Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Patriots won last night.

As a New England fan, that's pretty much the good of it.

I suppose you can throw in the following facts as well - when the chips were down, the Pats came up big while the Ravens made the mistakes that lose you games. Even when the Pats made mistakes, they turned them to an advantage - like a late penalty before the snap that negated a fourth down play that would have given the Ravens the ball back with less than a minute-and-a-half to play. Instead, it was fourth and six, and Tom Brady scrambled for a first down.

Oh...and the forced fumble by Kevin Faulk after Brady was intercepted just before the half was probably worth at least a three point swing in the final score of 27-24.

As for the bad and the ugly...well, there was a whole lot of that in this game.

This was, for Brady and the wideouts, a bad game. Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes, including a couple of poor throws (the interception at the end of the first half and the ricochet off a Raven helmet in the red zone late in the game come to mind). The receivers dropped a number of balls that hit them on the hands - Randy Moss had at least two and tight end Ben Watson one. Of those, at least two of them would have accounted for touchdowns and an 11 point swing (Watson's unforced error in the back of the end zone turned into a field goal attempt).

Asante Samuel was bad. He was picked on, and he made few plays. The biggest play he made was for the Ravens when he misplayed a 15-yard sideline pass into a 50+ yard reception in the first half.

The refereeing was bad as well, although I would say not as bad as the Colts game. The refs left calls on the field against both teams. I will even grant that the Pats touchdown to Jabar Gaffney was borderline, but I also don't believe there was enough to merit overturning the call on the field. Of course none of this matters since Raven Bart Scott was undergoing a meltdown which would have given the Pats the ball with four fresh downs on the Raven two yard line.

As for the Ravens public claim that the officials were trying to give the game to the Patriots, they might want to re-watch the film of the bomb at the end when the official kept the flag in his pocket in spite of the fact that Derrick Mason did not play the ball. Replays clearly show that Mason threw a block on Asante Samuel, the closest defensive back to receiver Mark Clayton who came down with the ball. Not only did Mason hit Samuel, he then wrapped the corner from behind, aiding Mason in making the reception that almost won the game for the Ravens.

Yeah, refs conspiring to get the Patriots an undefeated season are going to ignore that every time, I'm sure.

As for the ugly...

The Patriots run defense was ugly through most of the game, as Willis McGahee carved up the Pats (at least until the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter). The Pats secondary was also carved up for the second week running by a career second string quarterback.

That the Ravens can't come to terms with the fact that their own mistakes killed them is ugly.

What could possibly have been the ugliest is what the Ravens allege about one of the refs calling Sumari Rolle "boy," throughout the game...were the ref white. Head linesman Phil McKinley, a black man and former player in the late sixties and early seventies (ie: the man grew up during segregation and the Civil Rights Movement). Given the background of the "name caller" I would say that Rolle and his teammates are looking for any reason to try and discredit a mediocre officiating staff just because they don't want to accept responsibility for melting down in their loss.

On a different note - the time of year has come again for the annual weight loss contest. Husband and wife teams: me and my wife, my wife's sister and her husband. Whichever pair drops a combined 40 pounds first, or whichever pair has the greatest combined weight loss by May 1 wins. I weighed 188.5 yesterday. Let the games begin.

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