Things to consider while trying to work through whatever subtle, coded message SportsCenter was trying to get at with this tweet:

— Because the game took forever, including that third quarter that dragged on longer than ‘€œThe Hobbit’€ trilogy and the fact I got in late from doing an appearance for WEEI Springfield (Marshawn Lynch voice: “€œShout to my real Irishmen at Nathan Bill’s…”) this will have to be an abbreviated Knee Jerk Reaction. So if it seems shorter than it normally is, let’s just call it an “inadvertent ending.”

— Another week, another costly victory. By this point, the Patriots are the Confederate army. Meaning they’re winning every battle through great leadership and gutty fighting, while slowly losing the war due to high casualty counts and attrition. By no means am I suggesting the Pats are fighting to protect slavery or the right of Bo and Luke Duke to outfit their car like a-holes. Also, the Army of Northern Virginia got much better treatment in the national press than the Patriots do.

— So now the sad reality is that Tom Brady has to go into Denver next week and score points with an iPhone screen protector-thin backfield behind him and a wide receiver corps-like substance on the outside. This offense that looked undefendable a month ago is now a car that only Brady can operate because only he knows how to jiggle the shift to get it in gear, rev the engine so it doesn’t stall at red lights and hold the handle just right to make the blinkers work.

— I’d like to think they’ll figure out a way to make this work still. Maybe go back to more of that joker scheme that utilizes both tight ends more, like when they still had Piper Chapman running routes for them. But even that scheme relied heavily on a competent slot receiver Brady could trust so who knows? I just can’t shake the feeling Danny Amendola‘s injury was the final loss they can’t overcome.

— And once again they lost a guy to an injury on a benign, non-contact play. Though the way he was playing I suspect Amendola’s knee was hit by his massive, bell clapper-like cast iron penis.

— Just because the Patriots pulled this game out is no reason to keep that inadvertent whistle out of the Pantheon of Terrible Officiating, right up there with the push in the back call against the Jets a couple of years ago and the groundbreaking pass interference non-call on Luke Kuechly in that Panthers game. It’s one thing to not see a penalty committed or to misinterpret a rule. But who blows a whistle for no reason? Did the line judge cough? Hiccup? Yell, “€œDown in front!”€ to Rex Ryan and forget the thing was in his mouth? I don’t mind the NFL using officials that have day jobs. I just don’t want those day jobs to be WWE referee.

— I have to confess for a second there I assumed the official who blew the whistle was Sarah Thomas and she was calling a penalty on something a guy did three weeks earlier. (Sorry. I’m not myself today.)

— Every so often this needs to be said: Rex Ryan can scheme himself a defense. At least once a year he manages to put together a great plan of attack, usually against the Patriots, and Monday was that game. It was right out of his family DNA. That thread that’s run through the Ryan’s from the Bears of the 1980s to the 2000 Ravens through the Jets and now to the Bills. The 3-3 stack with the multiple blitzes coming from multiple formations sending rushers from multiple slots, virtually every one of them unrecognizable even to the quarterback who’s faced them more than anyone. Yes, Rex is a buffoon in a lot of ways, but one who’s capable of brilliance. He’s like Zach Galifanakis counting cards in ‘€œThe Hangover.’€

— It looked to me like Rex went with a lot more fire zone than he ever has, meaning blitzing with three deep zone defenders and three underneath, thus giving him all the benefit of the blitz while minimizing the risk. The zone coverage certainly was how they contained Rob Gronkowski who in week two was a Rancor against them, and Monday night more of a Tauntaun.

— I want to go easy on the Pats‘ offensive line because so many of those guys are coming off injuries and probably had no time to have contact in practice before facing one of the most talented and expensive fronts in football. But it’s hard to put a shine on some of those sneakers. Marcus Cannon simply couldn’t match up against Jerry Hughes and gave him about as much resistance as an EZ Pass toll lane gives a car with a transponder. And on the other side, Sebastian Vollmer looked a step slower than usual and when beat, as he struggled to get his go-to upfield push against Mario Williams that has bailed him out so many times before.

— They tried more combinations on the o-line than a mom trying to hack her teenager’s laptop password. The line that began the game with Cannon-Shaq Mason-David Andrews-Josh Kline and Vollmer, tried Bryan Stork at right guard and Kline at left, tried Cameron Fleming at right tackle and finished with Stork at center. No combination seemed to do appreciably better than any other. Most concerning were the miscommunications, with unblocked blitzers coming up the middle unobserved. I thought Brady’s best throw all night was the deep crosser to Amendola with Corey Graham coming through the a-gap all up in his business. I mean, that kind lax security is fine if you’re guarding the White House. But we need Brady protected at all costs.

— Rex is one of those guys born with that curse where the madder he gets, the funnier it is. We all have that friend. When he goes on an insane tirade it’s just inexplicably hilarious, and the more you laugh the madder he gets and it’s a perpetual motion machine of anger and humor. Like when Brady finally burned one of those blitzes on the James White screen for a touchdown and Rex had that headset throwing meltdown, he was going for “rage,”€ but landed squarely on “€œcomedy.”€ It was one of the moments I’ll be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

— Brady on the other hand, gives great tirade. When he was blasting the offensive line with that Old Man Parker, “€œYou wart mundane noodle! You shotten shifter paskabah! You snort tonguer! Lame monger snaffa shell cocker!” it just made you want to go to Gillette and lay your life down for him.

— As proud as we call can be about this win and a 10-0 record, the Patriots best work was the across-the-board way they flipped the State Bird of Massachusetts at ESPN. For the first time I can ever remember, there was no mention of, “€œWe spoke with Tom Brady last night…” No mention from Lisa Salter that at halftime she spoke to Bill Belichick and he told her they need to play better. And not one Pats player grabassing with Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis in the postgame. The whole night was like one of those war movies the military won’t cooperate with because it makes soldiers look like drug-addled baby killers or something. That’s the kind of passive-aggressiveness I usually only witness on major holidays with my in laws and I couldn’t be prouder of the Pats outstanding work on that.

— I actually feel bad about waiting this long to point this out, but the Patriots defense that was never going to recover from the loss of Darrelle Revis has given up the fewest points in the league. Malcolm Butler all but pitched a shutout in straight up man coverage against Sammy Watkins. And his play all year has been solid to the point he’s earned a nickname. Forget Revis Island, I’m proposing Cape Butler, because every Masshole knows it’s way harder to get off the Cape than any island.

— With or without the inadvertent whistle, that was just a horrible night of officiating. They couldn’t make a decision without game-stopping, momentum-crushing, sand-on-the-ice conference, no matter how obvious the call was. There is nothing in American society more soul-destroying than meetings, and they were holding the things like they were being catered.

— While the offensive line was mixing-and-matching out of desperation, the defensive line continues to do so by choice. And the results have been as good as we could hope. They are running a surprising amount of 3-4 lately, going from one front that has Dont’a Hightower at Sam and Jabaal Sheard at Will, then on the very next play moving Sheard in to the defensive end spot and Rob Ninkovich on the outside.

— And virtually everyone in the mix is getting the job done, none more than Dominque Easley, who spent more time in the backfield than the back judge. He turned outside zone runs in, teamed with Malcolm Brown on tackles for loss, and on the very first Buffalo possession, hit Tyrod Taylor square in the 10-ring to force an incompletion.

— As disconcerting as the health of the offense is, the D has managed to withstand the absence of their best, most athletic player to and to be the best in the league. Bring Jamie Collins back and this young, gifted, tough, smart and versatile unit might very well be the ride-or-die that carries this team to a championship.

Jon Gruden Nickname of the Week: “I gotta tell ya, I love this kid Dominique Easley. You look at the first-round picks on this defense they got Jones, they got Hightower. Which is why I call this kid ‘Tackleberry.’ I love those ‘Police Academy’ movies, man. They always crack me up.”€

— But as nerve-wracking as it can be to face a Rex defensive scheme, it’s equally comforting to watch his team do things like cluelessly burn a timeout because they’ve got 10 men on the field, draw a penalty because a guy is racing to the line through the Patriots backfield at the snap and bleed time off the clock down a score in the fourth quarter. He master the Patriots McOffense, but counting players and managing the game clock remain unfathomable mysteries to him.

— Hannibal Lecter: “Do you know why he’s called Buffalo Bill? Tell me. The newspapers won’t say.”

Clarice Starling: “It started as a bad joke in Kansas City Homicide. They said… this one likes to skin his humps.”€ – ‘€œSilence of the Lambs’€

— Bring on Peyton Manning. No. Seriously. I’d really rather face him than any quarterback in football. And I’m sorry I won’t get my wish.

— Seriously, SportsCenter, what gives? Could you not find an tire pump needle emoji?


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Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Gene Steratore's crew had a rough time in Foxboro on Monday night, and the lowest moment came when an inadvertent whistle cost the Patriots a possible touchdown.
Danny Amendola went down last night with a knee injury last night. He'll get an MRI today, but in the meantime, the guys discuss who will have to step up as yet another skill position player gets injured.

[0:00:09] ... shoot ten and their home an amazing historic Brooklyn. Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Like always you know we've we've have come I'm sure many times. You know being here we think he got by the ...
[0:02:24] ... meat up about like you know. The two dogs. This defense the Denver Broncos defense is going to be looking at this film. And looking at other games Republican ever saying they're gonna I don't are ...
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The Patriots capitalized on a few mistakes by the Buffalo Bills, and overcame an egregious officiating gaffe to get the win and improve to 10-0.
Tom Brady on the big win on Monday Night Football.
Tim discussed the Pats 10-0 start.

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[0:13:09] ... morning yes Niger senior who we know much Gerri love Tim's seen Jerry lewis' best friend. That was a hero in these you know. Have a real tough time this we all but they were particularly ...

The top stories of the day as recounted by Minihane.

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[0:03:52] ... rise yet into his puddle of mud so would be after the Super Bowl. After a week or spring training right and in that marks our area roll right now in his only college bass Brian. ...
[0:06:12] ... the church yet I was in packet Beckett fired from CBS arguing New York Jets back at who got to put it there back back it up. Sector church tour I mean nothing you know they fired ...

The Patriots improve to 10-0.

Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Hawks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: St. John’s vs. Indiana, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: TCU vs. Rhode Island, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Redford at Penn State, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Vanderbilt vs. Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Louisiana Tech at Ohio State, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Illinois State vs. Maryland, 8:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Senators at Stars, 8:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Boston College at UConn, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College football: Ohio at Northern Illinois, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayer Leverkusen at BATE Borisov, 11:50 a.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Dinamo Zagreb at Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— The latest rumors have the Red Sox as leading candidates for free agent pitchers David Price and Zack Greinke, but Price isn’t lending any credence to the chatter.

Fox MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal said Monday that new Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is willing to the be the highest bidder for either pitcher, while Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci predicted, “I believe David Price is going to Boston. Dave Dombrowski is all in.”

Price, who many predict will end up with the Cubs (and his former manager with the Rays, Joe Maddon), finds the rumors humorous, and he jokingly made an announcement about his future.

Tweeted Price: I can always tell the big rumor days…tons of mentions when I haven’t even said anything!! I love you all BUT I’m going to play in Japan.

He then added: Haha just kidding!! Patience my friends.

— The NFL is reviewing Sunday’s Rams-Ravens game to determine why St. Louis quarterback Case Keenum remained in the game late in the fourth quarter despite showing signs of a concussion.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher denied seeing Keenum’s head hit the turf on a tackle or being aware of Keenum’s obvious symptoms — the QB staggered after being slow to get up — and Fisher said it was a “combination of unusual events” that led to the apparent failure in protocol.

A trainer walked on the field and briefly talked to Keenum, and Fisher said that’s why the independent consultant monitoring players for such injuries did not request an evaluation.

“The appropriate thing is to get everybody together and just make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to get it straightened out.”

— Johnny Manziel keeps promising to change his ways and be more mature, but he has yet to demonstrate an ability to follow through.

This past weekend, during the Browns’ bye week, he was spotted partying in Texas before attending Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan State game in Ohio. Video emerged Monday of Manziel holding a bottle of champagne while in a DJ’s booth at a club in Austin, Texas.

While participating in a Thanksgiving food drive in Cleveland on Monday, Manziel said he was not aware of the video.

“This has been my main focus: getting back, getting prepared and then coming here for this,” said Manziel, who was named the team’s starter for the final six games of the season. “So I haven’t seen anything or heard anything. I’ve been here for this event, and that’s really what I want to talk about, the things that are really important, not what I’m doing off the field.

“It’s what we’re doing here in the community and what we’re doing to get ready for this game [against Baltimore] on Monday night. So that’s where my focus is, and I haven’t had my focus anywhere else. I know that.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Nov. 24, 2005, the Red Sox traded prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia to the Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and which third player who never pitched for the Sox but remained active in the majors for six more seasons?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’€™t think anybody ever questioned Tom’€™s toughness, mentally or physically. He’€™s about as tough a guy as they come.” — Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tom Brady, who took 10 hits in Monday’s 20-13 victory over the Bills

STAT OF THE DAY: 38 — Consecutive quarters in which the Patriots recorded points this season until they failed to score in the fourth quarter Monday

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask makes a great glove save on Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk with seconds remaining in overtime.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby stones Oilers defenseman Eric Gryna on a two-on-one break.

Victor Oladipo finishes an alley-oop from Magic teammate Elfrid Payton with a one-handed jam.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Reliever Guillermo Mota

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Lee Michaels was born on this day in 1945.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar