Santa got me a wonderful present this year: the Patriots completing the first ever 16-0 season in the National Football League. I have to give the Giants a lot of credit. Not only did they not rest their starters, but they played with a lot of intensity. I expected this to be a close game because, as I said before, the Patriots always get the other team's best. Plus, the Giants have great pass rushers and a tough run game, which tends to give the Patriots trouble.
I was pretty disappointed in the Patriots' defense. The red zone defense that has been so great the past three games was pretty lousy today. They also gave up some big plays to Burress that shouldn't have happened. If the Patriots lost the game, it would have been because of the defense. However, Ellis Hobbs came up with a huge interception that the Patriots turned into 7, which ended up being the most important score of the game. In the end, the Patriots set several records:
- Patriots: Only team to finish 16-0.
- Patriots: Most points in a season (589)
- Patriots: Most consecutive regular season victories (19)
- Brady: Most touchdown passes in a season (50)
- Moss: Most touchdown catches in a season (23)
It's also worth mentioning that Wes Welker shattered the Patriots single season receptions record previously held by Troy Brown (101 receptions), ending the season with 112 receptions.
What excited me about this win the most was that they were down by 12 in the third quarter and managed to score 15 unanswered points to win by three. For everyone who says the Patriots can't play from behind, keep that in mind.
Every season I've always repeated this to myself: no one goes 16-0 and no one goes 0-16. I guess I was half wrong. Of course, none of this means anything if a Super Bowl championship doesn't follow. I'm still crossing my fingers that we don't have to play Jacksonville in two weeks, but I'm really looking forward to the playoffs.
So the Patriots handled the Miami Dolphins to improve to 15-0 on the season, something that has never been done before in the history of the NFL. The 1972 Miami Dolphins finished a 14-game regular season at 14-0, but no one has ever reached 15-0 before (let alone 16-0, which is up for grabs next week). The Patriots went up 28-0 in the first half and ended up winning 28-7, which means they didn't score in the second half at all. The question is why? And should we care?
Earlier in the season, the Patriots were accused of running up the score against teams and everyone complained. In this game, they were up by 28 points and stopped scoring. I wouldn't say it was intentional but it was obvious in the second half that the passion of the first half wasn't there anymore. In the first half they were tight, Brady was on, and everything worked. In the second half, they looked lazy, Brady was off, and nothing seemed to work.
The defense played well throughout the entire game and has allowed only one offensive touchdown in the past three games. It seems like Richard Seymour is starting to feel better as he's finally started pushing guys around again. Our pass rush the past three games has been great and the defense has really become the winning factor.
What's funny is that when the Patriots beat the Steelers by 21, it was a great win. They just beat the Dolphins by 21 and people think it's a sign of bad things because they didn't score in the second half. Now I'm not sure what happened in that half, but you have to think that it gets hard to stay excited when you're just not being challenged. There have been three games where the Patriots have been challenged all year - the rest have mostly been out of reach early. I don't blame them for having a letdown after yet another explosive half. The run game was working great (finally) and so was the passing game. So maybe they were a bit lazy in the second half and got sloppy...I don't expect to see that happen in the playoffs. And Belichick isn't going to let them forget it.
Will the Patriots rest their starters next week? Not after that second half performance. He's going to play the starters to make sure that they're performing at a high level. If they can sustain it for three quarters, I think he'll start pulling people. But short of that, I think you'll see everyone playing and the everyone playing to win the game and go 16-0.
By the way, the team that scares me the most in the playoffs? The Jacksonville Jaguars. I'm more afraid of facing them than I the Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Browns, or Titans. They're playing really well, putting up a lot of points, and their run game is ridiculous. I hope we don't need to play them the second round (fingers crossed).
I know a decent amount of intelligent, attractive people. They're fun to hang out with, good friends, definite relationship material. Yet we're all single. Logically, that doesn't seem to make sense. The qualities that would lead to a healthy, fulfilling relationship are all there yet the partner is not. Why are we single?
Meeting someone in today's world seems like it's way more difficult than it should be. After all, there's the Internet and our net casts wide as we can communicate with anyone anywhere at anytime. There are few places in the world that aren't reachable within a day. Yet it seems to be almost an epidemic of people unable to find partners. There's dating sites and more adult-oriented sites that cater to just about every crowd. Want to meet someone of a particular religion? There's a site for that. How about someone in a particular area? Check. Maybe someone with a fetish suites your needs? Yup, there's that too. With all these ways to meet someone, what's the problem?
The problem, in my opinion, is too many options. If you think about how our ancestors met and got married, it was pretty local. Oftentimes, you'd end up marrying someone you've known your whole life. Maybe you were childhood friends or maybe you went to church together. If not that, then you'd be introduced to people through friends, friends that could vouch for you and the other person. Even if you didn't know of this person, you often knew about their family since people weren't traveling very far on horses. And of course, that's to say nothing of arranged marriages, which were popular in many cultures for a great number of years. No choice? No problem!
These days we're breaking all the traditional paradigms our ancestors grew up in. Airplanes allow us to move very far away from the people we've known our whole life. Because of the ease with which travel and communication occur, the potential dating pool is much larger. There are many more choices but you don't have the same ties to them. There's no one to vouch for you or the other person, there's no familiarity, there's no commonality of interests, concerns, traits...the type of stuff that people who grow up in the same area often have in relative alignment.
With many choices comes the belief, or fear, that there may be someone better. Yes, this person seems great now, but what if by spending time with them I miss out on someone else? There are so many options that it's hard to make a decision. This fact has proven in numerous studies: people become paralyzed when there are too many options. When you want a child to make a decision, you give only two options. Do you want some cake or some cookies for dessert? They can decide between two options easily, but when you add a third, it becomes more difficult. Though adults are capable of digesting and considering multiple options, as the number of options increases, we still get anxious that we may not be making the right decision.
Now all of this isn't to say that romance can't bloom between people from different areas, different cultures, and different backgrounds. The point is that today's hectic lifestyle doesn't lend itself easily to finding that special someone. I don't have the solution to this; it's just my pondering for the day.
Apparently, 13-0 was a hard hurdle to move past in the NFL since every other team (sans 1972 Dolphins) who reached that record lost the following week. The Patriots, with their 20-10 victory over the Jets, are only the second team in history to be 14-0. If the season was still just 14 games, that would mean the Patriots were the second undefeated regular season team in history. But since there's now 16 games, I'll have to wait another two weeks. The good news is that I'll be in Boston for those last two games, so appropriate celebrations can take place.
The weather played a huge part in this game. I had to laugh at all the experts saying that the weather would have no effect. I don't think these people have ever experienced wintery weather in New England before. It chills your bones and makes you just want to get under a blanket and not move. I expected it would be low-scoring in comparison to the Patriots' other games. I was glad to see Maroney finally hit 100 yards again (bout time) and to see the Patriots stick with the run throughout. I actually wish they had run even more since there were some truly questionable passing plays appearing far too frequently. Still, it was a tough, gritty victory that I was glad to have.
Special congratulations to the Miami Dolphins, who won their first game of the season. I almost picked the Dolphins this week, but chickened out last minute. It was hard not to smile as I watched them celebrating after the final touchdown pass. I'd never wish such a horrible streak on any team or its fan...except maybe Colts.
I also feel like congratulations are in order for the Philadelphia Eagles, who handed the second-best team in the league its second loss. The Cowboys couldn't even score a touchdown against the Eagles' defense, proving that the Eagles strong showing against the Patriots was no fluke. If the Eagles had an offense, they'd be dangerous.
I've never been really big on asking for Christmas gifts. I think gifts mean so much more when people figure out what to give you on their own. However, I feel like sharing what I'd like for Christmas this year with everyone. It's a fairly short list, and some of them I already have. It would really make me happy to have the rest.
- Victory over Jets
- Victory over Chargers
- Victory over Bills
- Victory over Bengals
- Victory over Browns
- Victory over Cowboys
- Victory over Dolphins
- Victory over Redskins
- Victory over Colts
- Victory over Bills
- Victory over Eagles
- Victory over Ravens
- Victory over Steelers
- Victory over Jets
- Victory over Dolphins
- Victory over Giants
I know it's not my two front teeth, but I don't think this is particularly unreasonable, especially since I already have most of them.
Another big game today, and another big win. I was worried about this game because the Patriots looked tired the past couple of weeks after two night games in a row. When Belichick gave the team Wednesday off, a lot of people thought maybe they wouldn't be prepared. Apparently, the rest worked, as the team looked energetic and mostly sharp.
The offensive line protected Brady much better this week against a blitzing Pittsburgh defense. That being said, they couldn't open holes for the run game at all, and Maroney continues to struggle. Jabar Gaffney started in place of Donte Stallworth, which makes sense, since he's played well the past two weeks. I don't think Stallworth will be back next year because he's due a huge bonus and just hasn't really been all that productive.
Once again, the Patriots' run defense sprung leaks, letting Willie Parker run all over them. They really need to get that fixed soon. On the plus side, they seemed to be much stiffer than in the past weeks, including stopping the Steelers twice on fourth down in the red zone. Rodney Harrison really played great in both of those situations. It was nice to see a pass rush as well.
So three more weeks...can they do it? I think it all depends on if they want to. I expect next week to be a bloodbath as the Patriots welcome the Jets to Foxboro...the team and the coach who turned them in. I expect no punches to be pulled in this one and a frosty coach exchange when it's all said and done. After that, it may be hard to get up for the last two games, but I bet Belichick wants to get to 16-0 to prove a point. It'll be fun to watch.
Holy crap, that's about all I have to say about tonight's game against the Ravens. Last week I talked about how the Eagles had nothing to lose so they were basically gonna try anything and everything to knock the Patriots off. The Ravens are exactly the same. Coming into the game losing five straight, no one thought the Ravens had a chance. I, on the other hand, was scared. The Ravens' defense is good, damn good. And they have just enough weapons to cause trouble.
As I did with the Eagles, I applaud the Ravens' willingness to stick with what works. They were running all over the Patriots defense and just kept at it. It was when they got a little greedy that they started making mistakes. The Ravens also had the benefit of incredible wind, which totally disrupted the Patriots' offense. Since the Patriots really have had trouble running since Sammy Morris got injured, the Ravens were able to pound it while the Patriots had to finesse it.
The end of the game was one of the most tense I've ever seen. This is where the Patriots excel, though. You saw the frustration of the Ravens as they got called for penalties that kept the Patriots' drive alive. Granted, the Patriots had a few too many penalties on that last drive, but ultimately they were pulled through to the end zone by the Ravens continuing to commit penalties at bad moments. Was it luck? Partially. But when a team is able to pull out fourth quarter victories two weeks in a row, you have to believe that there's some skill behind it as well.
I expect that every game for the rest of the year will be like this. I'm very scared about next week, with Pittsburgh's defense and their offense, they definitely have the tools to beat the Patriots. The Pats' defense really needs to get their act together, though; they can't give Pittsburgh points on every position through three quarters like they did with Philly and Baltimore. If they do, the game will be over before you can blink.