Thursday, January 20, 2005

January 20, 2005

Ahh, lunch break: the best time of the day for wanna-be sportswriters sitting in their wanna-be cubicles who have a laptop and whose train was delayed an hour this morning and had time to kill.

Thanks in advance for being my unwilling audience whether you want to or not (Of course, you can be like most and delete it just by looking at the title and saying: "Not free porn? DELETE!!!"

Anyway, without further delay:

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP:

Am I the only one scared of the Steelers? NFL road games are always tough and never a gimme (OK, I concede Arizona). And, yes, Bill Cowher's brain goes as hard & pointy as his chin on the sidelines during big games, but Pittsburg's defense is for real--heck, it's practically a mirror-image of the Pats: grunt-linemen; awesome LBs; hard-hitting secondary. Also, I'm not sold on Roethlishamburgler, but it's not like Kordell Stewart is going to be back there firing three 4th quarter interceptions. Just being Kordell-free (Or Neil O'Donnell-free!) is a big plus for the Steelers. IBWT (In Belichek We Trust), I guess.

Basically, the game breaks down to the Pats needing to do what they need to do every game:
1) Stop the Run; 2) Create pressure on QB with 4 man rush; 3) Run ball & control clock; 4) Spread the defense and create mismatches by having the safeties cover receivers/running backs/tight ends when passing.

I didn't remember until reading a great piece on a superb site http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com how banged-up the Pats were last time in Pittsburg: Dillon (RB), Pass (FB), Branch (WR), Ashworth (T) all out and Light (T), & Law (CB) out early in game. Also, Faulk (RB) in his first real game action all year after being injured. Heck, 34-20 loss--we played pretty damned good all things considered!

I'll also add, that in the past two years, the Pats have lost four games--all four games have one thing in common: The Pats committed four or more turnovers.

So if we keep the turnovers in check, slow down the Steelers offense, take advantage of any matchup we can get of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu covering Daniel Graham, we have a great chance of pulling out a big win. (I mean the Pats--isn't it annoying when fans refer to a team as "we"? And yes, I do it all the time. But we're not playing. Heck, I'm just throwing stuff at the TV while I sit my butt on the couch. If I had to block a superbly conditioned professional athlete for even one play I'd be run over and flattened like a pancake.)

I like the Pats chances Sunday night--something like 23-17 for the final score--I just get nervous being the favorite when Larry Bird isn't on the roster.

* * *
RED SOX:

Yes, less than a month until spring training!

Check out this story by Bill Simmons (fka Boston Sports Guy) about the Sox's Coma Guy: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/050120

Of course, when I heard Red Sox and Coma, I immediately thought of former managers John McNamara, Ralph Houk, and Joe Morgan. One of my favorite memories watching the Sox highlights of a spring training game on one of the local news channels six o'clock news sports segments, and Johnny Mac dozed off during the game--and after every Sox highlight (or lowlight as was the case in this particular game) they'd cut to the shot of McNamara unconscious in the dugout. Hilarious. I still laugh thinking about it twenty years later.


* * *

Well, back to work for poor little me. If you got this far, thanks for humoring me and reading the incoherent ramblings, as always, thanks for the time.

All Content By: Hal Bent mailto:halbent@aol.com
Hal Bent Copyright 2005

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