Yes, foreshadowing is STILL fun
Part 2: Patriots vs. Cowboys Running Diary Second Half
15:00 Annnnnddd we are back everybody. Pats begin the half with an uncomfortable 13-3 lead, even though I feel like it should be bigger, given the miscues. Also I’m trying, to no avail, to convince myself that I shouldn’t be scared of the Cowboys, but I am. They’re bound to discover our defense sucks at some point.
-Just noticed we have the OTHER Gronkowski brother back again. Jesus, this guy is like a revolving door for our third tight end spot. Can’t we just keep him based on the awesome-ness of having 66 % of the Gronkowski brothers, regardless of whether or not he’s good?
15:00-12:20- Promising first set of downs leads to a rapid case of football blue balls on the second set. A little foreplay tease with three straight runs, the last a “Brady Special” for the first down. Then Brady can’t find a receiver, Matt Light gets toasted like a bagel on the outside for the 20485th time in his career, allowing Brady to get sacked for the 3rd time on the game (didn’t catch the Dallas player, I was too busy bitching about Matt Light.)
-A 3 man rush generates enough pressure to make the Pats throw it away. I feel like little Malculay Kulkin in Home Alone when he finds the picture of Buzz’s girlfriend…”Guys that drive, WOOF.”
12:15-5:48- Dane Fletcher makes a GREAT special teams play, leveling the return guy before he had time to blink. This guy has looked good in limited reps dating back to last season, I don’t know why he doesn’t get more run than Rob Ninkovich as an LB, but hooded one knows best.
-Romo’s pass batted in the air at the line, and we get to see two 350lb+ guys playing coverage on each other as Wilfork goes for the pick while some huge dude on the Dallas O-line bats it away. Fat people make ordinary circumstances much funnier.
-After stuffing Tashard Choice again, Romo finally finds Witten in the middle of the field for a big chunk of yardage. Of course, Gary Guyton was clueless, as he realized he hadn’t yet exhausted his quota of mental fuck ups for the game and decided 3rd down was an optimal chance to use another one. Literally let Witten run right by him without a second thought.
-Romo gets ridiculous protection and finds Miles Austin all the way to the N.E 19 yard line. The defense not nearly as feisty coming out for the second half as they were to start the game,
-This upper body tackling bullshit by our DB’s has to stop at some point. Chung had Demarco Murray lined up in the backfield for a loss, but instead of making a nice, fundamentally sound form tackle, he tried to drill him in the chest, getting burned and allowing Dallas to eat up more yards. Not enough Pepto Bismol in the world for the heartburn this defense gives me.
-In the goal to go situation, Dallas gives New England a MASSIVE break when Romo misses Murray on a swing pass where we probably would have scored, followed by an Andre Carter speed off the outside on Romo and drilling him in the (hopefully even more broken now) ribs for a 10 yard loss. A 3rd down screen pass almost results in a “kick in the balls” touchdown as Choice weaved in and out of our unmotivated defenders to the 3 yard line. Christ. After all that time and anger, Dallas gets only a field goal to tie it at 13-13.
5:46-1:10 Pats get the ball on our own 15, and immediately try some sort of gimmick play to get Ochocinco involved. A cluster of 4 receivers sprinted out of the huddle to the right side, leaving Ochosinco on the left, Brady devliered, but Chad once again wasn’t on the right page as he was nowhere near the ball. Based on Brady’s furious body language, I’d say Chad didn’t run his route properly. I REALLY want to love Ochocinco, but he hasn’t been productive at all.
- A couple nice throws to Welker, followed by Gronk leads to a first, as well as a hurry up offense with a nice 9 yard run to BJGE. This variation in tempo’s is catching the Dallas D off balance and leading to some productive plays, very encouraging.
-After a couple more BJGE runs, another first down pass to Gronk, and more hurry up offense, Dallas wisely prepares for the quick run to BJGE and stuffs him for a 2 yard loss. Whelp, that experiment was fun while it lasted. Brady finds Herndo on third down, too bad it was well short of the first. No rhythm to our offense in the second half at all. Mesko to punt
-HAH, Dallas continues to commit unbelievably stupid penalties at a “Oakland Raiders-esque” level, with a “Running into the Kicker” call being made. Mesko embellished a little, but that’s what he’s supposed to do if he feels contact. A gift first down for the Patriots.
-Holy shit, a Danny Woodhead sighting with a run for 5 yards. This is shocking because a.) I thought he was still hurt and b.) he hasn’t factored into the offense at all due to the effectiveness of Herndo/Gronk and Welker/Branch so far this season. Good shit, right Miroki? (If you don’t get the movie reference, get the hell off this blog)
-Son of a bitch, Hernandez fumbles after a nice catch, recovered by Dallas with Welker making a huge heads up play to tackle him. Terrence Newman had a lot of green pasture ahead of him if he wasn’t brought down. On a slightly negative note, Hernandez’s hands are quickly becoming as slippery as the moves he has after the catch. He has a worrying propensity to carry the ball to far from his body or not secure the football quick enough, leading too fumbles or dropped catches. Insert profanity laced grumbling here.
-Dallas has the ball, runs it, going to the fourth quarter, still tied up 13-13
15:00-12:54- Romo begins the forth by going to Witten again. Good of Tony to finally realize “Hey, my favorite option is a nightmare matchup for these guys.” Wait, what the hell am I saying?!? FUCK YOU ROMO.
-Pats bring another blitz on 2nd down, but Dallas picks it up as it has most of the game, and he shoots a pass to Miles Austin to the Patriots 45
-Back to Back blitzes, and the Cowboys give another early Christmas gift to the Patriots, as Austin drops an easily catchable ball. Those Ryan’s really have an affinity for feet huh? Rex gets off on them sexually, and Rob’s teams seem to enjoy repeatedly shooting themselves in the collective foot (yeah, I know Rob is the defensive coordinator, whatever, the joke was better this way.) Patriots ball off of the punt.
12:54-9:30 Patriots open up with an attempted screen pass that was incomplete, and run the hurry up once again, catching Dallas with 12 guys on the field. I feel like the biggest hypocrite, squealing with delight when the Patriots do this to get a cheap 5 yard penalty when I roared with anger every time the Colts did it to anyone else over the years. Oh well, hypocrite feeling gone, keep doing what you’re doing, Patriots.
-BJGE is getting some good lanes off of these quick snaps, with consecutive good runs chewing up 4 and 7 yards respectively. After a false start on the hometeam, the exotic species known as the Danny Woodhead gets blown up in the backfield for a loss.
-My god, Deion Branch is clutch. Snares a 3rd down pass for a 1st down. Guy can catch 10 for 120 and 2 TD’s one week, then be a ghost the following week until you finally need him, and more often than not he makes the play. Again, why did we ever part ways with his dreadlocked, sure-handed goodness?
-FUCKING DAMN IT, Brady pretends to be Aaron Rodgers, rolls out to his left, gets his arm hit on the release, and throws his second pick of the game. That was just an awful decision all around by Brady because even if he wasn’t hit on the play, everyone on that side of the field was covered anyways.
Note: My thoughts/scribbling from this point on were hectic/barely legible, owed to what was about to transpire. The page I’m reading from looks like a rabid raccoon dipped its paws in paint and did a figure skating routine on my notebook paper, with the occasional legible profanity.
9:00-5:14 Swing pass to Murray for 8 yards. Gotta say, the rookie out of Oklahoma has looked like a good change-of-pace back for Felix Jones/Tashard Choice.
-Holding call, which negates another Gary Guyton fuckup (missed a tackle on a runner in the backfield)
-You have got to be kidding me, 3rd and 12, and Romo runs for 17 because no one decided to spy the QB. Why is he being smart all of a sudden? I hate him even more now.
-Terrible throw by Romo, almost picked off, Haynesworth (wow, he’s playing?) forces the issue
-More fodder for the “Devin McCourty is Regressing” argument, as he whiffs on a tackle on Laurent Robinson (who?) who runs for 34 yards down the sideline.
-Pass over the middle complete, and receiver somehow still alive even after Pat Chung made every attempt to murder him on the hit
-1st and Goal-screen pass to the New England five, this is getting painful, as William Wallace would have said, HOLD!!!
-2nd and Goal-pressure gets to Romo, forces an incompletion. Heart rate unhealthily high for a regular season game.
-3rd and Goal-What the hell?? Terrible playcall by Dallas, inside shovel pass to an RB gets blown up by Spikes, settle for field goal again, but take the lead 16-13 Dallas.
5:14-3:46 Written at the top of notes prior to the drive, verbatim, is “Brady, work some of that clutch magic baby” Let’s see if he listens.
- Gronk screen for 9 yards, good start boys
-Running play cut down in the backfield, fuck me.
-AGHHH, pressure forces incompletion…we have to punt…and rely on our defense to make a stop…oh my god.
3:36-2:31 Spikes rips through the line, cuts down runner for 1 yard loss.
-Another run stopped for a 2 yard loss
-False start on Dallas, 3rd and 18 coming up…and I’m still insanely nervous we can’t top them
-Run for 7 harmless yards, holy hell we stopped them…but what is up with the playcalling??? Three straight runs with a chance to put a dagger in our hearts? Whatever, thanks Dallas, we have one more chance at this bitch. Pats ball, all or nothing here
2:31 to end of game Blitz comes, Brady gets it away to Herndo for 16
-Brady CRUSHED, but somehow gets it to Gronk on sideline, clock stops
-Quick out to Welker for five yards, 2 minute warning.
-Another one to Welker for 5, 1st down baby
-Dump off to Woodhood for 9, up to the Dallas 30, only down 3.
-Incompletion, another Brady Special for a first down
-Woodhood for 15 more on another underneath route, holy shit, visions of ‘03 patriots obscuring vision.
-Welker for 6, despite excellent coverage, holy balls. Timeout Pats, 27 seconds left in the game
-Brady hangs in pocket, good protecting, fires a missile to Herndo….FOR THE TOUCHDOWN, FUCK YES!!!!
-Dallas finished the game with a hopeless attempt at a hail mary.
-In the moment, I didn’t see how the touchdown play developed, but Gronk took the top off the coverage by running out while Herndo ran in, double coverage followed the wrong guy, Brady looked at Gronk, then fired to Herndo, who got sticky hands are the right moment.
-The defense, while stepping it up big time, is only partially responsible for this win. The Dallas play calling on their last two drives was pathetic. No looks downfield, ball completely out of Tony Romos hands, and it probably cost them the game. Seriously, their game plan in the last 6 minutes was more conservative than Rush Limbaugh.
-Unsung Hero-Vince Wilfork-on most occasions where the other D-lineman and linebackers could shoot the gaps and cause havoc, the big man in the middle was commanding double teams in the trenches while also causing a fumble. Continues to be one of the best players on the field despite not always getting the media blowjobs other players receive.