September 20, 2017

Fifteen Plays

logoby Scott Benson
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Fifteen plays. That’s exactly how long the Patriots were able to protect Tom Brady this year.

It may prove to be exactly how long their season lasts.

Dirty hit, freak play, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t matter. The result is the same, and unfailingly real. Either way, no Brady, no dice. You know it as well as I. How many times have we all whistled past the graveyard, trying not to make eye contact with this macabre nightmare? Now it confronts us, not in the dark but in the stark light of day.

No, no formal word has been issued, and as I type this, I search for a thread of hope across every corner of the Internet, just one story that says I didn’t see what I saw. Instead, I find that flamer Mike Florio doing handsprings at Pro Football Talk. I find Michael Silver, then Peter King, and if this whole thing wasn’t bad enough already, Ron Borges racing to be the first with the worst. Finally, I find a diagnosis from New York Jets locker room. They haven’t mastered the art of football in forty years, and now they’re practicing medicine?

The miserable f**ks couldn’t wait to tell everybody that it was over for the Patriots. The Jets think that because God just shut the Patriots door, He opened their window. They should drown like stinking rats over the next sixteen weeks.

The day started so beautifully. Liz and I fired up the grill and cracked our beers just as the sun splashed across our deck and the pre-game show appeared on our TV inside. We were tailgatin’! The humidity of Hannah was gone now, replaced with just a pinch of briskness, and the scent of smoking brats, in the air.  It was brilliant, and just the beginning, the first of so many promising Sundays to come.

Then, darkness. Fifteen plays.

What now? One foot in front of the other, I figure. Playoffs and championships are indeed an audacious (some will say laughable) notion without Brady, even if Chris Simms arrives tonight and immediately returns to the 2005 form that put him in the tournament with Tampa. But that doesn’t mean the Patriots don’t have to play their remaining fifteen games.

They can either play them like flustered dilettantes whose dinner reservations have been misplaced, or they can play them one at a time, like the pros the banners say they are. They can go down without a fight, all sullen faces and slumping shoulders, or they can buckle their chin strap, adjust their blinders, and hunker down for the next play.

Because now more than ever, they ought to know what’s at stake. That next play may well be their last.

For the 52 men left standing in the New England locker room tonight, that ought to make it too precious to waste.


  1. Oh Lord most merciful. Please tell me it’s only a hyper-extension and nothing is torn, ripped or needs surgery!

    Keep up the great work

  2. It doesn’t look good, Paul. It’s unlikely that it will be anything less than worst case scenario.

  3. Chris Warner says:

    Short passes, more runs, the occasional bomb. On defense, multiple looks and blitzes. With this schedule, they’ve still got a solid shot at the post season. At least we know they’ll improve as the year goes on. They have to.

    Ah, me. Like you said, Scott, it all started so well.

  4. Hey, this really sucks. A lot. But let’s not let it ruin the season. Last year we heard a lot about things that make it not so much fun to be a fan. Well stuff happens, and players get injured. Lets throw all our support behind Cassel and enjoy the season as something of an underdog. At the very least, this should give Harrsion a reason to feel disrespected, and we all know he needs that…

  5. If Brady is out then Cassel is the guy.

    Not only are they being disrespected but their opponents and the media are happy that this has happened.

  6. Bummer, huge bummer. But we (fans and organization) have an ace in the hole: the best coach in NFL history.

    Remember when Patriot QB coach Dick Rehbein suddently died? Remember who took over those duties? It was Belichick. Idiots like Jim Donaldson and Borges are salivating letting us know BB can’t win without Brady. Do they actually know who’s in charge here?

    I’ve always felt Cassel was the Guy character in Galaxy Quest but hell if BB likes him then so do I. Know why? Because Bill Belichick IS the best coach in the history of the NFL and in bleak times like this where things look their worst is when the cream truly rises to the top. It’s very hard to win in this league without a topflight QB but it’s not impossible.

    Worried? Only someone with cotton candy for brains wouldn’t be but this isn’t the end; it’s a beginning. Thank God the lemmings are falling off the bandwagon in droves.

  7. ..I agree nopointe….Casell isn’t Brady (who is?) but I don’t think he’s nearly as bad as some of the “experts” tell us he is……when will these azzzz clowns learn you can’t tell anything from EXHIBITION GAMES?….no doubt things have changed. Instead of focusing on the QB position though, I think we should focus on the DEFENSE. If they can keep scores down Casell can do the job, asking him to win “shootouts” might be too much

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