It’s been awhile since I tried a Monday Night Commentary. I guess if there was ever a game for it, the clash of the AFC Titans would be it. This game has been dubbed the “game of the year” by the sports talking heads. I never know what I will get with this, out there without a net, but let’s rip it!
6:31: The wife finally realizes there will be no TV reprieve for Wheel of Fortune, so she excuses herself to go upstairs and watch it in the bedroom. “Good call” I tell her. Fine woman that one.
6:44: The Countdown team discusses the impact of Jim Leonhard’s injury to the Jets. His absence is a big part of the reason I am backing the Pats in this game. That reminds me, time to speak to my “financial advisor” about tonight’s game. Pats -4? Seems dangerous. 4 points in a divisional game? It goes against my grain. Must be the right play. I’ll take that and the over 44.5.
6:52: A Tedy Bruschi sighting! I lay hands on the television set to bless my plays. So let it be written. So let it be done.
6:55: I realize that the only thing worse than hearing Steve Young speak is hearing him speak in extreme cold weather. Just a hair more coherent than Joe Namath on Suzy Kolber night. Poor bastard. I silently promise myself I will not go ape chit the next time I see a questionable penalty called when a defenders hand goes upside a QBs head.
6:57: I congratulate myself for having dinner earlier than last night, when I had to see Ben Roethlisberger’s nose turned sideways on his face fresh off two bowls of chili. Not optimum. The Steelers tried to sell that Big Ben’s nose wasn’t broken, but my queasy stomach begged to differ.
7:04: I notice Gruden has stopped scowling at the camera so much. Nice work coach. Maybe the wife will stop calling you Popeye.
7:22: There’s Santonio Holmes. He’s the only player of any consequence to me tonight, on my “One and Done” entry for WCFF. Of course, I have Shonn Greene going in dynasty, but unless he busts off a 100 and 3 TDs after Tomlinson gets injured on the first play of the game, it just doesn’t matter. That being said, now that my team is without hope I expect Greene to go off tonight. You just know he will.
7:23: I start to second guess financially backing the Pats tonight.
7:27: The Countdown crew reveals their picks. Mostly on the Pats but most notably Keyshawn picks against the Jets as well. Now I am in full blown panic mode over my Pats play. I remind myself about laying hands on Bruschi to relieve the anxiety.
7:28: One of my friends calls. He knows Monday Night Football is coming on but he calls anyway. Nobody calls me during Monday Night Football unless I am doing a Monday Night Commentary. What is that like once a year? “Hey, how are ya? Didn’t know you were in town. Are you going to come over and watch the game? No? Will you still be here tomorrow? Good, see you then.” I send him packing like I did the wife.
Always let the people in your life know how important they are to you. Only slightly less important than football. I love you all very much. Unless football is on. Then you are dead to me. Sorry. Have we met?
7:38: Tribute to Dandy Don. I always thought he was a goofball with his hokey end of game serenades, but now I look back on those times fondly. Funny how that happens.
7:41 Finally some football! Pats up first.
7:42: Nice first down run by the Law Firm after a reception by Welker. No resistance so far.
7:44 Penalty flag thrown. No penalty assessed. Oh boy, here we go.
7:47: Drive stalls. Pats go for the field goal. They get it. Three’s ain’t gonna get my over. Over.
7:53: The crowd noise is so loud I can barely hear the announcers. And that’s okay.
7:57: Rex uses an early challenge on a spot. Not in love with that move, hardly ever turns out well. Rex knows how important it is not to surrender a big lead early here, but this is a waste.
8:00: Jets lose the challenge but go for it on 4th &1 anyway and make it. Challenge wasted. But a ballsy call on 4th and one on your own side of the field. Hoodie ain’t the only honcho with giant kahunas in this rodeo.
8:02: Jets drive stalls after two incompletions. 53 yard field goal shanked. Yeah, that over play is looking real good. 8 minutes in Pats 3-0. Urgh. Where are you now Tedy Bruschi? Have you forsaken me?
8:07: Brady converts on a 3rd and long.
8:08: Big pass interference penalty on the Jets. Gronkowski being covered by a guy a little bigger than me. That’s going to be a problem. 1st and goal.
8:10: Touchdown Patriots! Never doubt the power of Tedy Bruschi. Pats 10-0.
8:14: Delay of game call against the Jets. Rattled early.
8:15: Sanchez misses another receiver, and then another. California boy not loving the New England winter experience. Punt, shanked. Pats set up at Jets 33. Yeah, I picked the right game to describe blow by blow. The only thing better than watching a crappy game is reading about it. Merry Christmas!
8:17: Brady sacked on first down. Jets show a pulse for the first time tonight.
8:19: Brady hits 20 yard pass on a 3rd and 22. All day to throw after that sack.
8:22: Pats go for it on 4th and 3. Touchdown Patriots. Hey Jets, you’re missing a great game here. Hello? This was billed the game of the year, but it’s shaping up as the beat down of the year. I can’t believe I devoted my column to this crap. Pats 17-0.
8:26: Quarter ends with the Jets moving past midfield. I debate whether alcohol consumption would totally destroy the rest of the column or possibly save it from a quiet boring death. I decide against. Surely the Jets will wake up eventually.
8:30: Oh yeah, Shonn Greene is waking from his season long slumber. I take it Rex Ryan got a gander at the game film of Peyton Hillis running over the bloody carcasses of Patriots defenders at Cleveland earlier this year. Yeah, it looked kind of like this.
8:35: Well, that was short-lived excitement. Jets settle for a field goal. They are hell-bent on killing my over. Why does everything conspire against me? Pats and their bottom feeder defense holding 17-3.
8:38: Jets rip the ball out after ball returner is down, and it flips right to a Patriots player regardless. Ruled down.
8:39: Big 35 yard catch and run by Woodhead. Jets getting gashed like my “financial advisor” apparently will tonight. I think they were both about due. But I digress. We’re not even midway 2nd quarter yet. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You never count your money while your sittin’ at the table….
8:44: Pats in the red-zone. Offensive pass interference call. It seems the only ones capable of stopping the Pats tonight are the Pats.
8:45: Right back to Welker at the 5, then a TD to Tate. Questionable call but Rex already burned a challenge so he eats this one. Hoodie owning Ryan so far. Pats 24-3.
8:49: Camera shot of the owner’s box where Donnie Trump is camped out with that thing on his head flapping in the breeze. I wonder if there are any predatory birds in the area that might take an interest. We can only hope.
8:52: Sanchez connects on two straight plays to Holmes and for the first time in my life I do a spit-take. Luckily I was drinking water at the time so that was a clear sign that the one set of footprints were those of Tedy Bruschi.
8:53: 3rd down incompletion. Jets punt yet again. I waited all season long to cover this game? My judgment continues to defy explanation. If I wasn’t going to cash a ticket on this game I would feel really, really bad about now for wasting a half hour of your life with this recrap.
8:56: Jets finally get a stop, then have a good punt return called back by a block in the back. The Jets are playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the gun.
8:59: Three and out Jets. Looks like I might need the Pats to put up 42 to cover that over.
9:04: Brady sacked on back to back plays. 3 and out for the Pats. Excuse me now, I’m going to go paint something and watch it dry.
9:10: Jets driving in the two minute drill. Sanchez sacked to end the quarter. Wow. I haven’t felt this let down since I got my last letter from Social Security, full of lies about how much money I can draw on retirement. As if. Halftime Pats 24-3.
9:25: Second half kickoff. I wonder if the Jets can manage more than 8 completions this half? They start at the 32. L.T. puts in on the ground and the Jets recover. They caught a break. Well, that’s a start…
9:27: First down conversion to Holmes, then L.T. busts one up the middle for 8 across midfield.
9:28: Long completion to Edwards compliments of some missed tackles. I may wake up if this keeps up.
9:33: Jets outsmart themselves on 3rd and short, but convert on 4th down to stay alive. Hanging by a thread here.
9:35: Sanchez throws it right to a Pats defender at the goal-line. I have a sick feeling my over is going to get roasted. Sanchez immediately becomes my least favorite player in the league.
9:41: Long pass to Hernandez. You knew that was coming eventually. Hoodie is going to keep his foot on the gas and get me that over after all. God bless you Hoodie you sadistic son of a bitch.
9:43: Pats driving at will. Rex Ryan’s face looks like he spent the afternoon at Golden Corral and can’t find a bathroom. I wish they would show a shot from behind to see if he has actually shite himself yet. Doesn’t really matter though I guess, the rest of the team has.
9:44: Touchdown Welker. If Dandy Don were here he would probably stoke it up about now. “Turn out the lights, the party’s over. The Jets are on, the losing end.” Pats 31-3. Now Ryan looks like he spent the afternoon at Ryans. Cause you know he couldn’t help himself but to check out a place called Ryans. Poor devil.
9:48: I try to make myself feel better. “Come on dude. You have gambled doing this Monday Commentary lots of times and never whiffed this bad. It was bound to happen. You couldn’t have known. Besides, you had a good column last week, they’ve forgive you when this one sucks.” I don’t buy in.
9:51: Sanchez throws an interception near the Pats goal line. Dude’s just out there winging it now, he doesn’t even care anymore! Look Sanchez, I need two more freaking touchdowns, and I don’t care how I get them. If you are going to throw interceptions the least you could do is throw them near your own end zone. If I have to watch this crash landing the least I could do is get paid. Come on man!
9:53: Patriots aggressively drive out of their own end zone. Hoodie wants to make the Jets bleed. Go Hoodie, go!! Hurt ‘em Hoodie!
9:56: Woodhead huge to the 10. What a disgraceful night for the New York “football” Jets.
9:56: Law firm gashes the helpless Jets to the one. This is like Tyson in his prime. Throw in the freaking towel, someone’s gonna get killed!
9:59: Easy touchdown to Hernandez. Jets with tail curled between the legs and Hoodie just keeps kicking. Hoodie so gangsta. Ryan on the sidelines plotting to get hit on the kickoff somehow, so he doesn’t have to stay and watch the bloodbath, but realizes there is no way he can run fast enough to get winged by a player being pushed out of bounds.
10:05: Jets get a first down. Okay now, let’s build on that. Run the ball at this “soft” defense, eat some clock and score a touchdown. You’ve got 14 minutes, take your time. Take a deep breath. Relax. You can do this.
10:06: …and yet another Sanchez interception. Oh well, at least this time it was closer to the goal line like I asked. There, that wasn’t so hard. You finally did something that made me not want to hate you. Mucho appreciato Senor Sanchez. Has Hoodie still got the bloodlust?
10:09: 4th and inches. Hoodie says go. Law Firm gashes them. Jets got nothing.
10:11: And Law Firm drags my “over” kicking and screaming across the line despite the vehement protests of the hapless Jets. And let’s talk about the hapless Jets. I mean, please. When I picked the Pats to win this game I was actually just a little bit nervous. Just a tiny little bit. You almost had me doubting you. But you are who I thought you were. And Hoodie never lets his victims off the hook. You boys might want to bring some game, and some game plan next time. Horrific. And I was there to bring it to you. I haven’t been this proud since I told you to avoid Randy Moss the year he destroyed the fantasy world.
10:19: Jets driving easily down the field in junk-time. Oh sure, now you’ll score and go ahead and screw all those poor bastards that teased the under. Hey, this isn’t about you anymore. Take a knee. Namath has got to be toasted on the sidelines, Joe could you run interference here? Stumble your drunk ass out on the field and tell Sanchez you want to kiss him or something?
10:22: Jets go for it on 4th & 5 at the 10. Under teasers across the land hold their breath.
10:23: Incomplete! And the Jets fail to alienate at least one small segment of the degenerate population.
10:27: And the Pats trot Fred Taylor out. That’s the equivalent of vultures circling overhead.
10:28: Pats pass on third down but amazingly don’t convert. Uh-oh under-teasers, back to the Rolaids. Maybe this is the time the Jets won’t look like the Panthers on crack on offense. Yeah. This time I’m sure. I mean, how bad of a beat would that be, to have the Jets score their first touchdown in the final two minutes? I’d be more worried about a pick six personally at this point but…
10:32: And Rex Ryan decides Sanchez has taken a sufficient beating at this point and lets him hand the ball off three times. And hey, guess what? They got a first down. Huh.
10:34: And thus the clock winds down on the “game of the year.” I don’t mean to be ungrateful, after being on the right side of the action and all, but if this was the “game of the year” this year totally sucks.
So, what have we learned tonight? Not so fast on the Jets and Sanchez. The Patriots at home are still the Patriots at home and until they lose at home, you shouldn’t expect them to. Games get over-hyped all the time, but it really sucks when it happens on a Monday night and a dupe of a writer gets caught under the wheels.
But the most important thing we learned was that when you are down and troubled, and need a helping hand. And nothing, no nothing is going right. You just call Bruschi’s name, and you know wherever he is healing’s coming. And pain for your man. Winter and definitely fall, just lay hands and bet it all. Cause he’ll be there yes he will. Bruschi’s your friend. Goodnight everybody!
10a) Broncos: Okay, that’s the big problem solved. Now let’s go to work on the myriad of small ones he left behind. Coach Skippy, it’s been fun. Nothing personal. But come on man. Were you serious with all that or did Hoodie program you to go in like a Trojan horse and flame the place?
10) Colts: If you’ve been waiting to buy a ticket for the “Colts are in trouble train” you might want to hustle up to the window, she’s pulling out. Manning has thrown more interceptions in the last 3 games than he did in 4 of his pro seasons. Cut that meat? Not with a dull knife you won’t.
9) Titans: I have done a lot of ripping on Vincent Jackson, but the way VJax has handled his business makes him look like a genius compared to Randy Moss. Has any player lost more this season than Randy Moss? We drafted this guy in the first freaking round this year. He was on a championship caliber team catching the occasional long ball from dreamy Tom Brady. Then the mouth opened, crap rolled out, and the fairy tale crashed like a Moss driven car into a pesky traffic cop. My how the mighty have fallen. Much like George Costanza, Moss has no “hand.” Not many teams looking for an aging one dimensional receiver with no hand, bad hands, and a big mouth. One would imagine that this will prove a humbling experience for the delusional one, what with the NFL teams playing “Moss hot potato”, the Belichick groveling, and being rendered null and void. But even if the light bulb finally comes on for Moss, his moment has passed. All he had to do was sit there quietly and let Belichick lead him to the playoffs, make a few catches and cash in on the free market. If Vjax was the Titanic, Moss was Hiroshima.
8) Chargers: Everybody pointed to the Chargers easy schedule while anointing them to eventually overtake the Chiefs. But a week later Norv’s November magic turned tragic, the pounding of the Colts the week before doesn’t seem so impressive after the Cowboys did it too, and the Chiefs overcame a sloppy effort to move two up in the division. From contenders to chumps in a week. Weak.
7) Cardinals: I wonder if the team will spend another off-season in Warner denial? Or maybe they have figured out by now that they might need an actual NFL caliber quarterback on the roster. One that puts his heart and soul every week to this chit, but doesn’t suck so bad.
6) Deadskins: Hey, I have an idea. When the Redskins cut McNabb in the off-season, maybe he can go play for the Cardinals. He doesn’t suck so bad. Wait a minute though, I don’t think he puts his heart and soul into this chit every week. Never mind.
5) Bills: Well, it was a nice ride while it lasted. Kind of wish I hadn’t started Fitzgerald over Schaub in my dynasty league, but what a lovely exclamation point on the turd that was my dynasty experience 2010. I’m glad the Bills could somehow be a part of it.
4) 49ers: What do you see when you look across the Bay toward the coliseum? Below average quarterback play, questionable ownership and head coaching. The Raiders are winning with that combination. Why can’t you guys make it work?
3) Lions: With the tasty quarterbacks likely available in next years draft, it must be a huge bummer to be stuck paying a fortune to a guy that has missed more games than he has started. Before this season Stafford was the 11th highest paid player in the NFL, and obviously a huge chunk of the Lions payroll. Here’s hoping the new collective bargaining agreement can stop the insanity. Unfortunately it will come too late for the Lions so they are stuck praying that all the duct tape holding Stafford together does the trick, and he is able to lead them to glorious mediocrity next season.
2) Carolina: I have to admit, when you came out of the gate 14-0 on the mighty Seahawks I started to smell upset. But when you failed to score for the remainder of the game I went back to smelling the same old stench as the first 11 games of the year.
1) Bengals: Oh you guys are just showing off now. Getting punked on the 4th down Brees hard count was a thing of beauty. You couldn’t pull off that garbage against the average Pop Warner team, but it was mere childs-play for Brees against the Bungles. But I guess you don’t get a nickname like the Bungles by accident. You have achieved Misery Index success the old fashioned way. You’ve earned it.