Blog Archives

Are We Going To Blame The Refs?

Welp, that’s what everyone wants to do of course.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times:  You simply could not pay me enough to be an official in any sport.  Any place on the field.  At any time.  Etc.

These guys all have to make a split second decision on just about every play.  While we as fans get to see roughly 8,000 angles in instant replay in…well, an instant.

Most of the time, these guys actually do a pretty good job.  I often find myself amazed that they are able to see as many things as they are able to see.

I will say, some of these officials look like they are older than Jesus himself.  So maybe it is time for them to retire.  Some of the baseball umpires look like they can’t fit through many regular-sized doors either.  So maybe it’s time to introduce them to a treadmill, at the very least.

But they normally do a better job than we give them credit for.

Now, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium was not one of those days.

But were they really to blame for the New England Patriots’ loss?

Unlikely.

Sure, there were some horrible calls against the Pats:  The N’Keal Harry non-TD.  The Stephon Gilmore non-scoop and score.  The non-defensive pass interference on Phillip Dorsett.  Something coming out of the Gilmore/Sammy Watkins “scuffle”.  The failed first challenge where even if the Chiefs were determined to get the first down, the spot was still a yard further down the field than it should have been.  The 5 yard penalty mark off instead of 10.

But we’ve already heard about all of those ad nauseam.

The Chiefs had some bogus calls too.  But we don’t hear the specifics about them.  Especially around here.

There were also several flags dropped and then picked up.  The one I remember most clearly is when Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was dropped after the pass by Pats DE Chase Winovich.  First, it was going to be roughing the passer.  But the zebras decided to pick the flag up because “the defensive player went off to the side…”  Or something like that.  Then TV showed the replay and it showed Winovich landing right on top of Mahomes.

Yada, yada, yada as someone in Seinfeld would say.

The refs simply did not cost anyone the game, however horrible they were.

Was Gilmore truly going to score on that fumble pickup?  How do we know that?  Furthermore, that same drive was the Harry play.  Two plays after that missed call, Jakobi Meyers dropped a touchdown pass.

So they still should have gotten the seven either way.  If Meyers makes that catch.

They lost some time, sure.  But only 4 points (since they kicked a field goal).  Not 14, like some people want to think.  That’s how I’ve been hearing it anyway.

And for the people that are encouraged about the defensive play in the second half…we may have to pump the brakes on that as well.  We all could see Mahomes did something to his hand in the first half.  Apparently, it was causing him problems as the game went on.  So that tempers things a bit, I would say.

This all comes back to the offense…and in large part, the offensive line…again.  A week after giving Tom Brady seemingly plenty of time to throw against Houston, the same could not be said against KC.

Don’t get me wrong, Brady was not great in this game.  But the OL was atrocious.  The receivers other than Julian Edelman apparently could not get open.  When Meyers was open, he dropped a slew of passes.  Where is Mohamed Sanu, by the way?  The Dorsett early season hype train has jumped the tracks.  Harry played 2 plays.  Sony Michel was abysmal and would have been with or without a good line performance.  KC penalties and 2 trick plays helped the NE offense move the ball.  Not ideal.

You know who else we can blame even more than the offense?  COACHING!

Not one of Bill Belichick’s best games.  Or Josh McDaniels’ either.  Or whoever calls the defensive plays.

To wit:

*Questionable challenging the aforementioned spot.  Or offensive pass interference on that same play.  The odds of those getting overturned are low.  Not to mention it cost them when they didn’t have a challenge left on the Harry “TD”.  I know it’s hard to predict the future, but…

*Eschewing a 45 yard field goal on 4th and 7, presumably because kicker Nick Folk had his previous attempt blocked.  The 4th down play was unsuccessful.

*Going for a two-point conversion earlier than they needed to.  The try was unsuccessful.

*Attempting a punt block early in the fourth quarter and leaving no one back to return the punt.  The punt was not blocked and it ended up becoming like a 57 yard punt because it rolled quite a bit.

*Someone not telling Harry to get back on the field after the non-TD call.  We all could see Brady gesturing for him to get back on the field.  The next play was rushed and was a 5 yard loss on a run by James White.  Sure, the play we believe was also rushed because the officials apparently never reset the play clock after everyone ran off the field thinking it was a TD.  Maybe Brady was gesturing wildly for a play to be called.  Either way…

*Couple of conversions by the Chiefs on 2nd and 3rd and really long.

That’s more second guessing of Bill and his boys than I can ever remember doing.  Well, other than why didn’t Malcolm Butler play against the Eagles in the Super Bowl.  But at least that was only one move.

There were many reasons why the Patriots lost to the Chiefs.  The officials were just one of those reasons.

Some other brief thoughts on the game…and future:

*Part of me thinks Brady could have scored on his late run.  Now, there was a guy lined up to hit him for sure.  But it looked to me like he was laying up a bit.  And I didn’t see any other Chief defender in the picture.  I could be 100% wrong on both.  But I can dream, right?

*Time to give up on Michel?  Looks like he needs a better than average line and perhaps a better fullback than linebacker Elandon Roberts to do ANYTHING.  Everyone agrees he looked completely soft Sunday.  Playing Rex Burkhead more I would love.  But then he would just hurt sooner.  Can we finally get a real look at Damien Harris please?

*I’ve supported Meyers all year and I do believe there is something there.  And just last week, I said maybe it’s time to put Harry on ice.  This week, I’m thinking to scale back Meyers.  And force feed Harry against the next three opponents to see if he can be anything in the playoffs.  The Bengals, Bills and Dolphins should provide ample opportunity for that.  And maybe his confidence (and Brady’s in him) can skyrocket.

*I’m almost at the point where I want replay gone in all sports.  It seems to be more trouble than it’s worth.  But on the Gilmore and Harry plays, it is inexplicable that the refs did not let replay make their decision for them.  Heard something yesterday where the NFL is “going to look into things in the offseason”.  That kind of scares me a little bit though.

*Video scandal.  Here we go again.  I am not sure I have much to say until more stuff comes out.  But it would be extremely hard for me to believe that Belichick and anyone running “the project” would allow themselves to be put into this position after what they went through during Spygate.  It’s just inconceivable.  Belichick thinks he is smarter than everyone else and he very well may be.  But to act this smug.  Right in plain sight?  Taping the 1-12 Bungles?  I just don’t see it.  But the rest of the nation most assuredly has already made their judgment.  Let’s see what happens when all the info comes out.  But it’s not a good look, I will allow for that.

*One thing that can maybe help bury this video thing is if the team re-signed receiver Antonio Brown, like, right now.  Just think about how fast at least the local press will turn.  Perhaps the national press too.  Perfect timing, no?  Actually, I lifted this particular note from a comment I heard yesterday afternoon.  I never even considered it and even if I don’t really want Brown back on the team, it would be a typical shady move by a professional team.  Do it in the middle of the night when most people are sleeping or something.  Anyway, thanks for putting this thought in my head Craig F!!

On to the Thursday game:

New York Jets at Baltimore (-14.5)

The Buffalo Bills gave the Ravens a game last week.  Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson apparently has a quad injury.  Short week, anything can happen.  Especially if Le’Veon Bell plays, instead of going bowling like he did the night before he skipped last Sunday’s game against the Dolphins with the flu.  But hey, he bowled a 251, so the weekend was not all lost.  That all being said, I don’t expect “anything can happen” to happen here.  Although the Pats loss to KC may allow Baltimore to ease off the pedal a smidge in the race for the #1 seed, I doubt the Ravens will overlook the Jets with two potentially competitive divisional games next on the schedule.  Jackson may get some rest late, but that will be because the game will be well out of hand by then.

Baltimore 38, New York Jets 17.  

Week (against the spread):  9-7

Week (straight up):  11-5

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  7-7

Season (against the spread):  103-105

Season (straight up):  134-74

 

Cordarrelle Patterson…

…why do we need to talk about him?  I don’t know.  I guess I just feel like I have something to say.  I have no idea why I actually care.

For the past couple weeks, this dude has taken a beating on local talk radio.  Why?  I’m trying to figure it out.

I mean, the guy only plays a handful of snaps every game.  Why are people so focused on him?

The reason is that because the New England Patriots have been shorthanded at running back in recent weeks, they have been handing Patterson the ball.  Seems a little odd, since he has had no experience running the ball in his career…other than like jet sweeps or something of the like.  Never, to most people’s knowledge, just taking a handoff and trying to run through the line.

Most of the time, he looks like someone who is a receiver playing running back.  But he had a long run one week.  And five carries on one great drive the other week.  Not horrible.

As long as he holds onto the ball, which he has thus far, why does anyone even care if he does this?

It’s a short-term fix until regular the running backs that are injured come back…Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead, in particular.  They don’t have to risk losing a player they like by releasing them and picking up a real running back (although they could have released someone like Geneo Grissom a couple of weeks ago and not have been affected at all, I will allow for that).  But it’s not like the Pats are giving Patterson 25 carries.  They are kind of spotting him in at times.  What’s wrong with that?

One retort has been that they have a real running back on the roster, Kenjon Barner, and aren’t giving him the carries instead.  Barner, Patterson…what’s the difference really?  Just because Barner has played running back in his career, does that mean he is actually any good at it?  I would say not particularly.  He has been on and off this roster like 3 times this year.  Not to mention is a journeyman in the first place.

Listen, Patterson is kind of a gimmick player.  His reputation throughout his NFL career is that he has no idea how to run routes.  Kind of a bad thing in this system, you know, with Tom Brady wanting perfection and all.

But he can add something to the team for sure.  Picking spots for him when the time is ideal.  Running a (very) few routes.  Returning kicks.  Jet sweeps.  And now giving him the ball out of the backfield a bit.  Why not?  How many times is he actually going to touch the ball in any given game?  And how many plays is he really going to be in for the game as well?

Some would argue that he is a waste of 3 plus mil.  Maybe.  But he’s only signed for the rest of this year.  And I will tell you the team is wasting 3 plus mil on players like Dwayne Allen, Chris Hogan and Duron Harmon, to name a few.  Not to mention 12 mil on Devin McCourty, who has played very poorly this year in my eyes.

What kills me is that whenever the Patriots experiment with other guys playing different positions, they are often lauded.  Troy Brown and Julian Edelman at cornerback to name the biggest ones.

But has everyone forgotten that they stuck Aaron Hernandez in the backfield at one point too?  That seemed to be an unusual choice too.  And didn’t look natural.  But he had a few good runs when he did it.

Why is it different for Patterson?

Again, I can’t believe I care.  But I feel a lot better now that I got it off my chest…

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-4.5)  

I’m so tired of hearing about Le’Veon Bell.  Aren’t you?  Now there are reports that he has been spotted working out in a Pittsburgh gym.  Who cares at this point?  The Steelers have won four in a row and have a running back named James Conner tearing it up.  Over 700 rushing yards and 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in 8 games.  Shouldn’t this make Bell look worse?  That some dude no one had really heard of came right in and is piling up yards.  Bell is a great player.  But it looks like he doesn’t really matter to Pittsburgh’s success…yet anyway.  I can’t wait until his reporting deadline passes.  Hopefully, he doesn’t show and loses a ton of money.  So what if he takes a year off and is fresh next year.  Will he really be?  I’m just thinking he threw a year of earnings away.  And a year of his career.  But I hope he’s happy.

That’s waaaaay too many words for one day about Bell and Patterson.  As for the game, did you realize that the Steelers are only 2-2 at home (3-0-1 on the road)?  Me neither.  Carolina is 5-0 at home.  But tonight they are not at home.  I’m not really buying into the Panthers anyway.  Everyone seems to rave about this Christian McCaffrey guy.  But every time I see him he is being stuffed at the line or is catching a 4-yard pass.  The guy apparently has talent, but I’m not sure I would have taken him eighth overall last year.  But the Panthers are 6-2 this year, so what the hell do I know?

Pittsburgh 34, Carolina 27.

Week (against the spread):  9-4

Week (straight up):  10-3

Season (against the spread):  71-63

Season (straight up):  87-47

Off To The Races…

…now that Game One of Week One is in the books for the 2018 NFL Season, it’s time to get the rest of the league rolling on Sunday.  Per usual, Week One is always hard to predict…seeing that we really cannot take a whole lot from the preseason games.  Sure, we know the players and what teams should be good and all that.  But one never knows once the curtain goes up.  So let us take our wild stab on Opening Week and see how the chips may fall:

Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cleveland

No Le’Veon?  Who cares?  He may show up anyway, but does it matter?  Hue Jackson is 1-31 in 2 years.  Is Tyrod Taylor going to make a big difference?  Or any of their other additions?  Doubtful.  Especially not in Week One.

Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 13.

Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami

Two teams seemingly getting a lot of love.  The Titans I guess because they have a new coach in Mike Vrabel and the Dolphins I guess because…I don’t know…Ryan Tannehill is back?  Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill…what’s the difference?

Tennessee 20, Miami 17.

Buffalo at Baltimore (-6.5) 

Nathan Peterman everyone!  Joey Flacco is supposedly rejuvenated because he was pissed the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson.  What, he wasn’t threatened by Robert Griffin III?  Oh and wait…Patriot fans…does this scenario sound familiar?

Baltimore 27, Buffalo 17.

Houston at New England (-6.5)

Pundits, fans, opponents and everyone around the world is predicting the demise of the New England Patriots.  Local sportswriters think the team will start 0-2.  The team has no wide receivers.  The defense cannot stop anyone, no less Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.  We’ll see.

New England 30, Houston 27.

Jacksonville (-3.5) at New York Giants

The Jags had a great year last year.  The D is apparently still strong.  But they still have Blake Bortles…and will have him for some time now.  I’m betting they are going to regret that contract extension.  The G-Men stunk last year.  But that clown head coach is gone.  That’s worth at least a win right there.

New York Giants 24, Jacksonville 21.

San Francisco at Minnesota (-5.5)

The Jimmy G era is really kind of starting now.  Welcome to Minnesota.

Minnesota 34, San Francisco 17.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5)

Fitzy!!  He just won’t go away.  But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 13.

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-2.5) 

Somehow Marvin Lewis remains.  Andrew Luck is back.  I really don’t have much more to add.

Indianapolis 24, Cincinnati 21.

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) 

The Chargers are another team I hear a lot of positive chatter about in the AFC.  We will see about that, though they should have been a playoff team last year.  Hopefully, they got themselves a good kicker this year.  The Chiefs are handing the reins to Patrick Mahomes.  Expect some inconsistency there.

Los Angeles Chargers 23, Kansas City 17.

Dallas at Carolina (-2.5) 

Go with the home team here.  Unfortunately, that’s really all I can tell you on this one.

Carolina 31, Dallas 20.  

Washington at Arizona (-0.5) 

Yaaaaaaaaaawn.

Washington 13, Arizona 10.

Seattle at Denver (-2.5) 

I’m not rooting for it, but I’d almost bet my house that Case Keenum comes crashing back to earth this year.  Seattle isn’t the same team they were when they were going to Super Bowls.  But they still scare me for whatever reason.

Seattle 27, Denver 16.  

Chicago at Green Bay (-8.5)  

I don’t think Khalil Mack is going to make much of a difference.

Green Bay 34, Chicago 10.

New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5)

I’ll be rooting for Matty Patricia to succeed.  Seems like a nice guy.  Even though that defensive game plan in the last Super Bowl may have been the worst one I have ever seen.  And that includes any Cleveland Browns game plan…ever.  Don’t we have to blame Patricia at least a little bit for that, instead of heaping all the blame on Belichick?  And for the record, I have never rooted for the J-E-T-S to succeed.  And never will.

Detroit 27, New York Jets 9.

Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Oakland

Jon Gruden is back on the sidelines!  This should be fun.  Maybe not this week though.

Los Angeles Rams 45, Oakland 13.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  0-1

Season (straight up):  0-1

%d bloggers like this: