I didn't want the ball first. On a day that I knew I would spend stressed out from the second I woke up until the second I blacked out, the one thing I kept thinking was I didn't want the ball first. That place was going to be rocking. They know we struggle there. They know we've sucked on the road all year. Bill always defers because the horseshoe is lethal, and because opposing fans are FIRED UP to start games. Much more so than they are coming out of halftime. If we had won the toss we would have deferred. I didn't want the ball because of the horseshoe potential, duh, but mostly because I felt like a three and out to start the game would have cost us our lives. The crowd would go absolutely bananas and then the Chiefs ride that momentum into an early tuddy and just like that the floodgates are open. When I saw we were getting the ball I wanted to throw up. Then we march 75 yards with six first downs and a tuddy. Wham bam thank you ma'am. It's a dangerous game, but that's one way to alert your opponent that you are not here to fuck around. We did it to Bolts as well. And even though there are zero points scored in the first quarter of pretty much every Super Bowl we ever play in, it would be like the IV drip I so badly need if we could do it to the Rams in two weeks.
I have way too much to say about this game so I'm just going to word vomit all over you guys if that's cool. This has no structure or coherent thought to it, I'm actually rambling. (Cue the: JO, how is that different from every other post?? You're not wrong)
I'm sure you all saw this stat last week, but the Pats are 59-1 since the year 2000 if our leading rusher goes for over 100 yards. The only loss was the 04 bowl season when we lost at Miami when they were 2-11. Tom threw four picks, taking four years off my life, but we still went 14-2 and claimed the ultimate prize. The Steelers went a shocking 15-1 that year and were the one seed. Anyway, I clung to that stat for dear life. The Chiefs run defense STINKS. Sony looked fresh as lettuce against the Bolts. Lets ground and pound these assholes in the freezing weather and if Sony goes north of the century mark then we're in business!
Well the kid had the joy stick working early. I was thrilled we looked ready to bleed clock, dominate time of possession, and bully that soft Chiefs front. The PlayStation held up his end of the bargain with 29 carries for 113 yards and two tuddies. Most of it came in the first half, but it set the tone. If you can force teams to have to invest more players in the box to stop the run, then I don't care how old and slow and white our receivers are. Not with this quarterback. My mother could run a crossing route off of play action and get open.
Really great game from Sony, who has not looked like a rookie during these playoffs. The moment doesn't appear too big for him. Which makes me wonder why Rex was getting all the burn in the fourth quarter. He finished with 12 carries for 41 yards and two tuddies of his own. And truly, thank you for both Burk. They put us up with 39 seconds to go and won the game in overtime. But what are you doing in the game? I gotta believe it was a fresh legs thing?? Bill felt like someone rested had more explosive plays in the tank than a guy who's played 45 minutes of grueling tackle football in the single digits. When I write it out, I see the logic to it. But after that idiot got stopped on fourth and inches and I started moving slowly toward the white light, I didn't want him to step on another football field again. I was ready to write my Congressman if he did. So to see him do his best James Wiggle White impression in overtime was something I was happy to be wrong about.
The OLine too. Holy shit guys. Not only did they pave they way for Sony and Rex to have great days on the ground, but they also held up in pass coverage against a front that led the league in sacks. Somebody buy Scar a steak dinner and as many hookers as his old heart can take. Not that we have a talentless line. But it is full of unheralded guys who are greater than the sum of their parts. If we can do that to Aaron Donald there is no reason we should't hang 40 on their ass too. I don't think the Chiefs even got close enough to look at Tom funny. Except for that one time he got hit in the head. More on that later.
I gotta talk about Gronk now. I kept saying in this space that we had to pray to the old gods and the new that we had been holding Gronk back all year, waiting to unleash him in the yoffs. I think even my delusional brain knew deep down that was never going to be true. But what could be true was that Gronk spent a lot of this year more banged up than we thought, and even though he has maybe lost a step, he is finally healthy (er). This was the best game we've seen from him all year. Maybe not stat wise, I'm not gonna go back and look all that up. But he was making game breaking plays. His blocking was terrific, as it always is. It's the fade over Berry where Gronk had to reach through his soul to catch. And the 3rd and 10 slant in OT where he said I'm big you're small, I'm smart you're dumb, I'm rich you're poor, try to stop me. That was the Gronk we had been missing. Gonna need him to show up one more time for me to get the job done.
I mean what can I say about all the receivers really? They will all be named in my will. To Flip Dorsett, I bequeath the use of the name Flip. We call my boy Flip, and he always got pissed that we also gave this nickname to Dorsett. He didn't feel #13 had earned it. Well he sure has now. A tuddy to close out the first half of the AFCCG while you are being absolutely mauled by the DB. With an EGREGIOUS no flag. One of the crazier calls/noncalls of championship Sunday, not kidding. If I was a real dick I would make an incredibly tasteless joke that Kareem Hunt was kicked off the Chiefs for less contact than Steven Nelson put on Flip. But I'm not a dick. So I wont say it.
To Jules, I leave my extra grippy yard work gloves. He did some of the most Jules stuff ever. Huge catches over the middle on life support mission critical third downs. We motion him and they know where we're going but he still gets open and takes a beating. I don't think he feels fully in the game until he gets his bell rung. Then it all becomes muscle memory. He even had the "I'm going to murder you now" perfect pass tipped up into the air which becomes a game changing interception. That felt like payment for the Atlanta catch and the punt whiff (more later). You just cant have those two things go your way and the universe not email you reminding to you schedule your colonoscopy.
To Hoags, I bequeath my shoulder sling I still have after I separated my right one trying to do a pull up at the gym. True story. Clearly my man doesn't need his right arm after that INSANE grab. That was on a third down right? I think it was the possession where we scored a tuddy to get to 24 points. The Chiefs had taken the lead and the game could easily have slipped away without a response. (I might be off by a possession here but everything was ultra important in the 4th) I mean that was a tough throw under any circumstances. Tom was being hit. Hoags was being hit and held. And that pass was a laser rocket. And the guy just sticks out his left hand and stops it dead. I was insulted by the review if we're being honest. Apparently Hoags does better with one hand anyway, because the drop on the sideline during the last possession of regulation was a can of corn into his bread basket. When we called a time out and then I hear Romo say they have to look at this one too I had no idea what they were talking about. I'm not biased or anything, but I swear he caught that one. I can see that the ball touched the ground at one point, but it was clearly in his control. No more than the previous grab. That felt like a ridiculous overturn, and it sucked because I had mentally accepted it was 1st and 10 from the 20. Not 3rd and 10 from the 35. Kill me.
To Patterson, I leave you a suite at the Ritz Carlton in Miami on the weekend of February 2nd. Just head down for a few days and blow off some steam. No one needs you anywhere else so it should be fine, I checked your calendar. Listen, was that slant behind him? Yes. Did he get rocked helmet to helmet on the second target in OT? Yes. But WHY does he get two targets during all of regulation when we ran a season high NINETY SEVEN (97!!!!!) plays and then we feel the need to fire it in there to him on two second and tens in overtime. Jesus fuck.
I just remembered the flea flicker in OT. The audacity. If Hoags had turned the right way I think we had it. How NUTS would that have been if we walked off on a flea flicker. For all the shit I've given Josh this year, that would be have been his grand opus.
The first half was damn near perfect. SHUTOUT the Chiefs. That felt like a miracle. Helped in huge part by that epic sack by MY BOY Trey Flowers. How many big dick sacks is this man gonna get in yoff games? He should just play games with his red jacket on. The only fly in the ointment was that APPALLING interception Tom threw on the second series. 14-0 nothing there felt like a throat step moment. You put them in the ground with that tuddy. I didn't even hate the play call. I know we had been running it down their eye socket all game, and if we had run it on that play we would have walked in, but it's fine. You trust Tom to not be an idiot there with the ball. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he was.
We did a tremendous job on Hill and Kelce. It started with Hill being doubled, JC Jackson on Kelce, and Gilmore on Watkins. We switched to Gilmore on Kelce, JC on Watkins, and Hill doubled later in the game. Watkins hurt us a bit at the end as he took advantage of JC. But Hill was held to one catch on a semi broken coverage. Kelce had 3 for 23. You take that allllllllll day. You could see Homie waiting as long as he could trying to free up Hill on these big routes and we just weren't going to let it happen. JC picked up a couple bad flags down the stretch there and I need that to not affect his confidence. He played 51 of 52 potential snaps and is the guy opposite Gilmore. I'm not sure if Gilmore is going to be on Cookie or Woods two Sundays from now, but the one left over is gonna be JC's job. No better time to bounce back than the BOWL.
And what was up with Harmon?? The guy plays every snap the entire season and has more yoff game ending picks than any living Patriot, and he plays......2 snaps??? He was mostly replaced by Jonathan Jones who played 41 snaps. J-Mac played 35. So we were mostly in that 4 CB look with Chung and Dev playing basically the whole game. Bill knows what he wants, and I don't always agree with it, but he felt those guys were better in coverage against the speedy threats of the Chiefs. You haven't heard a word from Harmon because despite him being a massive reach in the draft, he has become the consummate Patriot. He's taking it in stride because all that matters is the win. And who knows, he will probably be an integral part of the Super Bowl game plan. The only thing I find very strange is why Crossen is getting 8 snaps to Harmon's 2. I don't need to watch Crossen have no clue where the ball or his receiver is ever again for as long as I live.
Van Noy was a killer too. Man, at the start of this year I remember saying many times he looked slow. He had his coming out party last year, and now he was turning back into a pumpkin. A team high 10 tackles with 2 sacks in the AFCCG changes that narrative pretty quickly. If him and HIGH, both 52 snaps, can keep up this level of play it brings this defense to a new tier. And if we had recovered that strip sack at the end of the first I would have flown to Atlanta myself to give Van Noy whatever sexual favors he might require before the big game.
Another one of those horrific noncalls from the game was the pick play the Chiefs ran on the drive to go up 28-24. JC Jackson gets ear holed EASILY 3 yards beyond the LOS and Sammy Watkins is now nude up the sideline. Not a flag in sight. That is such an easy call to make, I don't understand. And I'm not trying to trigger Saints fans. Yours was way worse, and also an easy call. But this one is such a clear cut rule, unlike normal DPI flags. You can set a pick. You just have to be inside of 1 yard from the LOS. Ok great. Was he? No, he was 3 yards. Ok, flag. Right? RIGHT???????
The messed up part is I wasn't even mad. I kinda wanted it to happen. My house was going ballistic after we went up 24-21. Need a stop from the D and all that jazz. I felt the opposite. The Chiefs had figured us out. Both defenses were tired. I didn't see anyone getting a stop for the rest of the game. I legit wanted KC to score. I just waned to have about 2 min left with all our timeouts. I am so so so so so so so so less nervous when we have the ball. As crazy as it sounds, I would rather be losing but Tom have the ball, than winning and needing our D to get a stop. You can say JO that exact attitude cost us the bowl last year. YOU THINK I DON'T KNOW THAT? YOU THINK THERE'S ANYTHING IN THIS FUCKING UNIVERSE THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT?
I'm just telling you how I feel. Let them score and give me the ball back. It worked perfectly. If I was the Chiefs and they got down to the 1 yard line or whatever I wouldn't have scored so fast. It's risky, but that's the move if you've got Tom Brady and a bad defense waiting for you. But we got the ball and effortlessly put up a tuddy to go ahead. And by effortlessly I mean Gronk let a pass bounce off his hands for a season ending interception, Tom's THIRD of the game, only for the play to be wiped out by a neutral zone infraction. Holy BALLS. I can't believe that happened. I mean he's offside. I don't know what to tell Chiefs fans. He's offside. Dumb play. People saying Trent Brown wasn't lined up properly and should have also been flagged, but even if he was it's now offsetting flags and replay the down, so the pick goes away no matter what. Don't ever give us a second chance. Ever.
Here are the two times I was especially mad at the Pats D though. It's just when you do shit everyone says you're gonna do, even though its the one thing you can't do, and we do it anyway. It's embarrassing. First was the start of the second half. We put on that clinic of game management in the first half. They're getting the ball to start. They've talked about adjustments in the locker room but you've still got the same plan in place. We force them into an immediate third down. Granted, its 3rd and 2, but a stop here and you win the game. And even if they get it, your 2 tuddy cushion means you can trade blows with them for the rest of the night. Just force them into 15 play drives and they won't even have time to tie you. But on third down they go 800 yard pass play (number approx) and then 15 yard slant to Kelce, tuddy bears. Boom. Four plays and its a ball game. That's the ONLY THING you can't do. And then second time I was fuming was the 32 seconds to end the game. Chiefs have one time out and only need a FG. But did you even entertain the idea that they wouldn't score?? That's how pathetic we are. I was just praying they didn't win the game in regulation. And typically, boom. Two plays and the Chiefs are on our 20!!! That's not even an exaggeration. And to top it off, we also jumped offside which stopped the clock for them for free. They had no timeouts left. They would have had to run up and spike the ball and hope to get a FG off. Instead we gave them what should have been two frees hots at the end zone to rip our spines out. Just classic Pats D stuff right there.
Yo Slater, I've been saying for years that it's insane you get a lock roster spot when I can definitely find someone else to be good at special teams. But if you keep sniping every OT coin toss you can play for me forever.
I told you guys before the game it would come down to 3rd downs. You know I said that. The Chiefs were 4-9 or 44%. The Pats were 13-19 on third down. 68%. If you count the 1-2 on fourth down that's a clean 70%. A playoff record 13 conversions. What a joke. The 4th and inches stop was bad, but the three overtime third downs were some of the most stressful conversions I've ever been a part of as a fan. I couldn't even breath.
Ok now, a quick word about the roughing the passer call. It was soft. No doubt. But there were multiple articles on ESPN before the game stating two facts. One - Tom gets fewer roughing the passer calls than most of the league. Stop with this bullshit. It's not like if you breath on him he gets the flag. He in fact never gets that flag. Two - this ref crew threw more roughing the passer flags than any crew in the league. We got called for one too! And we deserved it. My point is, you have to be ready for this as a DLineman. You know they are flag happy on that play. The rule is ANY head contact. If you gently put your pinky finger on Tom's helmet, its a flag. I'm sorry. That's the rule. Chris Jones swung his arm down near Tom's head. I swear to god it grazes his face mask. It might miss it, but I'd testify that it grazes. I only bring that up to point out that people are acting like it wasn't close. I'm not saying it wasn't soft. I'm just saying IF it does graze the face mask it is ONE HUNDO P the correct call. If it doesn't graze then the refs go 'damn I thought it did, we missed that one.' but that's it. This was not the missed call to end all missed calls. The pick play against us was waaaaay worse. Especially since the roughing the passer was on second down. Considering we were converting 3rd downs at 70% I find it the height of comedy that the Chiefs are saying that flag is the reason they gave up a tuddy drive there. Nah that was mostly because you have bad players.
I have a similar stance with the muffed punt that wasn't. Here's what Jules was trying to do. That was a bad punt. He starts screaming PETER PETER PETER at the top of his lungs, and waiving his arms. He is alerting his teammates that its a bad punt and they need to get their head around to make sure they don't get hit by it. Well the Chief's players can also hear Jules yelling Peter. They know it's a bad punt too. because of this they now assume Jules isn't returning this punt, and they take their eyes off of him trying to locate a ball that might accidentally hit a Patriots blocker. Then then ball skips forward like that, and Jules thinks the Chiefs aren't paying attention to him anymore. And they're not. So he wants to catch them off guard and sneak a little 15 yard return in there before people react. That is why he didn't just get out of the way. I'm not saying this was smart, given the situation, I'm saying that's what was going through his head. He definitely reaches for the ball trying to scoop it. He also does NOTHING to get out of the way. That wasn't a quick reaction or matrix shit. He didn't even flinch til the ball was past him. HOWEVA (Stephen A Smith voice) if you think that ball touched Julian Edelman you are a fucking moron plain and simple. It was close as hell. No doubt about it. But it did not hit him. A couple angles made it look like his thumb hit it. It did not. When you compare that to the side angles you can see how much higher the ball is than his thumbs. It was a truly insane play during an insane moment of an electric football game. And had that ball hit Jules, the Chiefs are the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. I'm sure of that. But luckily for Jules and the Pats the ball missed him. It will go down in the stat sheet as a punt by the Chiefs for 45 yards, downed at the New England 28. Obviously we got "Ball Don't Lie"ed into the next universe two plays later when Jules handed the Chiefs a pick, but I refuse to let anyone bellyache that this was a bad call. He didn't touch the ball.
I'm ending this was Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. You beautiful boy. I don't need to say anything about his greatness. Everyone already knows. Any that don't will never be convinced and honestly I feel bad for them. Don't pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and above all those who live without loving Tom Brady. As much as I joke about knowing the Chiefs were gonna score with 32 second left, how do you think KC fans felt? Both when we got the ball down 4 with 2 minutes left, and when we got the ball to start OT. They knew they were fucked and they were absolutely right. Tom is the baddest mother fucker on the planet (his words, not mine) and it is a probably the greatest joy of my fandom life watching him play. I hope he lives forever and if he needs to harvest some of my organs to do so, then so be it. I would avoid the liver after this past Sunday though. You don't want that.
As everyone in that locker room is well aware, none of this matters if we don't finish the job. As great as Tom was on Sunday, he sneaky threw three interceptions. I'm hoping that means a clean game for once in the Super Bowl. Lets go fucking get it.