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Patriots vs. Jets Recap

by on Dec.12, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

I don’t think anyone expected the outcome of this game to be this lop-sided, but it was fun to watch to the very last snap. Looking back, I was definitely not a believer as I watched, just waiting for the other shoe to drop and the Jets to get back in the game.

I was shocked that Cris Carter (trashed Deion Branch on Boston radio leading up to the game) and Tom Jackson picked the Jets to win the game.

On the opening drive they had a weird blown play, but they could’ve recovered. Branch has to catch that and it was an early TD opportunity missed. A running theme in this recap will be how pointless all these things ended up being.

What was Rex Ryan thinking? He was mad about the spot, but did he really think that the officials were 1 yard off? Pointless challenge. Baby LT had his long run and obligatory over-celebration. Remember when a 14-yd run wasn’t a big deal to him? They ended up missing a long field goal and on their next drive they had a nice bad drive and horrible punt. Just what the Patriots needed after Brady looked a little off on the first 2 drives. They quickly go up 17-0 scoring a TD on a quick slant on 4th and 3.

I kept asking myself, “Where is Patrick Chung?”. I really think he brings a physical element to the game and is playing hard. I guess it’s a good problem to have where he is the third safety, but I don’t think anyone else hits as hard as him. Plus he has good instincts and is fast.

One weird thing was seeing Donald Trump in Robert Kraft’s box. Why would he let Trump in his box. Isn’t he a NY/Jets fan? He’s at least a New Yorker.

On the Patriots last drive of the 1st half, Brady was sacked twice. Hopefully that would not be a precursor to what would happen in the 2nd half. Heading into halftime, I’m wondering where this defense came from. I’d put part of it on Mark Sanchez, but the defense has had their best game so far. I’d feel good with 2 more TDs in the 2nd half.

The Jets started the 2nd half moving the ball, but it was fitting on Tedy Bruschi night that Brandon Spikes gets a Bruschi-like interception in the red zone to kill the drive. Followed right up with a Devin McCourty interception on the Jets’ next drive. McCourty is really coming on as the season is progressing. You really don’t see him repeating mistakes. Him and Joe Haden have been playing like 1st rounders (unlike Kyle Wilson). It looks like Ryan is getting the FU special from Bill Belichick.

All Brandon Tate had to do was block the guy behind him and Danny Woodhead runs it in for a 62 yard touchdown. They score a couple plays later and that is pretty much it. With about 10 minutes left, the Jets gave up. They just kept running the ball and took all day to run plays. They either wanted to minimize further embarrassment overall or not totally ruin Sanchez’s confidence. They’d add further insult by getting a 12 men on the field penalty after coming up with a 3rd down stop.

J-E-T-S! Suck! Suck! Suck! and Overrated chants were very audible during the broadcast. Also, credit to the Gillette crowd for keeping it loud all night. It is clearly possible to be loud, so there should be no excuses for the quiet crowds.

Some respect to Ryan for not trying to get late meaningless TD. A lot of coaches would keep trying to get a TD. Of course, after the game during his press conference he didn’t sound like he was humbled at all. Makes beating them so much fun.

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Stretch Run Patriots Update

by on Dec.05, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

I haven’t recapped the last 2 games so I thought I’d write up some thoughts on those games and some other Patriots related things heading into the big game tomorrow night. That game could very well determine which team gets a playoff bye and which one will be on the road.

Once again, the Patriots-Colts game started late. There was 13:06 left in the 1st quarter when it finally switched. The NFL also moved the Patriots-Bears game to 4:15 next week. Initially, I thought woe is me, but luckily the Chiefs also play the late game on CBS so my game will be on NFL Sunday Ticket.

Some quick thoughts on the Colts game. Wes Welker on a linebacker = bad idea, he easily juked him for a TD. Once again, the Patriots start out well and build a lead only to collapse at the end. Only difference this time is Peyton Manning is struggling of late with his new receivers. (On a side note, does this add another point for Tom Brady in the Brady-Manning debate? Brady was so close to another Super Bowl in 2006 with Reche Caldwell as his #1 receiver. Manning still has Reggie Wayne and is still playing badly.) They really gave the Colts hope by not scoring that final touchdown and settling for a field goal. Kyle Arrington playing defensive end? Is Bill Belichick announcing he has given up on OLBs creating any pressure at this point. Arrington has give up over 100 pounds to every offensive lineman. The Patriots so badly need a OLB pass rusher. It isn’t just the Colts who can make comebacks against the Patriots. They are really struggling (detailed here). I suppose it makes sense given how bad their pass defense is and that’s all a team does when down big. I wonder why no team has decided, they can’t rush us, let’s pass all day. Patrick Chung doesn’t make a really effective slot corner. How bad is Darius Butler he can’t play the slot either? James Sanders once again came up big to save a win.

Finishing up with some quick thoughts on the Lions game. It was a game on a very short week. Late game Sunday, travel on Wednesday to play the early Thanksgiving game. They started out slow with Brady taking a lot of hits and getting sacked. The Lions were up 17-3 at one point and it was looking like a long day at times. Perhaps another bad loss like the Browns game. The main positive was they weren’t turning it over. They seemed to figure out the pass protection problems and before you knew it, they were scoring 4 TDs to really put a stamp of authority on the game. Alphonso Smith was abused all day–run over by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, run in circles all day by Deion Branch. Smith had 3 missed tackles on 1 play. I wonder what has caused the emergence of Rob Gronkowski and the disappearance of Aaron Hernandez. What will happen when they are both playing so well and are on the field together? Devin McCourty has been playing real well these last couple of weeks. He could get into the defensive rookie of the year conversation if he continues to play this way.

Tomorrow it’s the Jets again. The Jets say they are built to beat the Patriots, but I think that was the season opening Patriots. (And really, they stumbled on it because they wanted Darelle Revis to cover Randy Moss when Antonio Cromartie was the better match-up.) But I think the Patriots are built to beat the Jets now. There is no elite WR, just quick small guys. They will be wasting Revis on covering one WR while the other will play against a guy who isn’t as quick on the other side. Brady is playing a lot smarter football now and I’d really be surprised to see them lose this game. The Patriots say football starts on Thanksgiving and the Patriots have a tough road to finish the season. The Jets (9-2), Bears (9-3), Packers (8-4) and 2 more division games. It’ll be a good test to close out the season. Also, if they do get the inside track to win the division, they have to keep winning to ensure they get the top seed.

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Cell Phones in Prison, Step Away From Strip Searches to Fly

by on Dec.05, 2010, under News

I’d file this under not making much sense. I read an article about cell phones in California prisons after Charles Manson was caught with one in 2009. I’d like to know how people are able to smuggle cell phones into prison to give to murderers. How do they charge the cell phones? Do they also smuggle in chargers? Do they have Wi-Fi in prison so that they can save their minutes and use FaceTime on their iPhones? Who is paying the bills and/or adding minutes to pre-paid cell phones?

At the same time, there are so many stories about the ridiculousness of the TSA. the rest of us non-felons can’t bring more than 100 mL of fluid in a single bottle past airport security. And actually, we can’t bring 1 mL of fluid in a bottle larger than 100 mL past security. It looks like California needs to hire the TSA to secure their prisons.

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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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