike Vrabel as a receiver.

I’m not sorry to see that Denver is out of the playoffs. They seem to have our number no matter how good or bad they are. It is awful news about Darrent Williams. Isn’t this the second or third athlete to be shot in Denver in the last few years?

I’m looking for the Saints to win the NFC, but watch out for Dallas! I think that the Ravens are the class of the AFC, and my head tells me that they are the odds-on favorite for having the best chance to win the Super Bowl overall.

Still, it’s pretty wide-open, and the Pats and Jets realistically may have as good a chance as anyone. I was impressed with the Pats on how they hung on against a monster 4th-quarter comeback team like the Titans. The Titans had all of the momentum and confidence going, and the Patriots tightened up and clamped down on them. This was a real break-out year for Asante Samuel – 10 interceptions. As for Vince Young… I’m impressed that he seems to have learned the playbook. :-) What a runner, though. Just incredible in the open field. He has great field vision, I’ve never seen anything like it when he gets going with those long legs. He just eats up yards effortlessly.

cowboyangel said...

>We're coming for you! … you guys are TOAST!
>Let’s rumble! :-)

Oh, man, I do miss the controlled agression of football. I loved smacking my best friends around - and even getting smacked around. Except for one time in the park, when I was running full speed and got knocked into a huge live oak that served as the (very sturdy) end zone pylon. I was out. Woke up with all these people staring down at me. I got the touchdown, though. :-) There's not been any sport or physical activity that's been able to replace the combination of hitting people, running free and wild, leaping gracefully (or not) for a ball, or trying to keep someone out of the end zone. Only sex, if I may be so bold, combines the elements as well. But it lacks the particular high of intense competition. It has other highs, to be sure.

>I’m still thinking the Patriots will win

Though I hope the Jets win, I wouldn't put any money down on them myself.

>They still have a great core of experienced players like Mawae,

Actually, they let Mawae go - he's snapping the ball to Vince Young now - and was recently credited for helping Vince do so well this year, which I thought was nice. Mawae was one of my favorites - a classic warrior. And very intelligent. And a union spokesman who knew the economics of football and wouldn't put up with crap from the owners. In fact, I have a theory that this aspect of his game may have been one of the reasons he was released. I still have his bobblehead on my desk.

>and I put Coles right up there as one of the best wide-outs in the league.

I was disappointed he didn't make the Pro Bowl. I think he's done exceptionally well this year, creating something out of nothing (which one often has to do with Pennington) on numerous occasions. Cotchery has also had a great year. It's one of the few parts of the team that has really seemed solid.

>Heck, even Herm Edwards shouldn’t be able to screw that game plan up.

Uh . . . I don't know. You didn't have him as your coach. If the Colts do something to stop the run in the first half, Herm won't be able to adjust in the 2nd. He's a great motivator and I know the players really like him, but game day strategy is not his strength.

>What do you think of those Giants going 8 and 8 and making the playoffs? Does this mean Coughlin will keep his job? I’m thinking his players dislike him so much they just might lay down in their playoff game just to make sure he gets fired. :-)

I was disappointed they got in. I like Tiki a lot, but I dislike the Giants. And I get so sick of all the coverage they get here. People carp about the NY Times liberal bias - I don't know about that, but they definitely have a Giants bias. I got so mad towards teh end of the season at their coverage, that I literally measured the square inches of coverage they gave the Giants compared to hte Jets one Monday. The Giants had just lost a 4th game in a row and the Jets had won yet again, but the Giants had something like 8 times the coverage on the front page and 5 times teh coverage overall. They got pages 1-3 of the sports, wheras ther Jets got a tiny piece of the front page and page 5, AFTER coverage of the rest of the league on p.4!

I don't know about Coughlin keeping his job. There's major tension on the team, and I'm certain that Tiki's retirement is directly connected to Coughlin's coaching. IF the Giants fire Coughlin, I'll be curious to see what Tiki does. He's probably going to stay retired no matter what, but I wouldn't be shocked if he changed his mind in that case. I hope they get their butts kicked by Philly, though I'd like to see Tiki have a good game.

As much as I dislike them, I don't think they would lay down to get Coughlin fired. Though stranger things have happened.

>I was very disappointed over how the whole Adam Vinatieri thing went down.

I didn't realize his kickoffs were getting shorter. That's an issue, but you can always hire a second kicker or have a punter do kickoffs. The Jets did that for a while. For some reason, I don't think Vinatieri will have the same success on the Colts as he did with the Pats. I think there was something symbiotic in the Vinatieri-Patriots relationship that won't necessarily duplicate elsewhere. I hope not with the Colts at least.

I'm glad we share an equal dislike for Peyton Manning! :-)

>my son intercepted Flutie’s nephew in a conference championship game this year

Tell him I'm impressed! Sorry they lost, though.

>I’m not sorry to see that Denver is out of the playoffs. They seem to have our number no matter how good or bad they are.

Well, I have to admit, that's one of the reasons I was hoping they would go! I didn't want the Jets to have to face you guys. Just in case something freaky happened, I didn't want the Jets to run into the Pats in the Conference Championship! :-) (I know, I know, it would have to be something [i]REALLY[/i] freaky. But I still have fond memories of the 1975 Dallas Cowboys shocking everyone in the playoffs and making it to the Super Bowl, only to lose to the dreaded Steelers, the first of their 3 Super Bowls together. That was the year of Staubach's amazing Hail Mary pass to Drew Pearson to beat the Vikings in the first round. The year before, 1974, was the one year in Landry's incredible run of about 15 seasons that they didn't make the playoffs. No one expected them to do well in the playoffs. Even after beating the Vikes, no one gave them a chance against teh Rams. then they went in to LA and beat them 37-7. Great memories of those two games.

>but watch out for Dallas!

Hmm... Maybe watch out for them as they back out of the stadium parking lot after clearing out their lockers? That loss to Detroit was P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C.

>I think that the Ravens are the class of the AFC, and my head tells me that they are the odds-on favorite for having the best chance to win the Super Bowl overall.

That seems to be the consesus choice. We'll see. I still think they could have problems.

Jeff said...

I know what you mean regarding those wild youthful football games of reckless abandon. The egalitarianism of Ultimate Frisbee just doesn’t cut it. I wasn’t big enough to play High School football, but we used to knock the heck out of each other out on the playground in pick-up tackle games. Great fun until one guy who was working off a hangover ruptured his spleen in one of our bigger games. Pretty scary. Another time I hit someone low while another guy hit him high and the whole pile landed on top of me. I swear I must have cracked a few ribs, but I never told anyone at home because I wasn’t supposed to be doing it anyway.

In college we used to play fraternity “flag” football, which really meant of course, tackling the guy and then pulling the flag. Basically it was a form of tribal warfare. Human beings are a funny species. We’re constantly looking for ways to find divisions between us, and we’ll make them up if we have to, working down into smaller and smaller subdivisions.

Sex as competition? I don’t think it’s entirely unheard of, but I’ll leave that one alone…

The Jets let Mawae go? You would have thought I’d have noticed that during the Tennessee game last Sunday. Great player. Who’s in there now? Mangold? How’s he doing? I know D’Brikashaw wasn’t quite the impact player they hoped he would be, but the Jets are doing well regardless.

Have I “underestimated” Herm’s ability to have a brain-freeze? Perhaps. Maybe you’re right. I’ll say this for Herm, though… Remember the infamous fumble play, the Miracle of the Meadowlands?

I understand what you are saying about New York and the whole New York FOOTBALL Giants thing… I hear you. I love Tiki, but I think he’s had it with the pain on Monday and Tuesday mornings. He’s a bright guy, he wants to get into doing hard news on television. As for Coughlin, even if he goes, I’m glad he won’t be coming back to Boston College.

I don’t know if Vinatieri will be as good on the Colts as he was here (he missed a couple of kicks against us), but playing half of the year indoors won’t hurt.

I think Parcells should have the Cowboys in good form for the playoffs, even though they stunk it up on Sunday. Here’s a painful Dallas Super Bowl memory for you – Jackie Smith.

cowboyangel said...

>Jackie Smith.

I didn't realize you had a cruel streak. :-)

27 years later, it still brings pain.

>Sex as competition? I don’t think it’s entirely unheard of, but I’ll leave that one alone…

No, I meant it doesn't offer the intense competition of football. Though, sure, for some, who knows. And I'll leave it there as well.

>I think Parcells should have the Cowboys in good form

You must believe in Parcells more than I do. The last time he won a Super Bowl was 16 years ago! Great at one time and still great in some ways - but I don't think he's done well in Dallas. I mean, who relies on Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde as starting QBs for a "playoff" caliber team? Why not just pull Geroge Blanda out of retirement and get it over with! And then throwing TO into the mix? I just don't get it.

>Who’s in there now? Mangold?

Yeah. And he's doing a great job for a rookie center. We held our breath last week when he didn't get up after a play. He's banged up, but I think he'll play Sunday.

>I know D’Brikashaw wasn’t quite the impact player they hoped he would be

He's been okay, and I think he'll be pretty good in the future. He's given up a sack each of the last two weeks, but those were to Jason Taylor and Derrick Burgess, so I'm not overly concerned. I think that Mangold's been so damn impressive some people wonder why Ferguson hasn't been the same, but I'm not sure you can compare them, though it's inevitable when you draft two linemen in the first round.

I knew I was going to like Mangini when he used his two first-round picks on offensive linemen. He won me over right away with that move.

Our QB who can't throw won Comeback Player of the Year. I'm happy for him. I really like Chad, and I think it's amazing that he's been able to do what he's done after TWO rotator cuff operations and a broken hand. Not to mention his father's heart attack at the beginning of the year. He has all the guts, intelligence, leadership and mysterious "magic" that all great QBs have.

He just doesn't have an arm. Que pena.

And my other favorite QB won Offensive Rookie of the Year.

My 3rd favorite QB is still recovering from injury, but seems to be doing okay.

I see the Boston Globe covets Kerry Rhodes. Well, you can't have him!

How's Sanders? I know he's not Harrison, but how's he done so far?

Jeff said...

No, I meant it doesn't offer the intense competition of football. Though, sure, for some, who knows. And I'll leave it there as well.

Oh, I knew what you meant. I was just musing to myself over the very notion. I think there are some indeed. We can let it drop.

Poor Jackie Smith. A long, great career. What a thing to have to remember and to be remembered for. It's almost like a Bill Buckner thing.

Parcells and his boring, workmanlike quarterbacks... He really lucked into Tony Romo, didn't he? Poor Bledsoe. I actuallty feel badly for the guy. Got a rocket of an arm but he can't get out of his own way, can't look off of his receivers, and he can't sense pressure coming from behind him at all.

Vince Young as Offensive Rookie of the Year? Meh. Leinart actually had a higher passing rating over in the NFC. I know that Reggie Bush only had about 500-600 yards rushing, but I think he made a much bigger impact on his team than Young did. Speaking of big young quarterbacks, did you see JaMarcus Russell of LSU take apart Notre Dame last night? He's going to be a force in the NFL. Brady Quinn? He can't handle pressure. I think the shine should come off of him before the draft.

We don't like Brady's party life! We like to see him in stable relationships. :-) Makes him sharper on the field. The rumor is, that is part of the reason why Belichik shipped Lawyer Milloy out of here. Milloy was dragging Brady all over town with him to his party-life.

No Sanders is not Harrison, there are only a couple of other safeties who could fill those shoes. The Pats defense seems almost clueless without him back there. Sanders is OK I guess. I haven't been paying attention too closely. I know he got pancaked on one play last week, but came back to make a nice hit on the next one. Sort of too soon to tell.

Liam said...

Hey Jeff, happy new year.

Are you guys going to be like this until after the Supwerbowl? Am I going to have to start talking about the Utah Jazz?

Jeff said...

Hi Liam,

Happy New Year!

Nah, I think the bragging rights for this grudge match will be over on Sunday afternoon.

Please don't make us read about the Utah Jazz. :-)

cowboyangel said...

Well, congratulations! Not a big surprise, I guess. I was just happy that there was a game to watch for 3.5 quarters.

Did you see Belichick knock the photographer out of the way so he could hug Mangini?! That may have been the best move of the game.

The play of the game, I thought, was the Pats recovering the backwards pass. Great heads-up play on their part. It seemed to me that the Jets were moving better than the Pats in the 3rd quarter - then, pow. Huge play.

I sure would like to see the Jets with a great RB. And a better D. But all in all I was pleased with this season. Hey, if someone said that they would go 10-6 and give the Pats a hard time for a good part of a playoff game, I would have said, "Yeah, right."

Interesting taht this was only the 2nd time the two teams have met in the playoffs. I feel the beginning of a great rivalry.

Next year, buddy! (Always next year.)

Hope you're well and had a good epiphany.


Jeff said...

Hey Cowboy,

Great game! Tough luck for you guys, William. The game was much, much closer than the final score indicated.

Did you see Belichick knock the photographer out of the way so he could hug Mangini?! That may have been the best move of the game.

That was great. He just walked past the guy and lifted his camera up out of the way... I thought the whole Belichik-Mangini feud thing was overblown. Afterwards, in the post game interview, he told the press, "Guys... I'm just trying to coach a football game, that's all...".

You are right about that heads-up play. It's really fun to watch two teams full of really smart players, and coaches who are on the ball and know how to make adjustments (although the Pats took some really stupid calls for unnecessary roughness). After the first series the Jest made some impressive adjustments to protect Pennington better, and I was very impressed by him. He's smart, tough, and he has a lot of guts.

Big challenge next week with San Diego. Congrats on a very good season. Things should be very interesting in the AFC East next year.

At least your loyalties lie more with the Jets now than with the Dallas Cowboys. Did you catch the last 5 minutes of that gane with Seattle? Tony Romo... OHMYGAWSH....

cowboyangel said...

Big challenge next week with San Diego.

Yeah, the Pats are going to have to play better than they did yesterday. Brady's going to face pressure he didn't face against the Jets. BTW, they did a great job of picking up our blitzes. But we don't have anyone like Merriman. The Chargers had almost twice as many sacks as the Jets this year. And I like Leon Washington, but he's no LT. The key, as everyone says, will be Rivers. How will he do? The Pats are great at befuddling QBs, and this will be his first game. But then, most QBs don't have someone like LT to take off the pressure. Which makes me think the Pats will try to key on LT, but the San Diego line is pretty good. Should be a great matchup. I'm looking forward to the game. I think San Diego has a better team right now, but Belichick's a better coach and Brady's a better QB. We'll see how much the Marty-factor affects the game.

Two observations: You guys need some better receivers. They did okay yesterday, but they just don't seem as good as the crew you had before. That will affect Brady more and more as the playoffs advance and the defenses are much better than the Jets. Also, is it just me or is Bruschi looking slow? Think he'll be starting next year?

>Did you catch the last 5 minutes of that gane with Seattle? Tony Romo... OHMYGAWSH....

It was an exciting game. Too bad Dallas blew it at the end. (I still root for them at times - though I've never quite forgiven them for getting rid of Tom Landry the way they did.) A good argument for kicking on 3rd down, in case something goes wrong. I don't really blame Romo, though. After a shaky start, I thought he played pretty well. And while the bobble was terrible and will always be remembered, I think the bigger mystery was why Dallas was throwing from the 1-yard line with 7 minutes left. That safety was the turning point of the game, I thought. they had just stopped Seattle on a crucial 4th down. Then they immediately throw away (literally) their advantage.

I wondered about the ball that Romo bobbled - it looked so shiny. Turns out it was one of the new K-balls that players have complained about this year. They tend to be slick when brand new. I believe a team can bring their own footballs to use for kicks - wonder why they didn't do that?

But that's what's great about football, especially in the playoffs. ANYTHING can happen!

Oh, man, I really wish the Jets had played the Colts. Did you see any of that game? It was horrible. And I'm not convinced that the Colts D was so great as much the Chiefs offensive game plan was atrocious. I'm so glad Herm's not our coach anymore. That was a terrible, terrible job he did. When you haven't managed a single first down in a half, how do you not put in Damon Huard to see what could happen? And how do you go away from the run against a team giving up 5.3 yards a carry? I know the colts were stopping Johnson, but sooner or later, they would have worn down. Really awful play calling.

I so hope Baltimore crushes the Colts.

Eagles-Saints will be interesting. I'm kind of pulling for the Saints - just because they've never been to the Super Bowl. But I was looking more closely at some defensive stats, and the Saints have weaknesses. The most glaring to me is that they gave up 4.9 yards a carry this year. (Baltimore was the best, giving up only 3.3 per carry.) Also, the Saints actually have a -4 turnover ratio, surprisingly low for a playoff team. Again Baltimore was best, with a +17. then again, no one looks great to me in the NFC right now. Seattle barely won at home. Unless Grossman completely falls apart, I don't see how Seattle wins. But Grossman COULD fall apart again - and I just don't like their inconsistency. The Eagles don't have their great defense from the past, but they have a lot of playoff experience. I hope the Saints can go all the way, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Eagles beat them and beat Chicago.

Jeff said...

I love Wild Card weekend. Best football weekend of the year.

I was talking to a guy at work today about the next game, and he opined that if the Patriots went out to San Diego and played them 10 times, they’d probably win about 3 of those, and that sounds about right to me. We’ve had a lot of trouble with San Diego in the past. LT is just the kind of cutback runner who gives us fits. He’s absolutely shredded us a few times.

I think Belichick will put as good a game plan together as possible for it. I’m relying heavily on the “Marty Factor” to come into play here. :-) I haven’t been that great on my predictions so far, but I think we’ll have a game plan designed to stop LT and to make the new guy Rivers try to beat us. We’ll see what he’s made of. One of the things I took heart in during the Jets game was that the Patriots bring pretty good pressure to bear on the QB with their front seven without having to blitz with their DBs very much. I hope Harrison can play. San Diego has enough weapons to make the Pat’s plans difficult, but you have to like Brady’s experience here. The guy’s playoff record is unbelievable. Someone told me today that the Patriots are the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game four years in a row(?)

Yes, we have a real problem with our recievers, and I think it’s had a lot to do with why Brady’s stats aren’t looking great this year. Chad Jackson has been a disappointment, and losing Branch and Givens to free agency really hurt them. Gaffney had a very strong game with 8 catches yesterday, but he’s not the future. Some of the guys we had in here last year would have made that end-zone catch yesterday, even though the throw was a tad too long. Bruschi looking slow? Maybe. He’ll still start next year. He makes up in ferocity and smarts for missing a step or two here or there. He and the other vets (Colvin and Vrabel) have been playing well, but they are all starting to get up there in age. They’d better look for some linebackers on the draft.

It was an exciting game. Too bad Dallas blew it at the end… A good argument for kicking on 3rd down, in case something goes wrong…. But that's what's great about football, especially in the playoffs. ANYTHING can happen!

I wonder if Al Michaels is going to be able to wipe the egg off his face for saying “Seattle should just let Dallas score here so they can get the ball back.” You’re right. ANYTHING can happen. You don’t ever “let the other team score” in the NFL. Yeeesh. It was nice of TO to stick up for Romo, for whatever it’s worth. Romo is going to get blamed for all of it and it isn’t fair. A lot of that loss was Parcells’ fault. Madden may be losing it a little bit in his old age, but he had a good point about that catch by Witten where he got stopped before the first down. All of the receivers should have been in the end zone on that play. It does very little good to have anyone running a shorter pattern in that situation. The pass to Terry Glenn on the 1? Inexplicable. He also should have let Romo loose with his arm a little earlier in the game, IMO. I think Parcells may be losing a lot of his edge too, but you know, he never really was a great game day coach to begin with unless he had a great staff around him with guys like…well… Bill Belichik.

The Colts-Chiefs game was awful. Herm Edwards wasn’t prepared and he didn’t have his players prepared either. Too bad, because Peyton Manning had a horrible game. I love the way Ty Law owns this guy. He can read him like a book. I wish we still had him, but you probably wish you still had him (and Aaron Glenn) on the Jets too. Although, when he played for the Jets he was lookong like he hadn’t been passing up on too many leftovers. The Chiefs gave up on the running game way too early, and sticking with the passing game with Trent Green and with Tony Gonzalez dropping everything coming his way... Yecchh.

I’d like to see the Saints beat the Eagles, but the Eagles are turning out to be a real dark horse. Garcia seems to have really turned them around, even though the game with the Giants was close. I missed it, so I can’t comment on that one. Hard for me to get real excited about those NFC games, because I think the real class of the league is still in the AFC this year.

cowboyangel said...

What a game yesterday! Really a classic. We were exhausted afterwards. You must be quite pleased.

I think Troy Brown stripping the ball after Brady's 3rd INT has to be one of the most amazing plays I've ever seen in a playoff game. The game may not have been over at that point, but it wasn't looking good for you guys. And, they get the 1st down to boot. Incredible. Good reason to have a guy who plays WR and DB, I guess.

The Marty Factor: Tomlinson had 143 combined yards at half. He had 44 in the 2nd half. And I don't think it was because the Patriots necessarily took him out of the game. The Chargers just seemed to go away from him. Unbelievable. Why was Rivers throwing so much in the 2nd half after the game LT played in the 1st???

Lost some respect for LT after his little sore-loser tizzy fit after the game.

I had a feeling in the 3rd quarter that the Pats would win. After the Chargers were called for unnecessary roughness on 3rd and long. That whole drive. They just didn't seem to have the composure to pull off a game like that. Actually, I already suspected it was going to go the Pats way after that terrific drive at the end of the half - the same they did to the Jets last week! The Chargers had seemed to outplay the Pats for most of the first half, but they were only ahead by 4 points. Not a good sign. I knew Belichick would make good adjustments at halftime. I wasn't sure Marty could.

Anyway, a gutsy, gutsy performance. I want to hate the Patriots, but that's one hell of a football team. Classic warriors. Even with 3 INTs, Brady still seemed so cool under the gun. The guy's amazing for his Buddha-like calm. And they just do all the little things right. Very impressive. All I can say is, if the Pats are going to beat the Chragers, they better complete the job and beat the Colts next week! I'm beginning to suspect that Indy might surprise us this year. Should be a great showdown.

But I'm rooting for the Saints to win it all! That was a great game, too. I loved Deuce McAllister carrying everybody into the endzone. Now THAT'S football. I like their chances against Chicago.

Good luck next Sunday.

Jeff said...

Hi William,

I hope you haven’t given up on blogging. Say it isn't so.

Thanks for the good luck wishes. The game was indeed a classic, but it was a classic mess of a game too. Basically, it was a big, fat, gift-wrapped present from the Chargers with a big, pretty bow on top.

Troy Bown has always been and still is my favorite player on the Patriots. The guy is just absolutely clutch in the playoffs. One of the best big-game players I’ve ever seen. He’s amazing

I was worried about Brady’s subpar perfomance for the whole game, but truth be told, when New England scored that touchdown just before the end of the first half, I knew we had them right where we wanted them. I think Tomlinson knew it too. Did you see the look on his face? He had a phenomenal game, but he looked worried to me the whole time. I lost a little respect for him after his tantrum too, but you know, guys like him are so competitive, and putting together a 14-2 season is incredibly hard work. It is so, so hard for teams to get back to this point in the playoffs, so I’ll cut him a little slack. The only thing about it that puzzled me is why he would have a problem with Belichik.

The Marty Factor!


I knew we could count on it.

- Going away from using LT.
- Wasting his last time-out on a challenge that had no chance of succeeding.
- Not wearing a headset for most of the game for some inexplicable reason. He knew the 2-point conversion was going to be a direct snap to Falk but he couldn’t tell anybody about it. Then again, maybe the coaching staff is better off not hearing or talking to him.
- Not having his players disciplined and composed.

But hey, he might have done a better job than Billick (what a horrendous job by the Raven’s offense, and what a horrible perfomance by McNair) and Andy Reid (what did you think of him kicking the ball away with 1:45 left?)

As for the Chargers themselves..

- The pass from Rivers that was intercepted by Roosevelt Colvin looked like the kind of pass we used to make in our pick-up games, with similar results.
- The unnecessary roughness call when they had just stoned us and taken all of our momentum away. We were dead… finished .. and they brought us back to life.
- Intercepting a pass and trying to run with it on a 4th down play.
- Fumbling a punt and then trying to pick it up and run with it.
- Just plain old dropping lots of balls they should have caught.

Brady really played poorly, but he came up with the big plays when he had to, which he almost always does. I’m a little bit worried that his arm or his hand might be hurt. I didn’t like the way the ball just wobbled out there a few times. If he was slightly hurt, Belichick would never let anyone know. He’s notorious for that. Everyone is “probable”.

A Colts-Pats (Manning-Brady) showdown is going to be pretty cool. I wish Brady was playing better, but Manning hasn’t been playing well either. The Colts have a defense! Who knew?? At least the last two teams they’ve played have made it look like they have a defense. This should be interesting. Here’s Manning’s chance to chase all those ghosts and naysayers now if he’s ever going to do it. It’s now or never.

How can you not love the Saints? I hope they win the NFC, and if it’s not us, I hope they win it all. In fact, if we lost, I wouldn’t mind so much if it was to them. The Saints-Eagles game was the best game of the weekend. I loved how Deuce and the gang just moved that pile! You’re right, that’s real smash-mouth football. Did you see the hit that Bush took early in the game, and they way he came back a play or two later? Good stuff.

cowboyangel said...

Sorry, Jeff. Didn't work out this time. Too bad. I was REALLY enjoying it when the Pats were up 21-3.

A great game, though I didn't like the result. And I can't even begin to imagine how many more Peyton Manning commericals we'll have to endure next season. Grooooaaaannnnn.

BTW, I loved the Testaverde commercial. And I'm disappointed that Vinny won't get to go to the Super Bowl.

12 men on the field with 3 minutes left. What a killer. Very un-Patriotic.

Oh well, they'll always have next year.

(Except, of course, when they play the Jets!) :-)

Jeff said...

Thanks for the condolences, William. It was pretty disappointing, but hey, life goes on. Just getting past San Diego was gravy, if you really think about it. That game in San Diego took a real toll on them, and Belichick even said so. Our linebackers are starting to look real slow and old. You were right about Bruschi. I guess he's thinking about retiring.

Blowing an 18 point lead in an AFC Title game is a shameful thing, but you know, when we didn't punch it in when we got the ball on the 50 near the end of the first half, I started to get a real bad feeling, especially when Manning cut through our defense like a knife through butter just before the half. I don't care much for Manning, but I have to give him his props for this one. He played a great game and absolutely shredded Belichick's schemes for him. I was really hoping we'd win this game so that Peyton would maybe think about not making commercials for every conceivable product out there. Now he's going to be insufferable.

I thought we still had a chance when we got the ball back with around 3:20 left. That's supposed to be Brady-time. If we'd been able to squeeze out a first down or two, we could have put the game on ice, but it was not to be. Tom didn't get it done this time. Can't blame him though. 34 points should be enought to win any game.

Too many men in the huddle... Very unpatriotic, as you say.

Don't even talk to me about Caldwell.

Jim Nantz was making me crazy. People can call it Boston bellyaching if they want to, but the palpable anti-New England bias among most of these sportscasters can really start to get wearisome after a while.

I'd love to see the Bears beat the Colts, but I really don't think they have a chance.

Oh well... wait 'til next year. We now enter that time of year when nothing noteworthy is happening in the world of sports. We don't even have battles bewteen the network stars anymore to entertain us.