The Haphazard Blog

Archive for November, 2010

Patriots vs. Steelers Recap

by on Nov.17, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

What a difference  week makes!

The Patriots won their second coin toss of the year and chose to defer (I think this is a good strategy on the road since seats tend to be most empty at the start of the second half) and forced a 3 and out. Tom Brady went straight to Rob Gronkowski. It’s interesting how teams do this after a guy has a bad play and/or game. They’re professionals, but it seems like it makes a difference to confidence. I think this was the best opening drive of the season for the Patriots. They seem to start out slow this year, but this time, Gronkowski ended the drive with a touch down. People were very impressed with the pass Brady threw. At first I thought he made the pass tighter than it had to be, but seeing a replay of it today, I think it was either there or nowhere.

On the Steeler’s second drive, we saw a running theme appear. Zone defense and an easy 3rd down conversion.  I think the zone defense is preventing big passing plays, but the players don’t quite have the instincts to make sure guys don’t easily find voids in the zones. It’s a good thing they’re good tacklers, well for the most part. Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders sometimes take some bad angles. Following this play, they played very well in coverage after the play broke down. They stuck to the receivers as they scrambled and kept Ben Roethlisberger in pocket getting 2 sacks in a row.

I thought it was odd that there were points (and even series) during the game where is Vince Wilfork wasn’t on the field. I wondered if he was injured and then he would be back. Not sure why he didn’t play as much considering he is the best defensive lineman they have. On the flip side, the defense played awesome for 3 quarters.

I think if  Brady leads Brandon Tate a little more on that deep pass, it’s a touchdown. Mike Rodak felt it was an accurate pass, but Tate had beat his guy and had to slow up in the end zone to catch the pass and the corner back was able to knock it away.

Brady was pissed at the end of a bad series. I thought they needed a lip reader and WEEI agreed. They didn’t really turn up much and Brady danced around it.

I don’t know why they Patriots are going for big hits instead of tackles at times. Bill Belichick should fine guys who go for the big hit and the opposing player gets away. Earlier in the game, Patrick Chung showed how to make a big hit and tackle by nearly stopping a first down.

Branch looks a lot healthier in this game. He looked really bad against the Vikings and still kind of slow against the Browns. Hopefully he’s back to 100% and will stay that way.

Coming out to start the 3rd quarter, the Patriots had another good drive. The defense continued their stellar performance forcing a 3 and out and later getting another red zone stand. The only bad play I saw was the pass interference by Meriweather. I don’t think he is fast enough for the deep safety. He seems to be about one step late on a lot of deep throws. This time it cost him a lot of yards as he tried to go through a receiver for an interception. If he was faster, he could’ve beat him to the spot, but since he isn’t, he should’ve been smart enough to break up the catch instead.

Brady put together another good drive as the end of the 3rd quarter approached to put them up 23-3.  He sneaked the ball in to score and Troy Polamalu (who was either invisible or guessing wrong all day) added some “extra sugar” as Matt Light called it with a hit to Brady after he scored. Brady got up and spiked the ball as hard as he could and stared down the fans. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him this fired up. Somehow the new kicker missed the extra point. The long snapper and kicker are new, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Better now that a real close game.

I think at this point, the Patriots let off on defense. Whatever they did, it wasn’t working. The Steelers moved the ball very quickly down the field to score a touch down. Fortunately a quick pick 6 and they opened the lead up again. I don’t know what they were thinking doing the stupid group celebration. It’s been banned since the Rams did the bob and weave. Who even thinks up or plans a group celebration?

One of my favorite plays of the game was Wilfork knocking down Emmanuel Sanders as he ran across the field. It shouldn’t have been a penalty since it was within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. I thought it was a smart, heads up play by him.

In the end, the Patriots were able to win, but the Steelers scored 23 points in 15 minutes. That is very bad when you have Peyton Manning coming to town this week. Hopefully it becomes a lesson to play a full 60 minutes against the Colts.  It was a nice bounce back game from Gronkowski.

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How I Think Steve Carell Should Be Written Out of The Office

by on Nov.14, 2010, under Entertainment, TV

This is the last season for Steve Carell on The Office, so it stands to reason that his character Michael Scott will be leaving. I think they should do nothing and just end the season normally. Then to start next season, have Michael Scott gone. Have the characters refer to some type of incident that got him fired. And given everything he has done over 7 seasons, it would have to be pretty bad. They can occasionally reference it and maybe if they can get him to come back, they can reveal what it was that finally went too far.

I’d like this a lot better than some type of send off or goodbye Michael episode that is supposed to be both sad and funny.

Anyone else have any thoughts or predictions on how this season ends?

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Steelers = Biggest Whiners

by on Nov.14, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

After moving to West Virginia from Massachusetts, I was surrounded by Steelers fans. Being a Patriots fan, I couldn’t stand them. The most annoying fans I’d ever met. Their obsession with getting one for the thumb (before they got 2 more) and the stupid “here we go” song. Hate them more than any other team in the NFL.

I thought their fans were whiners too, but it turns out after seeing this article today about “Spygate“, they’re really just mimicking the entire organization. The owners, coaches and players just love to whine. They’ve been whining for 5 weeks about fines and illegal hits and still crying about “Spygate”.

So somehow the Steeler’s defensive signals helped Troy Brown return a punt and block a field goal that was run back for a touchdown in the 2001 AFC Championship game. Or the Steeler’s defensive signals helped the Patriots defense intercept 3 Kordell Stewart passes. Those signals sure helped the Patriots stop Lee Flowers from injuring Tom Brady. Oh wait, he did injure him.

Or maybe in 2004 the Steeler’s defensive signals helped the Patriots intercept Ben Roethlisberger 3 times and run one back for a touchdown. Tom Brady was all world with 200 passing yards and the running game racked up 126yards (to the Steelers 163). It’s amazing how they did so well knowing all the calls.

What’s their excuse for the opening day beating in 2002? Same signals as 2001? When is it their fault the players can’t handle new signals. They’re out in the open for any team to obtain. It was only the video camera that was illegal. If the signs are the same all season, anyone with a ticket or in a coaches booth can take notes.

Just admit it. You got killed at home in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots went through you twice to win two Super Bowls. You didn’t have to beat the Patriots once to get yours in the 2000s. The Patriots were the better team last decade. Stop whining.

To all my friends unfortunate enough to be Steelers fans, I still like you (and you’re not whiners, well maybe a few of you are :)).

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NFL Ratings Up, Everyone Else Down

by on Nov.14, 2010, under Entertainment, Football, Sports, TV

I saw a post on my favorite football site about the NFL’s ratings this year. It had me thinking about ratings in general. While it is something to be commended, I don’t find it surprising because viewership numbers have been dropping for years. Top TV shows 3 or 4 years ago were getting close to 20M viewers and 6 or 7 years ago 25M viewers. The shift can be attributed to many things like more choices (cable), DVRs, DVDs and online viewing. It’s probably a little of everything, but the one thing that pretty much has no alternative is sports. As a bonus, since they are live events, people who want to watch them will always prefer live to tape delay/time shifting. Which means more eyeballs on commercials.

So at least to me, this comes as no surprise that the NFL can be king without cracking 20M viewers. I think this trend will continue for live programming over normal prime time programming.

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Anna Torv and Fringe

by on Nov.14, 2010, under Entertainment, TV

One of my favorite shows now is Fringe. Since it was created by J.J. Abrams, it reminds me of Alias in one way: the star: In this case, it’s Anna Torv instead of Jennifer Garner, but I think she will have a similar fate.

Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham

I say that because Anna seems to be way too talented to be on TV. She started out playing Olivia Dunham, a FBI agent working in the Fringe division. Now she has played 4 different characters. They are all Olivia Dunham, but people who watch the show know otherwise. This is where it gets a little confusing.

  1. Original Olivia Dunham
  2. Alternate universe Olivia Dunham who has a slightly different life and noticeably different personality
  3. Alternate universe Olivia Dunham sent back to the original universe (unknowingly to everyone back there)
  4. Original Olivia Dunham brainwashed in the alternate universe to believe she is the alternate universe Olivia Dunham (but there are moments where she realizes something is off)

Anna is able to play all these slight variations on one character in a way that sets them all apart. As a viewer, there is no confusion which one she is playing. As a non-actor, it seems like something only those who are very talented at acting can pull off. So I think in a couple years, either the show will be cancelled because of ratings or she decides it is time to move on to the silver screen.

This season of Fringe has been interesting. They have been alternating episodes between the two universes. It looks like the storyline this season is the two Olivia’s and what the so called “doomsday machine” is and how Peter fits into it.

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Patriots vs. Browns Recap

by on Nov.07, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

Special thanks to CBS for showing all of us at home Eric Mangini chewing dip and spitting on the field. I’m sure there is plenty of spit and blood on the field, but it would still suck to have your face smashed into some discraded dip.

It looks like the game ended up being as bad (for the Patriots) as the first play was.

21-Yard Completion on First and 10

The Browns completed a 21-yard pass and the picture above shows a corner back and safety nearby along with linebackers and safeties 6 yards behind. And it took 4 of them to actually touch the receiver down.

Four Patriots Couldn't Cover One Receiver

Rob Gronkowski had a horrible day. Poor Andy Hart. (Not to mention his other binky, James Sanders, was hurdled by Peyton Hillis.) Gronkowski calls for a fair catch and just stands there as it lands 3 yards behind him. Sammy Morris couldn’t corral it and the Browns got it. Then when the Patriots finally got the ball, he had 2 drops (1 was a low throw, but hit his hands). Later on, he had a killer fumble at the goal line to end the half. Patriots would’ve been 2nd and goal at the 2 down 17-7. For good measure he got a holding penalty and tipped a touchdown pass up in the air.

Luckily, on that tipped ball, Aaron Hernandez was able to concentrate and pull the ball in for a touchdown in the back of the end zone.

Weird U.S. Air Force commercial. It continues the “it’s not science fiction” series, but they show that tag line after a cargo plane seemingly has vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and transforming while flying capabilities.

By the midpoint of the 3rd quarter, the game was quite embarrassing. The Browns were unstoppable. Peyton Hillis (nice trade Broncos!) was running anyone and everyone over, Colt McCoy was scrambling and making plays. To top it off, he ran for a 16 yard touchdown.

The Patriots kept trying to get in the game, but aside from not really being able to string together drives to score I noticed the Patriots receivers and tight ends are unnecessarily jumping to catch passes with their bodies. Makes running after the catch (if they don’t drop it) a lot harder.

As the game came to a close, somehow the Patriots looked worse. They loaded up to stop the run and played very undisciplined. The outside linebackers were not setting the edge. Hillis had no trouble running off tackle with 15 yard and 35 yards (a touchdown). The 15 yard one was after the defense got a 5 yard loss and had a 2nd and 15. After that, Bill Belichick ditched the headset and put Brian Hoyer in and called it a game.

One last note on this debacle. The Browns, ex-Patriots in particular were celebrating like they won the Super Bowl. Considering they’ve actually been there, I can’t really say act like you’ve been there before. But keep in mind that Josh McDaniels went nuts after beating the Patriots last year and has proceeded to go 5-14 since. Beating the Patriots isn’t as big of an accomplishment as it used to be.

To completely ruin Sunday football, the Jets came back from a 20-10 deficit in the 4th quarter to tie it, force overtime, win the coin flip and kick a field goal.  The Patriots and Jets are 6-2 at the top of the AFC East.

Looking forward, I don’t think losing is ever a good thing, but now the Patriots know they have to play a lot better if they want to have a chance against the Steelers (they couldn’t contain McCoy in the pocket, stop Hillis running and didn’t match their physicality) or Colts (porous pass defense against the Browns) in the next 2 weeks. The offense also has to execute at a much better and consistent level.

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