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Between another long term substitute teaching gig (Algebra I, this time), writing the annual family Christmas letter and just the Holidays themselves, I feel like I’ve been off the grid for awhile now. More than a few things have happened while I was away, so permit me to take this opportunity to get reasonably caught up with a series of short, but hopefully insightful comments; aka-Hublets.

PATS LOSS IN MIAMI:

Stephen was more like Goat-kowski against the Dolphins. (AP)
Stephen was more like Goat-kowski against the Dolphins. (AP)

I can’t believe that there were too many natives of Patriots Nation that who were shocked by the their 24-20 loss to the Dolphins in Miami. It’s a place where, historically, they have struggled, regardless of the relative talent levels of the squads involved. I think what drove me crazy about this loss though (in addition to the fact that  it helped to put a bit of a damper on what was an otherwise a wonderful birthday party), was the fact that previously dependable place kicker, Steve Gostkowski, was a double goat. His biggest blunder was missing a 38 yard, 3rd quarter field goal attempt. He hits that, and the Pats are only down by a point on their final drive of the game and just have to get reasonably close, use up the clock, hit the FG, and then Bingo, another late game win. His other flub was late in the game, after the Patriots had scored a fourth quarter touchdown, when he hooked the kickoff out of bounds, giving the Dolphins favorable field position at the 35 yard line, from where they launched the game winning drive. It was frustrating to watch, and it likely cost them a chance at the number one seed.

PATS WIN IN BALTIMORE:

Is a sad Joe Flacco the best Joe Flacco? (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Is a sad Joe Flacco the best Joe Flacco? (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Even if the Patriots had not lost to Miami, I still feel that they needed to treat the game against the Ravens as a “must win” situation. Baltimore, under whichever of the Harbaughs it is that coaches them, has always played NE very tough and with a great deal of confidence. Regardless of any other circumstances, I think they needed a victory to get the Ravens to dial down the confidence level a bit, and prove to them that they don’t have as many answers as they think they do. The fact that they completed the 41-7 win by essentially pounding it down their throats (142 yards on the ground), in addition to out-playing them in every aspect of the game (2 defensive touchdowns) made it a surprisingly easy, and very sweet triumph. Granted, QB Joe Flacco was playing with a sprained knee, but the Pats made him look rather ordinary, and I’m sure got Ravens fans to wondering if he was worthy all that money it took to sign him, if it means they can’t afford to put anyone around him. It’s becoming apparent that Flacco needs that supporting talent if he is going to raise his game, and not they other way around.

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR?

 

Did the right man win this award? (Sports Illustrated)
Did the right man win this award? (Sports Illustrated)

Peyton Manning? Seriously? Maybe I’m being a bit of a “homer”, but how do you not give this to David Ortiz? Maybe it was his use of the F-word in his inspirational speech last April that upset SI, but not since Drew Brees and the Saints lifted a post Kartrina New Orleans, has an athlete and a team had such a powerful and positive effect on a city that needed them.

RYAN’S RETURN:

Should the Jets bring back Ryan? (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)
Should the Jets bring back Ryan? (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)

I heard a talking head on Comcast Sports today say that Rex Ryan deserved to be rehired because he has the fifth best defense in the league, but has been saddled with the fifth worst quarterback. Excuse, me? He is the head coach isn’t he? Isn’t developing a quarterback, and the offense,  supposed to be part of his responsibility? I still believe that Rex Ryan will never be without a job in the NFL, I just don’t think it should be as a head coach.

PRESSURE DROP:

Is there too much pressure on Eli? (Sportinglife/AOL)
Is there too much pressure on Eli? (Sportinglife/AOL)

I found it interesting that ESPN: New York was wondering if there wasn’t “too much pressure” being put on Eli Manning this year, resulting in his poor performance (26 INT’s so far). I can’t imagine that ever being said about Tom Brady.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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