Patriots Back Into Playoff Spot As Miami Chokes in Buffalo

The Patriots backed into yet another division title as the Buffalo Bills helped them out by shutting out the Miami Dolphins yesterday, 19-0. The same Dolphins team that beat YOU last week.

Kidding aside, the Patriots played perhaps their best all around game of the season yesterday – or did Baltimore just play that poorly, as the storyline ran on the on 98.5 morning show today?

It was a rough afternoon for sports radio hosts and columnists who rely heavily on storylines to do their jobs for them. (catch up on all coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.)

Let’s review:

  • The Bills beating the Dolphins eliminated the lusted-after possibility that the Patriots could be playing for their playoff lives next Sunday, and could even miss the playoffs altogether.
  • Dont’a Hightower was visible and made several good plays yesterday, which actually isn’t new, but he has actually been labeled the worst first round pick of the Belichick era by more than one radio personality.
  • Tony Massarotti was heard screaming THIS DEFENSE BLOWS, MIKE! last week. The cornerbacks can’t cover, the safeties can’t cover, the linebackers can’t cover…they BLOW! They all looked pretty decent against a team with better personnel than the one they faced last week. The stops of the Ravens on 3rd and 4th down throughout the game were impressive as well.
  • Joe Flacco owns YOU! The story this morning has been that Flacco has been terrible this season. Which is true. However, this was not the storyline last week, it was all about how Flacco always outplays Brady and that he lights up the Patriots every single time.
  • We heard last week that the Patriots have not had a “quality” road win since 2006, or something like that. This game was pointed to as one that they would have trouble with. I’m 100% positive that this will now no longer be considered “quality” win. We had no idea Flacco was so hurt!
  • They can’t make plays in  the Red Zone without Gronk! Running back is perhaps now their deepest position, talent-wise, and as long as Vereen isn’t hurt too badly, look for a lot more calls to this group inside the 20. All offensive touchdowns were scored by running backs yesterday.
  • The Ravens aren’t afraid of YOU! The coach and QB matchup are not an advantage! They have your number!  41-7.
  • The Patriots are not a very good team right now. Too many injuries, not enough talent left to make any sort of run. 41-7.

It was, all in all, a glorious Sunday. Plenty of schadenfreude to be had all around.

Some of my favorite Tweets/Moments from yesterday:

Our (2nd) favorite Boston Globe troll. This was after the Patriots very first drive. Within 10 minutes they were up 14-0.

Peter King hates Cam Newton. It’s odd, really. in addition to the Tweets shown in that post, on TheMMQB today, he writes:

Time was drawing short for Cam Newton to justify why he’d been the first pick in the 2011 draft, and why the Carolina Panthers made him the franchise cornerstone 32 months ago. In the last 20 minutes of the NFC South title game Sunday in Charlotte, he’d gone three-and-out four straight times. Four series with the division on the line, 16 yards. Playing at home. Losing, 13-10, the only touchdown coming on a 43-yard run by DeAngelo Williams. Sitting there at NBC, I’d seen enough. I tweeted: “Has Cam Newton made a play today? One?” Then: “Carolina drafted Newton first overall for games like this, and he’s failing them miserably today.”

It’s not the first time King has gone off on Newton. He’s been pretty critical of the Panthers’ QB. Do you know why? Not because Cam stole his triple grande hazelnut latte or anything. It’s much simpler:

Yes, the cardinal sin for an athlete.

Tom E Curran has a terrific column today, it’s the anti-Boston sports radio version of the Patriots:

Patriots continue to make the most of who’s left

He also had a tremendous Tweet:

I don’t mind that people picked the Ravens in this game. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself going into it.

(An early graphic had everyone picking the Ravens, Ditka apparently changed his pick yesterday morning.)

I appreciate that Mike Reiss acknowledged and owned the pick that he made:

Some other links this morning:

Belichick’s best year? Don’t go there – Bill Burt (who guaranteed a Patriots win yesterday) doesn’t want to hear this talk that this is the best coaching job of the Belichick era.

What we learned: Complete game carries Patriots in rout of Ravens – Last week, a mailbagger to Mike Reiss wanted Belichick’s head for the massive failure that was the Issac Sopoaga trade. (yes, the one in which the Patriots swapped 5th and 6th round picks with the Eagles and Sopoaga thrown in.) Chris Price in this column, points a trade that has been a roaring success, but no mailbaggers mention – Jeff Demps for Legarrette Blount.

Pats push Ravens around in signature win – Reiss has noted talker Terrell Suggs silent after this one.

  • the_other_side

    I was lucky enough to be in the car for about 20 minutes this morning and caught the following two gems from D&C.

    1. Why does Manning have to come to Foxboro every year? He’ll be back next year!–Really guys, the NFL schedule has been set since 2002 (with a minor tweak here or there). The better question is, why aren’t people who are paid to know about sports aware of this fact?

    2. A caller made the same point as Curran’s tweet. Their reply, “Don’t you think it’s a big deal that Manning has broken the record?”–Keep moving the goalposts fellas.

    • Brian Shea

      It’s especially ridiculous for them, since D&C were the biggest whiners (at least that I can remember) from “running up the score”-gate.

      Mazz is in an awful position today. The Ravens are his football version of the Yankees, he ADORES that team. So today its either admit that the Pats are better than he has given them credit for, or criticize the Ravens team he loves so much.

  • bsmfan

    Reports have it that Cam didn’t walk over to King when he went into the locker room. And, when King did finally walk over to Cam, he only had Folgers, not Starbucks, waiting for him, non-dairy creamer instead of fresh milk from the creamery, and, the worst, sweet-and-low instead of pure cane fresh from a farm.

    How dare Cam Newton not be prepared and make King walk over for an interview.

    You know that means years of trashing in MMQB now.

  • Homer Greenz

    What a great win. I hate Terrell Suggs as much as I hate the Shittsburgh Steelers, Tony Mazz, the Fatty AND the Forehead. The only thing that could have made it better would have been seeing Mankins shove Suggs to the ground and grind his ugly face into the Ravens symbol at the 50 yard line as Brady and BB danced around them.

  • bsmfan

    DS pens an op-ed piece about UMass football today with the news of Molnar being fired yesterday at:

    http://bo.st/1eIq64O

    (delete cookies)

    I’m a UMass grad but not a resident, so I can only speak to the former. As for the latter? I’d be not so happy funding a losing operation.

    I have to commend him here for pointing out basically every rational argument against the FBS jump. He also sells the case for UMass disbanding their football program. I can’t agree enough with this.

    Outside of what you think about the bias (there is) against UMass the bowl has, it’s a well written, fact-based, piece. Amazing, Dan, when you use such things on how you can make a good argument? Many grads I know feel the same. I can only recall ‘hardcores’ that would argue against this.

    It also addresses the larger “is FCS, let alone FBS, football viable up here?’ (touches on the off-and-on discussions we have here about CFB) There is NO climate here for it and that changing won’t happen anytime soon. Unless a large donor like Jack Welch wants to transform himself into a T. Boone Pickens-type (ie: donating millions to build up a football program like OkSt. vs. the business school), there is no chance of it happening, and even if that were to happen, the chance of it catching on is slim.

    I’ll argue that CFB is doing nothing but gain popularity nationally (just passed MLB for 2nd most popular sport, only behind the NFL) but that having the effect locally on schools that play here won’t change within the next 20 years, if not ever.