October 19, 2004
Today is Tuesday after the Seattle game and the RedSox are heading back to NewYork City to play a sixth game against the Yankees.
The RedSox deserve attention here because what they do influences the Patriots. Remember, both teams play before the same audience.
Several things jumped out at me from the Seattle game.
Bethel Johnson's 48-yard reception seems part of a long-term plan. The coaching staff has known the young kid is a potential weapon as the fastest man on the team. Like Deion Branch, as a rookie he alternated between impressive and absent. Last week BJ was inactive for the Miami game, perhaps to get him to focus. This week against Seattle he makes the big catch in his one opportunity. I suspect the coaching staff planned to inactivate BJ and then give him important action as a way to get him going.
In the last few moments of the game, Seattle had the ball on about the one yard line. The Patriots were leading 30-20 and Seattle had a chance for a touchdown which would make the game closer and gain them some self-respect. What happened? The Pat's defense stuffed the ball-carrier for a loss. The Pats weren't satisfied with a win - they wanted to deny Seattle totally.
When Tom Brady got his helmet knocked off, what's up with this hair-do? Is he having his hair cut on Newbury Street? Is Brady heading in the direction of Johnny Damon? Brady is in danger of having his O-line think he's doing too many magazine covers.
In truth, Seattle would have been right with the Patriots in a see-saw game if their receivers had not dropped so many passes. You never know how much it was good NewEngland defense or weak Seattle receivers, but Seattle couldn't survive their incomplete passes.
In the longer term, the Pats seem strong and still improving - good enough to mature and compare with last year's team. Now they've won against a better team and they'll get a second test against the 5-0 NYJets on Sunday. It get's more and more interesting. The Pittsburgh game also will be telling. With the Eagles dominating the NFC we need a measure of how the Pats compare with the Eagles and Pittsburgh plays both teams.
While the RedSox are still alive, you should know that if the RedSox beat the Yankees, it will have a large effect on the Patriots. The Pats would suddenly realize they were no longer number one. Nothing would motivate the Pats more than seeing themselves become second in importance. If the RedSox should win the World Series it becomes more likely that the Pats go undefeated in an effort to prove they are every bit as worthy as the RedSox.
And what's with Johnny Damon. Under pressure he's swinging for homers and he can't get a bunt down. Fifty years ago when Paul Richards was managing the Baltimore Orioles he used to complain that his entire lineup was made of lead-off batters. None of them hit homers, but each could bunt and make a pitcher throw 20 pitches while they earned a walk. Wouldn't the RedSox love to have a few of those table-setters.
Though I don't live in New England, I root for the RedSox for the sake of their fans. RedSox fans aren't arrogant and are loyal. Whoever wins in the end, I suspect the Yankees will have great respect for David Ortiz and the RedSox pitchers.
Good luck where ever you are, Charlotte Chambers. . .