Drunken Ramblings week 8: Patriots at Bills
This week took a huge up swing for me when I heard Sony Michele was practicing. That was surprising news considering I watched his ankle turn into dust last Sunday. And then I was told it wasn't even his ankle but his already destroyed knee. The week to week diagnosis after the MRI was already an early Christmas gifts, so to see him with the pads on a mere 4 days later was like getting a full size Twix bar from every house in the neighborhood on Halloween.
Actually playing on Sunday is a entirely different story, however, and we all knew Sony had no chance of that, despite not being ruled OUT officially until the weekend. So the big question was going to be who carries the rock for us. The threat of bringing in someone the head hunters found instead of an internal hire went away once Sony's time table for return came out, so I figured it would be Kenjon Barner's team until further notice. What I did NOT expect was Cordarrelle Patterson to be the lead horse with 10 carries for 38 yards. Those numbers might look good on paper (they don't) but lets be real about it. A cool 22 of those yards came on a jet sweep so it was more like 9 carries for 16.
I know it was the Bills, and if there's ever a time to test out those Tinder openers that you're not totally sure won't get you arrested it was now, but I think it's safe to say I've seen about enough of that. The CP RB experiment went about as well as the Stanford Prison Experiment, and for you all uncultured idiots out there, a) read a book for me one time, and b) make sure you read the fine print on any and all psych experiments you sign up for in the hopes of a pizza lunch and some beer money.
The play that really got my goat was a toss sweep to CP on a 3rd and 3 that resulted in a punt to start us off in the second half. A TOSS SWEEP. TO PATTERSON. Somebody ask Josh McDaniels his favorite type of jam because if he doesn't say Raspberry then we know it was an impostor using Polyjuice Potion, anne frankly that would make a lot more sense. (God that was a deep cut HP reference, I spoil you guys so much)
I've never had a roller coaster swing of emotions like I did when Tommy threw that block on the Jules reverse. I looooooooove when my QB sticks his nose in it. Sometimes its a reverse, sometimes a running back got bottled up and is trying to find space on the other side. But few things fire me up more than a quarterback springing a successful running play. As that play developed it was so clear what was about to happen. It was a third down I believe, and Jules was going to be stopped short unless Tom did something about it. And Tom being Tom, of course he didn't hesitate. I was already pumping my first in euphoria as he lined up the ear hole block to open up the field for his best buddy to collect a first down. And then Tom went flying. The cheer caught in my throat, my clenched fist fell limply by my side. Time stood still. PLEASE GET UP. And Tom being Tom, of course he did. Have fun trying to injure a guy who prepares his body to have the pliability to sustain a car crash on the field.
Can we talk about the injuries real quick? I hate being caught off guard. I love a good surprise party, but don't you dare drop an inactive on me I didn't know about. HIGH...Bubby, I quite literally just declared you all the way back. I gave you a Backstreet Boys reference.
He was questionable with a knee all week but that felt like Brady's shoulder injury for the entire 2000s. I've said many a time before, HIGH just isn't the type of guy that is going to give me 19 games a season. I wish he was. But I also wish I had a bigger Johnson. I've come to terms with both. So in the grand scheme of things I'm happy HIGH is missing a week 8 game at Buffalo instead of the AFCCG at The Razor. I would simply request to be made aware of his absences before I crack my first beer of the night.
I have a similar argument with Gronk. I don't need him right now. I want him. I even made a prediction about him last week because all signs were pointing towards him being a full go. Wellllll, that was not a full go. Or it better not be. He played 68 snaps (damn, so close), good for 89%, but he finished with 3 catches for 43 yards on 8 targets. The lack of red area production is alarming, but even more so for me is how he's moving out there. It's sloooooow. As he's gotten older he hasn't been as quick off the line as a young, spry, Party Rock era Gronk. But he's always had elite speed and separation once he gets a head of steam going. Monday night I couldn't tell the difference between him running a seam route and my dad lumbering to the fridge for a second plate of pulled pork while mom was on the phone. The problem with that is Gronk is a 6'7" robot put on earth to catch tuddies and my dad just had his second discectomy. I'm sure his family was there because he grew up a Mookie Betts frozen rope away, but I'd rather he was eating wings in the crowd with his cousins than running around on the field in that state. It's got seasoning ending IR written all over it.
Shaq Mason also left the game with a calf injury I think. Gonna KNEAD him to be ok. Not only because we employ the Human IR Marcus Cannon (used this nickname last week, I know, I just feel that good about it), but also because Shaq is low key the best guard in football. There, I said it. I know he's from Georgia Tech and they teach run blocking on Mon-Wed-Fri every week, but his improvements in the passing game have been significant. The last bad play he made was the strip sack that shall not be named, so get well soon big boy before I really start regretting that extension.
Eric Rowe was ruled out Monday, and as of post time today he has been placed on season ending IR. Good riddance? I think? As I said last week, I don't hate the guy as much as everyone else does. He can have some truly horrible games. But in the right match up he can play great too. I was pissed he was just handed his job back over J-Mac without earning it first against the Bears (J-Mac back to 98% of snaps this week) but that doesn't mean I was rooting for him to go away. We can never have enough depth at this position. Loyal readers all know how high I am on JC Jackson and Jonathan Jones, but they're young bucks. A little Eric Rowe insurance policy would be one I'm happy to drop GIECO for. They're certainly raking me over the coals as is. If this is saving 15% or more then God have mercy on the rest of you.
The only silver lining about losing Rowe is that I can hear DUKE DAWSON'S MUSIC. He's just about ready to come off the IR with designation to return list. If you remember from last year, the Pats will eventually activate him, thus burning one of our two IR return spots, and then we will have 21 days to get him on the active roster. Otherwise, he goes back on IR, this time season ending, and we will have wasted our designation. But that is not, I repeat, NOT going to happen with DUKE. He is the bright shining star of our draft class and the prince who was promised. The slot corner position is officially spoken for. Cyrus Jones avert your eyes.
What a pukey first half to this game, but I'm happy about two things. One, how many times to do I say I want my kicker to miss meaningless kicks? You know he's not gonna have a perfect season. So lets get these shanks out of the way during a 9-3 first half in Buffalo instead of, say, the Super Bowl. Plus that wasn't a shank. 50 yards is absolutely in range and should be hit, but that was juuuuuuust a bit outside and I don't say that sarcastically. So thank you Stevie, that was a "good miss" and you smartly got it out of your system in week 8. Genius, this guy.
Two, don't you just love the Bills? That opening series with wildcat direct snaps and reverse flea flickers truly brought a smile to my face. I thought they might run trick plays the entire game. After seeing their real offense, they probably should have. How many could we have possibly sniffed out? They ran 64 offensive plays. If they did some kind of backyard bullshit on every single one and it resulted in even ONE tuddy, that would be one more than they actually scored and they might have made a game out of this thing. I was salivating at what might be coming next. I wanted formations we've never seen. WRs throwing to linebackers. Quarterbacks kicking. Give me all of it. The more I think about it I'm almost disappointed. If you are going to the looney bin then GO. Get naked and smoke that shit. But the wildcat? Really? That's it? Haven't we seen that before??
It was nice to the see the defense show up with some big plays. Even against the Bills, game changing plays are still good for confidence. Not to mention we needed all the help we could get on offense.
It's hard to say enough good things about Van Noy. I know I've been killing him here lately for the missed tackles in the backfield, but not a lot of teams can lose a guy like HIGH for the game last minute, plug in someone like Van Noy, and barely miss a beat. He got torched in coverage on a wheel route, but more than anything else that just proves he's a perfect Patriot. 'Cant cover the wheel route' is the requirement to apply. Otherwise he's going sideline to sideline in coverage, bursting through holes on the line in run stuffing, and all while wearing the green dot and keeping everyone in position. That's a lot of responsibility in a Bill Belichick defense. You still have to DO YOUR JOB even if Flores is running out the most vanilla calls of all time. And I don't blame him at all. The Bills didn't even appear to know which direction they were supposed to be going, and who wants to put anything exotic on tape the week before you face A-A-Ron Rodgers? All I'm saying is Van Noy might not be invited to my wedding yet, but he's in the second round when my cousins RSVP no.
The other big play was obviously Dev's 300 yard (number approx) pick six. Great job reading the quarterbacks eyes, and great job finishing the play. Shouts to Clayborn for running the length of the field to lead block. That type of shit dilates my pupils if ya know what I mean. But did you see that stat about our last defensive tuddy? It was 40 games ago in 2015!! And that was Dev's first defensive tuddy ever!! Chalk those two stats up next to "dudes my girlfriend DMs" in the Things I Don't Need To Know file.
I also read today that Dev was going 22.05 mph up the sideline. That is the fastest recorded speed for any ball carrier in the NFL this year. I don't know if that is some kind of optical fucking illusion but after watching Tyreek Hill leave Duron Harmon at the light like some kind of Dominic Toretto enemy and watching Dev try to stay with anyone on a post corner this year means that stat is either a flat out lie or we live in a simulation where nothing is real.
I'm a little all over the place today, but my final thought is a question that I do not have the answer to. I'm legit asking. But JO, you can just look this up. Isn't that why we read this blog? For you to give us answers to the hard questions we don't know. To that I would respond, a) you read this blog for my lethal wit and my transcendent pop culture references and b) what the else do you have to do while you take a dump?
Can someone please explain to me what happened on that two point conversion??? Tom threw a pick. IT DOESN'T COUNT, CALM DOWN! (more on that tomorrow) In the NFL a two point conversion can be returned to the crib for two points of your own. This rule was passed in March 2015. So the Bills pick off our two point conversion, and then instead of instantly taking a knee like non morons, the DB decided to dance around the end zone with the pigskin like he invited it to the Yule Ball. (Two deep Potter's today! TWO!) Then it got stripped before he downed it, and we recovered. Is that not two points??! I didn't hear the whistle, so don't give me that. And there is no way we didn't jump on that loose ball. But no one seemed concerned? Bill wasn't instantly reaching for his tube sock. The players weren't throwing their hands in the air in outrage. It was only me, dying on this hill in a confused, drunken stupor. So someone, please, help me out here. I'm asking for a friend.