gdrv_sm.jpgBy Tim Jordan

For regular readers of Game Day Rear View, you’ve come here expecting to get your weekly game recap from GDRV staple and founder, Scott Benson. I am sorry to be the one to let you know that, in addition to being the proud father of jetsetting children who favor Corsican holidays, Scott is also one of those guys with the New Years Eve anniversary. It was either that or Elvis birthday, but the church was booked. I’ve the pleasure of a swank New Years Eve holiday wedding only once and my wife and I mistakenly spent nearly 90 minutes in the wrong reception at the hotel. After about 60 appetizers, 6 drinks, and, dozens of photos with strangers we finally figured it out. Anyway, that non-sequitor was designed to distract you from the fact that I am here in the place of the esteemed Mr. Benson for the weekly game post.

I am not going to try and mirror his format today, mostly because I couldn’t do even a passable impression of it. Instead, I’ll just post some reactions to the final Patriots game of the 06 regular season and some viewing notes. I’ll start with the obvious. Let’s hope Harrison has a deep bruise and not any structural damage after that questionable hit he took in the first half. I am cautiously optimistic based on the 47 replays I saw, but one never knows and the injury subplot is obviously huge with the playoffs starting next week. Harrison is one of the team’s most important players. Not much more to say about that.

The game itself was entertaining, physical, and very spirited for 4 quarters (even after Brady was pulled in favor of Cassel and, eventually, Testaverde). It seems the team has started to find it’s stride and there were long stretches of the game today that reminded me of the hard hitting, coldly efficient team we saw a few seasons back. It seemed that Tennessee sensed this as well and started getting chippy once they felt the game, and their playoff chances, slipping.

I am giving my 1 lb bag of Double Bubble to Corey Dillon, who played huge today. The Bully Brother accounted for 126 yards of offense and two TD’s in moving past OJ Simpson for 14th on the all-time rushing list. That’s quite an accomplishment and, for some reason, got me wondering about CD’s Hall of Fame credentials. I was using Curtis Martin, in my mind a surefire HOFer, as a comparison and I think another title with Dillon playing a key role could really help his chances. I am a big Dillon fan, if for nothing else, his seething hatred for particular beat writers that look like half the hair dressers on Newbury Street.

As far as the week long debate regarding whether or not the team would try to win or rest starters, it seemed to me that both sides were right. They did exactly that and I am assuming that’s what the plan all week was. It looked like everyone prepared like they would be playing to the final whistle and the coaching staff took it on a situational basis. I think it worked out very well. They played a very physical and well coached football team and answered the bell while not taxing any of the regulars too much (Harrison’s potential injury notwithstanding).

I am going notes format for the rest of my random thoughts because the better half is breathing down my neck to get our New Years Eve rolling. With that:

  • I loved hearing Belichick take responsibility of for the Sauerbrun punt that Pac Man Jones returned for a score, as well as many of Henry’s runs. He went out of his way to do so, I suspect partially because his tirade on Sauerbrun ended up being very public.
  • Penalties are still a problem, but I am hoping it can be attributed to the unique nature of today’s game and opponent.
  • Brady seems like he struggles the most on short passes, particularly the quick outs that used to be his bread and butter on blitzes. Either that, or Troy Brown’s been caught trying to get some rebound action from Bridget Moynihan and Tom takes exception. Poor Troy seems to be the one missing the brunt of those passes.
  • This may be the hardest team in the league to score TDs against right now.
  • Another solid game for Reche Caldwell. The Bug caught 4 passes for 134 yards and a TD, as well as drawing a big 40 yard pass interference penalty in the second quarter. This prompted Metro Micheal Felger to call him a “bottom tier #2 WR” in his post game commentary on the execrable 5th Quarter show. He did this with a straight face and a cashmere sweater on.
  • Seattle finishes the season at 9-7. I was hoping for 8-8, but when that trade was made conventional wisdom was that the pick would be one of the last two in the round. More good news.
  • I am not usually kind to Randy Cross. I think he’s the type of guy that checks his ass out in the mirror, but he and Enberg did a passable job today. If I had to pick nits, I tell Randy that the whole “It’s time to remind people of that!” when the topic of Vinatieri being a good poor weather kicker came up. Otherwise, he didn’t offend me, in fact, I am inclined to agree with him about the final TD. Belichick is on the record many times about his respect for Fisher. I can see his affinity for Testaverde is strong, but I would think restraint may have been the better option in that situation.
  • Wasn’t the open armed tackle that VY made on Samuel after the interception a face mask?
  • There are very few things scarier to me than the visage of Dr. Robert Jarvik. My soul gets a chill as he methodically walks me through Lipitor’s side affects. He looks like this is just an angle towards world domination for him.
  • Speaking off the sinister Aorta specialist: Who is going to stand up and do something about the army of square jawed, 50somethings that the pharmaceutical industry has unleashed upon us each NFL Sunday? I saw more graying temples and plaid shirts than TD passes today. And if Pete Carroll, ever gets sick of coeds and blue chips, I am confident he could be the best pharmaceutical model in the country. Just remember, it may cause diarrhea.

Happy New year, one and all. Have fun whatever you choose to do.

Boogie Chillen’,