First I have to admit; I’m not from Ann Arbor. I’m from New England but like most people in this town, I’m an import. I was raised a Patriots’ fan. I can’t help where I was born. As an NFL fan, most days I feel blessed by this fact. I’ve been spared being a Lions’ fan.
But not today.
Ever paid $5 for a hand job from a homeless guy? Me neither. But this is how I imagine it must feel. Rough. Used up.
Major Bradley says Hoody’chick has lost his touch, that he hasn’t coached a good game since 2004. This morning, it’s hard to say Mr. Bradley is wrong.
Perhaps the Pat’s defense is young enough to be bullied by my son’s day care class. Or the receiving corps is made up of oversized Smurfs. Maybe cutting Randy Moss loose wasn’t the best idea. But the Patriots looked scared and confused. Tom Brady played like he snorted eight Quaaludes before taking the field, and he must have felt like it after getting sacked five times. Maybe on Saturday night, Geisel had too much Chilean wine and didn’t feel the need to give Tommy a courtesy tug? I don’t know…nothing about that game felt right.
The Jets outplayed the Patriots in every phase of the game. The average starting field position for the Pats was on the 24, the Jets? The 46. The Patriots got the game to within 14-11 late in the third quarter Sunday, but that was it. The Jets scored at will in the fourth quarter but the game felt like it was over by halftime.
The Patriots just stunk. A lot of folks are probably at fault for this one. I could hand around the blame like that fish paste on Yom Kippur. But in my mind; I blame Michigan.
It looks like the Patriots in the playoffs have become Bo’s Michigan teams in bowl games. Or Lloyd Carr’s. They’re unbeatable in the regular season. Defense and offense, clicking all day long and then they play like a team with everything to lose in the big games. I was half expecting Hoddy to toss his headphones into the field. They had two weeks to prepare for the Jets. Who's coaching this team, Rich Rod?
I always thought Michigan was the place Brady learned to play like a champion. Today I’m thinking it’s where he learned to lose the big game. He’s lost three playoff games in a row. Quarterback rating? I’m not sure what all those numbers really mean, but I know a 74.5 isn’t very good.
However, New England will have three picks in the draft between17th and 33rd picks to find some better player. Hopefully, they will grab a big receiver (or three). A player who’s tall, fast and can grab a lot of touchdowns. One thing is for sure, the Patriots will look different next year. They’ll still have Tom Brady at quarterback and we can thank Michigan for that.
Either way for now, I’m just feeling very Blue.