"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Wes Welker: I would have made a snow angel too

(Photo from Boston.com)

That, my friends, is a photo of Wes Welker engaging in childlike fun and seasonal shenanigans. For which he got flagged with an unsportsmanlike penalty because the officials evidently hate fun. I'm sorry, people, but snow angels are mandatory this time of year. Especially in a game like yesterday's where any drama was gone by the end of the first quarter.

Which is not to say that the Patriots played error-less football, just that the Cardinals' plane might not have left Phoenix for all the oomph and zeal and, you know, competent football playing they showed yesterday. Really, you guys? This is a playoff team? What is happening over there in the West that
this is a playoff team? They're soft, I tell you. Soft. And if they play like that in the playoffs, I'd, um, well, I wouldn't count on a long run is what I'm saying.

That said, it was extra special nice to see Matt Cassel be the USC quarterback not only on the field but straight up dominating the play. Matt Leinart was relegated to Kurt Warner backup duty (though he did account for the sole Cardinal touchdown of the day), while Matty C went all Super Laser Triple Rocket Reverse on Arizona and put up 47 points. Granted, some of them were thanks to third-rate fantasy owners' new favorite running back, LaMont Jordan. But we cannot be picky when it comes to our point distribution.

I cannot speak for anyone else but Cassel's performance yesterday - in addition to finally solidifying his hold on the Big Boy Pants - also made me miss Tom Brady (I mean, more), because that is the kind of game Brady engineers in the snow as well. I mean, there was a picture on the front page of the Herald the other day of Tommy wearing a festive red holiday sweater and ministering to children, no doubt healing sick ones with a mere smile, but still, I want him on my football field. Healthy and dominant.

This is not to say that I don't love Matt Cassel. I do. My love is complete. But Amy and I scripted a touching story at the beginning of the season wherein Matt Cassel steps into the extremely large, Brady-vacated cleats and does his best heartwarming Disney-coming of age story rendition, leading his ailing team to the playoffs. Then, next season, Brady returns, healthy and eager, and there is a touching moment when Cassel returns his playbook or whatever (choir of heavenly children's voices swell on the soundtrack, of course), and Cassel walks off into the sunset, to bring his golden touch to some other team in need. Maybe Chicago. And then Brady shakes his head and says, "I learned a lot from that kid. He's got heart." Fade to black.

Could happen, right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is how we do it

(Photo from Boston.com)

Also per Boston.com:
RB LaMont Jordan (on his performance against his former team) "I prayed to the Lord this morning to please keep me humble, and not say too many negative things about Oakland."

LaMont Jordan may be my new favorite Patriot. Though I grow increasingly fond of Matthew Cassel. Everyone knows Cassel's struggles this week and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out how unquestionably hard it must be to not only play in a game like yesterday's when your head and heart are elsewhere but to, above all else, play well. Yesterday's performance by Cassel would have been a great one under any circumstances, but given his personal atmosphere, it was especially so.

Adding to the fun and games was Oakland's very...well, Oaklandness seems the proper word for it. The bumbling and the farting around and the 29-yard punts and what have you. I can totally punt a football further than 29 yards. In fact, one time I punted one 33 yards and that was without warming up or anything. I'm just saying, I might be undervalued here.

Randy Moss surely let the Oakland faithful know who was boss. Which, I'm sure they just loved. Amy and I advised him against any sort of Lambeau Leap shenanigans so he didn't get shived. Thankfully, he obliged. Though some of the Oakland fan's er, costumes did lead Amy to make the following statement:

"The thing is, if you find yourself at a football game in the pouring rain dressed up like a member of a death metal band and waving about Patriot heads on sticks, I feel like maybe that's the point at which you question some of the choices you've made in life."

But, I mean, Oakland fans. There's no reasoning with them. Have you seen Al Davis lately? This is what I'm saying. A man that in love with velour should never be put in charge of anything. This is a rule we should all live by.

Of course, Matt Cassel and Randy Moss were not alone. Messrs. Welker, Morris and Faulk also got in on the fun. And when LaMont Jordan rumbled in for his touchdown (evidently Jordan "rumbles" while Morris "scampers"), Amy and I broke into a spontaneous eruption of Montell Jordan's seminal hit "This Is How We Do It." As you do.

There was much rejoicing around the apartment when the game went final. For the score and the outcome and the fact that the three-way division tie remains (though Buffalo really could have obliged us with a win if they were feeling helpy), but also because it was nice to see Matt Cassel perform so well on a day where he no doubt needed it. Some things remain bigger than football - which we often forget - but seeing Belichick (and several Raiders players) hug Cassel at the end of the game did drive that point home.

So good on ya, Matty. We're all proud of you.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking

(Photo from Boston.com)

Wes Welker, of course. Welker, showing no ill effects from last week's brain-scrambling Ryan Clark hit, just put up some career highs yesterday and somehow - perhaps by sheer force of will - managed to scratch and claw out a victory for the Pats.

The general consensus seems to be that the game should not have been that hard. After all, Seattle came into it with a 2-10 record. And Matt Hasselbeck wasn't going to be starting. Then, after some issues defending against the frustratingly scampery (a new word I just made up) Seneca Wallace, perhaps we were longing for Hasselbeck after all.

Then, magical 2-point conversions and game-sealing turnovers and what have you and the Patriots are, once again, in a 3-way tie for first in the AFC East. This, I am fully aware, annoys the shit out of Jets and Dolphins fans. And likely the rest of the fans in the NFL who just wish the Patriots would go away already and were counting on that when Tom Brady's knee exploded.

But this is not the way of things.

Perhaps Lil' Matty Cassel has some fight in him after all. Though really, that sentence could change - and frequently does - by the week. Or perhaps he was just inspired by Billiam's steadfast desire to get the band back together and bring Rosie Colvin and Old Man River Junior Seau back to New England. And while seeing Tedy Bruschi leave the game made me shriek in horror (for real, I may have damaged the eardrums of other spectators), at least I knew there was someone there to step into the role of LB and the Pats wouldn't need to resort to dressing Mike Vrabel's pet bulldog in a jersey and siccing it on Wallace.

Perhaps that trick play is for next week.