Monday, January 16, 2017


JANUARY 16, 2017

During the AFC Divisional Game, quite a few fans held up ‘One More’ signs. Someone streaked around the field with a banner that said ‘One More’. That’s the rallying cry.

Many of us expected a decisive win that would beat the 16½ point spread. Not that I’m a gambler, but you want to see if the smart guys in Vegas set the line right. So I was surprised when Bridgewater Bill, who sits next to me, said that the Pats wouldn’t win by more than 9 and that would come late in the game.

At 14-3, following Dion Lewis’ electrifying club record 98 yard kickoff return for a TD, I was inwardly smiling. Then the Pats shot themselves in both feet. A slant pass was either too far in front of Michael Floyd or maybe he should have caught it but it was intercepted. And the Texans then used a grind it out, time consuming drive (14 plays – 8:12) that netted only 3 but restored some hope in the Houston wannabees. When Dion Lewis fumbled the following kickoff (it ended up at the NE 12), the Texans, no longer bulletless, scored a TD when TE CJ Fiedorowicz was so wide open that even Brock Osweiler couldn’t miss him. It was 14-13 and an 11 point lead had dwindled to one.

Some sanity was restored when the Pats moved into place for what seemed a sure touchdown only to be stymied by a stout Texans defense. James Develin caught a pass at the 1 but Houston’s SS Eddie Pleasant kept him out of the end zone. A FG made it 17-13 at the half. Plus the Pats had the ball to start the 2nd half. With which they did nothing, going 3 and out.

It would be the Defense that would save the day (or night) in this one. You knew that Osweiler would give it up at some point. And he did – 3 times as it was D Backs night. Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan and Duran Harmon all caught Osweiler passes. The Pats did nothing with McCourty’s as the Texans revved up rushers put constant pressure on Tom Brady. Ryan’s was the most important because his return left it at the Houston 6. Two plays later, Dion Lewis followed his blocking, including a beat up Martellus Bennett, and the game was on ice at 31-16 even with 12:16 left.
So Tom Brady and the offense had their worst game of the year. Brady never saw the LB who tipped his pass for the other INT. His two INTS were as many as he had all year. While sacked only 2 times, he was hit many more (Gamebook says 8x), a couple of which were way after he had released the ball. Jadeveon Clowney was one of those, and Brady reacted to it and the non-call. It was egregious and should have been flagged if there were a capable refereeing crew. Not this night.

Let me editorialize here – if the NFL wants its playoff games to be the best possible, they need to keep refereeing crews that worked together all year and use them in the playoff games. Just pick the crews who don’t screw up all the time. Throwing together guys who haven’t worked together all year does not deliver the best product.

So, the Patriots defense came to the rescue of the offense, something not seen enough in recent years. The NY ‘Football’ Giants would never have beaten the Brady-led offense but for the poor play of the Pats defense at the end of both NY Super Bowl wins. Of course, NY Giants fans, Jim Dwyer and Al Vallese, would say it was because NY was the better team.

You know that Tom Brady is not happy with those 2 INTs and a sub .500 completion rate. You know that Dante Scarnecchia is going to be schooling the O Line about what they did wrong against the Texans pass rush. And remember, Houston has the #1 Defense (total yards allowed). Against the pass they ranked 2nd (total yards).

The Patriots defense may well be the deciding factor in these playoffs. One more win and they’re in the Super Bowl. Oh and I think the offense will be better after this. Oh and Bridgewater Bill, the Pats won by more than 9. Ah, I think it was 34-16 which is double 9 or 18. And that beat the 16½ point spread. Just sayin’.

Houston’s game plan had to include keeping the ball away from the Patriots. For the game they (32:30) had it for 5 minutes more than the Pats (27:30). However in the 1st half, the Texans (18:40) had it over 7 minutes longer than NE (11:20).

Dion Lewis had 3 TDs (receiving, running and kick return – an NFL playoff record), but fumbled twice. LG Joe Thuney fell on the 2nd. Lewis’ first set up Houston at the NE 12.

Julian Edelman was immense. Targeted 13 times he had 8 catches for 137 yards. Chris Hogan was 4 for 4 until getting hurt. And surprisingly Dion Lewis had 7 targets and 2 catches. James White was targeted just once but it was a 19-yard TD.

CB Eric Rowe had a dumb penalty (pulling a player off a pile) which negated a 3rd down stop and led to a Houston FG. Don’t want to get in Coach Belichick’s doghouse.
Speaking of which, after the report of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots assholes, Julian Edelman responded (WEEI) “That’s how that team is run.” Just the sort of remark that might make Belichick keep Edelman out for a series. Hope not.

Patriots fans chanted ‘Roger, Roger’ mocking the CTE damaged Roger Goodell. Goodell would never have the courage to show up at Gillette Stadium after his gutless pursuit to punish Tom Brady and the Patriots. This swine just wants to feed from the NFL trough. I found the following very relevant. It was a comment left on’s
site by Tom Daley:
Goodell is scared to go to Gillette or any other venue in the area for fear he will get harassed or hurt. All he had to do was drop the suspension to one game for the cell phone stupidity and all of this garbage would have gone away.
There is a saying in the investment world that Goodell should have learned,"Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered."
Goodell was a pig in Deflategate holding the line on the 4 game suspension and the Pats fans are the slaughter house waiting for this pig. Granted he is one rich pig which in his mind makes it all worth while.”

Re last issue’s music quiz:
I'm guessing Johnny Hartford.
Tom Wallis
Good guess but no, Tom. - Z

I'll go with Mason Williams for the quiz answer. Being old enough to remember the Smothers Brothers shows helps me...I think. The song is Classical Gas.
Brad Dawson
Brad, right you are - it's Mason Williams and the instrumental Classical Gas. - Z

If you have the opportunity to watch a movie called "Fastball", I'd recommend it highly. DVD Netflix. Not all of the big guns are featured, but some prominent ones and some great commentary by some legendary hitters and pitchers.
Bill LaPlante
Bill, thanks for the tip. I'll look for it. We have Netflix. Just binged on 5 seasons of Breaking Bad. - Z

Four newspapers on a Sunday, you are a dinosaur!
Peter Goodwin
Yes Peter, I'm a dinosaur and I like it like that. - Z
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz

Ran into the Wizard at the HC and he asked me if I knew about the only TV appearance of Derek and the Dominos. Yes, I said – on the Johnny Cash show. So he was kind enough to email me a YouTube video of Derek and the Dominos doing It’s Too Late and also Matchbox with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins playing with the band. Thanks Wiz. I have the 40th Anniversary 2-CD of Layla. It includes those songs plus two others they did on the show: Blues Power and Got to Get Better in a Little While. The 40th anniversary remix makes some songs sound new. You can hear Whitlock's vocals much better. Music - the great uniter. Below is the link.

Charlie Clancy saw the Sportzine heading ‘One More’ about my wanting Tom Brady and the Patriots to win One More Super Bowl. Charlie said he wanted them to win two more. Got a point there, Charlie. Let’s start with this one first.

Ran into Buffalo Steve. He told me that he’s been watching The Crown which is on Netflix. It’s about Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. He recommended it highly.

So I told Steve that Victoria had asked me to tell him about a book on Greenland called Frozen in Time. She thought he’d be interested since he was stationed in Antarctica. Steve said Greenland isn’t green and Iceland isn’t covered in ice. He thinks they should switch names. Victoria told me Greenland was so named in order to attract settlers.

So who was the performer who had one giant hit that won 3 Grammys and a Gold record and wrote comedy for the Smothers Brothers et al? Why Mason Williams whose Classical Gas went to #2 in 1968. The original version of the instrumental had the backing of LA’s the Wrecking Crew. It was Classical Gasoline originally.

Eric Clapton and bandmate Bobby Whitlock have something in common with the duo of Kris Kristofferson and the MG’s Booker T. Jones. Hint – it’s not musical.