For the first time since my DirecTV blacked out in a windstorm back in 2011, I missed a Patriots game. I think the time before that was in 2004 when I planned on watching a recording of Patriots/Steelers, only to have someone spoil the outcome for me (the Pats lost, snapping their 21 game win streak) and decided not to put myself through the torture of watching a known loss. So needless to say, it doesn't happen very often, but I found myself n Florida this afernoon with my Sunday Ticket Mobile blacked out and no way to catch the game. I basically had to draw the line between being a decent father and husband who is slightly obsessed with football or a complete maniac with a completely warped set of priorities. I chose decency. The Pats won. Everyone's happy.
But I can't really give a decent recap of the game as I'm working off a set of highlights and saw less than ten total plays from the game. In its place, are my quick thoughts on the Pats and life in general...
1. Within the span of seven days, both the Patriots and the Sox got killed on the losing end of highly controversial game-determining calls. Just awful, and I'm not even a Sox fan.
2. Vindication equals the NFL sending out a memo that the Jets also "pushed" on Gostkowski's game-tying field goal last Sunday and should have been penalized. A "proper" (I think they both would have been mularkey) call there, gives the Patriots a first down right in front of the end zone with a decent chance to end the game.
3. In the airport this morning, wearing my Patriots gear, I got verbally accosted by a Jets-supporting TSA agent. He started by ragging me about the Sox. (Again, I'm not a fan) He then proceeded to talk smack about last week's game. Do Jets fans really need reminding that if it were not for two game-determining calls by the refs that their "overachieving" team would be 2-6 right now, and the Patriots would be 7-1?
4. That Devin McCourty/Marquis Cole interception would probably be the play of the year for the Patriots if Brady-to-Thompkins against New Orleans didn't happen.
5. That crotch-grabber Logan Ryan is becoming quite the playmaker. I like it.
6. Yet another killer injury to Vollmer. If the offensive line starts breaking down, the Pats are in a huge world of trouble.
7. Speaking of injuries, if there is one silver lining to this horrendous string of bad luck for the Pats, it's that I now feel zero pressure about the outcome of the season. Don't ask me why I, the viewer, should feel pressure about these things, but I do. Anyway, for the past decade, I've felt like it should be Super Bowl or bust for the Pats. This year, I have to take the stance that whatever happens, happens. It will not be a black mark on the Patriots if they don't make a run this year. In fact anything they do accomplish will be a huge testament to their ability to overcome adversity.
8. On another counter-intuitive note, might it actually be a good thing if Tom Brady's hand is injured? I mean, assuming that it is an injury that will heal, if Brady's hurt, then we have a legitimate reason for some of the missed plays on offense. I don't know if Thompkins and Dobson will "get it" in the next eight weeks. But if Brady's hand is swollen and slightly injured - that's something that should definitely get better.
9. We desperatly need Talib back. Thankfully, we have Pittsburgh and the bye on the horizon Rest up, dude.