October 22, 2006
Waiting Around For The Colts Game
BY: Kevin Rousseau
Watching a Patriots game against the Buffalo Bills is a lot like the weather around these parts. If you don't like the way it's going, just wait a minute. It will change.
In many ways, the Patriots were dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage last Sunday against the Bills. Especially during the first half. But let's quickly review how the Bills efficiently managed to keep the Patriots well out in front of them all afternoon.
There was the bonehead unnecessary roughness on Tom Brady that lead one play later to a Corey Dillon touchdown run. Then there was the Mike Vrabel strip of the ball out of J.P. Losman's hands.
And to drive the point home, let's remember Mr. Losman locking in on his receiver in such an obvious fashion that Asante Samuel and his agent should take him out to dinner when Samuel hits the free agent market next offseason.
On a national level, it bears repeating that the Patriots just aren't very sexy. They commit only three penalties in Sunday's game and have practically invented the statistic called "Points Off Turnovers" since 2001. And if you are a fantasy football fan, the Pats are about as exciting as some hot, late-night C-Span action.
But like a golfer who cleans up on the easy holes to give herself a cushion on those grueling holes on the back nine, the Patriots take victories like Sunday's thrashing and say "Thank you very much" on their way to the team bus. When home field advantage is being decided eight weeks or so, it will be the ho-hum games like this one that will be the difference for them.
Looking ahead, I have to say that this game next Monday night against the Vikings is somewhat of an annoyance.
That's because I got horseshoes on my mind, brother.
It's time to be clicking on Indystar.com every morning and then wait for the latest piece of embarrassing behavior from Colts GM Bill Polian to be revealed on profootballtalk.com.
I can't exactly put my finger on why it is that this team gets my goat. The Patriots--with the exception of last year's MNF disaster--have owned the Colts six ways to Sunday over the years. The all-time season series stands at Patriots 43-Colts 25. Or how about that 14-3 record since 1996, chummy? Time may have made you forget just how impressive the 24-14 AFC Championship victory in 2004 was. And if that one doesn't knock your socks off, the AFC Divisional playoff 20-3 domination a year later will be shown on the NFL Network for years to come.
Maybe it's the seeming arrogance of the Colts. Of course, being a Patriots fan, this could be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. But nonetheless, I feel I'm onto something. It's the way that Peyton Manning is always jawing at everyone else on his team to run this way or block that way. Perhaps that is why there is no better NFL press conference this side of a Dennis Green meltdown than a Peyton Manning playoff loss post mortem. Something like "Let's just say we had some problems with our pass protection," was the excuse last year against the Steelers.
And of course, there is this whole messy Vinatieri thing that we now have to deal with. It still seems much too awkward for me; similar in many ways to the whole Johnny Damon-Yankee mess. Don't these guys realize that they there ruining the enjoyment of our championship DVDs from yesteryear? The kick in the snow in the Raiders just isn't as cool anymore. The kicks to win three Super Bowls have lost a few miles off their fastballs in this man's heart.
Not that we ever get vindictive in this area when we get spurned or anything. That's not our style, folks. (Editor's Comment: Sarcasm noted).
My theory on this vindictiveness (Guilty as charged, I'm afraid) is that it has to do with the feeling we get when people move away to Austin, Texas or Palm Bay, Florida from New England. Deep down inside, what we are feeling is that "they've given up and taken the easy way out." These people have the nerve to turn their backs on crummy weather, crooked politicians, high taxes, family histrionics, crumbling infrastructure, bad traffic, crotchety old people, a "we're more intellectually stimulating than you" mentality, and an overall Calvinistic fatalism view of things. The nerve of people like Vinatieri, Damon, and even my buddy Jimmy (Austin, TX's newest fan). How dare they?
"Hey, I can watch them at this bar that show's all the Pats and Sox games. And I'll get the dish for the Sunday Ticket," they always counter. But somehow, deep down inside they must know that they are going to miss the buzz that comes to this area leading up to a big game like the one on November 5 against the Colts. We may have a few strikes against us here in New England but big game anticipation is certainly not one of them.
They can have all of those advantages. I'll stick with parochialism, the Maine coast, Hood ice cream, the Boston Marathon, a summer Friday night Sox game, walking the same streets that our great grandparents struggled to earn a living on, bands like J. Geils, using the breakdown lane during rush hour, missing my grandmother every time I walk into a Friendly's, mispronouncing the letter "r", seeing the same guy behind the counter every morning for the last twenty years, being buddies with the same guys since the age of six, knowing the meaning of a "regular" Dunkin' Donuts coffee, or enjoying a decent seasonal Sam Adams ale.
But most of all, what I couldn't tear myself away from--no matter how good the golf would be "down there"--is the buzz before and after a big game around here. Direct TV's Sunday Ticket won't give you the memories of watching a Super Bowl parade with your dad and brother and shouting out "I saw the trophies. Did you see them?" as the duck boat whizzes by on Tremont Street. No Boston-themed bar in California can duplicate the feeling of walking into work after the Sox reversed the curse in 2004 and seeing the unexpected joy on all of your friends' faces.
So if I seem a little jacked up for the Colts game, you'll have to forgive me. As a New Englander, it's just who I am.
Idle Zinger thoughts while trying to figure out just who the hell I was trying to impress when I traded in some air miles for a free subscription to "The Economist" last year:
Were we all fools for falling for that whole nose Breathe Right gimmick a few years ago? You don't see as many around as you used to.
Note to Detroit Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz: The joke's on you, not us.
When is it not ever gray and damp in Buffalo? You do have to hand it to Bills fans. Man, are they loyal to their team.
Raise your hand if you get antsy when you still see Tom Brady and Corey Dillon in the game with two minutes remaining in a 28-6 blowout.
As for Mrs. Rousseau's bye week guest column from last week, I could mount murky defenses on each of her points. But then, who would believe me?
If you haven't heard Ray Lamontagne's two discs yet, what are you waiting for? Stirring is not too powerful of an adjective for this guy's music.
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