The Championship Quest: The Trenches, Defense, and Using The Whole Pig!! I am dabbling with the idea of a weekly column, focused on these Aspects that, in my opinion, weigh more vitally than all other considerations in any team's Pursuit of Super Bowl Glory. The Trenches ~ NT Vince Wilfork!! "It All Starts In The Trenches" ~ Fanatical Yankee, a Great-Looking American!! No individual Position commands as much potential Impact on the course of a Game or a Season as does that of Nose Tackle...and NT Vince Wilfork ~ The Greatest Nose Tackle in All The Land ~ was dominant. 1 ~ 00:16:45 on your Tape. On the Game's first Drive, Planet Hoosten quickly went right after us, first blasting a 12 Yard Run ~ bewilderingly reversed on an Illegal Procedure Penalty on my man LT Duane Brown (perhaps because his hand wasn't on the ground??) ~ and then ripping off an impressive 15 Yarder. The Hoosten O Line and Flex Back Arien Foster exploded out'f the Gates, and had quickly seized the Initiative. It is no exaggeration to suggest that we were staggering from these initial Blows...and then NT Vince Wilfork simply took charge, battling through a terrific Block by OC Christopher Myers to single-handedly reject Foster's surge through Left Guard, and redirect him towards the Center. And there Dragoon Trevor Scott, who had beaten RT Ryan Harris, pounced on Foster for a 1 Yard Loss. Two Plays Later, Planet Hoosten found itself Punting. I can't help but imagine that they were quite surprised. Those who play less than 60 minutes usually rue their lack of sustained Focus...But that doesn't change the fact the opening minutes of a Game wield far more lasting Impact on the rest of the Game than...the rest of the Game. And Planet Hoosten, looking, at first, like they were about to seize command of the Game right from the beginning...saw their Momentum suddenly and startlingly annihilated on a single Play. FootBall is an extremely emotional Game. The vast and far-reaching Impact of that one Play can not possibly be exaggerated. 2 ~ 00:32:20. Two On One Fails: Second Hoosten Drive. Patriots up, 7-0. Hoosten with a 2nd & 14 at the Patriot 49. The Hoostens go with a Zone Block Off Left Tackle, and Wilfork first crushes RG Ben Jones, and then casually shrugs off RT Ryan Harris, before pouncing on XB Arien Foster for an extremely expensive 2 Yards!! 3 ~ 00:33:45. Same Drive. 1st & 10 from the Patriot 23. OC Christopher Myers chips Wilfork, before heading downfield, and then RG Ben Jones tries to CutBlock Big Vince, but Wilfork just plants'm. Jones next reaches up from the turf where Wilfork had just deposited him, and grabs at Wilfork's ankles, hauling'm down with him... ...But too late: Wilork snatches XB Arien Foster for yet another weak 2 Yard Gain. At this point, the Texan Running Game ~ which had exploded out'f the Gates for a 12 and then a 15 ~ had now scraped together a mere 8 Yards on 4 Carries, since then...and were looking at a 2nd & 8. That doesn't quite force a Pass...but it certainly strongly suggests it, doesn't it?? And QB Matt Shaub's 2nd & 8 Pass from the Patriot 21 was complete...to FS Devin McCourty!! It was only 7-0, mind you... From that moment, on...there was something exquisitely ominous in the Air. 4 ~ 00:46:30. 14-0, Patriots. Late in the 1st Quarter. 3rd Texan Possession. Planet Hoosten is rapidly taking on water ~ thanks in great part to NT Vince Wilfork's blowing up both of their first two Drives with his Demolishing ways!! ~ and is facing a 3rd & 12 from their own 39. Yet again, the Hoostens Double Team Wilfork with RG Ben Jones and OC Christopher Myers. Yet again...they fail. Wilfork ~ I guess somebody forgot to tell Bill The Mad (Genius) that he's supposed to pull Wilfork on 3rd & 12's!! ~ corrals Jones, ignores Myers...and contemptuously swats the FootBall out'f Matt Shaub's hands!! The Hoostens were fortunate that Myers ~ can't say I'm not impressed with this kid's Athleticism & Fire!! ~ was able to beat everyone else to the FootBall ~ 20 Yards upfield, mind you!! ~ which allowed them at least the Dignity of a Punt...but at this Point, Planet Hoosten is now officially Shell Shocked. It is very well. 5 ~ 00:59:10. Now it's 21-0, Patriots, early in the 2nd Quarter, and Shell Shocked Planet Hoosten is reeling...But they've just picked up 6 on 1st Down, for a 2nd & 4, and they're in a position to start gaining some Traction, and maybe start to work their way back into this thing. Or not. I'm going to perpetrate a Syntax Error, here, but that's OK: NT Vince Wilfork, Super Beast, is a walking Syntax Error. Hoosten tries to run it right up the Middle, and XB Arien Foster clearly thinks that his best bet is between Center and Left Guard, as he surges, thither...But at the last moment, Wilfork, after rejecting OC Christopher Myers, takes on athletic 340 Pound RG Brandon Brooks and ~ again: at the very last moment, as if he'd been toying with'm ~ hurls Brooks directly into Foster's Path, destroying the Play. One Play later, a shaken Planet Hoosten Punts yet again. The phenomenal Core Strength, Fluidity, and Core Power that Vince Wilfork displayed on that Play, in deftly ~ yes: deftly!! ~ hurling the extraordinarily Huge, Powerful and Athletic Brandon Brooks aside like a simple sack of Potatoes...was nothing short of awesome. A man as Huge and Strong as Vince Wilfork has no business being "deft"...but deft, he be...and astonishingly so. This is when it happened, Ladies & Laddies. This...is when and how the Game was won. And this...is where It happens. Championships are not Events. They are Processes. And this ~ if I may be forgiven the Presumption of declaring it ~ is when they are forged. 6 ~ 00:59:50. The very next Play. Hoosten, 3rd & 4, tries ~ one might say: desperately ~ to convert a simple 3rd Down, by passing it over the middle...and NT Vince Wilfork, Great American, swats it down. 3 & Out. Unbelievable. 7 ~ 01:10:35. 21-0, Patriots. On the next Hoosten Drive, they were finally Moving The Chains, and had gotten down to the Patriot 38 with a 1st & 10... Of course, they had done so in Wilfork's absence. As soon as he reentered the Game, things suddenly and immediately changed. First, DR Chandler Jones rudely rejected QB Matt Shaub's Pass, bringing it to 2nd & 10...And then, on 2nd Down, my man LT Duane Brown pulled from the left side, quickly got around in front of Wilfork, got squared up, got low...and got blown UP!! It was a perfectly executed Play... ...and by arguably the best Left Tackle in the Galaxy. ...right up until the part where he got destroyed!! Wilfork corralled young TailBack Justin Forsett, and held'm long enough ~ all the while hauling all 320 Pounds of Duane Brown around on'is back, mind you!! ~ for Will MidFielder Jerod Mayo to sail in and finish'm off!! And suddenly Planet Hoosten's fledgling Offensive was on Life Support: 3rd & 12 from the Patriot 40. And it, too, would fail. NT Vince Wilfork, Ladies & Gentlemen. The Greatest Nose Tackle in All The Land!! What I Saw!! Despite the overwhelmingly prevalent misconception that this "Passing League" has greatly reduced the Impact of what happens In The Trenches, the disturbing Truth remains that when the Eloi battle the Morlocks in The Only Games That Really Matter, in the Grim, Dark Depths of Winter...it's the teams that win in The Trenches that, more often than not, end up emerging Victorious...and sometimes despite staggering Odds against them. The ridiculously unheralded Defensive Tackles remain the most crucial Components of every Team's Defense. Vince Wilfork is perhaps the best of them all. And the Impact he had on this Game was simply dominant.