My advice to you would be to dust off the Super Bowl DVD and remind yourself that last year did indeed happen. Even if, as we all feared, it was a chance occurence. The Patriots performance on Sunday against the Broncos was nothing short of an embarrassment for the team that won a world championship earlier this year. The defense can't stop the run against anybody and they make decent quarterbacks look spectacular. The offensive line is giving Tom Brady no time to throw the ball. Worse, Tom Brady appears gun shy to throw to his first read as his receivers can't get open. All this and the L'Affaire de Bledsoe this week. A thrill a minute for sure.
I won't bore you with recycled analysis from my previous columns from the last three weeks. Un-disciplined penalties, not winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, and an unbalanced attack have all been discussed ad nauseam in this space over the last month. And that, folks, is the problem. Nothing has changed since the San Diego game. Frankly, I don't think the Patriots could beat the Detroit Lions right now.
I don't see things getting better anytime soon. If tradition holds, we can expect finger pointing, innuendos, and veiled attempts at placing the blame elsewhere to come out of the Patriots locker room over the next few weeks. This is what happens when the wheels fall off in the National Football League. In fairness, it should be pointed out that this current group of Patriots, for the most part, has demonstrated none of these traits since Bill Belichick took over. Keeping the team together through this stretch will be his biggest test for the rest of the season. Finishing with a winning record will now be the measure of success for this year.
Many people have queried as to my opinion on the whole Brady/Bledsoe issue. Given that this will be the hot topic of the week, I will acquiesce and give it very short shrift here. I never understood why fans had to pick one of these guys over the other. For many well known reasons, the Patriots had no choice but to trade Bledsoe to the highest bidder. Brady, in his first year, took them to the promised land and it was obvious he was Belichick's choice. There are two ironies regarding Bledsoe's play this year. First, I can count about seven teams who should be ashamed of themselves for not trading for him and are currently trying to pass off a bunch of stiffs as starting quarterbacks. The other irony is that all of those talk radio callers who ripped Bledsoe up one side and down the other have been proven wrong, wrong, wrong. As for Tom Brady, we all need to take a deep breath and relax. He's really only in his second year. Name me one quarterback in the last five years who hasn't gone through a stretch like he is going through right now. That's right, you can't.
As you can imagine, I have been taking it in the shorts all week for the column that Mrs. Rousseau wrote about "living with a Patriots fan." I clearly underestimated all of the zingers that have been harboring over the years in that pretty little head of hers. Yowzers! Since I have wrested back control of the column from her and as a public service to Zinger readers everywhere, I will plead my defense on a number of her charges throughout the rest of the season. First off, speaking of taking it in the shorts, I have never, nor will I ever, own any Patriots "underwear." I did own a very nice pair of silk Patriots boxer shorts that the future Mrs. Rousseau bought me when we were courting each other in those crazy mid-1990s. And.....she was nice enough to buy me one of those "panoramic pictures you get at the mall." She was also the one who suggested it should be hung with care in the hallway next to her Grandmother's wedding photo. Okay, enough of trying to save whatever self-dignity I may have left. It's time to start zingin'.....
One good way to get through a disappointing season is to adopt a NFC team to follow. At the beginning of last season, I held a press conference by Mike Morgan's cubicle to announce that I was throwing my support behind the Detroit Lions. They then proceeded to go 2-14. This year, it's the New Orleans Saints. If history holds, we can expect their nosedive any day now.
I wholeheartedly appreciate the new helmets that have made there way into the NFL that help prevent head injuries. But couldn't they have come up with some better looking facemasks to go along with these helmets. They look just plain silly.
Gray, Maine Adult Rec League cult hero Tom Farwell wondered earlier this week why we don't see more of the fake spike play that Dan Marino pulled against the Jets a few years ago. Defenses tend to ease up when a spike is indicated by the quarterback.
Don't look now, but Pete Carroll is working his way towards a Rose Bowl appearance. Geez, when it rains it pours for Patriots fans. In his defense, you can never say that Pete was a bad guy. He was put in a darn near impossible situation when he came here.
Mr. Farwell also points out that the hook and ladder play has been attempted a gazillion times since it was pulled off in that Dolphins-Chargers playoff game in the early 1980s and it has never, ever worked even once since.
If you think times are tough in Patriot Nation, thank the powers that be that you are not a Bengals fan. They have an owner who thinks he knows enough to be the general manager at the same time. Take it from the wounded survivors of the Pat Sullivan administration, Mr. Mike Brown, it doesn't work!
Most people would agree that Peyton Manning is one of the best pure quarterbacks in football today. Last Monday night against Pittsburgh, he looked like he joined the cast of Riverdance with his happy feet as his offensive line melted down in front of him. This proves the time-honored thesis that a quarterback, however blessed, is only as good as the line in front of him. Even though he deserves his slice of the blame pie, think about this before you speed dial the local sports radio station to rip Mr. Brady.
Terrell Owens is everything that's wrong about football today. Robert Edwards of Miami is everything that's right about football today.
It is indeed mildly amusing to see the Buccanneers continue to struggle on offense no matter what they do, isn't it?
I need to watch more Michael Vick. "Something special" is an overrated adjective. But it works when describing him. Period.
Several members of the Broncos were wearing orange cleats on Sunday. As fines are probably not handed out for this infraction over the next week, keep in mind how hard the league came down on Peyton Manning earlier this year for wanting to wear black cleats in honor of the passing of the late, great Johnny Unitas.
If you are going to go for a two point conversion, why in the world would you call for a fade pattern into the corner of the end zone with your shortest receiver, David Patten, having to go up for it?
Why are the Patriots subjected by the league to a Denver butt kicking every year? I can't think of any other team who has had the Patriots number more consistently over the years than the Broncos.
I know I'm beating a dead horse on this one but.....If I was an offensive coordinator, I would be half-tempted to throw three consecutive long bombs with the hope that the flag will come out at least once for pass interference. Again, if they must call it, what is wrong with a fifteen yard penalty and an automatic first down instead of the usual forty-seven yard penalty death sentence.
Okay, that's it for this week. Zingers about the so-called author of this excuse for a column are still gladly being accepted by Mrs. Rousseau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care until next week.