The Patriots backed into yet another division title as the Buffalo Bills helped them out by shutting out the Miami Dolphins yesterday, 19-0. The same Dolphins team that beat YOU last week.
Kidding aside, the Patriots played perhaps their best all around game of the season yesterday – or did Baltimore just play that poorly, as the storyline ran on the on 98.5 morning show today?
It was a rough afternoon for sports radio hosts and columnists who rely heavily on storylines to do their jobs for them. (catch up on all coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.)
- The Bills beating the Dolphins eliminated the lusted-after possibility that the Patriots could be playing for their playoff lives next Sunday, and could even miss the playoffs altogether.
- Dont’a Hightower was visible and made several good plays yesterday, which actually isn’t new, but he has actually been labeled the worst first round pick of the Belichick era by more than one radio personality.
- Tony Massarotti was heard screaming THIS DEFENSE BLOWS, MIKE! last week. The cornerbacks can’t cover, the safeties can’t cover, the linebackers can’t cover…they BLOW! They all looked pretty decent against a team with better personnel than the one they faced last week. The stops of the Ravens on 3rd and 4th down throughout the game were impressive as well.
- Joe Flacco owns YOU! The story this morning has been that Flacco has been terrible this season. Which is true. However, this was not the storyline last week, it was all about how Flacco always outplays Brady and that he lights up the Patriots every single time.
- We heard last week that the Patriots have not had a “quality” road win since 2006, or something like that. This game was pointed to as one that they would have trouble with. I’m 100% positive that this will now no longer be considered “quality” win. We had no idea Flacco was so hurt!
- They can’t make plays in the Red Zone without Gronk! Running back is perhaps now their deepest position, talent-wise, and as long as Vereen isn’t hurt too badly, look for a lot more calls to this group inside the 20. All offensive touchdowns were scored by running backs yesterday.
- The Ravens aren’t afraid of YOU! The coach and QB matchup are not an advantage! They have your number! 41-7.
- The Patriots are not a very good team right now. Too many injuries, not enough talent left to make any sort of run. 41-7.
It was, all in all, a glorious Sunday. Plenty of schadenfreude to be had all around.
Some of my favorite Tweets/Moments from yesterday:
Slow start for New England. Wash. Rinse .
— Eric Wilbur (@GlobeEricWilbur) December 22, 2013
Our (2nd) favorite Boston Globe troll. This was after the Patriots very first drive. Within 10 minutes they were up 14-0.
Peter King hates Cam Newton. It’s odd, really. in addition to the Tweets shown in that post, on TheMMQB today, he writes:
Time was drawing short for Cam Newton to justify why he’d been the first pick in the 2011 draft, and why the Carolina Panthers made him the franchise cornerstone 32 months ago. In the last 20 minutes of the NFC South title game Sunday in Charlotte, he’d gone three-and-out four straight times. Four series with the division on the line, 16 yards. Playing at home. Losing, 13-10, the only touchdown coming on a 43-yard run by DeAngelo Williams. Sitting there at NBC, I’d seen enough. I tweeted: “Has Cam Newton made a play today? One?” Then: “Carolina drafted Newton first overall for games like this, and he’s failing them miserably today.”
It’s not the first time King has gone off on Newton. He’s been pretty critical of the Panthers’ QB. Do you know why? Not because Cam stole his triple grande hazelnut latte or anything. It’s much simpler:
Interesting but not too surprising: Just got stiffed at Panther camp by Cam Newton. Chose not to talk to me post-evening practice.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 1, 2011
Yes, the cardinal sin for an athlete.
Tom E Curran has a terrific column today, it’s the anti-Boston sports radio version of the Patriots:
He also had a tremendous Tweet:
So many in media clutched their hymnals when NE kept scoring in 2007. Denver throwing deep, often up 30-13 with 5 minutes left. Not a peep
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) December 23, 2013
I don’t mind that people picked the Ravens in this game. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself going into it.
— Andy from WEEI (@AndyWEEI) December 23, 2013
(An early graphic had everyone picking the Ravens, Ditka apparently changed his pick yesterday morning.)
I appreciate that Mike Reiss acknowledged and owned the pick that he made:
As for our "expert" picks on the Patriots-Ravens game … well, never mind. http://t.co/XBZxyQbFbB
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 23, 2013
Some other links this morning:
What we learned: Complete game carries Patriots in rout of Ravens – Last week, a mailbagger to Mike Reiss wanted Belichick’s head for the massive failure that was the Issac Sopoaga trade. (yes, the one in which the Patriots swapped 5th and 6th round picks with the Eagles and Sopoaga thrown in.) Chris Price in this column, points a trade that has been a roaring success, but no mailbaggers mention – Jeff Demps for Legarrette Blount.