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Pre-S 10: Patriots corkscrew the Falcons

The New England Patriots shuttled southward to meet-and-greet the Atlanta Falcons.  Televised on Fox, the predatory birds’ second pre-season game began with the home team receiving the kick-off.  Matt Ryan quarterbacked during the Falcons’ first possession.  Matt Bryant kicked a forty-six yard field goal six minutes into the quarter.  Atlanta 2 and New England 0.  Tom Brady donned his QB shoes next for the Patriots.  He and his teammates made football look easy.  Wide receiver Randy Moss nearly made a touchdown catch but Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson and safety Erik Coleman rendered that pass incomplete.  A few plays later, running back Fred Taylor ran the ball twenty-eight yards for a TD.  New England 7 and Atlanta 3.

The top of the second quarter demonstrated a more focused Falcons offense.  Matt Bryant attempted a forty-seven yard FG at the end of the possession.  Kroy Biermann sacked Brady, which preceded a wide right forty-one yard Stephen Gostowski FG.  A personal foul on Chevis Jackson gave the Patriots an automatic first down.  Though Biermann made another defensive play, Brady connected with rookie Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez for a TD.  New England 14 and Atlanta 3.  John Parker Wilson went in as QB upon return from commercial break (with five minutes left in the second quarter).  Patriots rookie cornerback Jonathan Wilhite intercepted John Parker Wilson’s pass meant for wide receiver Eric Weems.  Brian Hoyer set to QB duties for the Patriots.

Hoyer and Parker Wilson continued as QBs for their respective teams in the third quarter.  Seven minutes into the second half, Patriots running back Sammy Morris carried the ball twenty yards into the end zone.  New England 21 and Atlanta 3.  The third sprang to the fourth with the Patriots recovering a fumbled Falcons ball.  The fourth quarter burst out with a TD by tight end Rob Gronkowski.  New England 28 and Atlanta 3.  After getting sacked towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, John Parker Wilson threw a TD pass to wide receiver Troy Bergeron.  Chris Redman took to the field for the final minute and a half of the game.  New England 28 and Atlanta 10.   Final score.  Sure, I’d have liked the Falcons to win, but losing to the Patriots by fewer than twenty points in the pre-season isn’t that bad, is it?

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Pre-game footage included a brief shot of Tom Brady walking into the Georgia Dome and wearing a suit.  His hair has grown past his ears; he looks like a hockey player.

2.  Matt Ryan is glowing.  Is it confidence? Bone structure?  Il est beau.

3.  Joe Buck and Troy Aikman narrated this evening’s game.  Joe wore a light pink-lavender tie, an off-white button-down shirt, and a black blazer.  Troy wore a dark blue and light blue tie with stripes, a cornflowery button-down shirt, and a dark blue blazer.

4.  The Fox score and quarter graphic looks different and is ill-placed.  It was unassuming last season and sat in the upper left corner.  Now, it’s rounder, bigger, more colorful and is in the upper left portion of the screen–roughly two inches into the screen (from the edge of the set).  The Fox logo is in the upper right of the screen.

5.  Did Troy Aikman refer to Tom Brady as “dreamy” immediately before the telecast cut to a commercial following Matt Bryant’s first quarter field goal?

6.  Can’t sleep? No problem.  You might be smarter than your sleep-before-midnight brethren.

7.  Percy Harvin suffers from migraines?

8.  Upon returning for the second half, cameras caught former Falcons coach Jim Mora signing dollar bills for fans in the stands.

9.  Mike Pereira joined Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth during the third quarter.

10.  Sammy Morris and Tommy Davidson could be brothers.

11.  Number 28 on the Patriots side was chewing gum in a sidelines huddle.

12.  Slow-motion footage of the Falcons sidelines after Bergeron’s TD had Matt Ryan and Chris Redman both congratulating John Parker Wilson (Ryan patted him on the back).

13.  Tom Brady hugged Matt Ryan when the game was over.  They both patted each other’s left breast…you know, the area between the arm pit and the chest.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Click here for the Falcons roster, here for the Patriots roster.

NFL 2010 wildcard: Ravens swarm the Patriots

If  the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens had a million dollars (right this second), would they buy you a house or a K-car?  Probably not.  Instead, they would meet on a patch of grass, squat down, crouch in stealth, chase each other, and pull one another to the ground in order to go to the playoffs.  Broadcast on CBS, the Ravens went on offense first and running back Ray Rice bolted eighty-three yards down the field for a  touchdown on the first play–seventeen seconds into the game.  Two plays into the Patriots’ possession, Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs initiated a turnover.  The end of that drive produced a touchdown by linebacker Jameel McClain.  Baltimore 14 and New England 0.  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw an interception into the hands of Ravens cornerback Chris Carr in the middle of the first quarter.  Rice soon made his second TD of the day.  SWEET AND SPICY JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS!!!! Brady threw yet another interception when the Patriots got back on offense.  Ravens safety Ed Reed made the turnover catch and tossed the ball to safety Dawan Landry before getting tackled at New England’s thirty-four yard line.  The Ravens went with a field goal at the end of that excitement.  Baltimore 24 and New England 0.

The second quarter started with the Patriots punting the ball away but none of the Ravens caught the ball.  New England cornerback Kyle Arrington recovered the ball in Baltimore’s red zone.  The commentators thought the Ravens should’ve challenged the call but also pointed out that Baltimore’s coaches were not close enough to see anything to warrant throwing a red flag.  A few plays later, wide receiver Julian Edelman caught a pass for a TD.  Baltimore 24 and New England 7.  Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was picked off six minutes into the quarter.

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The third quarter appeared to demonstrate more New England solidness, that is until Dawan Landry intercepted Brady six minutes into the quarter.  The Ravens increased their score with a field goal  Baltimore 27 and New England 7.  Several minutes later, Julian Edelman made a second TD.  Baltimore 27 and New England 14.  The fourth quarter began with the Ravens winning a challenge to get a first-and-goal and a couple plays later, running back Willis McGahee got himself into the end zone.  A two-point conversion attempt did not work.  Baltimore challenged the unsuccessful try but lost.  Halfway through the quarter, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski’s kick was no good.  Baltimore 33 and New England 14.  Final score.  The last time the Patriots lost at home was to the Jets in 2006.  The Ravens are going to play the Indianapolis Colts next week.

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Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were the commentators.  Both men wore dark suits, but Nantz had a purple tie, a lavender shirt, and a dark gray sweater vest.  Simms was decked in blue of varying shades for vest, tie, and shirt.

2.  Phil Simms noted during the Ravens’ kickoff to the Patriots upon returning from the commercial break that followed Ray Rice’s game-opening TD run that in an interview from the previous night, Rice said that, “I run deceptively quick with speed.”  I had no idea what that meant until an extreme high-angle (essentially an overhead view) of the field where the Patriots end zone was at the bottom of the screen.  The replay began at the line of scrimmage and as Rice broke through the New England defense and was headed down the field, the “deceptively quick with speed” became apparent in comparing the running of two Patriots that were trying to catch up to Rice.  These Patriots’ feet move more rapidly, whereas Rice’s strides were bigger.

3.  Jameel McClain did a little step-dance after he stood up in the end zone.

4.  Did I just see Peyton Manning and Justin Timberlake speaking really, really bad Mandarin in a Sony TV commercial?  Yes, I did.  Manning sounded like he was speaking a bizarre smoothie of bad Cantonese and Mandarin.  Timberlake sounded like he was only speaking bad Mandarin.  It was pretty funny, though.  They have inflections in their voices.  I think I could teach both of them how to pronounce Mandarin properly.

5.  Ravens tight end Todd Heap sustained some kind of injury in the bottom of the fourth quarter.  He’s one year and two months older than I.

6.  New England head coach Bill Belichick was wearing a beanie.  The red and white yarn ball atop of it reminded me of a peppermint candy.  Tom Brady also needs to cut his hair.

7.  After the game, Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh ran around the field high-fiving Baltimore fans.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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NFL 2009: The Saints did what?!

The New Orleans Saints played the New England Patriots last night on Monday Night Football and beat those blue-white-and-reds 38 to 17.

Watch highlights here.  Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Why did I bother looking up the score?  I over-heard two men talking about Tom Brady in a somewhat pitying light this morning.

Brady and Drew Brees were featured in extreme close-up at the start of the highlights video.  New England’s QB looked so professional, so stern; while New Orleans’s QB looked like a wee lad with big brown eyes–all iris, no white.

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NFL 2009: Colts lock and stock the Patriots

The Indianapolis Colts remixed with the New England Patriots tonight on NBC.  The first quarter started with the Patriots on offense…and not much to say about it.  When the Colts took to the ball, quarterback Peyton Manning made a few awesome connections with tight end Dallas Clark and wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne.  Patriots head coach Bill Belichick challenged the catch but lost the challenge.  Eight plays +  ninety yards + running back Joseph Addai = touchdown.  Indianapolis 7 and New England 0.  The Patriots answered that taunt with a spectacular Tom Brady fifty-five yard pass to wide receiver Randy Moss, and two steps later, running back Laurence Mulroney squeezed threw amassing players to get into the end zone.

The second quarter began with Colts defensive end Robert Mathis sacking Tom Brady.  The Patriots took a thirty-one yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal at the end of their possession.  One possession later, Randy Moss made his second TD of the day.  Halfway through the second quarter, Tom Brady threw directly into the hands of wide receiver Julian Edelman for a TD.  New England 24 and Indianapolis 7.  Consistent with how they played two seasons ago, once the Patriots find or make their first offensive impact, there is no going back.  It’s zippadeedodah scoring parade for them.  The Colts bounced back with a Reggie Wayne TD.  New England 24 and Indianapolis 14.

SUPER SEXY GIRL! Colts defensive back Antoine Bathea intercepted Tom Brady’s pass meant for Randy Moss in the Colts end zone at the top of the third quarter.  Oh. Lourdes.  Peyton Manning was intercepted by cornerback Leigh Bodden a few passes later.  The quarter was scoreless but ended in Patriots wide receiver Wesley Welker returning a punt to first-and-goal.   A kick-ball-change later, Randy Moss made his, what, third TD of the day?  New England 31 and Indianapolis 14 in the top of the fourth quarter.

The Colts offered a retort of a Pierre Garcon TD catch and run into the end zone.  New England 31 and Indianapolis 21.  Would today’s game be the Colts’ first loss of the season?  Probably.  When they got the ball, Peyton Manning threw an interception to Patriots cornerback Jonathan Wilhite.  The Patriots increased their lead with a field goal in the second half of the fourth quarter…briefly.  Joseph Addai made a TD with just under three minutes left to play.  New England 34 and Indianapolis 28.  I must ask again, would today’s game be the Colts’ first loss of the season?  Probably not, as of one minute left in the fourth quarter.  SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG! Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne connected for a TD with under twenty seconds left to on the clock.  Indianapolis 35 and New England 34.  Final score.

I’m not even a Colts fan per se and I’m thrilled.  I do like Peyton Manning.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Tiki Barber was at the Dallas loss to Packers game; he had on a lovely, lilac/violet tie.

2.  Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth both wore gray ties of varying hue and accent.  Andrea Kramer had on a bright purple leather jacket with zippers.

3.  Why was there fire on the field after Joseph Addai made a TD in the first quarter?

4.  Tom Brady still looks really good in a helmet.

5.  Pat Chung, strong safety for the Patriots, is a quarter Chinese.  His father is Jamaican-Chinese.  I googled the phrase “Pat Chung is half Asian” and found this page about Asian NFL players.

6.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire league watched this game and took notes.  “You see that? You see what Peyton Manning did there? Yeah, we need some of that.”

7.  “They’re not used to playing these balls in the air like that…they’re burned on either side,” either Al Michaels or Cris Collinsworth remarked during the middle of the second quarter.

8.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Why are there so many adverts for The Blind Side?  Because, this John Lee Hancock film is going up against a certain Twilight part deux on opening day Friday.  This Friday.  I shall be watching The Blind Side–not to be confused with Blindside from 1986.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 2009: Patriots French onion the Falcons’ soup

Live from Gillette Stadium, an entourage of Atlanta Falcons led by second year pro Matt Ryan going nose-to-nose with a corral of New England Patriots fronted by a seasoned but recently healed Tom Brady.  Who’s going to take home the turkey bacon?  The hot, char siu bao?

Televised by Fox, with voice-over narration provided by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the Falcons scored first with a field goal.  When the Patriots had their first offensive turn, the Falcons’ defense kept them to a field goal.  Atlanta 3 and New England 3.  The second quarter started with the Falcons doing what they could defensively (preventing one TD) but unable to stop the one that running back Fred Taylor put in the end zone.  New England 10 and Atlanta 3.  Back to back coach challenges followed.  Falcons head coach Mike Smith threw the red and won (Matt Ryan’s pass was actually incomplete and not fumbled).  Patriots HC Bill Belichick challenged whether or not Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins made the catch and had control of the ball a couple plays later.  Belichick lost the challenge.  And then, Falcons running back Michael Turner leaned his way to break the plane for a TD.  Atlanta 10 and New England 10.  The Patriots’ defense met Michael Turner would just enough momentum that he lost the ball.  Luckily for the Falcons, their defense was again able to keep the Patriots to a field goal.  Going into halftime, New England 13 and Atlanta 10.

The third quarter started with another Patriots field goal.  New England 16 and Atlanta 10.  How would the Falcons respond?  A TD catch by wide receiver Michael Jenkins which was nullified due to an offensive interference call.  The third quarter ended with Mike Smith challenging whether or not Patriots running back Sammy Morris was down by contact.  The televised replays suggest that Morris’s right knee hit the ground before the ball came out of his hands.  Smith lost the challenge.

The fourth quarter began with another Patriots field goal.  New England 19 and Atlanta 10.  Their kicker Stephen Gostowski has seen more action than both teams’ offense combined?  Yes, I exaggerate, nonetheless, if it were so far from the truth then the Falcons would only be three to five points down.  So Falcons, what’ll it be?  Would Matt Ryan and his offense be able to perform and get a TD?  Tight end Tony Gonzalez didn’t make his first catch of the game until the top of the fourth quarter!  At 7:47, Patriots tight end Chris Baker made a TD catch.  Grrargh. Hand bags. Okay now,  I have to wonder if Bill Belichick’s hoodie with the cut-off sleeves has cousins.  Does he have a hoodie for each Sunday or does he have just a few and gets them laundered as needed.  New England 26 and Atlanta 10.  Final score.  The first time Matt Ryan and Tom Brady meet and shake hands, Ryan had to concede defeat.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Another choppy signal, more pixelated imagery.

2.  The gecko is back in Geico ads?  There was a meeting, a man was making fun of the gecko’s accent, and a woman mentioned she thought the gecko was Australian.

3.  Joe Buck noted to Troy Aikman after the Michael Turner TD in the second quarter that Matt Ryan grew up admiring Brett Favre, likes the Phillies, and watches the Fox show Fringe.

4.  The camera cut to Tom Brady sitting on the sidelines before the first half ended.  Joe Buck remarked, “Tom Brady is very hot.”  Seconds later, there was some slow-motion instant replay of Brady’s hotness.  The words, “What the fck was that…FCK” or some derivation of it could be read from his lips.  There was also a slow motion rendering of Brady walking off the field, saying more words.  It wasn’t until Joe Buck said, “how hard was that” that I was able to make out what was coming out of Brady’s mouth.

6.  Was Falcons cornerback Chris Houston chewing gum?!  The camera cut to him in the bottom of the second quarter and started zooming in very slowly so that I couldn’t even tell if he was standing on the sidelines or on the field.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.