25 days until pitchers and catchers
The translation of that headline is that football season is over — at least in these parts.
As a long-time follower of Boston sports, I can only find a few other losses that could be comparable in terms of pure gut punchers. Two of them are Red Sox and one of them is Celtics.
Game 6 of the 1986 World Series — enuf said.
Game 4 of the 1987 Finals — Celtics-Lakers. Does anyone remember how in control of this game the Celtics were? They led by something like 17 points late in the third quarter and were still up by about eight with under two minutes left. Does anyone remember that Kareem actually missed a free throw to set up Magic’s hook shot? If McHale had just gotten the rebound instead of batting the ball out of bounds, the Celtics would have had the game won. Instead, Laker ball, and Magic did the rest.
the other one was Game 7 of 2003 — Red Sox-Yankees. No need to rehash this one.
Seriously though, a 21-3 lead? How do you let that get away? Does anyone remember that they were on the verge of another field goal at that point only to have a penalty get them out of field goal range? how did they lose this game. How does a team like the Patriots commit a too many men on the field penalty and a roughing the passer penalty in the late stages of such a crucial game?
Maybe that somewhat lucky win over the Chargers did take too much out of them. They just didn’t have that same focus, mentally or physically that they usually have in games like this. In hindsight, how big was it losing that regular season game to the Colts? If only they had won that game, yesterday’s game would have been in Foxboro. I think we all know how it would have turned out in that case.
Another side note is that they really missed Charlie Weis in this game. I thought the offense was WAY too conservative down the stretch. I’m going to see those passive third down draw calls in my sleep. Go for a bomb downfield like Brady threw to Caldwell last week in SD. Where was the aggression? It was like the Colts were trying to win the game and the Pats were trying not to lose it.
Belichick needs to go back to the drawing board and add a few more horses. Brady needs a couple of downfield threats. Gaffney and Caldwell can only fake it for so long. They also need one or two more difference-makers on defense. The defense looked a little old yesterday.
All in all, I give the Patriots credit. They were a gutty team in a year they didn’t have the same depth of talent that they had during the Super Bowl years. I wouldn’t bet against Belichick and Pioli putting this thing back together. Remember, the 49ers won five Super Bowls in 14 years. The Pats need to just win two more over the next eight years to match that run.
And that, my friends, is the last words of football wisdom you will hear from me until next year’s Hot Stove season. From now until then, it’s all baseball all the time. Unless, of course, you want to dissect the wonderful Celtics and their 1-14 record since Pierce went down :)
Can’t wait for Fort Myers.