Monday, January 22, 2018


JANUARY 22, 2018

If you were lucky enough to be at Gillette Stadium Sunday, you witnessed in person one of the best comebacks ever by the Patriots in an AFC Championship game. An awesome win and one of the sweetest ever. Over a tough, physical Jacksonville Jaguars team.

The Jaguars defense played as advertised – fast, hard hitting and chippy. They shut down the Pats running game and tackled so quickly and surely that NE rarely had much yards after the catch, especially in the first half.

The Jags offense, led by their much maligned QB Blake Bortles who had an outstanding first half (13 of 15 for 155 yards versus Brady’s 12 of 17 for 124 yards), was able to run and pass with ease (even on long throws) and controlled time of possession. But Bortles can be counted on to do something that hurts his team. With the Jags up 14-3 and driving before the half, Bill Belichick called a timeout. When play resumed, Bortles hit Marcedes Lewis down to the Pats 32. But Bortles had let the play clock run down and the penalty erased the catch. Coming out of a timeout, Bortles lets the play clock run out! The Jags didn't score and coach Doug Marrone didn't take time off the clock to get to the 2 minute warning before punting. Brady and the Pats had enough time to march down and score a TD which made it 14-10 at the half. So Bortles helped the Patriots at just the right juncture. Penalties on Barry Church, who hit helmet to helmet on Gronk (I still think it was head hunting) and pass interference on AJ Bouye assisted the Pats in getting the all important touchdown before the half ended.

The Jaguars won the 1st half. They were 4 of 6 on 3rd down (and actually got a lot of 1st downs on 1st and 2nd down plays) and held the Pats to a hellacious 0 for 5 on 3rd down. They sacked Brady twice.

The Patriots won the 2nd half and the game. Their defense came to the rescue in getting the ball back to Tom Brady and the offense. Matt Patricia brought everyone up closer to stop Leonard Fournette and make Bortles beat them. It worked.

After the Jaguars opened the 2nd half with a FG (54 yards by Josh Lambo), they faced poor field position for much of the rest of the game. Here’s how it went: (10 yd. line) 3 and out. (9) 43-yd. FG. (33) 3 and out. (16) 5 plays and out. The last series (25) ended with Stephon Gilmore’s dynamic and clutch knock away of a 4th down pass to Dede Westbrook.

Josh McDaniels had to get creative with an offense stymied by the Jaguars clawing defense, and then the loss of a concussed Gronk on the last drive of the 1st half. He did, using a flea flicker (great catch by Phillip Dorsett - his only one of the day), and a lateral (‘backwards pass’) to Amendola who then passed to Dion Lewis for a 20 yard gain which was deflated when Myles Jack stripped Lewis of the ball. There was 13:37 left in the 4th quarter.

The next time the Pats touched the ball they turned it into a touchdown to narrow the deficit to 20-17. That drive was saved when Danny Amendola made an incredible diving 21-yard reception on 3rd and 18. Fittingly he scored the touchdown to narrow it to 20-17.

At this point the PA System played Jon Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and Bon Jovi was seen in Bob Kraft’s suite fist pumping and singing along. The stadium was rocking. The fans were going crazy. The Patriots were still behind and there was just under 9 minutes left, but even some doubters (not us) were now believers that the Pats could get it done. The defense had to hold the Jags twice more before they did get it done.

Amendola would do the honors fielding a short 41-yard punt (ah, the little things) at the 50 and racing 20 yards. The inevitable was almost palpable. Amendola’s sensational catch and foot drag on a high 4-yard laser got it done (as did Gostkowski’s extra point which made it a 4 point lead). A field goal wouldn’t do.

Bortles to the rescue? Nah.

A hint to taunters of the Patriots: he who laughs last, laughs best.

So it’s on to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles who have ex-Patriots LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long. One more to be done.

The defense had 3 sacks. James Harrison (3 tackles) and Van Noy sacked Bortles on the last Jags possession with Van Noy getting the credit for the sack. Van Noy also had 5 tackles and 4 assists as did Trey Flowers who had 4 QB hits and played on after getting hurt. James Harrison (thank you Steelers) has been a great addition.
Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
Eric Rowe, who struggled (as did Malcolm Butler), did contribute by wrapping up Allen Hurns with Chung holding onto his legs, one yard shy of a 1st. It was a big 3rd down stop.

Bortles ended up 23 of 36. So he was 10 for 21 in the 2nd half.

As Scott Zolak noted on the radiocast, the Patriots were getting beat up in the trenches in the 1st half. Once the offensive line protected Brady better in the second half and the defensive line was stout against the Jaguars, the score shifted.

Some fans started wildly celebrating after Gilmore’s knock away. But there was still 1:47 left and the Jags had 3 timeouts. The Pats still needed a 1st down to keep the ball away. On 3rd and 9, Dion Lewis (whom the Jags had hit and hassled after the whistle) ran around left end for 18 yards (great blocking by Develin and Allen) and the Jaguars were plane-ready. Now Pats fans could celebrate the win.

When the Patriots were down 14-10 at half, I said to Driller Killer, Global Chris, Wild Bill and other fans around me: “We’ve got them right where we want – overconfident.”

The Bruins just beat the Canadiens 3 times in 8 days. Can’t remember that ever before.

Kudos to URI in their win over the Flyers at Dayton (10th straight win, 7-0 in the Atlantic 10). And to PC for their revenge win over Creighton. Now that the Friars have gotten healthy (especially Kyron Cartwright), they are balling (14-6, 5-2 in the Big East)

There was a recent story in the NY Times (Ken Belson – 1/13) about ex-Steeler great Mike Webster who was the first NFL player found to have CTE by Dr. Bennet Omalu. The recent NFL concussion settlement excluded players who died before 2006. Webster died in 2002. The Webster family has appealed.

Hey Jim,
Don’t understand your comment about no one having walk off playoff win?? how about last year’s super bowl? Flipper anderson catch against giants in wild card? balt colts alan ameche 1958 nfl championship game? Am I reading something wrong?
Jim Dwyer
Jim,thanks. I thought I heard that from the announcers of the game. Didn't have time to check and wondered if that was true (how could I forget last year). That's why I said “supposedly” - Z

My immediate guess would be Grand Funk Railroad. Barry Spadea Barry, yes it's Grand Funk Railroad who were big in the Midwest when I was stationed there in the Air Force. - Z
Could it be Grand Funk Railroad? George Neubauer George, yes it's Grand Funk Railroad out of Flint, Michigan. - Z
Hey, Jim. Grand Funk Railroad! Too easy. I was not a fan.
Dave Burlingame Dave, actually I liked some of their stuff like I'm Your Captain and the Todd Rundgren produced We're an American Band (a #1 hit for them). - Z
Jim, you are right! American Band was pretty good. BTW, I really enjoy your Zine and the quizzes. I follow the Sox and Pats as well as I can, but you don’t often get the detail when you live out of town. I am a native Rhode Islander, Cranston West and URI (1970) grad. I work out at the George Mason University gym every day at lunch and often wear my URI T-shirt! That gets some looks . You have to like the Atlantic 10, but I have to say that my heart is with the Big East when it comes to college hoops – PC, Georgetown (my grad school) and Villanova (my daughter’s school). Great fun! Dave Burlingame Dave, thanks for the kind words. - Z
Celtics looking good-playing defense-yes defense! I believe GFR is the band you’re looking for ( a sad note) Ken Forestal Ken, yes it's GFR - Grand Funk Railroad, whom I saw live when stationed at Scott AFB (Belleville, IL). They had some good songs. Why the parenthetical 'a sad note'? - Z
Sad note that a terrible band would out do the Beatles.
Ken Forestal
Ken, agreed that it's strange that GFR would sell out Shea faster than the Beatles. However I never considered them 'a terrible band'. They did I'm Your Captain and the Todd Rundgren-produced We're an American Band. Not the Beatles, though.
Hi Jim,
My guess is Grand Funk Railroad.
Al Vallese
Al, right you are - it's Grand Funk Railroad aka Grand Funk and GFR. - Z

Dr. John and Captain Jack have both skied and John belongs to a ski club at North Conway in New Hampshire. The two were talking about ‘skiing the mahogany ridge’. Then they explained to me – when the weather is bad, you go to the bar and ‘ski the mahogany ridge’ or bar. You just don’t want to take a fall there.

Captain Jack showed us a card that can be placed on your beer glass when you go to the bathroom. It says ‘Gone to Pee. Leave my Drink Alone’. Jack then used one.

Richard Flinn told me that Army will play Navy in baseball at Fenway Park this year. Richard said it was scheduled for April 20.

Dr. John said that the Wall Street Journal called the new football stadium in Minneapolis ‘the biggest ice fishing shed’. I tracked down the WSJ article by Jason Gay (1/15/18) who called US Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings’ ‘fancy new ice fishing shed’.

The Herbster went to Reykjavik, Iceland for his daughter’s wedding. Since my daughter Cara had just gone there, Herb wanted to know if Reykjavik had any good bars like the Hot Club. Among the suggestions that Cara offered were: the Drunk Rabbit, Big Lebowski and Chuck Norris. So I passed the info on to Herb.

Last time I asked ‘This band was not rock music critics favorite but they had a strong following. Their first two albums went gold and in 1971 they sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles. Name?’ Well, several of you got it – Barry Spadea, Ken Forestal George Neubauer, Dave Burlingame and Al Vallese all knew it was Grand Funk Railroad. GFR was Mark Farner (guitar), Don Brewer (drums) and Mel Schacher (bass). Schacher was from ? and the Mysterians! (I love 96 Tears). The band’s name was a take on Grand Trunk Western Railroad which ran thru their home town. The band had #1 hits with the Rundgren produced We’re an American Band and a cover of The Loco-Motion.
Their 1st album On Time and 2nd Grand Funk both went gold, selling a million copies.

This multi-talented artist produced albums by the Talking Heads, Devo and U 2 among others. He also played synthesizer in a band. Name?


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