Saturday, December 19, 2015


DECEMBER 15, 2015
After the good news of losses by Cincinnati (who are in big trouble after losing QB Andy
Dalton to a thumb fracture) and Denver (thank you, Raiders, and the Broncos receivers who
dropped balls), the Patriots were primed to return to the best AFC record.
The return of Gronk was as huge as he is (4 catches on 4 targets, 87 yards and a TD). Gronk
(per Mike Reiss) played 42 snaps out of 67 (19 1st half, 22 2nd half - I know the math doesn't
work). Without Gronk, they might not have won this game. Amendola has helped too,
stabilizing the receiver core (6 catches on 8 targets).
However the real stories behind the win are the protection from the O Line (and opening rush
lanes), and the dominance of the Defense. Even without Dont'a Hightower, the Pats did a good
job stopping the run - 87 yards (8 TFLs – tackles for loss) and Texan receivers DeAndre
Hopkins (Ryan and safety help) and Nate Washington (Butler gave up only 1 catch on 4
The Pats D seemed to be in the Texans' backfield all night. They sacked QB Brian Hoyer 6
times and hit him 10 times, knocking him out of the game with a concussion. The D held
Houston to 3 for 14 on 3rd down and 0 for 2 on 4th.
And the O line was much better at protecting The Franchise. Marcus Cannon did well at RT
against JJ Watt who was hampered by that broken left hand. Cannon had help. When Watt was
switched to the right side, Vollmer held his own. TE's Michael Williams and Asante Cleveland
helped blocking. Watt was barely visible on the stat sheet. Gamebook has him with 2 tackles, 1
assist, 1 tackle for a loss and a roughing the passer penalty. Brady was sacked 3 times
(Clowney 2 and Mercilus 1), but only hit 3 times. The Pats had allowed Brady to be hit 13
times in each of their last 3 games.
The O Line started with left to right: Vollmer, Mason (R), Stork, Jackson (R) and Cannon.
Mike Reiss notes that David Andrews helped out Bryan Stork who was out for 6 plays with an
'equipment' issue. Other than that, those O line guys played all 67 offensive snaps. It was good
to see Josh McDaniels stay with the run (which also protects Brady) even after LeGarrette
Blount went out at 8:14 of the 2nd quarter with 53 yards, Brandon Bolden picked up the slack
getting 51 yards on 16 carries (22 yards on 5 carries 1st half).
A well-deserved win with a complete team effort. On to the Tennessee game.

It was pointed out to me that last issue, I had it as Daniel LaFell and not Brandon LaFell. Well
the Pats did have a Daniel Fells. Mea culpa, mea culpa...

Jabaal Sheard #93 wreaked havoc all night. He had 2 sacks and forced 2 fumbles (1 recovered
by Malcom Brown). He was in on 5 tackles, 1 for a loss and 3 QB hits.
Jerod Mayo seems to be healthier as he had his speed back. Mayo had 7 tackles and 1 assist (8).
Jamie Collins led the team with 5 tackles and 4 assists (9).
Akiem Nicks (from NO in a trade for Hoomy) had 5/1 (6) numbers and 2 sacks.
Vince Wilfork had no tackles and 2 assisted tackles.
Scott Chandler was never targeted in the game. Mike Reiss notes that Chandler came in
questionable with a knee injury and was in for just 1 play.
On the injury front, Devin McCourty was reported to have a high ankle sprain, so he'll be out
until the playoffs. Nothing on the left hip injury of LeGarrette Blount, who would be sorely
missed if all done. Hope for no tears. There were injuries to Easley (thigh - ok) Chung (foot
injury but he played 51 of 54 D snaps), and Freeny (dislocated thumb and part of his wrist).
The D is rounding into shape, so the Pats don't need injuries there.
Mike Reiss had this stat: Gronk caught his 10th TD. He joined only two other NFL
players with 10 TDs in 5 of their first 6 seasons: Randy Moss and Bob Hayes.
In another amazing example of the Patriots' staff picking up players that can help: CB
Leonard Johnson just signed was in for 42 of 54 defensive snaps (per Reiss) and had 2
pass breakups. Johnson was signed to a two year deal.
I thought James White's catch along the sideline was good. He dug his toe in before his
heel went out. It was a hell of a play, and portends good things from Mr. White.

• Roger Goodell may have an undiagnosed concussion. That can only explain his recent
behavior, including having his head so far up his butt, that he can't see. Someone needs
to get him into a concussion protocol or to see a proctologist.
• In the AFC, the Jets, KC and Pitt, all at 8-5, are in best position for a wild card. The
Jets have Dallas, NE, Buff. KC has Ravens, Browns, Raiders. Pitt has Denver, Ravens.
Browns. At least one of those at 8-5 won't make the playoffs. My hunch – the Jets.


• In the NFC, Minnesota and Seattle at 8-5 are best bets for a wild card.
• Sunday, the Bills lost a tough one to the Eagles. The Bills had 15 penalties (101 yds.)
• Cleveland sacked SF QB Blaine Gabbert 9 times.
• Derek Carr of Oak missed 17 passes (12 of 29). Brock Osweiler of Denver missed 16
(35 for 51) but the Raiders won the game.
• The Boston Globe's Ben Volin (12/13) revealed that a company called Quanterix has
developed a pin prick test that checks the blood for proteins that result after a player has
suffered a concussion. The NFL has invested $800,000 in Quanterix. The results would
take 20 minutes, and the player would be out until the test results came in.
• If you have watched the career trajectory of Rajon Rondo, you can only be happy that
Danny Ainge traded him to the Mavs (for Jae Crowder, 2 guys who are gone, a
conditional 1st rounder in 2015 and a 2nd in 2016 plus a $12.9 Mill trade exception).
Rondo then fought with Mavs' coach Rick Carlyle and got benched (in the playoffs!).
Now with the Sacramento Kings, Rondo has been suspended for making a derogatory
remark (possibly a gay-slur) to a ref. Rondo is his own worst enemy.

HBO has had a string of successful series. One of the best is The Wire, which was on for 5
seasons (2002-08). If you haven't seen it, you are missing one of the best written and hardest
hitting series ever shown on TV. The series is about the inner city Baltimore drug scene and
was created by an ex-Baltimore Sun reporter, David Simon, and an ex-Baltimore Police
Detective Ed Burns. Each season covers a different topic but all set against the drug scene.
The series has many memorable characters including Omar Little (Michael K Williams –
Chalky in Boardwalk Empire), 'Stringer' Bell (Idris Elba), and Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris)
to name a few. When I saw it, I did not realize that two of the principal actors, Idris Elba and
Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty) are British. You would never know by their accents.
RI's Peter Gerety has a recurring role as a judge. Each season's opening has the song Way
Down In The Hole (written by Tom Waits), but with different artists singing it in different
versions (including personal favorite Steve Earle). IMDb rated it a 9.3, which is high praise.

Thanks for all you do in keeping me connected with the inside scoop and first hand reporting
on New England sports throughout the year!
Andrew "left coast" Wright
You're quite welcome, Andrew. Thanks for reading and responding. - Z

Jimmy Chelo was on the premises. He and his brothers have had great success with their
restaurants. I wondered if he got the idea to have roast beef sandwiches from Pawtucket's own
Beef Hearth. Jimmy said no, that the first Chelo's opened in Cumberland around 1955 while the
Beef Hearth started in 1962.
Contraire visited the HC and did his best to provoke anyone who would talk to him. The
Celtics were playing the undefeated Warriors. Contraire knew that Boston was a 6 point
underdog. I said that I thought Boston could beat them. Contraire had bet on the Celts and said
he only cared if they covered. I pointed out that's the difference between me as a fan and him as
a gambler.
Katie asked where the Golden State Warriors came from. I recalled that they once were the San
Francisco Warriors, but FootJoy reminded me that they originally were the Philadelphia
And I met an Allison who chatted with me and told me that she was a witch. I stated that I
thought she was a white witch.
Beau admitted that he is an opera fan, though he said he likes upbeat ones as others are sleep
inducing. Beau's brother Broc was around so I asked him if he were an opera fan too. Broc
started singing “Figaro....”.
I was talking with Shaun, Wiz's friend. He saw my mention of Gary Glitter's Rock N Roll Part
2 being played at Gillette. He noted that Jon Bon Jovi's This Is Our House is now used.
Look for a new alternative newspaper called Virgin Underground to debut around December
22. Kirk Feather will have a music column, undoubtedly jazz oriented.

So who was the '70's one hit wonder that had a song covered by many other artists but which
some rate as one of the worst ever? Answer (no one had it): Morris Albert with Feelings. The
Brazilian Albert (née Mauricio Alberto Kaisermann) had a gold record with the song but was
sued for plagiarism by Louis Gasté (of his song Pour Toi). A judge ruled in Gasté's favor.
Albert had to pay him $500,000 and 88% of the royalties from the song.

What is the world's longest surviving rock band that is still playing?


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