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Well then, I guess that settles that. Expecting a knock-down, drag-out fight in the Ward-Gatti tradition, we instead got Tyson-Spinks, except this bout had a predetermined, rigid time structure and no standing eight count.
But 45-3? On Tedy Bruschi Night? Not even in Pete Sheppard’s wettest dreams did anyone see this bloodletting coming.
You could see the fear and indecision in Rex and the Jets eyes from the outset. Trying a 53-yard-field goal into the wind? And what was up with that dubious challenge in the first quarter? The indecision of whether or not to go for it on fourth down and wasting a precious challenge instead of just calling a timeout encapsulated the Jets situation all night. (Why not just take a timeout? Aren’t the two challenges vastly more important than one timeout? If Rex were a trader he’d be swapping blue chippers for penny stocks.)
The Jets didn’t know if they were coming or going. The Patriots provided a quick path with a “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out” mentality. Jets were outcoached, outplayed and ousted.
And you knew that was going to come back to bite Rex in his ample ass cheeks: he subsequently refused to pull the challenge trigger on Brandon Tate’s debatable touchdown catch in the middle of the second quarter. It would have been nothing more than a finger in the dyke at that point, as the touchdown made it 23-3, but if not for the initial foolish challenge he could have at least gave his team a glimmer of hope of staying in the game.
The Jets did nothing. Nothing. This was the most shocking thing of the night. They came in with an assload of bluster but you could hear the busses running from the middle of the first quarter. After that performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if Woody Johnson made them take the Fung Wah back to NYC.
This beating was so severe I desperately wanted Belichick to take his headset off and leave the field at the end of the third quarter to beat the traffic. Maybe ESPN could have got a shot of him peeling out of the parking lot in a Lincoln Towncar, his cougar in tow, throwing up a peace sign and saying “I’m rich, biatch”.
There should be no question now as to who is the superior coach, thought the NY Post probably still thinks its Rex (on Monday they had the audacity to compare this game with the Red Sox 2004 ALCS victory over the Yankees, saying that was the Red Sox time but this is the Jets time. Whatever, News Corp). With seemingly inferior players, especially on defense, Belichick’s game plan was simple and effective. Spread the ball around on offense (Brady hit eight different receivers) and wait patiently for Mark Sanchez to make mistakes. Rex coached as if the team administrator had done too good a job hiding his M&M’s and Oreos (He is a bear when hungry, a gastropod when not).
Good things come to those who wait. The interception to James Sanders, Sanchez’s third of the game, was one I would have been disappointed to have thrown in Madden. It’s alright to make mistakes like that against the Browns and Bengals but against a well-coached team, their true stupidity is exposed.
On paper, the Jets offensive skill position players blow the Pats out of the water but that is why smart teams don’t draft players by virtue of their combine measurable. Mike Mamula would have fit in perfectly with these Jets.
Joe McKnight, who plays more like Brian McKnight, contributed three carries for 19 yards. The man cut in lieu of McKnight, Little Danny Woodhead, had 115 yards on six touches. The former was a slightly accomplished player from one of the biggest and glitziest programs in the country, USC, while the latter was just the Division II all time leader in rushing yards (career and single season). This disdain for actual performance over measurables is why 15 teams passed over Jerry Rice in 1985. Rice was the first pick in the USFL draft, another inkling into that leagues innovative nature. Maybe that is what Donald Trump’s hair was waving in celebration about?
The point of this is that no matter how fire and brimstone your pregame speeches are, no matter how fun and competitive an atmosphere you create around your team, no matter how much you try to emulate the greatness of other coaches, the only way to truly build a team is not to collect “stars” but to look at the space between the stars. That is where you find players like Woodhead, Deion Branch and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who had a pair of touchdowns. Somewhere, Laurence Maroney weeps.
On a day in which another branch of his coaching tree fell broken, Josh McDaniels, Belichick asserted his singular brilliance. The man is a Jedi Master. You can be around him. You can study him. You can mimic his idiosyncrasies but if you’re not Force Sensitive you will always be a mere pretender. Mangini was and McDaniels is. On this night Ryan could only hope to be even that. Outcoached doesn’t even begin to explain what happened Monday night.
With Belichick in his puffy coat, was anybody else reminded of George Costanza and his Gore-Tex? I hope Belichick’s pregame speech was “All right we got the wine. Aren’t we lucky? We got wine. Imagine if we didn’t bring wine. We’d be shunned by society. Outcasts! WHERE’S YOUR WINE? GET OUT!” Belichick seems more like a Pepsi man, anyways.
Man, do the Patriots miss Randy Moss, huh? Talk radio ranters and flamers (due to their incendiary nature not sexual orientation, get your mind out of the gutter), who are a healthy mix of what Homer Simpson once called “drunks, angry loners and the unemployable”, will hopefully now fall silent on how Randy “stretched the field.” Woodhead stretched the field on his third quarter fifty yard catch and run quite well.
After Belichick strode to the podium for the post game press conference there was a risible span of silence. Belichick scanned the assembled press and finally said with a humorous lilt “any questions?” The media fell silent, which may have been a first in the history of Boston sports. What was there to say? What questions were there to ask? All answers were provided on the field.
You know this was a satisfying win for Belichick and he resorted to cracking jokes in the press conference about his golf game. Referencing Shayne Graham’s first quarter field goal, a lead the Patriots would not relinquish, Belichick quipped that he wished he could hook shots like that out on the links.
I loved Woodhead’s post game interview on ESPN. Next to Steve Young and Matt Millen he looked like somebody’s college aged son who they let on the set because it was his birthday. With his tousled mop top, chin scruff and slightly glassy eyes, he looked like he just got back from a Phish show. A bad ass to the end, it was great to see Young and Millen in overcoats and gloves during the outdoor jam session while Woodhead rocked a mere sweatshirt. He was still warm from all that dancing and homemade Kahlua.
After sucking the lifeblood out of the Jets on the field, Twilight Tom Brady showed up at the presser looking like Nosferatu (that’s Dracula to you and I). Unnerved by his monolithic collar and creepily parted hair, he looked like a futuristic assassin from Bio Shock or post apocalyptic gang leader from Fallout.
Anyone else catch on Pats Fifth Quarter how they kept cutting to commercials during Brady’s time at the podium? In my mind, these were chosen censored moments, as Brady probably snuck in some “they f-ing sucked” and “Dirty Sanchez can lick my supermodel f-ing balls” or some such juvenile locker room taunt.
Ryan clearly had cried after the game, his eyes reddened and moist with the lust of failure at the post-game podium. I don’t like to harp on physical appearance (yeah right!) but Rex needs a bit of honest friendly advice: take care of that neck flap. That flopping giblet hypnotized me and not in a good way. The shadow his turkey neck cast on his turtleneck mocked and diminished everything that came out of his mouth. Take a cue from Arrested Development’s Gangy and get that thing surgically lopped off.
The added beauty of this game is that you know Rex is going to file this away in his revenge file. Stoking the healthy and dramatic Pats-Jets border war, this game was just another log on the fire created by Bill Parcells’ sudden departure in 1997.
The hyperbole is already spewing, as Rex invoked his father’s masterpiece of a team in dealing with the Monday Night embarrassment. (By the way, all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl and nonsense spoken on media day I am now coining “Superbole.” Carry on.)
“But there’s another defeat that I think was probably just as humiliating, just as bad … and that was the ’85 Bears against Miami,” Ryan told ESPN.
Rex remains predictably undaunted but Bill will still be Bill. But, until he and his kind are betrayed and slaughter by a horrible actor during the Clone Wars, the Jedi Master will always have the upper hand over the Wookie.