Last ABC Monday night game, same score as the first ABC Monday night game, etc. I was going to write a whole thing about that, but everyone and their asshole uncle has already talked about it at exhaustive length and repetition, come to find out.
The Patriots last night were absolutely dominant. As the commentators mentioned (they having dialed their "Snark" up to "11" for this farewell performance) after the opening drive, "I don't know if we just watched a perfect opening drive...or surgery."
That's how it felt, for pretty much the whole game. The Patriots absolutely eviscerated the Jets, with the exception of the handsome pick by Ty Law (now with more juice in the caboose!). They scored back-to-back touchdowns on the same play--the play that features a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone by Mike Vrabel.
When our linebacker is playing tight end and our runningbacks would have to run on their hands for a challenge, it's gotta be humiliating for the other team. Just really must suck to be them. Insult to injury, there was no beer in the stands so as to anaesthetize the fans. This led to the phenomenon of the sarcastic cheer when the Jets finally managed a first down late in the third quarter; the sarcastic cheer being the sign of ultimate pain among a fan base. Ouch.
Don't think Belichick has forgotten the time the Jets owner stood in front of God and everybody and called him a crazy man.
Despite the margin of victory, Brady didn't have such a good game. He under-threw and over-threw on several occasions and his accuracy just didn't seem like it was where he wanted it to be, at least. He had that sullen face that makes me flash back to 2002 and start worrying and worrying that there's something wrong with him, although he was probably just frustrated. Please, he was just frustrated?
Anyway, in my Googling of "Tedy Bruschi" this morning, the better to see if his leg is severely broke or just a little broke (of course you can't find out), I come upon the latest j'accuse from various writers around town...
Quoth Karen Guaregian:
Sure the Pats won last night, and continued their push to the playoffs, but what is momentum without the guy who miraculously returned from a stroke, and has been hugely responsible for righting the defense?
Will they lose their edge should Bruschi have suffered an injury that would keep him out of the playoffs? It’s one thing to make it by a team that’s going nowhere, as they did against the Jets. It’s another when the Indys and Denvers of the world come calling.
Talk about a momentum killer.
"With the playoffs two weeks away, the goal last night wasn’t so much to beat the Jets as escape with everyone healthy," writes John Thomase. "So instead of celebrating a 31-21 win over the Jets this morning, Pats fans find themselves fretting about the Patriots’ inspirational and literal leader."
Here we go again. Can't stand it when they speak for Pats fans. Or Sox fans. Or any fans. Speak for yourself, sure, but leave us out of it.
Am I worried about Tedy? Sure. Do I think it would be terrible for him to be hurt after all he went through to come back? Absolutely. Does that mean I'm not happy they beat the Jets? Fuck no. They need the wins right now.
This isn't a 14-2 season. The wins could dictate favorable matchups. The wins dictate higher seedings. We're 10-5 right now, and the only way to finish with a respectable season record as a playoff team is to be 11-5. That means beating the Jets and beating Miami. Hell, this team--all of them--need the practice right now to prepare for more formidable opponents.
I agreed with Bill Belichick last night when he said, in answer to these "Do you think you should've rested guys? Do you think you made the wrong decision?" questions (where it was not about the decision to rest guys, it's the decision to play some starters on special teams), "We play to win. And that's it. That's all we do. That's the only way I know how to do it." He's not playing any differently--not resting guys, not letting up. I, for one, am happy to see Belichick being the same Belichick. That's worked out pretty well so far.
So, generally, if you think--as these pieces seem to imply--that Tedy Bruschi was hurt because of a poor decision on Belichick's part; in other words, if you think, after all we've seen in the last four years, that Bill Belichick doesn't know what he's doing, then kindly take a long walk off a short pier. That's just all I can say about it.
Kind of sad that to find any optimism about the Patriots, you have to read New York Newsday:
New England did get a scare when Bruschi, who had made a stunning return and keyed the defensive resurgence during the past two months, was carted off with a leg injury in the first half.
If he can't go in the playoffs, it will be a huge loss. But with the two-time defending champs sniffing the finish, the Pats might yet overcome his absence with another stirring playoff performance.
Is that how this works? If you want to read good things about your team, you have to read the columnists writing on the other side, the better to make their respective fan base feel bad?
P.S. In fairness, this piece by Amalie Benjamin in the Globe about Mike Vrabel is sweet:
Vrabel has eight career receptions. Vrabel has eight career touchdowns, with two coming in Super Bowls.
For the season, the linebacker stands tied for second on the team in touchdown receptions (three) with fellow tight ends Benjamin Watson and Daniel Graham. He is also tied for second with four touchdowns overall; one came as part of his day job, an interception return.
Great quote from Benjamin Watson, too, showcasing that Patriots attitude:
''He's doing a good job so far," Watson said. ''I don't worry about it. It's just another benefit we have, that we can put him in there in a skill position like that and he can score for us.
''As long as we [are] winning the games, that's what counts. He been doing it longer than me. He's been doing it here for longer than I have. I need to take advice from him."