After watching victories by both the greasy Cowboys and greasier Jets the day before, I couldn’t wait for a Sunday morning shower. Somewhere between the soap and shampoo my wife broke in with good news: a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to sit in the third row on the 50-yard line for the Ravens game at Gillette.
Yeah, it was the third row alright, but of the third tier; and the 50 ended up being the goal line – the same one the Ravens would cross three times in the first 11 minutes of the game. That Musket Fire‘s three biggest plays all came in the first quarter tells you how early this one was over, but there’s nevertheless an extra boost of resilience that comes with being at the stadium, especially when your car is boxed into its $60 space for the afternoon. Like Boston Homer, everyone in Section 306 was dreaming up scenarios whereby the Pats could climb back in this one. Mine required getting the ball back for another score before halftime, but National Football Post says the Pats’ loss of power was never more evident than on the final Ravens final drive of the first half.
Even still, one fourth quarter TD at 33-14 might have made the finish compelling, but who knew this would be the day Belichick decided to stop going for it on fourth down? Blaug was still hopeful even as the FG unit came out but, alas, Stephen Gostkowski let him down. Really, Blaug? Would it have been less painful to lose by 16 points rather than 19? Patriots Daily drops more F-bombs on this effort than a Josh Beckett interview on a night the ace gets lit up.
As I’m just Sayin’ tells it, the problem on Sunday was Tom Brady.The Trenches says the pass rush on Brady was reminiscent of Super Bowl XLII. No Tom, the crowd wasn’t saying mooove!, points out The Boston Score; we really were saying boooo!.
As bad as he was on the field, Sportress of Blogitude has Number 12 worse in the postgame presser. Inside Track points their finger at Gisele for Sunday’s debacle, but Shutdown Corner thinks that’s ridiculous since it is obviously Brady’s do-it-yourself real estate flipping hobby at fault. Maybe TB should start listing properties with Brian Scalabrine to take a little load off his shoulders. Word is that Brady will invest in the Chesapeake region next; seems Baltimoreans have a proclivity for snapping up his every offering.
The Sporting Blog says New England can’t explain away its loss of momentum by the loss of Wes Welker. Sunday reminded Tedy Bruschi of the Week 2 Jets loss, where the absence of Welker resulted in receivers taking longer to get open and Brady holding the ball longer. Pats Fans says Welker’s absence cost the Pats one TD . . . at best.
Hey, is our old buddy Dan Shaughnessy selling us out to hold the national spotlight? Well, in Inside The NFL, he says we have a sense of arrogance and entitlement as he pronounces the Pats’ run (temporarily) over. Peter King, in Monday Morning QB, thinks there’s too much smarts in Foxborough for this to be the end of an era. Bleacher Report says the dynasty isn’t over because it never existed in the first place. Eric Ortiz believes the Pats are one good offseason away from once again becoming feared.
There’s a line of thought that losing this game was the best thing that could have happened to the Pats, since they’re not among the top eight teams who will be restricted in signing free agents in an uncapped 2010 season. Nonsense says ESPN Boston’s New England Patriots Blog, who would prefer the additional playoff experience for the younger players. Patriots Blog argues that 2009 was a rebuilding year and that, going into 2010, they are the top team not restricted by an ability to sign free agents. But the front office will have to do to better than last year, which Jeff Howe calls a total whiff.
In classic Casey Kasem style, It Is What It Is works through the entire 53-man roster to Number 1 and finds five of his top 18 may not be back next year. Patriots Gab renounces the anger of fans who would blow the team up, instead favoring a re-tooling.
So we’ll close with our first look to next year with First And Ten From Foxborough having an underperforming Ben Watson less than enthusiatic about returning. Pats Pulpit puts Stephen Neal and Logan Mankins in the ‘expendable’ category. The Rap Sheet considers the ton of options available if Neal retires. Junior Seau is already gone and Tom E. Curran has him ending a brilliant career with his explosive play on Sunday. On the other end of the LB spectrum, Touching All The Bases sees an unholy union between Adalius Thomas and the NY Jets next year.
Good news! Last night’s routing of the Nets in New Jersey keeps alive Rasheed Wallace’s prophesy of a 72-win season. Green Street has the opening tap as the turning point in this one. The real fun began for Red’s Army once the C’s opened up a 36-point lead just before the half. And there’s a distinct inferiority complex woven through Celtics Green’s (formerly Loy’s Place) Comments From The Other Side.
Looks like another 10-14 days for Kevin Garnett. Funny, the pages of my calendar keep turning but KG’s hard-coded prognosis never seems to move. CelticsBlog downgrades his condition to Rusty for the upcoming Lakers showdown. ESPN Boston’s Boston Celtics Blog has the C’s taking pride in their ability to compete without all their horses. Evans Clinchy says the C’s, when healthy, may be a complete team on paper, but they’re not healthy. LOSCY thinks Brian Scalabrine’s expiring big-bucks contract is more of an asset than anything he can bring to the court.
Celtics Stuff Live takes NBA Commissioner David Stern to task for not cleaning up the referee problem that contributed to another C’s loss to the Hawks on Monday. Celtics Central says the only thing flagrantly foul about the call on Glen Davis was the officiating. Perk Is A Beast has die-hard Hawk fans – and, oh yeah, NBA refs – Bennett Salvatore and Marc Davis stepping in to help Atlanta’s cause.
Last night’s 4-3 loss in Anaheim started a three-game make-or-break tour of California for the B’s. Big Bad Blog has Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller making the turnaround play in this one. Jessica Isner says the B’s can’t be giving up four goals – two in the third period no less – given the banged-up condition of their offense. Speaking of which, Ghosts Of The Garden has found good cause to give Michael Ryder and his mere ten goals this season a free pass. Rink Rap has last night another case of chemistry problems and goalie puck-handling woes.
New England Hockey Journal wonders whether the post-California season will be a 35-game recovery period or a swagger restored.
Like their Saved By The Bell predecessors, 4 Sport Boston says the B’s have spin-off problems that have thinned the cast even as the show must go on. Caveman Strong blames an inexperienced defensive corps for all three goals in last weekend’s loss to the Rangers.
View From 311 is giddy about the Maple Leafs’ chances of securing Boston the first pick in June’s draft, especially given Phil Kessel’s production of late. There’s not much production on Kessel’s scalp, where According to Cameron Frye says time and karma have been harsh mistresses. Tea Party Throwdown digs up some old clips of Marc Savard’s 90’s do and is happy he can now afford a hair stylist. Onto facial hair, where Something’s Bruin hasn’t seen a stache like Duck George Parros’ since the days of the Super Mario Bros.
Now that we’ve paid last respects to Belichick & Co., I’ll come out of the crossover with much more on the Sox next week. In the meantime, if you’re aspiring to blog on the Pats or know of someone who does, let me know about it. Theirs is the thinnest voice among Boston’s four major pro sports teams. I’m only an e-mail or a tweet away at firstname.lastname@example.org / @BobEks.