Archive for December, 2008

Pats win, but Jets do them in, again
December 29, 2008

The Patriots tomorrow will be cleaning out their lockers because the overrated Brett Favre hand delivered an AFC East title to the Miami Dolphins. Wait, let me correct myself. Favre did not hand deliver the title to the Dolphins- he airmailed it to them, via 3 terrible interceptions, one which went for a Dolphins TD and since the final margin was 7 points- well what do you think?

The Patriots, winning their 11th game of the season 13-0 against the Bills, deserved a better fate but looking back it was Favre who did them in last month helping his Jets to that overtime win in Foxboro, so the Pats really have no one to blame but themselves.

It was quite an accomplishment for Bill Belichick and the remaining healthy Patriots players to win 11 games. Matt Cassel played beyond anyone’s wildest expectations including his own, tho he might not admit to that. Cassel did say after todays game that he was happy with what he was able to accomplish this year-Two 400 yard games, 21 TDs with just 11 INTs, nearly 4,000 yards passing. …In Tom Brady’s 7 regular seasons, just 2 of them were decididely better statistically. Cassel made himself alot of money as some team(San Francisco, The Jets?) will pay him a king’s ransom to put their uniform on next season.

The Patriots not making the playoffs probably won’t sink in until next weekend when you see 8-8 Arizona(who the Pats demolished last week) and Miami (who the Pats beat up last month) play while the Pats are sitting home.

So the off season begins with a need to continue to rebuild the defense-specifically to upgrade their team speed, and to sit home weighing the many what-ifs.

MD

Pats miss Seymour
December 28, 2008

Hate to say anything derogatory about Swampscott’s own Dick Jauron but the Bills coach was outcoached out of an attempt to kick a field goal and tie this game up at half time.

1st off he used his 3rd and final timeout with :28 seconds left and with :22 seconds left the Patriots strung out a play long enough-while Bills back Fred Jackson ran off the field with the ball instead of giving it to the referees to set it down for a field goal attempt. And time ran out. Wow!

The Patriots rush defense is the 12th best in the league givin up an average of 104 yards a game. In the 1st half here in Buffalo, the Pats have already given up 115. Ouch. Richard Seymour’s absense is definitely a factor.

Pats should be grateful that they have one field goal on the board in this wind, giving them a 3-0 lead at intermission, an intermission that did not go quietly as Bills players and coaches were on the field for a long time arguing for more time to be put on the clock after that crazy ending.

-MD

NFL record for consecutive rushes?
December 28, 2008

That’s 13 straight

 combined rushes for the 2 teams, 9 for the Bills, 4 for the Pats. Look for Morris to break his career high of rushes of 25.

Look for the Pats to use all of their timeouts in the 1st quarter to extend their time with the wind.

Bills punter Russ mormon may have just turned in the play of the game with a 35 yard punt into the wind.

-MD

How windy is it in Buffalo
December 28, 2008

Bills punter Russ Mormon just kicked a 95 yard punt with out too much of an effort. Once the ball hits the turf, with the wind it takes off! But against the wind- look for 10-20 yard punts, or less. Seriously!

Patriot Kicker Steve Gostkowski is kicking them in from 50 yards-against the wind, And from 58 yards-with 10-15 yard to spare with the wind.

Meanwhile Matt Cassel is focusing on throwing the short pass- swings passes, scfreen passes, nothing too deep. Anything over 10 yards is just not happening- at least with the wind which is where the Patriots are now warming up.

As I told you yesterday- Look for Sammy Morris to get about 20 carries, LaMont Jordan to get 15 more with about  5 for Kevin Faulk and 3 more for Heath Evans.

Patriots/Bills inactives
December 28, 2008

The big news is that the Bills #1 running back Marshawn Lynch(1,036 yards rushing) is out/inactive. On a windy day like today- that is huge for the Patriots.

Patriots inactives

#29 Lewis Sanders

#41 Ray Ventrone

#42 BenJarvus Green-Ellis

#54 Tedy Bruschi

#65 Wesley Britt

#74 Billy Yates

#93 Richard Seymour -which means that #97 Jarvis Green will start in place of Seymour and #99 Mike Wright will, again play alot. Both of them have  played well the last month filling in for Seymour and Jarvis Green

Bills Inactives

#11 WR-Roscoe Parrish

#23 RB Marshawn Lynch

#33 CB Jabari Greer (a starter)

#58 LB Teddy Lehman

#71 DL  Jason Peters (a starter)

#77  OT Demetrius Bell

#78 OT Jonathon Scott

Buffalo’s WACKY WINDY Weather
December 28, 2008

When the NFL schedule came out last spring, the trip to Buffalo on Dec 28th was not the most coveted one in media circles. At the time we figured that not only would the weather would be lousy, but  that the game probably wouldn’t mean alot. We were half right.

As we all know the game means everything to the Patriots chances of making the playoffs, and the weather IS lousy, but not quite how we all thought. Right now it is windier here in Buffalo than I have ever seen for a game. There was actually a rumor floating around that the game might be delayed 3 hours- that was quickly squelched. Just how windy is it?- they have already adjusted wind blown crooked goal posts twice and it’s only 11:30. Right now when there are usually about 20-30 players on the field in their shorts or sweats getting used to the conditions, there are a total of 6 players. All of them having to do with the place kicking game-snappers, holders and kickers.

The quarterbacks were out earlier seeing how they could throw with this wind. They went back in after about 5  minutes. What’s the point? My blog that I wrote yesterday about the Patriots running the ball-take it to the bank!

The temperature this morning here in Buffalo was 60 degrees. Right now it is 37 degrees with a wind chill making it feel like 23 degrees  (Dickie and Harvey will be so proud of me).

By the way, The Patriots charter does not get CBS (Delta must have decided that with CBS’s terrible ratings that it wouldn’t be missed :), so the Patriots will not be able to watch the Jets game on the way back to Boston. The Patriots charter does get ESPN news so that is what they will watch for Jewts updates on the way home.

Injury/inactive report coming up but Richard Seymour did not make the trip and will not play.

Pats to run over the Bills
December 27, 2008

I am going to do you a favor and tell you exactly how tomorrow’s Pats-Bills game is going play out.

Remember what Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan did to Oakland in the rain 2 weeks ago? 117 yards and 97 yards rushing respectively-look for a repeat against the  19th ranked Buffalo rush defense.

And now you want to know how and why the Pats are going to do that. Because tomorrow in Buffalo it is going to be windy. VERY windy. Not cold-believe it or not-about 45 degrees at kickoff, but windy so why risk too many passes when you have 2 power backs who generally don’t fumble.

Now, Wes Welker will get about 4 catches so he can break his own Patriots single season receptions record and stay ahead of the nfl’s 2nd place receiver, Houston’s Andre Johnson, who has 105 catches. And Matt Cassel will try a screen or 2 to Randy Moss, like last weeks 76 yard TD.

It is almost balmy here in Buffalo- 53 degrees. Balmy certainly for December 27th.  I’ll check in tomorrow morning with more game time updates on inactives. …in the meantime try to muster up some good karma for the hated Jets against the Miami Dolphins.

-MD

Put It In The Books – 2nd Half Running Thoughts
December 24, 2008

(6:44 to play in the 3rd) It’s over. Really, I’m calling this one Charlie Gibson-style for the Celtics. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have hit back to back dagger 3-pointers to give the Celtics an 18-point lead. Philly had better summon the ghosts of Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, Andrew Toney, and Moses Malone if they want to have a chance in this one.

(2:22 to play in the 3rd) Rajon and Scal just wished me a happy holiday… OK, they did it for the entire arena, but it got me in the spirt. The Celtics Dancers are also in the spirit, sporting Santa outfits tonight, although if Santa dressed like that he’d be pretty cold in the North Pole. The Sixers have made a mini-run to pull within 12. Despite this, Doc is sticking with his routine of pulling Pierce and Garnett towards the end of the 3rd to give them extra rest around the quarter change (he does this at the end of the 1st too). Powe and Allen are waiting to check in. Looks like they won’t get a chance. The quarter ends without another stoppage… Celtics up 78-66 after 3.

(10:36 remaining) Stay out of Leon Powe’s way! Lunchpail Leon has just dropped two slams on the Sixers, the second resulting in a 3-point play. We’ve got most of the second unit – TA, Scal, Leon, and House playing with Ray Allen. Celtics up 83-68.

(7:30 remaining) With the Celtics up 19, the Scal-A-Brine chants have started up. I really don’t think it bothers him THAT much. There are a plethora of WWSD? shirts around the Garden tonight… hilarious.

(5:18 remaining) BEAT LA! is the chant from the Garden faithful, who are enjoying a record-setting blowout. The Celtics are up 17, and even a recuperating Glen “Big Baby” Davis is cracking a smile on the bench.

(2:30 remaining) Eddie House is filling it up in garbage time, hitting back to back threes, and that is enough to wake the mighty GINO from his winter slumber! 104-86 – you’ll have to excuse me while I get my American Bandstand on.

Time to shut it down for the postgame, but go to bed tonight knowing this. Your 2008-2009 Boston Celtics are now off to the best start in NBA history. 27-2, never been done before. The only other teams to go 26-2 both won the the NBA championship.

Now it’s time to BEAT LA Christmas Day – 5:00 right here on WCVB-TV in high definition! We’ll see you then! Happy Holidays to you all!

–SI

Celtics Going For History – 1st Half Running Thoughts
December 24, 2008

Welcome to the TD BankNorth Garden where the Boston Celtics are going for NBA history tonight versus the Philadelphia 76ers. Should the Celtics win tonight, not only will it be a team record 19 in a row, but they will be the first team in league history to start a season 27-2 (they are currently tied with the 69-70 Knicks and 66-67 76ers).

It could be a bumpy start for the C’s. Traffic was so bad on Storrow Drive and 93 that only 5 players had made it to the Garden by the end of our 6 pm newscast! However, everyone is present and accounted for as we get underway. Big Baby is still on the bench in street clothes after his car accident Monday… Sam Cassell is dressed for action.

(5:10 left in the 1st) A back and forth affair so far, highlighted by a monster dunk from Philly’s Andre Iguodala, and some smooth jump shooting from Rajon Rondo. Some aesthetic items of note. The TV team of Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn have been freed from their prison behind the scorer’s table. They are now set up in the space between the courtside seats on the opposite side, where the national crews are usually based. Also, a dancing bottle of grape jelly entertained fans during a TV timeout. The bottle performed various moves, including “the Gino.” It defies explanation.

(1:52 remaining in the 1st) Early exit for Rajon Rondo, who quickly picked up a second foul. We’ll see how that affects the flow of the Celtics offense, which is now being run by Eddie House. 24-23 Celtics.

(9:08 remaining in the 2nd) Full second unit in now, with a backcourt of House and Pruitt, with Allen, Powe, and Scalabrine up front. This should be a good test to see if they can produce points without one of the Big Three in the game. Celeb update – Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, tight end Ben Watson, and HUGE Channel 5 fan Donnie Wahlberg are here.

(8:08 remaining in the 2nd) I believe we just witnessed a vicious double air ball on two free throws by Philly’s Reggie Evans. Ouch. 37-30 Celtics.

(7:01 remaining in the 2nd) Rajon Rondo just checked in for Eddie House. For the record, the Celtics added 4 points to their lead in Rondo’s absence (outscoring Philly 13-9 in about 7 minutes of play).

(3:42 remaining in the 2nd) After Philly tied the game at 37, the starters re-asserted themselves. Ray Allen hit a driving layup, and then Andre Miller got Rondo’d for two, and then Rajon fed Perk for a layup of his own, and all of a sudden it’s 44-37 and the Celtics are back in control.

Rajon Rondo adds another layup, Perk with a 3-point play, and then Miller gets Rondo’d again, for a layup that drives the crowd into a frenzy. Move over DJ and Chief – Rondo and the (Perk Is A) Beast are here. The improvement in both guys this season is remarkable, especially in Perkins’ case, considering he had to have another operation on his shoulder in the offseason. And if Rondo isn’t an All-Star, the voting process is corrupt. I love that he steps up his game against the “elite” guards in the league.

Your numbers at the break:
Rajon Rondo: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Kendrick Perkins: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 scowls

HALFTIME Boston 58, 76ers 44

Is there any doubt they are going to win this game?

Are You Surprised?
December 23, 2008

As I expertly predicted to everyone in the office weeks ago, the Yankees jumped in at the last minute and stole Mark Teixeira from the Red Sox.

ESPN reports the deal is for 8 years and more than $170 million.

(Funny anecdote – our friends at the ABC station in Washington DC just called, asking if they could get a feed of any Mark Teixeira news we might get. I had to break it to them that he picked the Yankees!)

This brings to mind the Carlos Beltran situation from 2005. The story goes that Beltran and Scott Boras called the Yankees and said they would sign for 6 years, $96 million… even though they had the Mets 7-year offer worth $115 million on the table. The Yankees didn’t bite (a move they regretted) and the Mets got their man, albeit with the inferiority complex that comes with not being the first choice.

The Red Sox have to be kicking themselves right now. If John Henry hadn’t sent that e-mail and ponied up a measly $5 million or so (chump change for the Sox) they could have had their man.

So Manny Ramirez, what are you doing next summer?

–SI