Foreshadowing is Always Fun
Hello everyone, my shameless and blatant rip off of Bill Simmons “Running Diary” concept is back for its NFL styled debut, featuring a potential shootout with the hometown New England Patriots against the underperforming yet dangerous Dallas Cowboys. As always, my notes/observations at a given point is what I was thinking in real time, with creative additions sprinkled in for entertainment purposes. Without further adieu, let’s get to it. (Note: The times posted are just my general estimate for what the game clock was)
Part ½: First Half
15:00 New England kicking off to Dallas, which is fine by me. Let Tony Romo take the field with a week full of criticism on his mind and no chance for the defense to take some of the pressure off of him.
12:15 Wow, as if on cue or the fact he just can’t help himself, Tony Romo overthrows his intended receiver and gets picked off by Kyle Arrington. Romo has the unique ability to throw off his back foot, yet still miss his target high by 10 feet. Most QB’s who do that get picked off by a DB jumping the route, so I guess sucking in a unique way is commendable, Tony.
10:15-9:01 After getting deep into Dallas territory, Patriots uncharacteristically stall out their drive on 2 incompletions, even though Brady could have walked into the endzone on 2nd down (Dallas was in man coverage and NOBODY was looking back) followed by Demarcus Ware crushing Brady. Sigh. Gotskowski booms an easy one for 3-0 Pats lead.
8:36-7:20 To some degree, I understand the Cowboys conservative playcalling early. They want to get settled in and get Romo some confidence. But you have Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant as weapons. Why all this underneath stuff/running plays? Whatever, I won’t complain.
-Kyle Love makes a great run stuff on 2nd down, but Patriots get burned when they send the house on a blitz and Romo finds Bryant for a first down.
6:45-5:15- Run defense has been excellent so far. Even though a Demarco Murray run was negated by a hold, Brandon Spikes shot the gap and CRUSHED him. He has been stepping the fuck up the past few weeks. Guy plays with a tenacity and attitude we haven’t had since Rodney Harrison left. Throw in the fact he looks like (and treats other life forms with the vindictiveness of) a Predator and it’s doubly awesome.
-Also awesome is Romo getting a case of Happy Feet and getting sacked by Andre Carter on 3rd down. Pats ball off a punt
4:53-3:56 Holy shit, that couldn’t have gone worse. Brady’s pass gets tipped at the line and the DB covering Branch intercepts it. Not sure is Brady’s delivery point is a tad low or defenses just know to get their hands up at this point, but a lot of passes being influenced at the line.
-Meanwhile, Chung kills Miles Austin for daring to come over the middle, and the Pats get REALLY lucky on an endzone play where McCourty interfered with the pass since he didn’t bother to look for the ball because a Dallas O-lineman got caught holding.
-Gerrard Warren smushes Tashard Choice into human paste on a rush, 4th down field goal for Dallas. Tie game 3-3.
3:09-1:00 You have got to be FUCKING kidding me. Slater apparently decided it was his turn to get invited to the turnover party and fumbles despite a Dallas player barely caressing his arm carrying the ball. Sloppy execution by Pats early.
-Despite not blitzing/stacking the box the past 100 games, Bill clearly wants to pressure Romo because we’re showing and/or bringing heavy pressure frequently.
-VINCE WILFORK=turnover machine, gets his bear claw sized mitt on the ball and causes a fumble. Dallas apparently hates the hot potato( edit:football) as much as we do.
1:00-End 1st- BJGE (don’t feel like writing his 432 letter name) is the anti-Lawrence Maroney and I love it. Dude finds the hole, hits it hard running North/South, and never fumbles. No dumbfuck tap dancing routine for 5 seconds before getting hit for a loss.
-What I don’t love is Dan Connolly completely whiffing on his block and letting Demarcus Ware destroy Brady for the second time in the game. I have to think the temptation to sacktap Connolly on the next down for Brady is overwhelming.
-Underwhelming is the score after 1 quarter, tied 3-3
15:00-12:07- Brady slings it on a beautiful out pattern to Deion Branch while Gronk throws a massive lead block which gets him an extra 15 yards. God, why did we ever let Branch walk in 2006? Memories of Reche Caldwell/Doug Gabriel still haunt me.
-Brady TAKES OFF with his Usain Bolt like (edit: Sumo wrestler running through a tub of molasses wearing bricks as shoes) speed. Couldn’t help but be scared, 2008 makes me permanently paranoid whenever Brady leaves the pocket.
-Yet again, Patriots stall their drive with a stuffed run, then an untimely holding call on Solder. Very uncharacteristic, another field goal, 6-3 Patriots.
12:07-10:55- This section is sponsored by “Tony Romo’s massive suckage.” Pure gold for anyone not rooting for Dallas.
-After a quick first down, Tony throws an easy swing pass 10 feet behind the running back, then follows it up with a beautiful spiral…right into triple coverage. A shame it wasn’t picked off. Then again, our guys couldn’t have expected THAT bad of a throw.
-Romo, to his credit, improves drastically on third by completing a throw to a bare spot of grass. Good job Tony. Pats ball off the punt.
10:37-7:34 Since defenses have picked up on the Gronk seam route, the Gronk screen is a new weapon that works to great effect. Basically runs people over until 5 defenders converge and hogtie him down to the field.
-Brady works a beautiful hardcount exposing a Cowboys blitz, but someone fucking moves on the O-line. How his vocal chords are still functioning is beyond me, because he barks out plays louder than any QB I know.
-Hernandez and his slippery after the catch magic works two plays in a row. Elusive bastard, he is.
-Note to opposing defenses: On third and short with no one lined up over the center, Brady is running up the middle.
-Brady slings it out to Welker FOR A TD. Refs fuck up the call, but review corrects it. 13-3 Pats.
7:34-End of 2nd Quarter- Dallas drive begins with ANOTHER fucking flag. Haven’t mentioned it, but the Refs are literally like a desperate puppy pining for attention this game. Making every effort to insert themselves by coating the field in yellow fabric to great anger on my part. Let the boys play, dickhead.
-OUCH, Dez Bryant finally breaks off a huge play, shattering Pat Chung’s ankles million tiny pieces on a juke, scampers for 45 yards.
-Swing pass to Tashard Choice who STEAMROLLS Kyle Arrington on a five yard game. That looked painful. Maybe the hit will finally teach our DB’s to stop arm tackling and go for guys legs once in a while.
-Jesus, another whiff by McCourty on a pass to Laurent Robinson for 50 yard gash. I know McCourty had an insane rookie year and to expect him to follow that success up was highly unlikely, but there have been times this year where he hasn’t just looked bad, he’s been really awful. I think, as a developing player, we should revert to giving him safety help over the top instead of isolating him like we did last season. But that’s just me.
-I didn’t know the Cowboys had a white tight end not named “Witten” but apparently they do, as he caught a pass to make it first and goal for Dallas. Our “Bend-don’t Break” approach is bending more than a circus contortionist on this drive.
-Well, there’s the “break” we were supposed to be avoiding, as Romo slings it to Witten for a touchdown. Damn it, who’s the imposter in the Romo jersey because he looked like a confident and competent quarterback. Not only did Dallas get back in the game on the scoreboard, but that drive ate up more than 7 minutes of clock, leaving the Pats with no time and basically just running out the clock. 13-10 Pats at the half. Basically, we are getting the close competitive game we expected, albeit with considerably less offense.
That’s it for Part 1, mainly since I don’t feel like writing anymore and your Generation Y ADHD is demanding you switch tasks at this point, so I’ll deliver Part 2: Second Half tomorrow.