Here's my game observations:
I just KNEW Brien was going to miss the second kick -- you could see it
as he came on the field. Brien knew it, too -- that's why he had that
odd smirk on his face afterward. Here's why: he punched the first kick
softly, trying to stay accurate. After he doinked the first one, you
could see in his stride for the second that he was going full out -- it
wasn't going to fall short again, no matter what. It's a "thing"
kickers have -- since no short kick is ever going to be good, kick them
all hard. So when he put extra juice on the second kick, the shank was
almost a foregone conclusion. Those missed kicks weren't about luck or
even about Heinz Field (except maybe his desire for accuracy on the
first kick limited his power). More than anything else, it was about a
kicker's mind gone south on him.
Of course, take away that larcenous, heinous, horrible first down spot,
and there's no kick to miss in the first place. I guess if we get this
ref crew again, what we should do is run 50 yards downfield, come back
and catch 3 yard passes -- and expect a net gain of 50 on the ball
spot. Yeah, I understand the rule of forward progress, but that was
inexcusable, especially considering the fact that they reviewed it.
But I do feel bad for the ref who blew a hammy -- plainly, that SOB was
Cowher's game plan -- looks like Big Bill is back in charge, calling
shovel passes and such. Yay, just in time (rolls eyes). Hey, I *know*
the shovel pass scored. I just loathe it as a play call. We were
pushing five yards a run -- we're on the three ... and you call a
shovel pass?!? Perhaps having only one week between games will mean
that he's less able to participate in the game planning meetings. If I
were an assistant coach, I'd suggest he do a boatload of interviews
this week (hint; hint).
The QB position. We'll see what Ben's made of this week. Clearly, it
wasn't good this week. And I think that's a good thing -- given that we
did get the win. Personally, I think he'll buckle down and be a better
player now. Provided he's not *leashed up* now as a result of this game
-- he can only play within the context of the playbook presented to
him. Point being -- even though he's a rookie, you cannot protect him.
He has to be a fully-functioning QB, or we're back to korky-land
offense. Time to man up and play (which I think he's more than capable
of doing, and likely to do), and time for the coaches to lay some
weight on his shoulders (which I think will be better for him in the
long and short runs).
The Pats makeshift secondary -- talk all you want about that field
being covered for the 24 hours before gametime, it was purposely made
into a slow field all week. Combine that with Manning's (now GLARING)
big-game brain wipeouts, I don't think that the Pats demonstrated that
they have what it takes to compete with a receiver like Plax.
Which brings me to my next point. Plax is a weapon that a makeshift
secondary and a funky field cannot contend with. IOW, you can slow
Marvin Harrison down and contain him, but you cannot make Plax 5'11" by
any trickery (without Cowher's permission). I think opening up the
playbook and stretching the field will do some serious damage to the
Pats chances of holding our offense in check. The earlier the better.
Forget that old "establish the run" crap. Establish a lead, and once
you have those journeymen DBs (and WRs in DB positoins) playing about
15 yards off the ball, it'll be time to pound it down their throats and
burn time off the clock.
Which also prompts me to observe: without the return that ties the
score, the entire game takes on a different tone. The Jets played the
game they had to play -- opportunistic, etc. They got physically
dominated, but stayed in it. So kudos to them ... and I hope they have
a nice vacation now.
Are we in position to beat the Pats? Absolutely. Will we need to play a
lot better than we just did? Hmm, most likely, but that's not a sure
thing. Also, I see that we're 3 point dogs. Like many of you have
pointed out, I agree that is probably a better position for us to be
in. Ultimately, the upcoming Pats / Steelers game is a "bettor beware"
kind of game.
Note, too, that at the rate of 1350 posts in 48 hours ... I don't know
that I'll be posting much in the next week, because it's less likely to
start an intelligent discussion anyway. We're inundated by trolls, and
probably will only get worse. But I thought I'd get my two cents out