I know full well this is untrue. But it feels like we never get games like this in the playoffs. Even games we win handily on the scoreboard were absolute sweat lodges for 3 quarters before we finally pull away. This one was done, finished, kaput by halftime. Hoyer could have come out and taken three straight knees on every possession for the entire second half and we would have won. And boy was that nice. Some fans want a good game. Not me. Feed me blowouts til the cows come home. I'm a simple man with simple pleasures. Blowouts and blowjobs is what I always say.
HOWEVA (extreme Stephen A Smith voice) it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows at 1:05pm. When we won the toss and elected to receive I thought I was going to have an actual brain aneurysm. Why do we always feel the need to "mix it up" come playoff time?? I understand you can't show teams the same shit you've been showing them all regular season and try to pretend it doesn't stink, but some things are classics for a reason. The Horseshoe is one of them. Do NOT fuck with us scoring twice before you see the ball again. Plus, if you don't score on that opening drive, or god forbid you go three and out, now the Chargers are so fired up it's going to take them the entire first half to calm down. Which is no big deal for them because they just get the ball to start to second half anyway after they horseshoe on your ass. Obviously we did score, so no blood no foul, but that's a dangerous game friend-o. My only thought was that maybe Bill realizes this Patriots team can't get down early because we cave so easily, so he wanted the ball first to hopefully give us an immediate cushion.
I'm going to get this out of the way right now since we are talking about kickoffs. Having Desmond King be a second team all pro returner and us deciding to have Stevie drop kickoffs on the 1 yard line for him was the height of insanity. I posted this last week that we should sooner let Dwayne Allen play quarterback before kicking to King. What happens? He has a long return of 28 yards in five attempts, and fumbles a punt which didn't cost the Chargers the game but was certainly the final wooden dagger into Flip Rivers' vampire heart. What a world.
And then on the other end you've got Nick Rose on the Chargers. They've got Michael Badgley kicking field goals for them (From? THE U). He started about halfway through the season. He hit a franchise record 59 yarder. He only missed once. Something like 15 of 16. He also piped a 53 yarder against the Ravens last week and only missed when he got one blocked. But apparently the kid can't kick the ball out of the end zone. So days before the game on Sunday the Chargers sign Nick Rose for kickoffs only. They say Patterson is the best return man living (Wrong, Hester is still alive) so they wanted to bomb it out for touchbacks. Patterson didn't break any, but it was comical watching Rose drop kicks on the 10 yard line like it wasn't HIS ONLY JOB to do otherwise. Thanks for coming out buddy.
I love the playoffs because Brady is such a psychopath. He takes it to another level. Harder tougher everything. Some players have that in them and some don't. I said Flip had never beaten Brady in his life, so it was time to find out of if he was going to let Tommy pet his tummy on the field turf. How did it turn out? Well, Tommy was 34 or 44 for 343 yards, a tuddy, no picks, and no sacks. He was gliding around the pocket like he was a young 38 year old. He threw touch passes. He threw laser rockets. He threw shovel passes! He was doing it all. He did under throw Hogan on one play down the right sideline that would have been a walk in tuddy, but that's about my only complaint.
Meanwhile, Flip spent 40% of the game bitching at the refs for not giving him roughing the passer calls, 40 % of the game bitch at his receivers for dropping the dead ducks he was throwing in their general direction, and the final 20% of the game taking three delay of game penalties. THREE!! I haven't seen someone that late to that party since Memo showed up on the moped to save Bumblebee. Yea, ok, I saw it last night, it was pretty good, fuck off.
When this game started, I told the group I was with we HAD to be able to run the ball. I called in my predictions it was going to be a big Wiggle game. (Nailed that, duh, but more on that tomorrow) But I knew we were going to need The PlayStation to show up as well. If they were gonna rush four and drop everyone into coverage all game we had to be able to bully them up front. I feel like the first two first down runs of the game that Sony got went for negative 2 yards each. I was a few sheets to the wind already and had some dark thoughts going through my head. But when the final whistle blew he had 24 carries for 129 yard and 3 tuddies. I'll take that to the bank any day of the week if they were ever open outside of normal working hours.
The three tuddies were nice, but two of them were goal line freebies. The second one that he bounced outside for 14 or so yards was a nice piece of running. But I'm not hung up on the scores. It was those beautiful runs for 10+ in between the twenties that kept the chains moving, getting us out of a few 2nd and 10s that were a thing of beauty. Those are situations where the Chargers are expecting run to create a more manageable third down, and Sony was able to find the right hole and keep the legs churning. I despise all third downs. I don't discriminate. 3rd and 1 is just as scary as 3rd and 20. So watching him break through arm tackles when he was a yard or two away from the line to gain and give us a fresh set was fresh air in my lungs. Tom is nowhere near any Wild E Coyote cliffs, not that we needed Sunday to prove that but it did, but the more balanced we can be the better. Sony is CRUCIAL to that effort.
I don't know how much higher Wiggle can keep raising the bar in big moments. 15 catches (an NFL Playoff record) on 17 targets for 97 yards. He gets more touches than my Johnson and I have been a very lonely boy lately so use your imagination. Sometimes I start to get concerned that we rely on him too much, like if a team is just willing to take him away what would we do? But he's such a match up nightmare I don't think that's possible one on one. Linebackers and safeties can't stay with him when he's coming out of the backfield like he usually is, because he's allowed to get a head of steam before you have a chance to jam him. He's going to need a similar performance against KC if we're going to pull this off, but with this guy I'm ready for anything. He could tell me he's turning water into wine and I'd grab the corkscrew without blinking.
Jules had another huge playoff game. 9 grabs for 151 yards on 13 targets. Again, similar concern that Wiggle and Jules shared 30 targets between them of 44 pass attempts. I'm telling myself that's just because they were open, and not because Tom is in 'they are my binkies' mode. We must spread the ball around to beat KC, and I think we will. But I'm not going to let any of those worries stop me from showering Jules with the praise he deserves right now. He's so on the same page as Tom. He takes monster hits over the middle. He makes the tough catches that Welker never did. You all saw his all time playoff stats they were flashing all game. But honestly, all of that is secondary to me compared to one quality. He did it twice in this game. I want to say on the second and third drives. Both tuddy drives, duh. He catches that passes 3 yards short of the sticks and drops his shoulder into the chest of a DB. He doesn't jump cut. He doesn't try to hurdle anyone (looking at you Cookie). He just drives right through defenders and dives for first downs. It's only a second down play! But clearly he hates third downs as much as I do. We can deal but we prefer to avoid, kind of like McDonald's fries. I'll convert them (to energy) but I wont enjoy it. Dont @ me.
I also got into a fight with someone about Gronk. He played 77 of 83 snaps and was targeted ONE time. He of course turned that into a 25 yard completion with three broken tackles, but for the once proud stallion of our stable, this is a mighty fall from grace. Especially considering we were all hoping that we were just holding him back all season, ready to unleash him in the yoffs. To you people echoing this sentiment I say poo poo to you my goodman! First of all, from the eye test alone Gronk looked like he was moving so much better yesterday than he was during points of the season. That's why that rest week was so clutch. Secondly, we just didn't need him. He wasn't part of the game plan. You might be saying, Optimus Prime Gronk would never "not be part of the game plan" and you would be one hundo p correct. I'm not sitting here arguing he hasn't lost a step. He can't really take over a game like he used to. Be he can certainly still be a game breaker in the passing attack. In fact I expect him to be next week. But what all you pleebs don't understand is he is still a minimum top 3 (if not 1) all around TE in the league. Ertz and Kelce are legit weapons in the passing game, no doubt about it. Not even close to what Gronk was once, but the gold standard in the league right now. But neither of those two live in the same galaxy as Gronk when it comes to blocking. I know we don't pay Gronk to be an extra tackle, but if you think the running game or the pass protection, both of which are integral to our success, are anywhere close to what they are now without him, then you are crazier than Adam Gase.
Really loved the Flip Dorsett sightings by the way. And a tuddy! Not a bad day to have a day. Where did he go to school again? Oh yea, THE U. Shout out to me for knowing that the clock was going to keep running when he got pushed out of bounds backwards at the end of the half. It was close enough that I was yelling that it was a bullshit call. But had that been a Pats defender I would have nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for such smart gamesmanship. I was even kinda mad at Tom for a) throwing it too early that Flip even had a chance to be pushed out. That has to be toe tap city. And b) for wildly gesturing to spike the ball when it was clearly fourth down. Tommy I love you, but get with the fucking program.
Oh, also shout out to the OLine. I got to work today and there were two milk cartons with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram's face on them. I will take a better look at this when I'm researching Film School to see what exactly we did, but they had 3 combined tackles and affected the game as much my Madden simulations I run before kickoff. It seemed like our tackles ate them for lunch, and I'm shocked they didn't attack the interior of our line more. Again, maybe they did, I was drunk and can't remember, but either way the condom held and no one's pregnant so that's a win.
In the trust tree, who else had a heart attack watching the first Chargers tuddy? After all the glory of an opening drive score when you receive the kick off, it instantly vanished when the Bolts drew level on what appeared to be another blown coverage. At first, I assumed it must have been a mistake on the back end. A safety thought Gilmore had deep thirds, but he didn't and the safety screwed up. But on the replay it legit looked like Gilmore had deep thirds, and he knew it, yet he decided to jump a crossing route that, dare I say, didn't even exist??? There was lit-trally no one running there. I have less than zero idea about what he was looking at. And it leads to a walk in Keenan Allen tuddy. Us needing to go 5 for 5 on third downs, getting the benefit of a defensive holding penalty, and requiring 15 plays to score, only to watch the Chargers immediately score on a broken plays is the stuff of my nightmares. And pretty much the only way we lose games. I would be lying to you if I didn't say I feared a long afternoon in that moment.
Minus that one play, Gilmore continued to be one of the best free agent signings in recent Belichick history. Imagine saying that after week 4 last season! I know PFF has him ranked out as basically the best corner in the league, and I think the eye test agrees. He's rarely targeted, always the mark of a good corner, and even when he is he swats that shit away like an annoying fairy trying to drag me to Neverland to save my abducted children. Dope pick too. Gonna KNEAD a turnover against Pattie so keep locating that ball please and thanks.
How about that undrafted gem JC Jackson. I could kiss him on the lips. J-Mac has had a hell of a season. Truly. After his debacle preseason he has been nothing short of a miracle. And I was actually happy with him lining up opposite Gilmore, confident even, that we could make a run with that personnel. He's lost that job to JC, but not out of bad play by J-Mac. J-Mac played 65 snaps to JC's 67, so they are both vital pieces to the defenses. It's simply by stellar performances from the rookie. In what has been an absolute dumpster fire of a draft class (what else is new) JC is the broken down VW Beetle in the town dump that turns out to be a navy seal transformer. WHAT?! I SAW BUMBLEBEE! FUCK OFF!
One thing I loved was the no fucks given attitude from Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. While I can't believe anyone wants a guy who has only been a defensive "signal caller" for one year, I think I'm even more shocked anyone wants that Fins job. Long may you run my friend, but until then lets get a bowl on the way out in what I call the anti-Patricia. Flores called multiple cover 1 sets, and some cover 0s!!! Like we're the god damn Ravens or something. Daring Flip Rivers to chuck it up and let his much bigger wideouts make a play. I'm shocked they didn't! I think maybe it was just so out of character from us that they never saw it coming, because that should/could have been a death sentence. And as fun as it was to watch an opposing quarterback have to pack up his tea table in the pocket and actually move due to pressure, we better not try that shit ever again.
It's just not gonna fly against KC. The cover 0 I mean. Tyreek Hill will score 5,000 tuddies (number approx) if we turn this into a track meet. What we SHOULD do again is something that is so fresh that the other team never sees it coming. I don't know what that is. But that's why Bill coaches the Pats and I drive Uer after work to pay rent.
Clayborn was a big surprise for me. Let me take that again. He wasn't a surprise for me, because I called this, but I feel like he surprised a lot of people. A healthy scratch in the final two games of the regular season, I heard people calling for his head on a spike outside The Razor. Another bust veteran signing on the cheap by Bill. Going to cost us another bowl, watching the ghosts of James Harrison and Adrian Clayborn try to get pressure in the 4th quarter in back to back years. If Clayborn even sees the field! Well, Clayborn played 70% of snaps, had a sack and another tackle for a loss, and lived in the Bolts backfield. He wasn't in against the Jets and the Bills because a) we went with a bulkier package to stop the run and dare their piece of shit QBs to beat us and b) because he could probably use the rest. Whatever. It worked. He's healthy. He's fresh. He wants a ring. I guarantee that's not his last sack of the playoffs. Bill does it again!
I said before the game that I wanted it to snow so we could slow down Melvin Gordon. I was also thrilled he was a little banged up. The Bolts have a stable of backs that can hurt teams, and our run D has been, how do we put this delicately...A STEAMING PILE OF COW DUNG. So needless to say that was a focus. A concern. A point of interest. The Chargers, as a team, rushed 10 times for 19 yards. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahaha. *breath* Hahahahahahahahahahahahahah
Guys. We're back in the AFCCG. AS WE ALWAYS ARE. This is the shit. This is what matters. The final four. It's not easy. It never is in the NFL. I love how healthy we are. Thank the old golds and the new that Shaq daddy is ok after he tweaked his arm. The Chiefs are a wagon. It's in their house. It's gonna be cold. They want it bad. But unfortunately for the Chiefs, we've got some unfinished business after last year, and we're #StillHere.
PS I was low key happy Gates caught that tuddy. Only cause the game was such a blowout. But he was DOPE, and now his last catch ever (most likely) is a tuddy which is pure. I met him in Miami once during Super Bowl weekend (Colts v Bears...kill me) and he was super nice to me. Gave me an autograph. He's a lefty! Which shocked the shit out of me for some reason. Anyway, I hope they have corner routes in heaven big guy. You will be missed.