WEEK 17 RECAP: A BALMY SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT GILLETTE

Greg Brown
3 January 2018
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WEEK 17 RECAP: A BALMY SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT GILLETTE

Now that it is officially 2018 I have decided it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate my decision making. Saturday afternoon I was sitting in a warm living room packing my bags for my 12 hour drive from Massachusetts back home to North Carolina. Leaving Saturday night would give me plenty of time to make it home and rest up before returning to work on Tuesday feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to attack the New Year. Then I thought to myself “gee, I wonder what the ticket prices are looking like for the Pats game tomorrow.” Fast forward 12 hours and instead of being back in my nice cozy bed in NC I am still in MA, frozen to the bone and the postgame hangover is already hammering away at my skull. And I still had a 12 hour drive to look forward to. 2018 New Year’s resolution: better decision making.

Positives

  • Dion Lewis. I am officially all aboard the Dion Lewis hype train. The injuries at RB might be a blessing in disguise because Lewis is playing with all sorts of confidence at exactly the right time. We knew he was shifty but he also has that Kevin Faulk knack for feeling the line to gain and falling forward every time he’s tackled. And now he has added that Le’Veon Bell stutter move that gets me all hot and bothered?!? You have to be playing with a jock strap FULL of confidence to make this run:

 Note: I’ve watched this gif at least 60 times.

Oh and he has the best hands in the league. Suck it Antonio Brown.

LewisHands
  • Ryan Allen (and Matthew Slater): Being that I am a collegiate soccer player I have a special place in my heart for kickers and punters. I mean I get that they aren’t real football players or even real people for that matter. I get that they embarrass themselves at even the slightest hint of contact. I get that mentally they could turn into a puddle of shit at any moment. But you know what, unless you have been a foot fairy you will never understand the beauty of a good punt. Nothing beats watching Allen scoop a low snap off his shoe laces, adjust his angle to avoid the rush and connect squarely with the ball leaving nothing but a deafening THUMP in its wake. The crowd gasps in awe as the ball seems to scrape the moon before crashing back to earth and settling softly at the opponent’s three yard line like a baby in a manger. Any old regular football brute just wouldn’t understand that.    P.S. If I am being honest, if you asked me who the punter was last week I probably would have struggled to come up with a name that wasn’t Zoltan Mesko. But Allen did have a great game
  • Patriots run defense. The Jets offense is by no means a dominant unit but at the end of the day they are an NFL unit. They finished the season ranked 28th in the league in total offense (305 yards/game) and 19th in the league in rushing offense (106 yards/game). The combination of Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire managed to rush for a paltry 40 yards on 16 carries. If you exclude Powell’s 1st quarter 24 yard scamper they gained 16 yards on 16 carries. I’m no mathematician but that probably isn’t a great average. Elijah McGuire didn’t inspire much confidence for his 2018 fantasy season either by totaling -6 yards. Also, I can’t help but picture a combination of the two biggest dorks in Hollywood when I hear his name. Simple math folks:
Elijah McGuire
  • James Harrison. That signing seems to be working out okay so far huh? You really could not have asked for a better debut than what we just saw. If the Patriots end up playing the Steelers and Harrison comes up with a big play, sports talk radio is going to lose its collective mind. It is probably prudent to temper expectations for a 39 year old that had only played 40 snaps all season up to this point but he passed the eye test for me. Neither of the sacks really fell into his lap but I’ll keep telling myself they did so I don’t get too excited for the thought of him lying on top of Big Ben in a playoff game.

Negatives

  • Everybody that attended the game. Not sure if you have heard but it has been fairly cold in New England in the past week. Turns out that it was the coldest game time temperature for a regular season game at Gillette, clocking in at 13 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -2F (that’s -10.5C and -19C for all our European readers). Now, I have been to a few cold games at Gillette and Mother Nature has had to teach me a stern lesson the hard way. But not this time, I wasn’t getting duped again, no no no. I had enough layers on to make a routine trip to the bathroom a half hour endeavor. I mean, does this look like the face of a cold young man or is it someone laughing in the face of Mother Nature?
I Aint Cold
Frozen Beer
  • Bryce Petty. I had to rewatch the game on NFL GamePass just to make sure Petty was as bad on TV as he was live. I know that QBR is a flawed statistic but when your season average QBR is 24.6 you probably aren’t the franchise answer at QB. To be fair though it is an improvement on his 2016 QBR average of 16. As the great motivator Joe Paterno once said “if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” Although, putting too much stake in what Paterno said can lead to a dangerous culture we saw at PSU. Wouldn’t want that culture to extend to the Jets or even back to Petty’s alma mater Baylor. Oh wait. Nevermind.
  • Meaningless Week 17 games. Am I being a spoiled Patriots fan for complaining that the division title has been all but wrapped up since September? Maybe. But the inevitable end of the NFL season finds a way to peak into your conscious during meaningless week 17 games. You start flashing forward to the Pro Bowl and you’re waking up in cold sweats. There are only 4 more real weekends with NFL football on. That dawned on me on my drive home and I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic. Don’t even talk to me about Brady retiring because I have pushed that so far deep into my hippocampus that I get scared even mentioning it.

Other Notes of Interest

  • You know how I was reevaluating my decision making? Well I stumbled across these guys in the parking lot and guess what, I feel a whole lot better about myself again. New 2018 New Year’s Resolution: paint Patriots logo on side of car.
  • I saw this stat on Reddit and it absolutely blew my mind. You think Mike Mularkey is kicking the tires on Chad Pennington right now?
Brady at Gillette
  • Congrats to the Cleveland Browns on a historic season. Can’t remember where I saw this but someone said “It just dawned on me that the alphabet has more W’s than the Cleveland Browns.” I guess they are planning on following through the ‘Perfect Season’ parade? I’m not sure what’s worse, Hue Jackson keeping his job or Marvin Lewis keeping his. As the great motivator Joe Paterno once said “if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” Nevermind.
  • It hard not to root for the Bills at this point. Being a 5-time veteran of Ralph Wilson Stadium I have always been of the opinion that Buffalo has the best fans in the NFL. I won’t go too deep into it here as there is a Bills Mafia: A Firsthand Account blog coming soon.  You have the years of despair, the 4 straight Super Bowl losses, the annual mountains of snow, the unsightliness of the city but the fans still come out in droves for the Bills. And they put absolute beat downs on tables in the parking lots. I don’t know who Jacksonville thinks they are dealing with:
Tables

The also reminds me of my all-time FAVORITE YouTube video. It is a MUST WATCH video if Bills fans make you laugh:

Note: Final Score Dallas 52 Buffalo 17

Happy New Year Everyone!!

NYE

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