So long Eric (and take the spread option with you); fare-thee-well Canada (and a competitive Atlantic Division). All this and nothing else in our two-sport town weekender.
There are two ways we can look at yesterday’s Patriots game. The first: A win is a win is a win. The second: We wanted death and destruction and we all got was 20-10. Yes, we are insufferable. We know that it wasn’t the Jets that made the score deceptively close, it was the weather, and that’s true enough.
But when Kellen Clemens went out in the first quarter, and old reliable Chad Pennington started getting ready, you had to know this one wouldn’t be easy. Pennington is one of a disappearing breed in the NFL: a pro quarterback. Not a star, or even a Pro Bowler, just a solid professional. So, of course, yesterday’s (Man)genius put in his backup wide receiver to run the option. Dumbass.
Midway through the first quarter, with the Pats leading 7-0 and the Jets driving, Eric Mangini put Smith ( a terrific college quarterback) under center for a fourth down at the Pats 17. Smith sort of rolled out and threw at the feet of tight end Chris Baker. Drive over. Once again Mangini was too smart for his own good.
You got the same sort of feeling with the Jets patented “everyone wander around” defense. We’re not football experts over at Boston Daily, so maybe if the Jets lined up the way teams have been doing since the leather helmet days they would have lost 47-0, but we doubt it. All it did was allow Laurence Maroney to roll up 104 yards and a touchdown.
The Jets are gone, the Pats are 14-0 and they get the Dolphins next week, who are sure to be over-confident following their big win over the Ravens. But there is still one silly controversy left for the media hordes to pick over.
With the win, the Pats also clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so brace yourself for the inevitable “They Should Rest Their Starters” columns. Ever the contrarian, Tony Massarotti suggested just that in the Herald today.
Tony, baby, you know we love you, but you’re insane. This season has never been about winning the Super Bowl. They’ve got those. It has always been about nothing short than the complete domination of the rest of the NFL. And you won’t get that with Matt Cassell under center.
We’re running out of ways to say that the Celtics keep impressing us, but with Ray Allen in street clothes and the boys playing against a red-hot Toronto team in Canada, the Celtics calmly and efficiently blew the Raptors out. They are 3-0 against the second-best team in their division.
Things are about to get a bit more interesting. This week they have Detroit, a rejuvenated Chicago, and Orlando at home, and then they close out the calendar year with a four-game west coast swing. They will be on national TV three times over that seven-game stretch, which means at least one of those west coast games will be in HD (we’re still waiting for the rest of the road games, Comcast).
The Pistons game is the one we have circled in red because if the Celtics are going to get where they want to get, they will have to deal with Detroit. And if the marketing team is paying attention, they would trot out Robert Parish and Bill Laimbeer for an honorary tip before the game. And then when the ball was in the air, Chief would knock him out.
That would make up for the lack of retribution yesterday.
PHOTO from the Herald backpage.