Monday, October 06, 2014

Week Five Postscript: In Foxboro Doomsday Can Wait

So the New England Patriots were dead, right?

Bill Belichick can't build quality rosters.   He can't draft good players.   He sells out the good players he does get.  He cheats everyone he does business with out of something.   And goddammit Tom Brady has had enough of it; his window requires the Patriots go all out to surround him with weapons. 

So Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, Tedy Bruschi, and the other media types now have egg of their face because they ripped the Patriots and their analysis was totally off-base (and Shalise Manza Young in particular gets exposed as a fraud for the phony Aaron Dobson story). It's what one gets for refusing to see the facts.

Quick takes come from Week Five -

The Patriots show that patience is a winning virtue - The 41-14 massacre in Kansas City was inaccurately seen by outsiders as a fatal blow, exposure of a weak organization incapable of recovery, requiring panic moves to stop the bleeding.   The Patriots naturally knew better.   They stuck with the program and the improvement in the offensive line that got curiously overlooked last week was out in force on Sunday night.  Tom Brady also corrected his failing of the season by engaging eight different receivers - Tim Wright and Rob Gronkowski exploded to 185 yards and two touchdown catches and Aaron Dobson, the source of the stupidity of Shalise Manza Young, had a 16-yard catch.  

The Patriots stuck with it and proved a point.

The AFC North is not as good as advertised - Cincy once again came up small in a big game while Baltimore once again failed against Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh clawed out a win but it was anything but a hopeful sign going forward.   The chatter about the weakness of the AFC East needs to reexamine some of the other divisions in the league.

The Titans face a bad first impression and a worse deja vu - People who want to rip Jake Locker as incapable of avoiding injury make the mistake of thinking players who get seriously injured a lot are in some way doing it to themselves.   The players who warrant criticism for injury are people like Tony Eason or the present-day Boston Red Sox who look for excuses not to return from injury.  Locker is not one of those people (neither is Danny Amendola for that matter) and it makes Tennessee's 29-28 implosion against the Browns all the more sickening.  Locker wanted to come out and prove a point after two poor performances on his part and was on his way to doing so before he whacked the helmet of a Browns defender (the Browns were doing some serious headhunting in this game) who was literally in his face.   Clearly this was a legitimate injury, where what got him benched for Charlie Whitehurst last week smelled of coach Ken Whisenhunt wanting an excuse to put in Whitehurst, who seems his guy where Locker is Mike Munchak's guy.  

What resulted against the Browns was the worst of everything - Whitehurst unleashed two excellent touchdowns for a 28-3 lead, then could do nothing to stop the bleeding as the Browns fought back with 26 unanswered points.   Making it worse for the Titans was the defense got an interception, at least one Brian Hoyer touchdown was a busted play and a desperation heave that worked, and all Whitehurst needed was converting a 4th and 1 late in the game.  

When we add it all up, Whitehurst played a lot better than he did against Indianapolis - yet did not do what was needed to actually win the game.   For the Titans it's a bad repeat of last year's collapse under Ryan Fitzpatrick and also continuation of a very bad first impression of Ken Whisenhunt as head coach.  Not only have the Titans suffered four straight losses, but the fight that was a hallmark of the team last year curiously hasn't resurfaced yet, and the Titans roster is as talented as any in the NFL.

The Bucs are better, but not a winner - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed fight and put up a lot of points in New Orleans, and in the process showed the Saints are not as good as a lot of people thought they were.   Even so the Bucs couldn't play enough to actually win the game - the sack for a safety was an especially bad sign.

The Jets are still the Jets - Not only did they get shut out 31-0 they benched Geno Smith and put in Michael Vick - and Vick immediately showed there's nothing left in the tank.   So the Jets have no quarterback - and this is why they're still the Jets.

Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler - Jay Cutler raced the Bears to a 14-point lead - and threw a late interception.   It's what he is - a volume stats pig who cannot win when it matters.

The Chiefs crash to Earth while the Niners have life - Twenty years ago was the Montana-Young Bowl won by Joe Montana's Chiefs, and this time around the Niners were the team to win.  The win is doubly impressive given the scuttlebutt that continues to the effect that Jim Harbaugh's outfit is falling apart and Harbaugh himself is on the way out. 

Denver closes out a game - The Broncos had struggled early this season to close out games - this time they closed out the Cardinals and made a point to do so.

The NY Giants off and running - The "new" Giants offense can now be said to be clicking.

The Eagles keep winning despite struggle - The Eagles offense stalled badly in San Francisco and Philly had its hands full against an underpowered Rams team.

And so it goes awaiting Monday Night.

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