Monday, February 04, 2019


FEBRUARY 4, 2019

This is Sportzine #698. I am taking a sabbatical but will be back for baseball season

On Sunday, the Patriots Defense played their best game of the year, holding the second best offense in the NFL without a touchdown. The only points that the Rams did get, a 53-yard field goal, wasn’t until near the end of the 3rd quarter (2:11 left).

There are not many times that I can remember, actually none, when a young quarterback has beaten a Bill Belichick-coached team in a playoff game. So it wasn’t meant to be for young lamb 24-year old Jared Goff. What departing de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores threw at Goff and his young 33-year old Head Coach Sean McVay boggled their minds, discombobulated them and led to the Rams eventual ‘slaughter’.

I read that one of the ways that the Patriots defense did that was by using a 6-1 man line.
That is a 6-man line with 2 LBs (Van Noy and Hightower) at each end to seal the edges. The 1 was a defensive back. The 4-man secondary played ‘quarters’. (see Sports Illustrated/Andy Benoit’s – 2/4 excellent breakdown of what the Pats did

It also allowed the Defensive line to come after Jared Goff and his running backs as the Rams didn’t know where the pressure would come from. A look at the Gamebook stats shows that the Pats sacked Goff 4 times (Hightower had 2, Van Noy 1) and hit him 12 times. Jonathan Jones had the other sack and led the team with 6 tackles and 2 assisted tackles (8). Gilmore 5/0 (5), Jason McCourty 4/1 (5) and Wise, Jr. 3/2 (5) were next.

Surprisingly Belichick had Jason McCourty playing opposite Stephon Gilmore at cornerback, not JC Jackson. McCourty made a touchdown saving knockaway of an end zone pass to Brandin Cooks. Jackson did play as he shows up having a tackle and assist.

This Sportzine was composed while listening to a compilation CD that I made with 3 of my favorite musicians: Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.

It’s wonderful that the Patriot Defense played well as Tom Brady struggled early. His first pass was to Chris Hogan and instead of it being to Hogan’s back shoulder, it was where the defender could tip it and cause an interception. It came with the Patriots driving (LA 34 yard line) primarily on Sony Michel’s running.

Tom Brady was sacked only once and it was in the 1st half – by DE John Franklin-Myers It resulted in Brady fumbling the ball. Fortunately C David Andrews recovered it. In the game, Brady was hit 4 times, but was pressured at times and hurried his throws. The Pats were forced to use 2 timeouts on their 2nd possession. That’s usually on the QB for letting the play clock run down. It was on that 2nd possession that Stephen Gostkowski missed a 46-yard field goal, more points left off the board. Gostkowski would kick a 42-yard FG in the 2nd quarter. Just before half on a 4th and 1 from the LA 32, Brady tried to hit Gronk on a crossing pattern, an unwise, forced pass. All that the Pats had was a 3-0 lead at the half. The Pats were 2 for 7 on 3rd down in the first half. They finished 3 for 12

It wasn’t until 9:49 left in the 4th quarter that the real Tom Brady showed up as he hit Gronk for 18, Edelman for 13, Burkhead for 7 and then 29 yards to Gronk down to the LA 2. Michel ran it in on the next play. 5 plays! The touchdown put the Pats up 10-3. The Pats had started with good field position (NE 31) after punter Johnny Hekker, who had stymied them all game, had his one poor punt – 39 yards.

On the next Rams possession, Stephon Gilmore intercepted Goff’s pass to Brandin Cooks at the NE 4. That was with 4:17 left in the game. The Patriots used the ground game to not only get out of poor field position, but to march downfield (mostly behind Michel though Burkhead had a 26-yard run), and resulted in a game clinching 41-yard FG by Gostkowski. The drive took 3:05 off the clock. It left the Rams with 1:12. When Zuerlein missed a 48-yard FG with 8 seconds left, the Pats and their fans celebrated.

Julian Edelman had a spectacular game. He was targeted 12 times and had 10 catches for 141 yards. He deserved the MVP trophy. Gronk caught 6 passes on 7 targets (87 yards).

The Pats had 44 yards rushing in the first half. They ended with 154 yards. Sony Michel had 94 yards on 18 carries. His Univ. of Georgia counterpart Todd Gurley had only 35 yards on 10 carries. It’s likely that Gurley was not 100%.

The Patriots lost safety Patrick Chung at the beginning of the 2nd half. Duron Harmon stepped in and the Pats defense didn’t miss a beat.

A tough day for Chris Hogan, who was targeted 6 times but had nary a catch.

The O Line did their job: Aaron Donald and Suh each had 1 QB hit. Fowler had none.
On this day of the Patriots Super Bowl win, both the Celtics and Bruins also won, making for a fun trifecta for local fans. The Bruins beat the Capitals for the 1st time since 2014. They had lost 14 in a row to Washington.

Hey Jim, Happy New Year! My guess Billy Preston.
Dennis Doyon
Happy New Year Dennis. You are correct - the trivia answer is Billy Preston. - Z

Answer to trivia question=Billy Preston
Ken Forestal
Right you are, Ken. It’s Billy Preston. Z

Hi Jim,
A quick quiz answer (with absolutely no research) - Billy Preston???
I didn't know anything about my favorite Grateful Dead keyboardist, Vince Welnick, before he joined the Dead, but thought I heard he was from the Tubes.
BTW, I just saw that Mott the Hoople has tour dates set for later this year. They haven't toured in 45 years! Got your tix yet?
Bill, you are correct - it's Billy Preston. And yes Vince Welnick was with the Tubes but left to play keyboards for Todd Rundgren and then the Dead in 1990. Welnick wrote Don't Want to Wait Anymore for The Tubes.
Closest Mott comes to here is Boston's Orpheum Theatre on April 9. They have three of the original band, including Ian Hunter. I saw Ian Hunter in Providence when he opened for Todd Rundgren way back when Hunter did the LP You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic. Great album. David Bowie wrote All the Young Dudes for Mott. - Z

I'll take a shot at the trivia question with an answer of: Billy Preston, keyboardist.
He played with everyone at some time or another during the 60's, it seems.
Just a note of dissent about football. I grew tired of it about six years ago for it's plodding pace of play; the current situation of last week's playoff games' officiating has only given me additional reasons to relegate it to one of those things of youth that I have left behind in the fog of intolerance to incompetence during my elder years. All of the technology for a dozen views to review play is useless in the utter lack of common judgment by a crew of automatonic asses on a field who are solely charged with proper officiating of a game...and still can't get the job done! Do they ALL drink at halftime or what?
That being said:  I'll pick the Pats by five on February 3rd, like a good expatriated Rhody Boy should.
Bill La Plante aka Big White
Right you are, Bill. The trivia answer is Billy Preston.
As for the NFL, well...I despise Goodell (Deflategate was about pleasing the owners not named Kraft). He is a worthless piece of shit.
The Patriots success has kept me interested (still a season ticket holder).
However as my friend Peter said, after you read League of Denial about CTE and Bennet Omalu, it changes the 'game' for you.
What happened in the Saints-Rams game was a travesty. They were robbed of going to the Super Bowl by an inept official who can be seen on video as having a clear view of the two 'penalties' that weren't called.
I too am picking the Patriots to win the Super Bowl (hope there isn't another horrific call at the wrong time).
I am enjoying the Bruins season (except losing to Montreal) as the baby Bruins start to find their game. - Z

Hi Jim 
Wow we made it to another SB!!!
Did Billy Preston play for both bands??
Can't wait for this bowl. 
Which member of the patriots played against a ram twice in college?
Bill Flanagan
Hi Bill, yes the Patriots are in the Super Bowl again. Did you have any doubt?
It will be up to their O Line to protect Brady from Suh, Donald and Fowler if they want to win. Running the ball may be tougher. Given that the Rams should have lost to the Saints, they can be beaten.
And yes Billy Preston is the answer to the trivia question. Don’t know the answer to your trivia question. - Z

Hi Jim
I'll give you a hint on the Pat's, Ram’s players. 
The colleges involved were Miami of Ohio and Kent State. 
Enjoy the game. 
Bill Flanagan
Bill, the answer I think is Sean McVay, Rams head coach, who was a wide receiver at Miami of Ohio and Julian Edelman, who was a QB at Kent State.  - Z
You are correct.  - Bill Flanagan
Jerry Rice aptly describes Julian Edelman's "f--- you attitude"
Ken Forestal Edelman was miked for the AFC Championship game vs. KC. Inside the NFL (Show) had a replay after Brady hit Dorsett for the TD (his only catch!). Edelman got in Brady's face and screamed "You're too f**king old. You're too old."-Z
Jenrry Mejia
Thoughts on Red Sox signing Him?
Ken Forestal
Ken, well the Patriots gave Josh Gordon a chance. As Dayton Allen said, 'Why not?" - Z

The Pats' O-Line will have more of a challenge against the Rams' big guys (Donald,Suh) than what they had from K.C., but I think for the most part, the Patriots will be up to it (glad we have Dante). If New England gets that running game going, then everything should fall into place....keep Brady upright(!).
This almost feels like the recent Red Sox' World Series run where once they got by the Astros, Boston had played their toughest opponent and games heading into the Series against the Dodgers. After beating K.C. at Arrowhead, that game may be the Patriots' most difficult (and dramatic) win of the season.  The Rams' 'D' makes them a more balanced team than the Chiefs, but will the 'old' New England QB guide them to another Title.....and like the Red Sox......against another team from L.A.? I wonder what the odds are of the Celtics and Lakers meeting in the NBA Finals this year.
Agree Brad about the O Line. They need to open holes for the RBs and to protect Brady.
I am hoping that the Defense plays as well as the Offense. If they do, it will be the first time since the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams that that has happened. 
Forgot about the Beat LA aspect. The Celtics have an outside chance of making it to the Finals. The Lakers are doubtful. - Z

Pre-Game Music:
Ultimate Spinach
Beacon Street Union
Earth Opera
Getting set to open a GANSETT!! Ken Forestal
Your pre-game regimen worked! Title No. 6! While that ties Pittsburgh for most Super Bowl victories, the Steelers did it in two different eras (Bradshaw and Roethlisberger), the Patriots 6 titles all with one coach and one QB. Hate to see Flores go.....Edelman could share the MVP trophy with the Pats' Defense if such a thing was allowed.
Brad Dawson
The Red Sox have won the World Series. The Patriots have won the Super Bowl. Now all we need is for the Celtics to win the NBA Championship or the Bruins the Stanley Cup. Only Detroit has won 3 of the 4 major sports in the same season (1935). We’ll give some poetic license to the Patriots playing in Foxboro (right, Foot Joy?) just like we would if New York won 3. After all, the NY ‘Football’ Giants play in New Jersey. - Z
Sportzine is also available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz
Richard Flinn of the Naval Academy Preparatory School had a trivia question for me:
What is the Super Bowl? Answer: The last game of the Patriots’ season.’

The Bear had told me recently about a craft brewery in Charlton, Massachusetts called Tree Top Brewery (it’s also called Tree House Brewing Co.). In fact, they have a beer called Bear, an American Brown Ale (6.4% ABV).
So I told the Bear that the same brewery will honor Tom Brady. Before the AFC Championship game vs the KC Chiefs, Brady reportedly described himself as the ‘baddest motherf---er on the planet.’(Source – Darren Hartwell – Date uncertain). So Tree House Brewery printed a label on the bottoms of 26,000 of their beer cans: ‘BADDEST MF-ER ON THE PLANET (Source – Field Yates tweet of 1/22/19).

So I mentioned to Foot Joy and the Bear that the NFL Rules Committee has outlawed some of the offensive and defensive strategies of the NE Patriots after their success. After the Pats D harassed Rams receivers, especially Marshall Faulk, all the way down the field in the 2002 Super Bowl win over St. Louis, the Rules Committee changed the rule and made it that receivers could only be hit for 5 yards. When Belichick and McDaniels used an eligible/ineligible receiver (reporting to the ref), it thoroughly confused the Baltimore Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh. So the Rules Committee then outlawed it. The Patriots beat the Chiefs in Overtime by marching down the field and scoring a touchdown to end the game. I predicted to them that in the off season, the Rules committee will change it so that each team possesses the ball in a playoff Overtime. Foot Joy raised the point that the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons the same way in the 2016 Super Bowl. My feeling is that now that the Patriots have done it twice, the Rules Committee will change the rule. We shall see.

Last issue, I asked you to name the only musician to play with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The correct answer: Billy Preston. Dennis Doyon, Bill Flanagan, Ken Forestal, Bill Shea, and Bill LaPlante all had the correct answer. Professor Peter (in person) too. Thanks to Jim Dwyer for submitting the trivia question.

This session guitarist played on Taj Mahal’s first 3 albums. He played the solo on Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes. He played on 3 of the 4 Beatles solo albums. Name?


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