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Connelly’s Top Ten: Merry Christmas To All!

Tom Brady onville, Fla. The Patriots won the game 23-16.

1. Patriots – Its games like these that make you wonder if they will get past the first round

OFFENSE

* F for the offensive line – Tom Brady got hit over 10 times? The middle of the line can’t figure out a stunt or delayed blitz if their 1,000-calorie buffet depended on it
* It’s taking Wes Welker longer and longer to get up from hits
* Tom Brady almost knocked over Danny Woodhead on the touchdown pass
* In the first half – Brandon Lloyd lost every single one on one battle
* After a long screen play, Danny Woodhead yelled at the bench – “Lets Go!”
* Patriots have the worst wide receiver corps in football
* Nice game by Michael Hoomanawanui
* Surprised to see Brady snapping the ball with 12 seconds left on the play clock with 2:56 left in the game

DEFENSE

* As soon as CBS said – Jacksonville hasn’t scored a touchdown on their first drive in 25 games – I knew we were in trouble
* Why keep deferring when Patriots allow a TD almost every time on the first possession?
* Wilfork quiet
* It’s taken half a season for Chandler Jones to make another play of impact
* Jaguars picked on McCourty at cornerback on first play of game
* If Talib is holding his hip when running – I guess he shouldn’t be playing
* Marquise Cole looked good rushing passer from corner, interception and special teams tackle

MISC

* Mr. Kraft was shown at 8:47 of second quarter – described as a friend of CBS
* Yet another fail in the red flag challenge department by the Patriots – not challenging the incompletion by Brandon Lloyd eventually gave the ball back to Jacksonville in a one-possession game
* Bad name for a big tough football player is Whimper (Jacksonville offensive tackle)
* Ultimately the Patriots have had an OK year and they will end up with a 12-4 record and a division title going into the playoffs
* Interesting to see 23-year-old Justin Francis lecturing Patrick Chung on his idiotic targeting penalty (if they lose that game – I don’t dress him ever again)
* Jacksonville comes out of an official’s review with clock stopped and spike the ball to kill the clock?
* Patriots’ eighth game this year decided by one possession

STATS

* Chad Henne last two games against Patriots: 59-100 / 764 yards / 3 Touchdowns
* Patriots last two weeks on third down: 6 for 27
* Patriots three tight ends (not Fells) have a combined 11 syllables in their last names
* Patriots have played six playoff teams this year – they are 3-3

2. Around the NFL:

* Did Rex Ryan say to someone like this at the beginning of the year: “They can give me Tebow, but I guarantee he will never start a game”
* Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is 9 for 9 from 50 yards out this year – silly
* Adrian Peterson has the best vision in NFL history
* You shouldn’t be allowed to call a timeout once a field goal team is set
* Justice to see Big Ben cost his team the playoffs
* San Francisco was 4-0 against the AFC East
* Hats off to Drew Brees and the Saints if they win next week and finish 8-8

3. College Football:

College Bowl season means suspending players who have been spoiled since the day they ran faster or were bigger than the other kids in the school yard:

* Boise State suspended best player Demarcus Lawrence
* LSU suspended significant weapon – punter Brad Wing
* Clemson suspended wide receiver Martavis Bryant
* Michigan suspended starting cornerback JT Floyd and Brandin Hawthorne, Will Hangerup
* South Carolina suspended DL Moore
* UCLA suspended Tevin McDonald
* Iowa suspended Barkley Hill (WR)

4. NFL MVP Race:

(I think they will give it to Manning unless Brady goes wild next week)

Brady – 32 TD to 8 INT / 4 rushing TD / 4,543 yards / 100 QB Rating
Manning – 34 TD to 11 INT / 0 rushing TD / 4,355 yards / 104 QB Rating
Peterson – 1,898 yards rushing / 215 yards receiving / 11 TD

5. Baseball stuff:

* Joel Hanrahan coming to Boston – I agree the bullpen needed a closer: Not a great WHIP (1.27 last year) / K to BB not great 67 to 36 / gave up 8 home runs in 59 innings / 19 of last 20 steal attempts successful
* Really, is Swisher worth $16mm a year?
* Cody Ross, who performed in Boston, signed for $8.3mm a year and the Sox are handing out $13mm like free coffee at a rest stop
* Why wouldn’t Tim Wakefield come back and pitch?

6. Celtics:

* Jason Terry was 1-15 in Friday night’s loss
* Fifty years ago – Jim Loscutoff would have dealt with that elbow on Jeff Green and Red Auerbach would have chased the official for the non-call
* A Rondo trade would be bold move by Ainge
* Celtics are last in rebounding out of 30 teams

7. Amazing Stat:

The record of the Washington NBA team since they changed their name to Wizards 16 years ago: 469-738 (.388)

8. Old School:

The quarterback stats in the Steelers – Raiders Immaculate Reception game (40 years ago), not including the 60-yard pass from Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris:

* Terry Bradshaw: 10-24 / 115 yards / 1 interception
* Ken Stabler: 6-12 / 57 yards
* Darryl Lamonica 6-18 / 45 yards / 2 interceptions

Total 22-54 / 217 yards / 0 TD to 3 Interceptions

9. Just a Little Bit Outside:

The MLB Network had the Top 50 calls of all time – 20% of them involved Red Sox:

39. Bob Murphy’s call of final out of 1986 World Series
34. Bill White’s call of Bucky Dent’s HR
30. Joe Buck’s call of final out of 2004 HR
26. Curt Gowdy’s call of Ted Williams final at bat
25. Bob Trupiano’s call of David Ortiz’s game 4 HR off Yankees
23. Bob Murphy’s call of the Mookie Wilson roller up the line
21. Phil Rizzuto’s call of Roger Maris 61st HR – off Red Sox
19. Dick Stockton’s call of Carlton Fisk Game 6 home run
9. Al Michaels’ call of Dave Henderson Game 5 home run in 1986 ALCS
8. Vin Sculley’s call of Mookie Wilson – little roller up along first

10. Randomocity:

* Is Blake Griffin the most overrated player in the NBA? 18 points per game / 8 rebounds
* Watched three documentaries recently on running backs – Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders and Earl Campbell – you forget how good and crazy-strong Campbell was – he took a spear in the chest from Jack Tatum and dropped him
* Hope the Colts don’t rest players next week against the Texans
* Here’s an early Christmas gift – NY Jets bloopers 2012:

About Michael

Lifelong Boston resident who finds equal enjoyment in celebrating the local team's success as I do complaining about their failures. I have been writing the Top Ten for the last decade as well as five sports books: 26 Miles to Boston, Rebound, The President's Team, The Great Book of Boston Sports Lists and NBA List Jam.

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