Tag Archives: Wes Welker

AFC Championship 2008: Patriots easy-bake the Chargers

The New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers congregated today at Gillette Stadium for a friendly game (broadcast on CBS) of Let’s See Who Gets to Go to the Super Bowl.

The game-play in the first quarter was mostly uneventful until the bottom of the quarter when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s pass meant for wide receiver Dante Stallworth was picked off by Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer.   That turnover would’ve resulted in a touchdown for San Diego, but wide receiver Chris Chambers caught Philip Rivers’s pass outside of out bounds in the rear of the end zone.  The Chargers ended with a field goal instead, leading 3 to 0.

The top of the second quarter brought the Patriots into the lead with a touchdown by running back Laurence Maroney.   The Chargers increased their points to six with another field goal.  New England 7 and San Diego 6.  Nearing the bottom of the second quarter, Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel  intercepted Rivers pass intended for Chambers.  Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney made a TD quickly after the turnover.  New England 14 and San Diego 6. Rivers was intercepted again, this time by cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who then dropped the ball but safety James Sanders recovered it for the Patriots.  The Chargers narrowed the score gap with a field goal in the very bottom of the second quarter.  Going into halftime, New England 14 and San Diego 9.

The third quarter opened with Tom Brady getting sacked by Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.  On the next play, Brady’s throw was intercepted by San Diego cornerback Drayton Florence.   The Chargers collected another field goal.  As the bottom of the third quarter drew closer, Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie intercepted Brady’s pass-to-the-end-zone.

The fourth quarter started with a touchdown by Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.  New England 21 and San Diego 12.  Final score.  The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. The pre-game music montage was comprised of orchestral accompaniment to some song called “Unstoppable.”  I didn’t catch by whom.

2. Jeff Triplette was the referee today.
3.  Laurence Maroney’s TD in the top of the second quarter was quite characteristic of the Patriots scoring pattern from the 2007 season.  If they don’t put on the ritz in the first quarter, they’ll do it in the second (and usually quite early).

4. Although San Diego’s points all came from field goals, their defense was able to keep New England down to fourteen points through the end of the third quarter.  The 2007 norm was that by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Patriots would have scored at least four touchdowns.

5. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was in the game for only three plays.

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

AFC Divisional 2008: Patriots corner the Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots huff and puff in a test of speed, agility, and survival of the fittest at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Televised by CBS, the first quarter began with a touchdown by Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones (on their first possession to boot; Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard threw the ball to the end zone as he was being pulled down to the ground by Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel–from the instant replays, it appeared that the ball left Garrard’s hand at the same time or a couple of nano-seconds before his knee hit the turf). Of course, the Patriots weren’t going to take that kind of showmanship; they put their own TD (thanks to tight end Benjamin Watson) on the score board just after the middle of the first quarter.

The second quarter started with a touchdown by Patriots running back Laurence Maroney. The Jaguars retaliated with another TD by wide receiver Ernest Wilford in the middle of the second quarter. Jacksonville and New England both 14. The tie would hold through the end of the second quarter.

Come the third quarter, it took roughly seven minutes for the tie to be broken….by the Patriots with a TD by wide receiver Wes Welker. Jacksonville narrowed the point gap with a field goal towards the end of the third quarter. New England 21 and Jacksonville 17. With less than two minutes on the clock in the third quarter, the Patriots scored another TD (thanks to Benjamin Watson).

The fourth quarter ran six minutes and the Jaguars got a field goal. The Patriots made one as well on their next drive. New England 31 and Jacksonville 20. And that would be the final score. Was there any real doubt that New England would be victorious tonight and go onto the AFC Championship Game?

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on New England’s first snap of the game.

2. Thinking back on two other games the Patriots played where they didn’t completely dominate their opponent in the first half–specifically

Against the Indianapolis Colts on November 4.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 25–

tonight’s game against the Jaguars was probably the most unwieldy..in the sense that going into halftime, both teams were tied 14 to 14. Two touchdowns each.

3. No matter if the Jaguars made a mistake or executed a play well, whenever the camera cut to a close-up of Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio appeared anxious and a bit sad. Bill Belichick, th Patriots head coach, wore one expression too–something that signified skepticism and determination. His shots included more high angle medium shots, though.

4. Upon returning to the game from commercial break after New England’s field goal gave them 31 points, footage (possibly taken during the commercial) of Tom Brady petting Wes Welker’s head on the sidelines was aired. Brady must be letting that facial hair grow because of winter weather.

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

‘Tis the Season: Patriots melt down the Steelers

How many New England Patriots does it take to screw in a light bulb?

No idea.  They did beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34 to 13 (game broadcast by CBS).

The Steelers got three points from a field goal in the first quarter.   The Patriots haven’t allowed any points on a first drive this season, so the Steelers field goal had to be counter-matched with a touchdown by wide receiver Randy Moss.  In the top of the second quarter, Moss made a 63-yard touchdown.  New England 14.  Pittsburgh 3.   Steelers halfback Najeh Davenport gave his team some hope in the second quarter after catching a 32 yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a touchdown.   In the bottom of the second quarter, Pittsburgh got a field goal, giving them a total of 13 points so far, one point behind the Patriots.  Of course, the Patriots weren’t going to accept such a narrow lead.  They put up a field goal of their own with fewer than sixty seconds left in the second quarter.  Patriots 17.  Steelers 13.

Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney made a TD in the top of the third quarter (the result of Randy Moss recovering the ball, throwing it back to Brady, who then launched a 56-yard pass).   Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker’s TD later in the fourth quarter was quickly followed by a brief scuffle between a few of the players from both teams. New England 31.  Pittsburgh 13.  The fourth quarter gave the Patriots a field goal.  The Steelers’ efforts were ultimately unharvested.

Observations & Miscellania: 

1.  CBS cut to a commercial (or two) after Moss made his second TD of the day.  Upon returning to the game, the camera was on Moss and Tom Brady sitting on the bench (filmed in a medium close-up from behind).  The commentators made some remarks about how happy Moss and Brady appeared.   I can’t imagine a closer partnership between two co-workers than wide receiver and quarterback.  I think one would have to look in law enforcement and the military to find a similar dynamic.   Arguably, pair skaters and pas de deux partners also develop the same kind of relationship.   Quarterbacks and receivers practice and build the ability to move in unison without verbal communication.  Trust is important for successfully executed plays.  Likewise, a ballerina and her partner must practice and build a sense of trust and harmonic balance such that she knows she won’t be dropped, and he knows how to lift her so that she doesn’t fall.

2. Furthermore, dancers have their own perception of what is and is not a good or great performance.  To the audience, if the dancers don’t fall or look like they’ve messed up, and exhibit a modicum amount of emotion, then the audience is happy. For dancers, however, it’s not enough to hit all the moves with the necessary degree of emotion.  They’ll think they did a lousy job even if the audience couldn’t disagree more.  For football players, the element of scoring points is a more concrete factor in determining whether or not a team feels it performed well.  Moreover, maintaining performance statistics is apparently a priority too.  For the fans, if their team wins, then they’re happy.  For the team, winning by a certain score or a certain numerical gap and not making mistakes potentially dampens an overall victory.

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

FYI.  The Monday Night Football game (December 10) between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints will be broadcast by CBS for viewers in Atlanta.