THE THREAD on Facebook began with the Patriots and Jets tied 10-10 at the half Sunday. It was started by long-time sports guy Steve Krause of the Lynn Item.
“At some point, can we just accept that this team just isn’t that good,” Krause wrote.
ESPN’s Kevin Winter fired back: “Then how do you explain wins over KC/HOU/CHI and GB?”
Krause said: “I didn’t say they STUNK, Kevin, I just said ‘not that good,’ which, in context of what we’ve experienced means ‘I don’t think they’re good enough to make the Super Bowl this year.’ Good teams don’t struggle against the Lions and Jets on the road. Outside of Chicago, have they played a decent game on the road this year? Don’t say Buffalo, because they struggled in that game too.”
Added Winter: “You’re right … Chicago is the only game on the road they’ve played well. I’ll agree with that. However, 7-3 with six games to play doesn’t tell me they’re just not good (to quote you). I cannot accept that. They can easily make the Super Bowl.”
Funny thing is, both old friends are right.
The Pats won 27-13 Sunday. They covered. But did that game leave a GOOD taste in your mouth? They were handed a touchdown by poor coaching by Todd Bowles. The game was tied 13-13. They were playing a Jets team with a fossil playing quarterback.
Josh McCown threw for 276 yards and kept the Jets in the game.
New England, as close to a hundred percent on offense as they’ve been all year, did enough to win. They Pats had all their players back and, allowing for rust, managed to get it done.
“It’s good, just nothing at all. I’m feeling good,” Pats quarterback Tom Brady said on his weekly WEEI appearance Monday. “A little better on third down, I mean we could’ve done better in the red area, scored more points, but just a good win to go on the road and beat the Jets.”
Sunday saw Brady reach another milestone. He passed Peyton Manning for the most passing yardage, counting postseason, when he reached 79,280.
That came a day after his Michigan Wolverines were pulverized by Ohio State, costing Brady some money.
“Unfortunately I lost a bet to Nate Ebner,” Brady said on WEEI. “I already paid him his money and I have to wear some ridiculous outfit. But man, the freaking Wolverines, they can’t win a big game. That was pretty crappy to watch.”
Manchester native and former UNH quarterback Ryan Day is the offensive coordinator who designed the plan that crushed the Wolverines. There are Steve Addazio/fired rumblings coming out of Chestnut Hill. Day is a former BC assistant. BC director of athletics Martin Jarmond came from Ohio State. Connect the dots?
The Brady/Aaron Rodgers DEBATE took another turn with the Packers and Rodgers losing again Sunday night to all but fall from the playoff picture (and closer to, say, Josh McDaniels, getting their coaching job).
From writer Will Presti: “Aaron Rodgers is now 0-37 when trailing by more than one point in the 4th quarter to a team with a winning record. That’s a real stat.”
More Presti: “Brady & Rodgers: Both Overrated? In 20 games w/o Brady, using 3 diff backup QBs, Pats have a .700 win %, proving any QB can win prolifically in that system; Rodgers: 1 SB in 13 yrs. 38th in playoff win %. 0-37 when down by more than 1 in the 4th to teams w/winning records #NFL”
Speaking of McDaniels, Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal tweets: “The Colts have $118 million in cap space next year?! McDaniels did know this, right?”
And, with Andrew Luck back to being Andrew Luck, Indy has won five in a row and is right in the middle of the wild card picture.
CBS’ Nate Burleson: “Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the best quarterback-pass catcher duo ever.”
Montana-Rice? That’s close. If you have other suggestions, let me know.
If you watched Sunday Night Football, you probably saw the Vikings win the game and lose cornerback Xavier Rhodes, quite possibly for the season with a hamstring. That has to help Brady and his pals coming into Sunday’s home game. “They don’t get any easier from here,” Minny quarterback Kirk Cousins said after the game, pointing to New England and Seattle road games coming up.
Great stat on SNF that tells you not to fall behind these Vikings in the second half: They have won 34 straight when leading in the third quarter, 21 in a row when ahead in the fourth.
Note: The Patriots have won 19 straight when leading after three.
Another SNF takeaway was Randy Moss getting his Hall of Fame ring, putting the cap on his Canton season.
Work to do
The Celtics, who played in New Orleans Monday night, fell to 10-10 with Saturday night’s loss at Dallas. JJ Berea played like Bob Cousy in becoming the latest guard to hurt Brad Stevens’ team.
“Lack of effort. Lack of fear. Like, we don’t impose our fear and will on other teams,” said Marcus Smart. “Last year, teams when they came in and played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight. This year, teams can’t wait to play us. And that’s a problem.
“When guys aren’t scared of you no more, there’s nothing you can do about that. We gotta change it. We gotta come out and be the first one to hit guys in the mouth. We gotta get that swagger back.”
One of the problems encountered by these guards on defense is a total lack of help from inside players. There’s no rim protector, and even in this day and age of the 3-pointer, it helps to have some sort of deterrent on the inside.
Makes no sense
The dumbest thing in sports is the football fight, where you haul off and hit someone in the helmet. And these fracases are getting more common in both college and pro.
And the one at the end of the wild Texas A&M-LSU game involved an old New England friend.
Kevin Faulk, now the LSU director of player personnel, was involved in a scuffle with someone wearing A&M maroon who had a sideline credential. Indications are Faulk came to the defense of LSU special assistant Steve Kragthorpe, allegedly punched by the A&M guy. Kragthorpe has Parkinson’s disease and a has a pacemaker.
“Out of nowhere, I got nailed,” Kragthorpe said in a phone interview with The Daily Advertiser on Sunday. “I didn’t go down, but I clutched over. I was like, ‘Damn, he got me right in my pacemaker.’ Then it started fluttering like he jostled it.”
Oh, and the Aggies nipped the Tigers 74-72 in seven overtimes.
Apologies for skipping over the Steelers in a Sunday note that addressed the Pats-KC home field situation. Pittsburgh was actually ahead of the Patriots and also hosts New England in two weeks. But Ben Roethlisberger’s ill-timed uh-oh cost the Steelers the game, leaving New England at 8-3, Pittsburgh 7-3-1, so the Steelers would lose that home field battle if the Pats beat them.
Still, if the Patriots won out, and the Chiefs lose a game, New England would be the top seed in the AFC. K.C. still has a home game against the L.A. Chargers and a trip to Seattle.
Sometimes it’s funny to see how teams make stats work to their favor.
Take the Boston College basketball team and Ky Bowman, for instance.
The Eagles hosted Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten challenge Monday night and here are some Bowman stats taken right from the BC media notes.
“Ky Bowman is the Nation’s Most Dynamic Guard and is the only player in the country averaging at least: 21.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game with a 1.42 assist/turnover ratio and shooting 50% from the floor.”
And: In 2017-18, Bowman was the only player in the country in to average at least 17.6 points; 6.8 rebounds; 4.7 assists per game.
…Since 1990, only 10 players have posted at least those season averages.
…One of those players was National Player of the Year — Denzel Valentine of Michigan State in 2016.
…Three were top three NBA draft picks: Ben Simmons, LSU (#1, 2016); Evan Turner, Ohio State (#2, 2010); and Penny Hardaway, Memphis (#3, 1993).
…Five were first-round NBA draft picks: Simmons; Turner; Hardaway; Valentine (#14, 2016); Bob Sura, FSU (#17, 1995).
…Seven were named their conference’s Player of the Year: Valentine (2015-16); Hardaway (1991-92); Turner (2009-10); Trenton Hassell, Austin Peay (1999-2000); Ricky Minard, Morehead State (2002-03); T.J. Cline, Richmond (2016-17); Patrick Cole, N.C. Central (2016-17).
…Nine of the 10 earned Associated Press All-American honors.
Any player whacked by the stick of Ron Hextall or fans of any teams who watched him play can’t be too upset that Hextall was fired on Monday from his job running the Flyers .
But when the news broke, it read he was “relieved of his duties,” which has become the term for getting canned.
If I go to a restaurant, I am relieved of some of my money. If the powers that be at this newspaper decide they don’t want more anymore, then I’m fired. ...
Remember when Tuukka Rask couldn’t beat the Canadiens? Well, after Saturday night’s win, he is 8-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average, a shutout and .942 save percentage against the Habs.
David Backes, who finally scored his first goal of the season Saturday night, took a stick to the mouth to draw a double minor and lose some blood in the game, leading to the John Moore PPG that produced the win.
“I don’t mind bleeding,” he said. “Bleeding is better than concussions to me. I think if that’s what it takes to win, I’ll take blood.”
Finally, can I give you a pet peeve? I can’t stand home broadcasters referring to “we” and “us” in calling their games. I grew up in New York listening to announcers who didn’t do that — even Phil Rizzuto didn’t do it — and I just have zero patience for it. Call the game. Don’t tell me you’re part of the team.