September 09, 2007
Jets Game A Nice Appetizer For Chargers Showdown
BY: Kevin Rousseau
Seldom do things actually come as advertised.
Opening week of the NFL season always brings excitement and nervousness. You wonder if a Cinderella team will rise up out of nowhere like the 2001 Patriots. You hope that a devastating injury doesn't sideline your franchise quarterback and end the season in September. And of course it's interesting to see what pre-season favorite falls flat on its face right out of the gate. Every year in this space, I caution you not to read too much into the first game of a NFL season. After all, it's hard to remember the last time the Patriots played well on opening day. And that hasn't stopped them from being one of the lead horses as they come down the stretch every year. So hold off for now on calling your Aunt Edna in Flagstaff for a spot on the couch for the weekend of Super Bowl XLII in February.
But, that said…
On Sunday, the 2007 New England Patriots delivered the goods with a 38-14 thrashing of the Jets. The defense looked solid. The offensive line was stellar. Tom Brady was his Hall of Fame self. And then there were those playmakers.
Let's review this author's football evaluation skills. When Ellis Hobbs took the ball eight yards deep out of the end zone on the second half kickoff, I murmured "What are you thinking?" A few seconds later, Hobbs strode his way to a new NFL record for the longest kick return in the League's 89-year history. Then a few minutes later when Randy Moss beat triple coverage for a 51-yard touchdown catch, I said to my wife "Remember, the guy I didn't want the Patriots to get? That's him."
So now that we established that I won't be moving to a NFL front office near you anytime soon, I do have some thoughts on this game and the upcoming Sunday night showdown against the Chargers.
First, the Jets game. The gap that has widened between these two teams in the offseason is alarming. Sure, I expected the Patriots to win. But what I didn't expect was the complete domination on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball by New England. Brady could have knitted a sweater for his baby boy as he sat in the pocket waiting for an open receiver on Sunday afternoon. And then there were the playmakers. I used to think that "playmakers" were overrated in the grand scheme of things. The aforementioned ownership of the line of scrimmage was all that mattered. But it's hard to argue that such talent like Hobbs, Moss and Maroney at the skill positions did not make this game a laugher. You know it was a good day for your team when the two gripes you had were a botched hold on a field goal attempt and a Wes Welker dropped pass on third down. Life is tough, man.
Speaking of tough, that's what the San Diego Chargers think they are. The Patriots and the Chargers hatred stems from the New England victory last January in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. For a primer on why this rivalry has a nasty streak to it, I turn to youtube.com for your viewing pleasure. First, we have a pre-game yahoo rally in San Diego where Shawne Merriman promises to "hit Tom Brady right in his mouth.". Next, we have this clip from NECN where Phillip Rivers whines that Ellis Hobbs is "the sorriest corner in the League" while Rosie Colvin claims "The lights are out. There's a power outage.". And finally, I offer up Tedy Bruschi in a post-game rant inside the Patriots locker room wishing the Chargers all-pros a good time in Hawaii.
Like Pete Carroll coming in to keep things moving in the same direction after Bill Parcells left, Chargers head coach Norv Turner is perceived as a "players" coach for a team that frankly doesn't have the maturity for such a luxury. Historically like it was in Carroll's tenure with the Pats, the results of such moves is detrimental. I would expect this trend to continue especially since the Chargers didn't make any personnel upgrades of significance in the offseason. It's difficult to remember another team in recent memory that has won so little but thinks so highly of themselves and their destiny. Give the Patriots credit for realizing that if you stand still in the offseason, you are moving backward. The Chargers didn't get that memo and will be paying for it as the season rolls along.
The payoff for the Patriots offseason upgrades continues this Sunday night when the Bolts come to town.
Idle Zinger thoughts while wondering how a Dropkick Murphys tatoo would look across my solar plexus:
Overheard the other day at our house: "Please help me get the Dora The Explorer toilet seat off your daughter's head."
Netflix pick of the week: "Wrestlemania: Volume 1" This will bring you back to a more innocent time when you could rely on the integrity and fairness of professional wrestling.
Mrs. Rousseau came up with a gem a few weeks ago during the news when a gripping news conference came across the television. "Maybe they should nickname that guy 'Belichick-for-a-pulse,' " she offered
Sick of all of those Peyton Manning commercials yet. Can this guy ever say no to a tv offer? I mean who does this Manning think he is? Former WMTW Channel 8 "Pats Game Day" commentator Kevin Rousseau? That guy never turns down a gig. The last I saw, Rousseau was doing color commentary for church beano on local cable access.
Okay, I plunked down hundreds of dollars to see The Police at Fenway Park in July (worth it). The current lounge act version of Van Halen won't get me to do the same later this fall despite my past allegiance. But my question is this: Just when can I expect Men At Work to make their triumphant return to the Cape Cod Coliseum?
Do you too get the feeling that Kevin Millar would still love to play for the Red Sox? And for just meal money at that.
Site-specific editorial/photos Copyright 2001-2004 PatsFans.com. This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school, team, or league.