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Knee Jerk Reactions to Week 8: Pats vs Dolphins

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Things to consider while dressing to win on the field, off the field, in business, in love, at life and to win Halloween:

*This was shaping up to be a very different KJR. When they came out for the 2nd half and went Drop-Brady trips over Ridley’s foot-Sack-Punt, it was feeling like this is what Rock Bottom looks like. Losing to the Jets on the road in OT on a bogus call is one thing, but losing to a bad Dolphins team would’ve been the Marianas Trench below Rock Bottom. And this column would’ve been all about how something is physically wrong with Brady, the reboot of the receiving corps has been an abysmal failure and a Mean Girls Burn Book of all the draft busts. And I can’t promise I wouldn’t have started the call for Tebow. So just be grateful the nightmare scenario was averted.

*Instead, let’s just all agree that Brady is playing through a hand injury that would kill any lesser man and leave it at that.

*Even worse than my frustration with the offense in that first half was the complete lack of pressure on Ryan Tannehill. I know that selling out to go after the quarterback isn’t the Patriots thing, but Miami’s line stops people about as well as the Arizona Border Patrol. So it was great to see Matt Patricia finally let his guys off the leash and start blitzing like he’s never blitzed before.

*As a matter of fact, the turning point of the whole game came on what might’ve been his first blitz; and that was the sack that led to the field goal miss. They sent Dont’a Hightower through the A-gap and Joe Vellano came from the left tackle spot with an inside move. Miami’s protection rolled toward those two, leaving Rob Ninkovich free to tee Tannehill up for Hightower to finish him off. After the kick hit the post, the Pats had the field position, swung the momentum to their side and never let up. And that one play changed everything. In the way Chewbacca stealing that Imperial Walker thing won the Battle of Endor, led to the Rebels taking down the shield generator, blowing up the Death Star and overthrowing the Empire, that one blitz could have saved this season.

*From that point forward, Patricia pretty much fired all his bullets then threw the gun at them. Up by 10 he pretty much sent extra rushers on every down. Calling blitzes like you do when you play Madden. Or like the 7th graders I coach would if I actually listened to them. He sent Hightower and Brandon Spikes through both A-gaps to force one. He came with Steven Gregory on a couple more. And Logan Ryan was completely unaccounted for on another and finished with two sacks and a forced fumble.

*Like it so often happens when you get a team pissing down its leg over your pass rush, even when they didn’t blitz it worked. There was one play in the 4th when Dane Fletcher was showing an interior blitz but instead he stayed home and covered the back out of the backfield, taking away Tannehill’s outlet and creating the coverage sack by Chris Jones. As much as I’m sorry not to see more of Jamie Collins, it’s great to see Fletch back with the band. He just makes good things happen. A poor man’s Ninkovich.

*”I’m so exhausted from that dramatic, unforgettable comeback win in the championship finals I can’t even function today!” #BostonProblems

*The hit of the day was Spikes, blitzing up the middle crushing Lamar Miller. Miller is 218 lbs and Spikes used him to do a colonoscopy on Tannehill. God knows he’s got his limitations and he’ll never be a 3-down LB, but he’s a huge difference maker.

*Nobody gets on the Real Housewives of Foxboro worse than I do. And I had my issues yesterday. For instance, the fact that we could hear Ryan Tannehill’s cadence on TV was a disgrace. Real football crowds make so much noise the visiting WRs can’t hear the call, much less some technician holding a parabolic mic 30 yards across the field. Having said that, I would’ve booed at the end of the half too. Especially the decision to take a knee. I know it was windy; but you’ve got the ball, 30 seconds left, all 3 timeouts and one of the Avengers at QB, and you mean to tell me you think there’s a better chance of Miami scoring than you if you go for it? That’s loser mentality and conduct unbecoming the Patriots. I never remember hearing Belichick preach “We need to play hard for 59 and a half minutes…”

*Also to be fair to the season ticket holders, I’m pretty sure when you look over the schedule, the Miami game in late October is the one you give away to clients or your pink hat cousin from out of state.

*I’ve seen a million interceptions (and rocked them all) but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one where a guy going out of bounds intentionally tipped it to a teammate like that. What I do know is I’m taking Team McCourty/Cole in the Patriots Family Picnic Beach Volleyball tournament. All that play needed was Kenny Loggins’ “Hanging With the Boys.”

*Far be it for me to criticize Belichick’s disciplinary methods. But if he’s benching Ryan for grabbing his nuts on a Pick 6 or Ridley for supposedly high-stepping into the endzone against the Jets, even my Belichick Infallibility Doctrine reaches its limits. I get that he’s from a family of football lifers and was raised to respect the game. But you can’t respect the game more than it respects itself. As long as the league promotes itself with exactly the kind of highlight reel shenanigans he can’t tolerate, he’s got to learn to just let it go. He can yell at guys. Fine them. Make them run laps. But when you take snaps away from the guys who actually get in the endzone, you’re not saving the world; your saving your opponents. End of rant. (Now there’s a muscle I don’t use too oftent. I’ll be sore tomorrow.)

*I’ll quickly wash the taste of that out of my mouth by following it up with a compliment. Calling time at the end of the 3rd to preserve a shot at the endzone and a FG with the wind at your back was exactly the kind of situational football that sounds so simple but so few coaches ever think to do. I mean, in that situation John Farrell would’ve just let Brandon Workman hit.

*Speaking of coaches, if you wanted to make a hatchet job, smear campaign, negative attack ad to make Joe Philbin look bad, you couldn’t do better than the shot of him after the Marquise Cole INT when the ref said “The ruling on the field stands” and Philbin was clapping louder than anyone in the stadium.

*My Rick Reilly Moment of the Week: “The way the Patriots defense humiliated the Dolphins line, Richie Incognito might want to travel around Miami incognito this week!”

*I suppose in the interest of fairness I should mention some of the bogus calls that went against Miami. The worst probably wasn’t the Slapping the Loose Fumble call (though that was the biggest); it was the PI on Gronk when he had three defenders around him and got took a perfectly timed hit, but drew the flag anyway. Like I said last week when the Patriots got hosed, these officials are rapidly taking over the sport and it’s bad for everyone. As the old saying goes, “When they screwed over the Patriots, I said nothing, for I was not a Patriots fan. When they screwed the Red Sox, again I said nothing, for I was not a Sox fan. And by the time they came for my team, there was no one left to speak up…”

*My favorite calls now are the “There was no penalty for offensive holding…” I say they should just throw a flag on every down and then just tell us after if there was any reason for it or not.

*I’ve been pretty harsh on Marcus Cannon so I have to mention he played his nads off yesterday. Especially coming against Camerone Wake, who’s a Pats killer, that was an impressive job in an emergency situation. We have to hope it keeps up because nothing says “Vollmer to IR” like the sight of them pumping up an aircast right on the field. What a brutal goddamned game football can be.

*Speaking of pumping things up: I hope we haven’t seen the last of CBS telling us about Lance Barrow making it into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. I mean, sure, we’ve never heard of him and couldn’t care less. But that shouldn’t stop them from interrupting a football game with the TV equivalent of a “My Child Was Student of the Week” bumper sticker.

*After a huge step backwards by the secondary last week I loved the way they rallied in a big way. Even a few completions I thought were way more about great execution against good coverage. For instance, one sequence in the 3rd started with a perfect throw to Rishard Mathews with Ryan draped all over him to convert a 2nd & 11. Then Kyle Arrington broke up a ball to Mike Wallace, Alfonzo Dennard took Brian Hartline out to force an incompletion, then a ball knocked away at the sidelines. Just really good man coverage by everyone in the secondary. With the exception of Cole. I still hate seeing him anywhere but on Special Teams.

*I never feel less like a man then when Sam Elliot tells me I need to buy a Ram pickup, and then I don’t. I guess I’ve just never gotten over what Brad Wesley’s men did to him in “Road House.” Wade Garrett really was the best.

*I think Belichick willed that blocked field goal, just to shove PushRuleGate up the NFL’s ass. I’m sure right now their busy in the league office going over the tape trying to find a way to take away a draft pick or something.

*This week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “To train ze dolphin, you must zink like ze dolphin! You must be getting inside ze dolphin’s head!” – Ace Ventura

@JerryThornton1

*Here’s a little something for the mouth breathing troglodytes who troll the comment section bitching about the length of these blogs because words hurt their primitive, reptilian brainstems, here’s the game in pictures:

The Dolphins in the first half:

Phins1

The Dolphins in the second half:

Phins2

You’re welcome.