So many of the initial thoughts on Sunday's truly horrifying loss have already been said by others...I heard Gerry Callahan on WEEI driving in this morning speculating on how the Welker benching affected team psychology (but not this semi-related discussion on WEEI. I heard the Borges Curse cited on WEEI Whiner Line while driving home tonight. So I might as well cite the most thoughtful analyses (so far):
Old school: Jackie MacMullan on ESPN.
New school: Football Outsiders, scroll to the bottom or Read the Whole Thing. Pay particular attention to the 'how much is Brady / how much is the defense.'
OK, a few thoughts from me, no claims to originality. And no agony of 'de-feet' jokes from me (I don't want to get benched by Hub Blog).
- We know Belichick is an unconventional thinker and yes, a genius, but there were quite a few head-scratchers... the 'benching' of a respected veteran for trivial reasons, the perhaps? empowering of a very young veteran with a critical decision, and that tedious fourth-quarter drive that amounted to nothing.
- Was Brady's regular season Interception mark really a fatal weakness for the team? The Pats seemed like a team that could not take a punch after this first-in-90-days event. Maybe Jay Cutler's recklessness has a good side, you get used to having to get out of trouble.
- Why were there so many drops by veterans (Crumpler missed TD, Welker missed TD, and the one that hurt the most, Branch missed 4th down catch late)? What happened to the rookie tight ends?
- I'll go to my grave wondering how some fairly ordinary players regularly turn up big against particular teams.
- In retrospect, might we have thought more about Our Team not having played a competitive game in four weeks - and almost losing that one at home on national TV when that team's star, the New Tom Brady, didn't play?
- How many times in NFL history have all four the participants in the AFC *and* NFC title games lost to one team that isn't going to the title game? (And 3 of them blowouts?). Repeat after me: Any Given Sunday...
Go Packers... -R#1