BOSTON (CBS) — My job here is to write, to find words to try to paint a picture of events that unfolded in sporting events and explain how they happen. But how am I supposed to compete with Tom Brady?
The quarterback stepped to the podium inside Sun Life Stadium visibly perturbed, with the sting of the loss to the Dolphins still fresh. He answered one question, then he didn’t feel much like answering a second.
“We had plenty of chances all day,” Brady said. “We make some good plays and then we make plenty of [poopy] plays, so … .”
And then he took off.
Great quarterback, great wordsmith. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I, like surely all of you, was stuck frozen, feeling shocked and hurt like Garth Holliday did after Ron Burgundy uttered his famous on-air four-letter word in “Anchorman.” You poop mouth! Clean out the poop out of your mouth!
I’ll get over it, and so will the Patriots. In the meanwhile, let’s dig into the leftover thoughts from the Patriots’ 24-20 loss in Miami.
–Brady’s S-bomb was surprising only because he’s been so measured and stiff and, frankly, boring in his public comments for the past few years. He really let off the gas pedal of being a normal human when speaking to the press after his suggestion for fans to get “lubed up” caused a giant, unnecessary PR problem which forced Brady to eventually say he was suggesting that fans drink lots of water. So it was a clear break of his public persona to go out and swear like that, but I still think it was calculated.
Brady is 36 years old, and there’s only one player (Andre Carter) on the active roster who’s within four years of his age. Brady knows the Patriots had the most golden of golden opportunities lying in front of them after Denver lost and opened the door for the No. 1 seed to be stolen away, and he knows the team blew it. He also knows that one more performance like Sunday’s, and the team may be kissing away its first-round bye. He knows everything he says into a microphone gets amplified all over the world and dissected a million times, and I think his message on Sunday was to his teammates that it’s time to up the urgency, because that all-too-famous championship window continues to inch toward being shut.
–This is not how you’re supposed to play defense before halftime:
–If I had told you ahead of time that Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola would both have double-digit reception numbers and both go over 130 receiving yards, that the defense would record four sacks, that LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley would average 4.3 yards per carry, that Michael Hoomanawanui would be channeling his inner Rob Gronkowski by making a one-handed touchdown catch, that the Patriots seemingly cured their first-half woes by opening up a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, that the offense would gain 453 yards, and that they’d go 9-for-17 on third down, you probably would have asked me what it was like to watch the Patriots win by 20 points. Alas … that was not to be.
A lot of that has to do with the defense starting halftime early, and a lot of that has to do with the right leg of Stephen Gostkowski.
–The life of a kicker is tough. One week, you’re bunting picture-perfect onside kicks to help win a game. The next, you’re missing a field goal and sending a kickoff out of bounds.
I don’t begrudge Gostkowski much for the missed 48-yarder, because for one, there is only a tiny margin for error when you’re kicking an oval ball 50 yards, and for two, he booted the [poop] out of that thing. It’s not often you see 48-yarders go over the upright.
But the kickoff out of bounds? That’s just completely unacceptable. Stevie G. boots some of the most majestic kickoffs in all of football (his opening kick made it all the way into the stands on a bounce), and he picked the most unfortunate time to let one hook on him.
Granted, the loss can’t be pinned on him, because the Patriots’ defense didn’t exactly look equipped to stop much at all late in that game, so the Dolphins might have just as easily picked up that 20 yards on their first play from scrimmage. Nevertheless, everyone in New England knows that errant kickoffs can lose Super Bowls, so they’re never a welcome sight.
–Tough day to be a holder, too:
–Under normal circumstances I would’ve been sitting there late in the fourth quarter thinking the Patriots had maybe a 3 percent chance of pulling it off. But given what’s happened in recent weeks, I was putting them more at 50/50. That tells you how crazy things have been lately.
–The NFL cares very deeply about player safety, and specifically the health of their brains. That’s why NFL teams are routinely allowed to let people like Nate Solder play just a week after suffering a concussion, just days after missing a practice due to said concussion, and just hours after getting checked by trainers and the medical staff before the game. Here’s a shocker about the result of that decision: Solder left the game with a head injury.
The league is atrocious at managing the concussion issue, and until some independent doctors are allowed to step in and ban concussed players from even thinking about stepping on the field, players are going to continue to hurt themselves. It’s sick.
–I don’t know why Phil Simms was so hell-bent on telling you about the Patriots’ cheating. He claimed that Logan Ryan held a receiver on a failed Miami third down, just as the replay was showing that Ryan didn’t. And then Simms said that Gronkowski regularly pushes off to gain separation in the end zone, despite the fact that A) he doesn’t and B) he’s not playing. Does Phil comment on message boards talking about “Belicheat and the Cheatriots”?
–Not all Patriots had a bad time in Miami. Skinny Vinny looked like a cool dude in a loose mood. I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of Wilfork next to people who were apparently the smallest people on the sideline:
–Did a memo go out to broadcasters that said Danny AM-endola is now Danny AH-mendola? That’s two straight weeks where the broadcast crew changed the receiver’s name to sound more like a mixed nut than a real last name.
–Julian Edelman’s pants are rated NC-17 for brief nudity. Not suitable for children.
I made a note to post a screen shot of Edelman’s transparent football pants, but upon some consideration, I’ve opted against such an action. Why would I do that to you, really?
–It’s insane to think that the Dolphins won the game despite the fact that it took them more than 23 minutes cross the 50-yard line with the football. That should never happen.
–I’ll admit, when I saw a Patriots tight end haul in a one-handed touchdown catch, and I saw the “7” on his jersey number, I did wonder for a second if Rob Gronkowski had visited the magic knee fairy and made a miraculous return to the field. You can’t say the catch wasn’t Gronkish.
–The Patriots were seemingly unafraid to hand the ball to Stevan Ridley while in the red zone. This is important. Games played in 85 degree weather are over, and they’re going to need all hands on deck in the running game.
–One reason why there is no great statistic to measure a defensive player’s impact on the game: Chandler Jones sprinted into the backfield and crushed Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback released the ball.
Mike Wallace, meanwhile, had about four steps on Kyle Arrington, but because Tannehill threw a wobbly duck, the pass hit Arrington in the head and fell incomplete.
–Do Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola practice their synchronized touchdown spike? They must. It was perfect.
—After Sealver Siliga sacked Tannehill in the fourth quarter, it was followed by about five full seconds of silence. I imagine that’s because Jim Nantz and Phil Simms had to furiously check their roster sheets to see who in the world No. 71 was. Calling Patriots games is hard. Dude doesn’t even have a real ESPN.com player page.
–Dont’a Hightower has been under intense scrutiny for four or five weeks now. He took a step in the right direction last week against Cleveland, but it all went kablooey this week in Miami.
Hightower’s technique in pass coverage could best be described as “The Full Diaper Method.” He just always seems to be running around at three-quarter speed, unsure of which step to take next. He had so much time to react to the ball being in the air on the game-winning touchdown, but he just had no awareness whatsoever:
… and then to not even be able to make the tackle …
–Josh McDaniels’ strategy on the possible winning drive didn’t seem too complicated. It was just slant after slant after slant … and it pretty much worked. Brady’s first nine passes on that drive went like this:
My brother said, “This is like me playing Madden.”
—I know that it’s asking too much to say “you gotta catch that one” on this play …
but at the same time, I kind of feel like you’ve got to catch that one. Perhaps next time Amendola goes to Miami, he’ll ask to borrow David Tyree’s gloves.