Thursday, February 23, 2017


FEBRUARY 6, 2017

At halftime, I told Driller Killer, Mrs. Killer, Sue, and Victoria my usual refrain when the Patriots are way behind: “We have them right where we want ’em – overconfident. The Falcons won the 1st half and now the Patriots have to win the 2nd half.” They did.

But not before it got worse when the Falcons scored another TD to go up by 25. Gloom set in, but we always hope and believe that Tom Brady and his Bunch will find a way to win. They did. And for those fans who feel bad for the Falcons, Atlanta aided and abetted in its own demise.

Up 28-9 as the fourth quarter started, all Atlanta had to do was be smart with the ball and take time off the clock. But instead of running it, the Falcons stayed in attack mode, leading to Dont’a Hightower’s strip sack – a game changer. The Patriots scored a TD, got the all important two point conversion, and were within one more TD and 2 point conversion to do the unthinkable – cause a tie.

Then Atlanta got greedy. In field goal range for Matt Bryant at the 22, Matt Ryan went back to pass and Trey Flowers sacked him. On the next play a holding call pushed it out of range even for Bryant. An 8 point lead could have been a hard to beat 11 with time running out (3:38 left). Conservative play calling could have made the Falcons Champs. Thankfully, in part due to this generosity, the Pats are Champions.

That and the play of Tom Brady (62 passes!) and his Bunch as all the receivers chipped in to get the win. Amendola scores a TD and gets a 2 point conversion to tie the game, muscling his way into the end zone. Julian Edelman makes the kind of catch that is a gut punch that leaves you gasping for air (See NY Giants, David Tyree and Mario Manningham). Off a defender’s foot, inches before hitting the turf. A circus catch. A gut punch. A 23 yard catch on the game tying drive. Oof!

Oh and then there’s James White who caught a TD pass, got the 2 point conversion that made it a one score game as well as rushing for what would be the tying and winning TDs. White had a remarkable 14 catches for 110 yards. Tom Brady said that White should have been MVP.

With his 43 completions, Tom Brady spread the wealth. Amendola (8-78), Mitchell (6-70), Edelman (5-87), Bennett (5-62) and Hogan (4-57) all contributed.
When you bring a team back from 25 points down, you win the MVP.

Attribution – recaps of the game by the ProJo’s Mark Daniels and Kevin McNamara and USA Today’s Jason Wolf were used as references – No Gamebook

Early on, Brady seemed like a boxer who hasn’t found his rhythm. When he wasn’t off target, his receivers, including the usually sure-handed Edelman, were dropping passes. That changed in the 3rd and 4th quarters with the game on the line.

The Atlanta defense was a lot better than their stats. Defenders were not allowing Patriots players to have much yards after the catch with strong one-on-one tackling. Initially they were making stops on 3rd down. But that defense got worn down as the Pats ended up 7 for 14 on 3rd down.

The Falcons, known more for a zone defense, used a lot of man-to-man in the game.

Shaq Mason had a terrible time pass blocking Grady Jarrett (3 sacks, an NFL Super Bowl record). Jarrett threw Mason into a runner on one play. Courtney Upshaw tossed Mason into Brady for a sack. However I noticed that when James White scored the tying and winning TDs, it was behind Mason’s run blocking.

The Patriots defense struggled in the 1st half, especially containing Devonta Freeman’s runs. Two of Atlanta’s three first half TDs were a result of turnovers by the Patriots – Blount’s fumble and Brady’s pick-six by Robert Alford. The 82-yard score was the first playoff pick-six in Brady’s career.

In the 2nd half, the Patriots defense played the run better and allowed only 7 points.

Trey Flowers had a great game with 2.5 sacks, 4 tackles and 2 assisted tackles. His pressure was usually up the middle. Falcons center Alex Mack, who played the whole game, was doing so with a chip fracture of the fibula. Can you say ‘Pain’? You wonder if that affected Mack’s ability to block Flowers.

To beat the Pats, Atlanta needed to control the clock. The Pats had the better of it in Time of Possession (40:31 to 23:27). The Pats had an amazing 37 first downs.

Had Stephen Gostkowski not clanged an extra point off the upright, the Pats would have won in regulation.

Someone stole Tom Brady’s game jersey from the Patriots locker room. OK Sherlock – let’s see who was working in that room at the time. Oh and aren’t there cameras in the locker rooms?

There was a strange call on 3rd down in the 2nd half, a pass to Marcellus Bennett who didn’t seem to know what to do while precious seconds ticked off.

This was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime.

There have been a lot of unmemorable half time shows, but not this year’s with Lady Gaga. She was excellent. Another memorable performance was Prince in the rain.

Surely, you must be referring to Danny Elfman.
The Wizard
Yes, Wiz, I am. Oingo Boingo was a decent band. Elfman has done a ton of music scores.

Danny Elfman. Easy for anyone who watches the Simpsons.
The Regal Eagle
Well, Regal One, you are right. Elfman has done numerous music scores since leaving the band.

Danny Elfman. I know this because he is married to the beautiful Bridget Fonda - Peter's kid. That was WAY too easy, brother!
Buff Steve
Buff Steve, you are correct. Danny Elfman it is. Always liked Bridget. I thought the quiz might be semi-tough but a lot of people got it.

Jim, easy quiz. Danny Elfman. (Saw Oingo Boingo at the Whiskey in 1981). Computer Mike Yes Computer Mike, Elfman is correct. Never saw Oingo Boingo but remember them as a decent band. Yeah too easy I guess. A lot of people got it.
Thanks King James…..finally a music question I know….Oingo Boingo………..Michael Curtis, or was that his nickname in high school….I forget….….
David Knudson

So I sprung a sports quiz on the gathering. Name the top 5 NCAA Division 1 schools with the most team championships (thanks to Dave Knudson who sent me the List). Fleet Feet Pete got 3. The Regal Eagle got 4. I knew no one would get #5. The answer is at the bottom of this section.

Early word is that Tanya McIntyre and the Professors will play the Hot Club on April 15, the anniversary of the Hot Club’s opening. It’s a Saturday night. I can’t think of a better band to ring in the occasion.

Was talking to Ron Lawson about the Catholic Church having two Popes at one time. One in Rome, and the other in Avignon, France. Each Pope excommunicated the followers of the other Pope. Ron said that there were actually three Popes at one time. Ron suggested reading Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, which is about the Middle Ages. The Papal Schism or Western Schism lasted 39 years per Wikipedia.

Answer to Top 5 schools with most team championships: UCLA, USC, Stanford, Penn State, and Cornell. Dave Knudson said that that includes men’s and women’s teams.

Last time I asked who the former lead singer/song writer of Oingo Boingo was who left the group and became a composer. Several people had it right, including the Wiz, the Regal Eagle, Buff Steve and Computer Mike: Danny Elfman. Elfman’s brother Richard formed The Mystic Knights of Oingo Bongo, but left to make films. Danny took over and the band’s name became just Oingo Boingo. The band is in Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School. Elfman did the score. Other Elfman scores: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Edward Scissorhands. He got a Grammy for Batman and an Emmy for Desperate Housewives. And Elfman did the theme to The Simpsons as the Regal Eagle noted. He was nominated for four Oscars for the scores of Good Will Hunting and Men in Black as well as Big Fish and Milk, but has not won.

This singer/songwriter is also a film score composer and record producer. As a producer he is best know for an album (by other musicians) that was a worldwide hit. He has played session guitar for many. Hint: he’s known for his slide guitar work.
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz


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