Monday, February 29, 2016



JANUARY 25, 2016

Tell me I didn't just watch one of the worst playoff games Tom Brady has ever played.
Brady was brought down by a bruising bunch of Broncos and an ineffective (to be kind)
offensive line. Brady was sacked 4 times and hit 20 times. He threw the ball away at
times while under a constant siege of sackers. My notes reflect at least 8 poor passes
under pressure. Without a running game (gone with injuries to Blount and Lewis) to take
off some of the pressure on Brady, he had to throw the ball 56 times. Un-Bradylike, he
had more misses (29) than makes (27).
Brady probably never saw Von Miller whose interception gave the Broncos a short field
(NE 16) and an ensuing TD when TE Owen Daniels eluded Jaime Collins for the 2nd
time and put 14 next to Denver's score. Collins may have expected safety help on the
first Daniels touchdown, a pass down the middle with no Patriot in sight. Collins played
an otherwise excellent game (6 tackles, 2 assists, 3 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks).
However the damage was already done. They were the only two catches by Daniels.
This was a total team loss. While the D then held Denver to a FG before half and one in
the 2nd half, they faltered at crucial moments. Malcolm Butler in perfect position to
intercept or knock down a pass to Emmanuel Sanders who out leaps him for a 1st down.
While the Denver drive stalled, an INT would have been big.
The whole defense for letting lumbering Peyton Manning run 11 yards for a 1st down.
Who could have predicted that Stephen Gostkowski, the NFL record holder with 523
consecutive extra points would miss one at such a crucial time? It was only his 2nd ever
PAT miss. And it cost the Patriots a chance to tie on the last drive. On the replay it
looked like holder Ryan Allen had the ball tilted, not upright.
But then Bill Belichick could have gone for FGs two times in the 4th quarter but went
for it on 4th down. The first I can see because it was 4th and 1. However the 2nd was a
4th and 6, after a stupid false start penalty by RT Marcus Cannon, who had a horrible
game, constantly being turn-stiled by Denver rushers. So what had been 3rd and 1
became 4th and 6 (after Amendola's dropped pass). The Pats lost by 2 points. A field
goal would have changed that outcome.
Such an empty feeling when your team loses. Especially one step from the Super Bowl.
Yes we Patriots' fans have been spoiled by their success in making the playoffs every
year. However time is growing short for Tom Brady. He'll have one, maybe two more
chances at the ring if he avoids injury.
To ensure that, the Pats need offensive line help in the draft. As it was they took two
guards Tré Jackson and Shaq Mason in last year's draft. Both were starting guards most
of the season until Jackson got hurt. Now they need more help at tackle. Who knew that
the injury to LT Nate Solder would be so costly. RT Sebastian Vollmer had to switch to
LT. That weakened both tackle spots. Vollmer played with a bum ankle yesterday and
looked like it. In Jackson's place, Josh Kline played guard as if he were on rolling skates.
Patriots fans thought that with the return of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and a
semi-healthy Gronk, that Tom Brady could get back to winging the ball in 2 seconds or
less. Credit the Denver defense which jammed the receivers and made life hell for
Brady. Edelman (13 targets, 7 catches) and Gronk (15/8) weren't even the leading target
– that was James White (16/5) whom Brady missed a couple times on long passes down
the sidelines. Amendola was 8/5 and dropped what would have been a 1st down.
Keshawn Martin was only targeted once (no catch) and LaFell and Chandler who were
active never saw a pass.

The Patriots first touchdown was set up by the defense when Jonathan Freeny alertly
picked up a backwards pass, recovering it at the Denver 22. Two plays later the Pats
scored a TD. They wouldn't score another TD until their last series of the game. Going 2
for 15 on 3rd down will contribute to that.
Surprising that Michael Williams and Gronk weren't used more to help the tackles block
the outside rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Scott Carpenter could have helped.
At a crucial point in the red zone, Gronk got dehydrated and cramped up. An important
weapon was on the sidelines as the Pats had to settle for a field goal.
That 52 yard FG that the Pats allowed just before half also hurt. It was set up by a 39
yard punt by Ryan Allen that gave Denver the ball at their 44 with 1:46 left.
Besides the INT by Von Miller, Darian Stewart had another when Brady tried to force
the ball to a well-covered James White. If you include the INT on the 2-point
conversion, Brady had 3 INTs. But you can't. With 7:02 left in the half, blood was
visible on Tom Brady's left elbow.
Darian Stewart had a head shot to James White but wasn't even flagged.
At the end of the game, the Broncos were using just a 3-man rush, yet were still putting
great pressure on Brady. Very disheartening to see. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips
had a superior game plan.
As poorly as the Pats played (and how well Denver's D did), it is amazing that the Pats
still had a chance to tie at the end of the game.
Bill Belichick may have lost his juju when the Pats won the toss and instead of deferring
as he had done all year, the Pats took the ball.
Phil Simms must have been sleeping during the telecast (concussion protocol?). He
missed Freeny's recovery of the backward pass and Jim Nantz had to point it out to him.
Then when the Patriots tablets went out (but not Denver's), Simms said that he didn't
know if the tablets would help the Patriots! Unbelievable! This is game analysis?
According to Ben Volin (Globe – 1/25), the Pats used an NFL high 13 starting
combinations on the offensive line during the season.
The Globe (1/25) Notebook revealed that the NFL will test a Bose system at the Pro
Bowl. It may replace the current headsets with which there have been numerous gaffes.

The Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers in less than a month.
The Celtics are a fun bunch, young, well-coached and worth a look.
The Bruins need McQuaid back to shore up that defense which can't seem to hold a 3rd
period lead. They have been playing better of late.
The PC Friars did the unbelievable, going into the Wells Fargo Center and beating the
4th ranked Villanova Wildcats 82-76 in overtime. Villanova had beaten Big East teams
22 straight times and hadn't lost on their home court in 32 games. This PC Friars team
has the potential of doing serious damage in the Big Dance if their role players continue
to develop.

There have been a number of excellent movies of late. Victoria and I enjoyed Bridge of
Spies (IMDb – 7.7). We also liked The Revenant (8.3) very much. I was impressed with
Mad Max:Fury Road (8.2), one of the best action movies in years. George Miller who
did the original Mad Max did not disappoint. Also worthy: The 100-Year-Old Man Who
Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (7.1) and Ex Machina(7.7). If you love Rock
'N' Roll, see the documentary The Wrecking Crew (7.7) about LA studio musicians.

Fleet Feet Pete, like me, was an altar boy. We all had to know the Latin responses to the
priest's utterances. Pete recalled one – Dominic ate the biscuits (Dominus Vobiscum). I
told him that I never drank the wine which some of the altar boys found and imbibed.
We were talking about the potential blizzard heading our way over the weekend. One
guy yelled out “No school in Foster-Glocester.” I mentioned Salty Brine and that my
brother Brad was on his show as a 'ship mate'. I also told the guy that my state agency
was once at 24 Mason Street and we used to see Salty after he got off his radio show.
Salty would be in the men's room brushing his teeth. “Say good night, Jeff.” Woof.
Mike Module was talking about a customer who wanted him to fix something. The
customer said that he heard Mike was good. Mike assured him that he was but cautioned
that there are two 'o's in good, not one.
Bartender Beth told me that she was run into by a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and the dog
fractured the tibial plateau in her left knee. No word on how badly the dog was
I was talking to Fleet Feet Pete about having a few beers to 'clear the mind' or 'fog the
mind'. Pete added “Or shut off the mind.”
Spotted recently at the Hot Club – Contraire (being Contrary as always) and Twink.

That talented multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter/producer and actor who worked
with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed was David (née Jones) Bowie. Sad to see him go so early
at age 69 due to liver cancer. His music will live on with us as will his movies like The
Hunger and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Those who had the answer: Roger Boudreau,
Dennis Doyon, Steve Lenz and my brother Brad.

This song was the first single ever done by this person yet it made it to #2 on the charts.
It was written by a rising songwriter out of Oklahoma. The song was 7:21 long and
some stations wouldn't play it. The song has its detractors for its flowery lyrics. Name
that tune, the singer and, for extra points, the songwriter.
Sportzine is also available at thanks to Steve Lenz


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