Monday, September 22, 2008


We begin first today by saluting one of our favorite household contraptions, ye remote control. With so much sporting activity going on yesterday - including the Sox vs. Jays, Pats vs. Dolphins, and U.S. against Europe in Ryder Cup golf - most of these gizmos got major workouts yesterday.

If we rewind the clock to just before noon on Sunday, and we looked at all three of these events and tried to assess who had the best chances for victory, a lot of New Englanders would have chosen: 1. Pats, 2. Red Sox, and 3. U.S. golfers. Well, two out of three came through, and surprisingly it was the Patriots who stumbled.

What an absolute horror show at Gillette Stadium yesterday, where most people turned out to see the Pats go 3-0 heading into the bye week but instead sat dumbfounded as Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown pretty much did whatever he pleased to a stunned Patriots defense. As the story has it this morning, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano called quarterbacks coach David Lee up to the front of the plane on the team's journey home last week after getting stuffed by Arizona, and said 'let's do something completely different for New England.' Different turned out to be taking a couple of pages from the Arkansas Razorback playbook - where Lee coached last year. Essentially, Miami had Brown line up as QB on several plays, and basically let him either run the ball or pass off of direct snaps. Fool me once, okay. Fool me twice, shame on me. But fool me FIVE times?

Incredibly, Brown ran for four scores and passed for another as the Dolphins decimated the Patriots on their home-field, in front of their new Hall of Fame inductees no less - to the tune of a 38-13 shellacking. No one's quite sure why Bill Belichick and his coaches couldn't figure out a way to stop the madness, perhaps best illustrated by Richard Seymour's shocking admission after the game that the defense "was running around like chickens with our heads cut off." What we do know is that the team got blown out on both sides of the ball, and coach Bill has some serious 'splainin' to do today. We'll see how tough the WEEI Big Show guys are on him, as opposed to the tongue-bathing they give him each week.

Other aspects of the game worthy of a mention:

- Chadwick Pennington III deserves a tip of the cap today. The man is regarded as an accurate if generally averagequarterback, but he got his job done yesterday when he had to. And yeah, he was accurate alright, going 17-for-20 for 226 yards.

- So too, begrudgingly, does Dolphins LB Joey Porter. He yapped it up all week and he backed it up on the field.

- Quietly, Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski has emerged as a sure-fire thing.

- Randy Moss looked pretty disinterested all day, failing to go all-out for a couple of balls, and from some reports, hanging out on the bench all by his lonesome. I mentioned in this space when Brady went down that Moss' demeanor would be a key thing to watch. I'm not alarmed. Yet.

- Looking around the league, it seems pretty apparent that the Dallas Cowboys - barring major injuries - should be playing in Tampa next February. As to who they'll be playing, it's wide open in the AFC. Both the Pats and Colts (who lost to the Jaguars yesterday) aren't what they used to be, and the unbeatens include Tennessee, Buffalo and Denver.

The Red Sox moved ever closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 3-0 rocking-chair win over the Jays in Toronto. Dice-K was magnificent in upping his record to 18-2 and Canada homeboy Jason Bay provided the offense with a homer. The AL East division is still up for grabs, with the Rays holding a 1.5 game lead over the Sox going into tonight's games. Rays are playing the pesky Orioles, while the Sox will be hosting a four-game series against Cleveland.

Is there anything better than golf in HD? Despite the perpetually crappy play of Phil Mickelson, the U.S. won the Cup for the first time since 1999, and they did it rather easily, beating the Euros 16.5 to 11.5. The Ryder Cup is like nothing else in golf because you're playing for a team, and the rooting interests are fierce. You could hear cheering when any Euro missed a key putt, which must make them crazy even though it's all in the name of fun. Speaking of fun, how about that Boo Weekley character, who was playing in his very first Cup. The clip of him doing the Happy Gilmore riding the horse thing was priceless.

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