Pats Vs. Dolphins

12 and 4.


7-Things From Sunday, Part I.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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As result of all your great support, the start of the Patriots season, and the release of my third book And One (or should I say second novella on kindle), I will be offering Manfred's Argument (my first novella) for free on from September 10th to September 14th.

To all my faithful followers. Thank You.



1. So What- So the Pats had the asses handed to them in a road game against a Division opponent in Miami. So what. "It doesn't really matter," BB said. "Right now we have one game that we have to win the next game. We don't even know who it's against yet, and all of our attention, focus and energy will be on that. You can analyze any of the other games any way you want or any part of them or however you want to slice up the season, but none of it really matters. The only thing that's going to matter is what happens a week from Saturday." As we all knew going into the game, they were really playing to try and set up a win in two weeks not this week.

The Regular season is over. "We really try to look ahead rather than [at our behinds]," BB said. "I know you and others like to make a lot of comparisons about one thing to another thing. Honestly I don't really care about that. We try to look ahead, see what we have in the future and do the best we can with that rather than sit back and try to make comparisons between other years, other teams, other games, some other situation. None of which really matter. It isn't really important how one year relates to another year or some other game or some other season from way back when. What difference does it make?" So everything from that game is irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is in two weeks when the Pats play in the Divisional Round. "That's something we'll be talking about over the next day or so," BB said. "We're going to try to take advantage of the time we have and use it as productively as possible as it relates to us and as it relates to who the potential opponents are. We played Houston recently. We haven't played Kansas City and Cincinnati this year, so certainly there will be members of our staff working on those teams just to have information so if we get to them it will all be done. We'll have to decide how much time we want to allocate to any particular opponent, but also just things we need to do regardless of who we play. There is certainly plenty of that." I would have liked to seen them attempt to win this game a little, but they clearly saw this as: a practice game for the Playoffs, a de-ruster, and rest for the injured.

Now there is no need to panic. The Pats didn't exactly unleash the playbook the past few weeks. They ran some trickeration plays a couple weeks ago in the swamps of Jersey, but last week they showed nothing, scheme wise, that the defensive coaches for our upcoming opponents could learn anything from. They could not have gone more vanilla in the first half. They clearly were only trying to work the clock down at sonic speed, and play tough against a tough front. Like it was practice or something.

They didn't throw the ball in the first half until late. They had some screens, which is really more of a run play, and some shovel passes to Bolden, which is definitely a run play. Brady threw once down field. Besides that, in the 1st half Brady didn't throw the ball. Plus, they were running well. Well, maybe not great, but better than they had been the past few games. "Well I'd say overall in all three phases of the game it was not a marvelous, consistent performance," BB said. "We had our moments where we did things fairly well and there were other times where we didn't. Miami has a very good defensive front, kind of like last week with the Jets. That's not an easy thing against a good defensive front like that. There were times where I felt we punched out some solid plays and there were other times where we didn't, but we weren't very consistent in any phase of the game. I mean we were pretty consistent in the kicking game other than the last punt, but otherwise we just were not as consistent as we need to be. It wasn't any one particular thing, just a combination of things like it usually is. That's probably the best way I can describe it." If they had been really running their offense Brady would have been killing the Dolphins with play action.

BB clearly made the decision that it was more important to get healthy than win the 1st place Bye. Fine. So maybe we have to go into Denver and beat them, maybe we don't. That is irrelevant now as well. The only thing that matters is that we are going to be facing the Bengals, KC, or Houston in two weeks. Everything else that has happened the past couple of games was predictable and in some ways expected (don't you love hindsight). We were all a little surprised that they tanked the Dolphins games. But we all new they had to decide which was more important to help the team get to the Super Bowl: getting healthy, or getting the first place seeding. Can we please stop pretending that they did anything other than what they thought was best for the team to win the Super Bowl? That was the strategy (I knew I shouldn't have turned on the radio or read a newspaper).

2. The Best News- Manning took over as the QB for the Broncos. I want to go into Denver and beat that choking dog Manning in the snow. Are you telling me that Denver beats the Pats in a winter game with Manning at QB? I'm not buying it. I selling it for 2 cents, a stick of gum, and some HGH. Remember HGH can repair the bones and muscle, but it can't fix the heart (oh, was that cheapshot?).

Now I'm not saying I want to face Denver's defense. Beside our defense, I would probable have to take Denver's this year if I was coaching, or for my fantasy team (which I didn't do. I swear! Okay, I took the HGH). Thinking about their defense in the Denver snow with their crowd roaring is daunting. But we did chew them up in Denver this year, until the refs fixed the game (That's right. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it. I have no knowledge of HGH or refs betting on games).

Now I'm the first to say that the Pats have been cursed in Denver. I believe in luck. But Manning has been cursed by the Pats. Plus, Manning is a Dome QB, and always has been (get it, "has been"). He sucks in the cold. He sucks in the snow. He sucks in the freezing rain. And most importantly of all, he sucks in the Playoffs. I was listening to a radio show and they were discussing the chocking dog whose need for HGH we're not allowed to discuss, as mandated by the all-inclusive League (you have to say that with a deep Darth Vader voice). And they went on to talk about how many one-and-dones he's had in the Playoffs, like 8 or 9 (they couldn't remember the number, and I sure as hell can't).

So are we ah-sacred of Denver with Manning at QB? No. If he has been to the playoff 12 times (I choose that number for math reasons)? That means he has been one-and-done 9 (yes I looked it up) out of 12 times. That means that according to his choking track record Denver has a 75% chance of losing in the Divisional Round. Which gives the Pats the Champ game in Foxboro.

Osweiler however went to Arizona State, but he is not an Arizona guy. He is from Montana. Where I can guarantee you he had to win games in the snow to get a full-boat to Arizona State. Plus, he has sucked against bad teams, and beat all the Playoff teams he has faced with incredible stats in the 4th quarter and Overtimes (I should look that up as well. Ah screw it. Google it yourself).

3. Plus…- The Pats were still depleted. They will have Edelman, Hightower, Vollmer, and their defensive MVP Chandler Jones in two weeks. They will have their young O-linemen healthy. They might even put Andrews back in at Center, where Stork has been struggling. He was not good against Miami.

Is there another team in the Playoffs that has better and more critical talent returning to their team for a Playoff game? No.

The Pats cannot win with the offense they brought into the swamps of Jersey and the heat of Miami. But the offense played better with Vollmer in at OLT than when he was out. And most importantly, it is a very different offense when Edelman is on the field. In a lot of ways Edelman is the Number One Receiver. Yes, Gronk garners most of the attention from defenses. So he has to be called Number One. But more often than not on 3rd downs, Brady is looking for Edelman. When the offense is in trouble, Brady is more often than not looking for Edelman. That is a big piece of the pie to be missing.

When Edelman, Gronk, LaFell, and Amendola are on the field together, it is the best offense in the NFL. Granted, I think it is obvious they still miss Solder. But they have been able to make it work with Vollmer at OLT and Cannon at ORT. What we saw the last three weeks is not what we will see in two weeks. The only question is how long is it going to take until the offense gets their engine started. Will it take one quarter, or two quarters, or three.

It almost took to long against the Ravens last year. Remember, whoever comes into Foxboro next week is going to be flying high and full of confidence. They will have just gotten their biggest win of the season on Wildcard Weekend at home. Because of the second seed the Pats face the team with the best record to win on Wildcard Weekend. It is highly improbably that both home teams lose. It seems a home team loses every year, but I can't remember the last time both home teams lost.

Which means the Bengals or KC. The team that scares me right now is the wildcard team that no one really knows about, and that is KC. They have won ten straight games and looked like the best team in the AFC in the second half of the season. They have to go into Houston and beat a team that is almost as hot as they are. If they win that game it will be trouble for who ever they face in two weeks. You might wanna root for the Bengals this week. Although, it would be fun to watch Pittsburgh go into Denver in two weeks.

4. Game Plan- The NFL gives each team the film from the previous three games. The Pats have not run their regular offense over the past three games. When the Pats face the Bengals, Houston, or Kansas City in two weeks their coaches will have nothing to look at. They ran the friggin' Wildcat for Christ sakes. They ran two shovel passes. They have not done that before and will not run those plays in the Playoffs, but teams are going to have to prepare for them.

Does anybody really think they wanted to run on every single play in the first half to win the game. They wanted to end the season. Brady threw past the LOS once in the 1st Half. Do you really think Josh said this is how we win the game? No! The other passes where screens and shovel passes (I had to look that one up as well. I thought it was a shuffle pass). The preparation for Divisional Weekend started in this game. It is not controversial.

They dummied down the offense and the defense. It is much more obvious on offense. But, did you see Collins blitz up the middle once in the Miami game? No. "Same thing we just talked about," BB said. "Things that we need to work on regardless of who we play and things that we need to [work on] that may be specific to a particular opponent. And we may want to get into that a little bit or we may not. That's just something we'll have to think about." Although I do think I saw Hightower blitz up the middle once, which would have been controversial. 

You cannot dummy the offense down more than what they did in the 1st Half. And pay attention now, they did the same thing with the defense. They sent three or four rushers, who simply went straight up field with their arms extended on almost every rush, like they were playing the run or something. It wasn't a mistake. They gave the OC of whoever we will face in two weeks nothing (I know nothing)! It was all game preparation schemed to help them win in two weeks and not in the regular season.

I mean, does anybody out there play chess? Poker? Statego? BB was clearly looking three moves ahead. They set the strategy to try and get the best team possible for the Divisional Round. They deemed that to be their primarily objective.

Ending the first half was ending the regular season. Then they got Brady some practice against a hostile defense throwing the ball. That was it. They did what was in the best interest of the team in the Playoffs. The only thing that mattered coming into this game was the Divisional Round in two weeks and how to get to the playoffs in the best shape to win. When they kept running on 3rd and long in the first half, don't you think it was kind of obvious that they felt their best chance to win it all was to get healthy?

This game, and really the past three games, were all about moving into the Playoffs in the best way possible. "Then we'll talk about what we feel is the best way to use our time," BB said. "Most productive way to use it as a staff and as our team, whether it be individual players or different units, but how to get the most out of the time that we have available. So that will be a discussion going forward." They moved forward as best they could in two difficult Division games on the road.

Honestly, what were you expecting? "We just have to play well in two weeks from now," TB12 said. "That's all that really matters. It's going to be one game and we have to play well and that is what our whole season will come down to. Nothing over the last six week is going to matter. Nothing over the last 16 weeks is going to matter. What's going to matter is how well we play in two weeks, that's what is going to matter, so we have to try to play as well as we can." I didn't even bother to record the game for the first time in years, because none of it matters on Monday morning.

They left that game filmless. Whatever team wins next week and has to come to Foxboro, their coaches are going to look at the film from the past few games and say, "what the hell is this?" Once I saw that Jones wasn't playing it seemed a pretty good sign that they were sacrificing this game to the football gods.

The faux outrage at this game is either contrived or ignorance. "We have to play well going forward," TB12 said. "So I think we are at where we are at based on a lot of things. And we have to play well going forward if we want to make anything of our season." I love how he ended that statement. Win it all, or the season was a waste. That is why he is the GOAT.

The point of the first half was to work on the running game for the Playoffs, and cut the game in half. "I think we always want to be balanced with what we do," TB12 said. "Sometimes it gets out of proportion, pass-wise to run-wise and vice versa. We're going to have to do both of those things well in a couple weeks regardless of who we play. We are going to have to run it well and throw it well. We know everyone's going to have to contribute and take advantage of opportunities when we get them." The point of the second half was to try and get Brady a little sharper for the playoffs.

Granted, I would have liked to have seen Garoppolo start the 4th quarter. But when you have a diva quarterback, sometimes you have to appease him. Brady obvious felt the proverbial rust creeping up his elbow and said, "No, I want to play the game." So he played and threw more than they intended in the second half. Granted, I'm sure their competitive spirits got the best of them a little in the second half. But that is why we love this team, and not hate them.

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