August 29, 2014

Hit With A Measuring Stick

by Scott Benson
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Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin may be a rookie coach that was pretty much helpless for much of the afternoon yesterday, but afterwards, he showed a veteran’s command of the obvious.

“If that is the measuring stick,” a grim Tomlin said of the New England Patriots, “we’re not close.”

Nope, evidently not.

*When the crowd started chanting “GUAR-AN-TEE” at the end of the fourth quarter, it sounded like “M-V-P” on television. Perhaps that’s what they should have been chanting, because there isn’t a better player in the NFL today than Tom Brady. 400 yards, 4 td’s and no sacks against a defense that was supposed to take what the Eagles and Ravens did to the next level. Instead, Brady carved them up with an attack that threw the ball 84% of the time yesterday.  How is it after three Super Bowls and eight years he keeps getting better? He’s not mortal.

*With apologies to Benjamin Franklin, there are now three things in this world that are certain: death, taxes, and the stupid Steelers getting burned on the deep ball. For crying out loud, they bit on a play action fake to Laurence Maroney, which set up Randy Moss’s 63 yard touchdown in the second quarter (which put the Pats ahead for good). I mean, come on! The Patriots aren’t going to give the ball to Laurence Maroney, you idiots. And I knew the minute Moss fielded Brady’s one hop lateral and got it back to him, there would be a Patriot (Jabar Gaffney in this case) twenty-five yards beyond the Pittsburgh secondary. Sure as hell, there he was. Because in this world, nothing can be said to be certain – except that.

*Raise a glass to the entire Pats defense, who held the Steelers scoreless over the final 32 minutes. The Patriots are supposed to be old and tired, right? Then how come nobody can score on them in the second half? Rodney Harrison raised hell with Pitt’s red zone offense as everybody saw; but how about a toast to Tedy Bruschi? He may be in the twilight of his career, but he yesterday, he ran around the field like the old Tedy. His best game of the year for sure.

*I think the Patriots told us after the game just what they think of guarantees and the like. How about Belichick? “We’ve played against a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you.” Oh, snap!  Roll your eyes at your own peril, non-believers.

*So the Pats clinched a first round bye with the win, meaning all that’s standing between the Pats and home field advantage all the way through the playoffs is the New York Jets. Oh, dear.

*I don’t know how I feel about an offense that is 64/36 in favor of the pass over the last eight games. I guess those little flips to Wes Welker in the second half yesterday are just as good as a running play – I guess. 

Comments

  1. David Clemeno says:

    “I don’t know how I feel about an offense that is 64/36 in favor of the pass over the last eight games. I guess those little flips to Wes Welker in the second half yesterday are just as good as a running play – I guess.”

    I have to echo your sentiments here Scott. I about fell off my chair when I saw them come out 5 wide from their own 1yd line. Will BB cut all the running backs today? But maybe — just maybe — BB knows a little bit more about this game than you and me. D’ya think?

    Why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can. Maybe the Pats pass like this because they can? The modern NFL certainly has altered the rules to favor passing; we’re being treated to the best display of it ever. Oh well, being the old Yankee that I am, I’ve got to find something to fret about: NO RUNNING GAME!! Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the Pats are 13 – 0, in the Northeast, in winter. What the christ do I know?

    Time to shut up and let BB drive the car.

  2. The Pats pass like this not because they can, because they CAN’T do the other thing. I think we’ve all seen a number of great regular season teams that ended up falling short because they were too one-dimensional. The Dolphins, the Chargers, even the Colts. The Randy Moss Vikings. That was a great performance yesterday, I’m most appreciative of it, and they may yet prove that you can win the championship with a 64/36 ratio, or even more lopsided than that. Few teams have proven that yet, though, and they haven’t yet either.

  3. David Clemeno says:

    They “can’t” run, Scott, or the “don’t” run? Honestly, how do we know they can’t run? They don’t commit to it. Seems to me that during some games earlier in the season, they had close to 30 rushing attempts, and they did ok. The Pats are about doing whatever it takes to score points. They’ve faced some pretty stout d-lines recently, so they CHOOSE to throw over them.

    I understand your point about the great one-dimensional offenses of the past; it remains to be seen if these Pats can break the mold. I think the biggest difference between those teams and this one though, is who we have at QB.

  4. The one issue i have with the run is that “when they do run”, it seems fairly obvious it’s a running play to me. I did like seeing Maroney pushing the pile and driving in. it seemed like he danced less and just went with his first choice.

    With his speed, I’m sure he can hit the holes, it might be interesting to see how the O-line is doing on the designed runs.

    Still, that’s looking for issues. The patriots clearly are playing the best ball I’ve witnessed. last piece, if they decide to feature the run game in upcoming gamers, you have to like their chances because teams will be focusing on the passing game. But, they really are that good that they can play nearly 1-dimensional and still pull off a win.

  5. Sure feels good to win, don’t it. I can’t believe the conversation you guys were haveing on the Roundtable about who should the Pats lose to. And that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to lose to the Steelers. Well, feels great now that they won, doesn’t it. First round bye locked up, with the Jets and Miami in the sights.
    Quite yacking about getting beat, makes you sound like the team doesn’t have the heart to face tough challanges and carry out a good game plan.

    About Maroney and running the ball. Why vary from what got the Patriots here in the first place. Expecially against the Steelers run defense. I may be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more of the Patriots running game starting with the Jets.

    Keep up the good work on the site. Very informative.

  6. David Cyprian says:

    Like everyone else I have to chime in regarding run / pass.

    The patriots like to pass. The will continue to pass. Just give it up, cries for the running game are falling on deaf ears, they are going to finish the season sometime in January throwing the ball.

    Its pretty obvious to me that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels think Tom Brady is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When they sit around game-planning for an upcoming opponent, someone probably suggests, “Why don’t we let Tom throw it on them?” And then everyone else agrees heartily.

    In fact, I want to take this one step further. Not only should the Patriots trade down with the SF pick because high draft picks are financially risky, but if we take Darren McFadden or another top RB, then the Pats might feel compelled to give him the ball! A rookie running back taking away snaps from the immortal signal caller? No thanks.

  7. David Cyprian says:

    PS Sorry if the superbowl is in February, then I think and hope that is when the season ends. Correction from last post.

  8. While it’s true that those “one-dimensional” teams fell short, they didn’t have Tom Brady AND they ran into defenses that had the talent to stop them…..just what defense is out there now that can stop the Patriots passing attack??….They just schooled the #1 defense in the NFL…..I’m having too much fun, I’m not going to get too wound up about their “pass/run ratio”

  9. Let’s remember that in the past two games, we were playing teams that nobody has had much success running on, and that going seriously pass-heavy has been the best strategy against the Steelers and Ravens for all teams, not just ours.

    Even in their rout of the Ravens last night, the Colts didn’t run on them often or well — Addai picked up 32 yards in 13 carries, which is a worse day than Maroney had.

  10. It will be interesting to see what happens this week. The Jets have a terrible run defense…..that being said, the Patriots are a passing team, so they will still pass more than they run…

  11. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    Realistically, Maroney and Faulk have been a bit dinged up this year. Were Sammy Morris still healthy, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion, but since he isn’t, I’m inclined to think that Belichick is keeping his other backs as fresh as possible for the playoffs, while still giving them a little work to keep them sharp. Also, though receivers definitely get hit, they don’t plunge into lines of 300-pound fatties in the near certainty of being gang-tackled at the end of their run. It could be that, from an injury-avoidance standpoint, passing makes more sense than running.

    Of course, the more obvious fact is that the passing game is definitely working. While I suspect running it more would make the passing game even that much more effective, they Patriots’ record couldn’t possibly be any better than it is at this point.

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