Patriots 38, Eagles 21 (Embarrassed, mostly)November 29, 2011
Going into this game, you had to like New England’s chances no matter
who started at Quarterback for the Eagles. One guy literally ran a
dogfighting ring in his backyard, while the other quit on his team
last year, and nearly required an Amber alert when nobody could find
him, and friends thought him to be suicidal. In the old 50/50
psychopath coin flip, the Patriots landed on Vince Young. For the
record, we have a QB who scored a 6 on the Wonderlic (if you’re not
familiar with the test, think one of those annoying internet IQ pop up
ads, for a 4th grader) versus Bill Belichick… arguably the greatest
football mind, ever. This was like Ken Jennings going up against that
supercomputer, Watson, and not even being able to buzz in because it’s
so rigged. Yes, that’s the first and last time Vince Young is Ken
Jennings in any analogy.
Two plays after thinking that, Vince obviously lobbed a 60 yard tear
drop from God himself onto the fingertips of Riley Cooper to set up
the Eagles first touchdown of the day.
After the opening drive stalled on third down by the Pats, it got me
thinking, “Didn’t we use to score a touchdown on opening drives like,
all the time?” Then I thought, “Do we ever do that any more?!” Sure
enough, the Patriots have not scored a touchdown on their opening
drive of the game since week 4 against Oakland (9 plays, 80 yards).
Since then, the Pats have only scored two touchdowns in all the first
quarters of all their games. The 2011 Patriots offense is the 2007
Patriots offense, with a new ignition. Once it gets going, it can
still hum like the old Ferrari in the garage, you just have to worry
that early deficits catch up to this team in the playoffs.
Dan Dierdorff kept describing hits on Brady as, “paying the price for
delivering that throw,” while replays showed Tom being wrapped up and
gently laid upon the grass. Color commentators nowadays love
galvanizing any player/play as games go along. Has Roger Goodell taken
his fuhrer status to the level of spreading the propaganda that no
matter what happens on a football field, it is exciting and
hard-hitting? I’m also tired of hearing how every punk in the league
has matured and truly loves the game. Vince Young apparently did this
over the off-season.
The offside/false start debate has gotten out of control. Philadelphia
dove onto an unhiked ball and it took a minute for the refs to sort
out the penalty. Do these refs really forget why they threw the flag
just because one team is pointing at the other guy?
Benjarvus Green-Ellis is the anti-Maroney if I’ve ever seen it. He
never loses yards, and almost always puts his head down and gets his 4
yards, as evidenced on the Patriots first TD drive capped by, you
guessed it a 4 yard TD run. Sorry about the 4 yard repetitiveness, but
CBS also flashed Benjarvus’ game stats after the drive: 10 rushes for
41 yards. Yup, a 4.1 yard per carry average. On the season, he’s at
3.9 yards per carry, and for his career he currently sits at 4.1.
Sure, he rarely breaks a big run, but with the Patriots passing game
the offense only needs consistency on the ground.
In the second quarter, some dude named Tiquan Underwood, who we signed
because Ochozero was inactive, dropped a wide open touchdown. He
apparently plays football professionally, and somehow smiled his way
back to the huddle. Which is interesting, because I doubt he smiles
when he finds the pink slip in his locker this week.
On the very next play Brady slid in the pocket, directed Branch
mid-route, and hit him along the sidelines uncovered, to walk in for
the touchdown… only it’s not 2004, and Deion Branch now rumbles down
the sidelines like Vince Wilfork trapped in a skinny wide receiver’s
body, so he cuts and trucks and falls to the one yard line.
Thankfully, Benjarvus strolled into the end zone on the next play,
hurting his 4 yard-per-carry average, but getting him a touchdown.
After a sideline interception, New England drove downfield only to
have a long third down pass go through Wes Welker’s hands. This led to
a 39 yard FG for Gostkowski, which he promptly pushed wide, leading to
a Tom Brady sideline triple-swear consisting of the one that rhymes
with hit, followed by a double F-bomb. Stephen Gostkowski has become
the Jonathan Papelbon of the Patriots. If your heart isn’t in your
throat every time he comes on the field (including PATs) you’ve got
better blood pressure than me.
Tom and Wes made their third TD drive much easier… Brady play action,
Welker undresses a cornerback, wide open touchdown strike. Nnamdi
Asomugha may have been hampered by injury, and mostly used to cover
Gronkowski underneath, but the Eagles secondary somehow managed to
look worse than the Patriots in this game.
Vince Young marched Philly right down field before the halftime
two-minute warning, gouging the Patriots secondary with the same exact
play four times in the drive. Yet, in classic Belichick
bend-but-don’t-break fashion, DeSean Jackson had a wide open touchdown
go off his hands because he had T-Rex arms anticipating a big hit. One
obvious about Jackson (and the reason he didn’t get a huge contract in
the off-season) he’s unreal in the open field, but he’s a different
player going across the middle. He also ended up getting benched in
the fourth quarter because of plays like this.
For all their troubles on opening drives of the game, the Patriots
were surgical driving downfield to open the half. Brady moved so
quickly down field one of the Eagles D-Linemen went down with a calf
cramp. To me, this is always one of the funniest sights on a football
field: a 300 pound man crippled by a calf cramp and tapping the muscle
as his leg flails out, unbending from pain as he screams for, “The
little white dude who rubs these things out!”
The second half turned into such a boring blowout that Gronk forgot to
be excited on his fourth quarter touchdown. After nonchalantly walking
towards teammates, it looked like someone had to remind him about his
Losing yesterday and dropping to 4-7 ended any hope the Eagles had at
the playoffs. After beating the rival Giants last week, it was
shocking how quickly the team quit yesterday. Andy Reid has earned the
right after 13 yearsto walk away from this mess of a team after the
New England will be hard-pressed to lose a game the rest of the
season. These next five weeks against Indianapolis, Washington,
Denver, Miami, Buffalo and the Sisters of the Poor should be spent
getting healthy, fine-tuning the offensive problems early, and the
secondary problems always.