Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sportzine/Hot Club

The palms were sweaty and the throat getting dry when Tom Brady did his usual magic with considerable help from Danny Amendola, who made an acrobatic catch on 3rd and 8 to keep the game winning FG drive alive. Oh and thank Buffalo’s coach Doug Marrone, who didn’t stop his hurry up offense with a lead which might have put time on his side.

This game was not what Patriots fans expected though the Bills often play the Pats tough, especially in Buffalo. Stevan Ridley’s fumble led to a 74-yard TD and a momentum change. Until then, the Pats had been in control with a 10-0 lead and in field goal range when Ridley tried to reverse field and left the rock on the ground. His ‘rock’ led to the bench and made it 10-7, inspiring the Bills and their fans.

Leading 17-7, the Pats tried to add more with minutes left until the half. Brady tried to hit TE Sudfeld, who had the ball go off his hands and was intercepted. It was the last time Brady threw to him. It led to a TD and it was 17-14 when it should have been 17-0 or more at the half.

With Ridley benched, Shane Vereen stepped in and stepped up at both running back and receiver. 101 yards on 14 carries and 7 catches for 78 yards. Now Shane Vereen is out with a wrist fracture, needs surgery, and must be replaced. I liked the re-signing of Leon Washington even before Vereen got hurt.

Ridley will be back versus the Jets Thursday, but had better hold onto the ball like it was his last possession or it will be for a while. While I can see Leon Washington taking swing passes out of the backfield in Vereen’s place, the Pats will need to get Brandon Bolden back or get more from LeGarrette Blount (7 carries for 15 yards). If Vereen is out for a long stretch, the Pats might consider bringing back George Winn, if he’s available.

As for the receiving corps, they’d better all stay healthy or this could be a long season. Unless the Defense plays lights out and that hasn’t happened in quite a while. What if Amendola did not come back after that groin strain? Think the Pats would have won?

New England clearly missed #17 Aaron Dobson, who seems to be the best possession receiver of the young’uns. Also runs routes well, something Kenbrell Thompkins seemed to forget in his first NFL game. That and getting enough space to come down with the ball in bounds. Kenbrell was targeted 14 times and had 4 catches. Amendola was targeted 14 times and had 10 catches. Rookie versus savvy veteran. Kenbrell will get better.

Thankfully the Bills contributed to their own demise (a common theme that Buffalo Steve would acknowledge). They had 10 penalties for 75 yards, many at inopportune





times. One came with Buffalo clinging to a 21-17 lead for too many men on the field which gave the Pats 5 yards and an extra 2nd down goal to goal. The Bills Defense stiffened and the Pats had to settle for a field goal that made it 21-20 Bills.

On the very next series, Stevie (All World Mouth) Johnson had a ball got off his fingers on 3rd and 1 with room to roam. Had he made the catch, Buffalo could have taken more time off the clock. There was 8:54 left in the game. Why didn’t Marrone run the ball?

Buffalo’s coaching also contributed to the close loss as they stayed with the no huddle even on their last two possessions. Taking time off the clock would have helped them.

On the last Bills series (with 5:51 left), the Bills did not use Fred Jackson opting for a CJ Spiller run (no gain) and 2 passes. Runs would have reduced time left in the game. They punted to the Pats at 4:31 so they took only 1:20 off the clock. Thank you, Coach.

Fred Jackson is a certifiable Patriots’ thorn. Jackson had 13 carries for 67 yards, and a 5.2 yard average vs. Spiller’s 2.4 average (17 carries and 41 yards). And Fast Freddy caught 4 passes for 41 yards to Spiller’s 5 for 14 yards. Glad Jackson wasn’t used more.

New punter Ryan Allen had a mixed day. He shanked one punt that went 19 yards. (beginning of 2nd quarter). On another he kicked it 35 yards to the Pats 42 (end of 3rd quarter). However he did hold on points after and all three successful field goals, including the game winner. And on the 48-yarder (1st quarter), it appeared that he handled a bad snap, which went thru despite being a low line drive kick.

Kyle Arrington stripped CJ Spiller of the ball that led to an Edelman TD. Arrington then took the ball away from receiver Marquise Goodwin that also resulted in another Edelman TD. Arrington also had a near miss of an interception.

On the negative side, Alfonzo Dennard had an unnecessary roughness penalty and Jerod Mayo also was called for unnecessary roughness, which took Buffalo out of poor field position. Coach Belichick won’t like that.

On one Buffalo punt, a charging #91 (Jamie Collins) almost blocked the kick.

On Ridley’s and Vereen’s runs, they got great blocking from the offensive line plus Hoomy, Develin and Sudfeld. At one point #77 Solder was used as a blocking back.

On a 3rd and 1, new DL Joe Vellano #72 stuffed CJ Spiller forcing the Bills to punt. Vellano also got #60 (Kraig Urbik) called for a hands to the face penalty, which changed a 3rd and 1to a 3rd and 11. The Bills didn’t make and had to punt.

The Pats defense did OK, stuffing some runs (the Bills still had 136 yards rushing), and holding them to two TDs scored by the offense. However at times receivers were wide open and coverage was poor on Robert Woods’ catch in the end zone. 
The pass rush was mostly non-existent. The Pats used newcomer Michael Buchanan off the right side with Chandler Jones taking an inside rush. The Pats had no sacks, and only 4 QB hits: Kelly (2), Ninkovich (1) and Jones (1) had them.

Conversely the Pats gave up 2 sacks and 7 QB hits. Some of those can be attributed to new receivers trying to get open, and Brady holding the ball.

Defensively the team was led by Mayo who had 12 tackles/3 assists (15), Gregory 7/2 (9), Ninkovich 5/3 (8) and Kelly 2/5 (7).


So far the BoSox have handled every challenge. They beat the Dodgers 2 out of 3 ending an 18 game streak of non-losing series. They caged the Tigers, winning 2 of 3 and stopping Max Scherzer, who was 19-1. They outslugged the Yankees and won 3 of 4. When’s the last time Mariano Rivera had two blown saves in one series?

Now they take on the Rays in Tampa for 3 and then the Yankees for 3 at Fenway. After that there is only Baltimore, Toronto and Colorado (2 away). Call me a pessimist but I’m not celebrating until the Red Sox have mathematically clinched 1st place in the AL East. They have a 6 game lead in the loss column so they just need to avoid any sweeps.

Ben Cherington deserves kudos for bringing in Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Mike Karp, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Koji Uehara among others. The kids from Pawtucket (and Portland) have been tremendous. RHP Brandon Workman (6 games) and lefty Drake Britton (1 game) spent little time with the PawSox before filling important bullpen roles. Steven Wright and Alex Wilson have also helped.

The PawSox have sent more positional reinforcements that have had a positive effect than any year I can remember. Jackie Bradley, Jr., Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt, Brandon Snyder, Ryan Lavarnway and now Xander Bogaerts have all made contributions.

Let me interject here to say that Shane Victorino has played the best right field at Fenway since Dwight ‘Dewey’ Evans. He is one of the best defensive outfielders that the Sox have ever had. And he’s a clutch hitter.

Let’s enjoy the ride and see where it all goes. While I didn’t like losing Iglesias, the BoSox desperately needed Peavy. And should they make the playoffs, I’d rather see him as one of the starters than Dempster or Doubront.

This collection of beards, not seen since the Smith Brothers, has Sox fans stroking their chins in amazement. Hair raising wins. Let it all hang out.
        Sportzine is also available at (Thanks to Buffalo Steve)

        THE HOT CLUB

 575 South Water Street, Prov.    




On the movie front, Amanda suggested checking out This Is The End, which she liked a lot and found to be a hoot. Dave also liked that movie. I asked Adam about a British sci-fi movie – Attack The Block. Yeah he liked that.

The Hot Club as Hotel California: It was good to see Maye back from the West Coast recently. She is involved with making a movie short in Glendale, CA. Word is that she was back for brother Bernard’s wedding.

Mr. D. said that when he was in California, the El Segundo waste management workers were on strike. Mr. D. wanted to tell the workers to make up signs that said: ‘They Treat Us Like Shit.’

Roy was wearing a shirt that said Knot Funny, so you know he spends some time on the water. The guys were joking (Captain Sky was) about Pave the Bay instead of Save The Bay. That made me think of Joni Mitchell’s line about ‘They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.’ (Big Yellow Taxi). Like they did with the RI Auditorium.

Young bartender Stephanie (Debbie’s daughter) was off for the evening when she spotted The Wizard. Said Stephanie to The Wizard: “Your hair looks bigger than usual tonight.”

The Wizard saw my tribute to JJ Cale and suggested that I check out his CD with Eric Clapton called Road to Escondido. Fleet Feet Pete also recommended it.

Charlie Clancy and Fleet Feet Pete came up with a scenario where the Cleveland Indians play the NY Yankees in a one game playoff with the Indians winning. Then in the first playoff game between the Red Sox and the Indians, they get Bobby Valentine to throw out the first pitch.

Last week was Renee’s birthday and CJ’s too. Happy belated birthday to both of them.

The question was what was the shortest rock song ever to reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and who sang it. The answer: Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Though their label, Herald Records, listed it at 1:50, it actually was 1:38. It was #1 on 11/21/60.


Name the only music group to have a hit song in Billboards’ Hot 100 in 6 consecutive decades (’50’s, ’60’s, ’70’s, ’80’s, ’90’s and ’00’s).


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