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Patriots Lose, Focus.



November 4th, 2010

Well, Pat’s fans what did you expect? I tried to warn you. I never pick against the Pats, it seems traitorous to me. SO I either pick the Pats, or I don't make a pick. I thought this loss was an obvious one, as soon as I read that Brady was joking around at Mangini’s press conference, I knew the Pat’s players weren’t taking the Browns seriously. I mean how could they? The Cleveland Browns? Is there a more Blah team in the league? I mean, even their name, the Browns? Really, what kind of blah name is the Browns? I get bored just saying Cleveland Browns. You might as well call them the Beige Boreds, or just the Cleveland Blahs. “Trap!”

What was there to get excited about? Have you ever been to Cleveland ? Its just plain blah. Hell, even LaBron James and Michael Holly couldn’t wait to get out of town. Next we’ll be hearing that the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame is sneaking out of town. Some Clevelander will see the entire building creeping down the street and wonder what was happening. “Trap!”

Even the coach is just blah. He used to be public enemy number one, after his multiple betrayals of BB. But now, blah, who really cares? He’s a lame duck sitting atop a lame team. Did you see the Holmgren quotes, We’ll get this straightened out (I'm doing the first part from memory so it's not an exact quite), “If I keep wearing a suit or not, well see.” I mean, even Mangini’s GM thinks he is a blah coach and plans to replace him as soon as possible. I mean, it was nice to see his GM betray him multiple times like he betrayed BB, but who really cares. I mean, Holmgren all but announced he is going to be head coach of the Cleveland Blahs next season. He set up Mangini to fail from the start. The first thing he did was replace the two young QB starters, who still had a chance to develop into legit players (okay a bit of a stretch), and replace them with two QB’s who we know for sure cannot win in the NFL, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme? Really, Jake Delhomme? Then Colt McCoy fell into his lap in the 2nd Round last year, a miracle of Franchise saving luck, and he does everything he can not to draft him. Taking T.J Ward and Montario Hardesty in the 2nd Round instead? Really, Montario Hardesty? Then he finally is forced to take McCoy begrudgingly in the 3rd Round, or risk the wrath of his owner. I mean, it all makes sense now as Holmgren revealed his betrayal of Mangini. He has been planning on betraying him all along. And while seeing Mangini being betrayed like he betrayed BB is satisfying, it reveals his vulnerability as a head coach. “Trap!”

Plus, between Romeo and Fredo almost their entire coaching staff is made up of ex-BB disciples. It is like playing a division game, only your not in the division. I didn’t say that well. What I mean to say is that their coaching staff knows the BB system as well as this current coaching staff. What makes division games so tough is that each team knows the other team so well. They play them twice a year, and prepare for them twice a year, and because the division winner is gar-un-teed a play off spot, the games are twice as important. The players know the other teams players, plays, and tendencies better than any other team in the league except their own. That’s why the division games are usually close, hard fought, ugly affairs. The players know the other teams players and tendencies better than any other teams. With the inside knowledge the Blahs’ coaching staff had of BB’s system for the Cleveland players it was like playing a nondivision-division game, and for the Pat’s it was like, well like the best team in the NFL playing a lame team they didn’t know or cared to know about. “Trap!”

Now any good trap has to have good bait. You have to draw the prey into the trap. The Pat’s just played four straight brutal grudge matches, where there was off the field motivation to go along with the normal motivation for each game. Then the Cleveland Blahs, I mean next week we travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in what could mean home-field advantage in the AFC Championship game. The Pats had the best record in the NFL, and a lot of people think the Steelers are the best team in the AFC this year. If all things go according to schedule the Pats will be playing the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game in January, and this trip to Pittsburgh most likely will decide where that game is played. What? The Cleveland who’s? Oh please, they stink. I mean who really cares about the Cleveland-whose-ah-ma-call-its? Game-set-match.

What is a trap-game? A trap-game is when a team is feeling backwards and looking forward past a particular team, and can’t quite take them seriously (I mean, we have the best record in the NFL and are about to face the team that will probably be our biggest obstacle in the Play Offs next week). So the players can’t focus on the all-important preparation needed to defeat every and any team in the NFL. It is all about focus before the game. Focus-focus-focus. Hell, even I was unfocused for this game. I admit this review of the game is a little different than my normal reviews. However, I have a good reason for that. You see I had some friends over and we were watching the game. Now, for most of the games during the season I watch the game at a Pat’s Party and can’t really write during the festivities. So after the game is over I do what I have to do to keep this pathetic Blog going until draft time (Oh, draft time, it’s the best time of the year! Everybody sing, “it’s the best time of the year!”;-). See, I’m still a little unfocused. Okay focus, I was so discussed with what I had just watched, and being that this Pat’s Party was at my house, and I was never really as focused as I should have been for this game, I casually deleted the game from the DVR. My wife promptly said, “Honey, you deleted the game.” Now those of you love my website know that I'm a natural born genius (I know, no needed to swoon, I can’t help it). So with the grace of a natural born genius, I responded as only a natural born genius can respond, “what game?” She looked at with a silly smile and said, “the Pat’s game.” I looked at her boldly, and with the eloquence and true focus of a natural born genius I said, “Oh?”

Then reality hit me like a brick wall, and I realized I had just deleted my replay of the game, and there would be no way to base my opinions upon further review. So even though I was warning people all week about the trap, I too fell victim to the Cleveland Blahs trap, and remained unfocused. So I’m doing this from memory, so please forgive me if my focus isn’t perfect. 

The game started out as all football games do, with a foot hitting a ball, and even though the game had just started, and the ball was weeble-wobbling threw the air, the trap had been set, the team was unfocused, and the game was over before it started. Then came the endless serious of proof that the team wasn’t focused. First, with a rookie QB at the helm, and run-of-the-mill running back on a hot streak… now I’m no BB but even I can see that if you take away the hot RB, you win the game. If I were the coach I would have brought 8 men into the box and stopped the running game at all cost. Something we have seen this team do multiple times. Peyton Hillis was a high school RB who converted into a FB in college because he wasn’t good enough to beat out the two guys in front of him (Now the two guys in front of him in college were both 1st Round picks so it’s no slight on him). He was traded to the Blahs and converted back to RB, because he wasn’t good enough to be FB in the NFL. He is a straight-ahead, strong, thumping RB. He is not going to beat you with speed, quickness, and elusiveness. What he is going to do is follow his blocks until he runs shoulder pads and helmet first into a defender. It seemed easy enough to defend, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum (that’s right I went Antiphony’s on your ass). Now I’m not going to blame this loss this all on the Pats lack of focus. The Blahs’ offensive line was the best offensive line we’ve faced in a long time. They have a great group there, and either they had their best day as a unit, or they are they have to best unit in the NFL (LOL, sorry that was a long way to go for a cheap one). But seriously, they have the best unit… I mean offensive line we’ve face this season, and last season for that matter. They made Peyton “Friggin’” Hillis look like Earl Campbell. Hillis seemed to be 3, 4, or 7 yards past the LOS before anybody touched him play-after-play, and with the head of steam he was chugging with, he was crushing anybody who dared to step in front of that runaway train. So from the first play from scrimmage, Peyton “Friggin’” Hillis ran straight up the middle for ten, and just like game the series was over before it started. “Trap!” 3-zip Blahs.

Okay so you don’t believe me when I say the team lacked focus and the game was over before it started? Did you see the ensuing kick off? Yeah, I thought so! Could you be more unfocused. The Pats’ special teams executed a perfect “I got it”, “no I got it”, “no you got it” Fair Catch on the ensuing kick off. 10-zip Blahs. “Trap!”

Then just to prove he is a rookie, Rookie Gronkowski (that’s right I’ve suspend his “Gronk’ moniker for one week) dropped three straight passes. Okay, so the last one was an atrocious throw by Brady. Focus-focus-focus-punt.

It was 20 minutes into the game before the Pats finally focused enough to get a defensive stop and start driving down field. After my main man Meriweather made another game-changing big-play by causing a turnover (take that Haters;-), that led to a 2nd goal from the 1-yardline or so. Brady whips the ball at a well-covered Rookie Gronkowski, and the ball bounces off his hands like a brick wall, and shoots straight up into the sky like the wishing star, for Aaron Hernandez to snatch at the end of the endzone. Even their first touchdown was an unfocused shit-luck mess. CB-10, NEP-7, Unfocused Disasters by Pats- 4.

However, now that the Blah’s O-Line was killing the Pat’s defense McCoy started throwing the ball with unrookie-like efficiency. Zip-zip-zip, and it was 1st and ten from the Pat’s 11. So What do you do when you’re playing an unfocused team? Trickeration that's what! The Blahs pretend they were confused as McCoy left the field, and the O-Line refuses to get set. Then suddenly their special teams player extraordinaire Josh Cribbs shuffles under Center, he was a QB in college so he knows how to actually hand off the ball. Meanwhile Chansi Stuckey hides in the Batcave. He crouches down like a sleeping bat and literally hides behind the big behind of the inflating Billy Yates. Suddenly the ball is snapped to Cribbs who immediately sneaks the ball into Stuckey’s gut. Stuckey doesn’t move for a second, as Cribbs takes off around the right tackle. Suddenly, Stuckey comes to life and takes off, with half the O-Line or so running to the left sideline. I know, big surprise, the Pat’s unfocused defense was completely fooled, except for Mayo. CB-17, NEP-7, Unfocused Disasters By Patriots-7.

Then the Pats go to the Power Spread. This is the formation that is going to lead the Pats to the Super Bowl (to early?). A seemingly focus Brady, now that he is done joking around with Mangini, Nips-an'-Tucks his way down field underneath the Prevent defense, all the way down to the 9-yardline. Enter the unfocused, and now trying to make up for his bad plays, Rookie Gronkowski. Brady throws him the ball at the 5-yardline. Rookie turns and head towards the endzone. As many unfocused football players who have made multiple mistakes in a game, he tries to do too much to make up for hurting the team. He tries to fight his way into the Endzone, but as we’ve seen a hundred times before, the unfocused rookie lets the safety come in and rip the ball out of his hands for a fumblekowski. So instead of scoring a TD or FG to end the half, and then receiving the ball to start the second half, for the infamous double half scores, and maybe a 17-17 tie before the Blahs can do anything about it, the Pats are down 1 at halftime. NEP-7, UDBP-8.

McCoy comes out after the Pats punt, and takes the ball into the Endzone to go up CB-24, NEP-7, UDBP-10 .

Then, it was just a matter of the Blah’s O-Line and Peyton “Friggin’” Hillis continuing to crush the Pat’s unfocused defense. And make no mistake about it, they beat the Pat’s D down, and essentially ran out the final 21 minutes of the game. For an old school football fan, I have to admit it was an impressive thing to watch. CB-34, Aaron Hernandez-14, PDU-One Million. 

The good news is that you are never as good as your best game, and never as bad as your worst game, and more importantly for this season, you never play your two worst games of the seasons two games in a row. O know in this new sports radio fodder world nobody want to hear that, but this loss was not the loss of the season, it was just a stumbling block of circumstances and ex-BB disciples coming together to form a perfect storm loss. Have you seen Tom Brady’s record after games in which he stunk. It’s like a million to one. Too often people judge a team solely by how they did in their last game, while the opposite is usually true. If they come out unfocused and take a beat down one week, the next week they tend to be far more focused, pissed off, and physical. If they win in Pittsburgh next week, they will still be on schedule to take the AFC. How they played this past week will be long forgotten if they go into Pittsburgh and Brady throws all over their defense. The Steelers Achilles heel is their pass defense. I am already picking the Pats to win this weeks game, and put the Blah game into the unfocused past.

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