NFL15-W5 Minute Waltz: Air of Invincibility

13 Oct

Amongst superstitious types, and those camped outside the grounds where millions of Tom Brady bivouacs still set-up in support of their hero awaiting final court ruling on Deflategate, there was to be no mention of even the possibility of the 2015 New England Patriots once again (‘07) running-the-table in a regular season of NFL football fun & frolic.

So I shan’t.

But there’s no mistaking the air of invincibility the defending champs exude each time they step onto the gridiron or take to mike after one of their cake-walk wins.

Maybe a bit like Patton & Co. must’ve displayed in ‘45 after they finished rolling over the remaining resilient but desperate remnants of the Axis army like it was nobody’s business, except Monty (Brits) to the West and Russkies to the East.

.....Brady.8.28.09.K.Allison.wc.cca.DC.thmbThat might be putting too fine & dramatic a point on it but the New Englanders, their coach Bill Belichick and not-out-of-the-legal-woods-quite-yet QB in Brady made what had been thought a pretty fair opponent in hosting Dallas Cowboys look like flavorless mince-meat on Sunday afternoon (30-6). They face but three (IND, NYG & DEN), maybe four (NYJ (3-1)) semi-imposing road contests the rest of the way.

Some are losing that air of élan in their game balls like they had been man-handled by an over-zealous, needle-happy NFL referee with too much Deflategate on the brain, i.e., Seattle, Saints, Lions, Ravens, etcetera.

But there’s alot of football still left in this 2015 regular season.

All any team has to do is get in (the playoffs). After that it’s anybody’s VLT (Vince Lombardi Trophy) for the taking. One caveat: Those who do make it into Phase II dread like a doctor’s visit having to go through one of those teams that sports that imposing look of invincibility.

Invincibility Meter: 1 = nope, 10 = money-in-the-bank

New England: 7.5
Arizona: 7: Rams (W4 24-22 L) can bring out the worst in opponents;
Cincinnati: 6.5: Gotta’ make more amends given Marvin’s 0-6 playoff mark;
Green Bay: 6: That 2Q (STL) was shaky and sad NFCN won’t test any mettle;
Atlanta: 6: Dan ‘Mighty’ Quinn had Falcons believing and winning ugly if need be;
Denver: 5.5: Looked shaky all afternoon versus Oakland…Oakland;
Carolina: 5: Ws versus Jags, Texans, Saints & Bucs, but most were Luke-less.

‘If it works,…’

The old field general Matt Hasselbeck (2-0 / 63.2) has been ably holding down the (Indianapolis) fort in absence of injured starter, Andy Luck (shoulder).

Nobody on planet Earth would dare suggest that the 17-year vet and 3-time Pro Bowler assume the starter’s role once Andy gets the all-clear, even as he looks to’ve been the sparkplug for the Colts’ jump-start.

But consider me a ‘nobody’ on this big rock in space. Point being, I’d leave Matt in the starter’s role: ‘If it works, (keep your hands off) and don‘t try to fix it.’

Colts were off kilter when Luck went out. It’s fair to write that, while their resurgence is of course not entirely due to Hasselbeck, he is the one who’s been at the helm while other contributors (Gore (22-98-1t), D’Qwell (8t-3a), etc.) have been helping to get this thing turned around.

Everyone knows Luck is the Colts’ future. He may be a great one someday, is a darn good one now. But if the Sporting Gods are pleased, you don’t want to get ‘em riled, you don’t wanta’ rock their winged-chariot, Mr. Pagano. Get it?

Andy will be happy to sit tite for the team and let the good times keep rolling. He knows he’ll be back in the saddle soon enough.

And for all the gripe on Miami’s owner this week (Ross), there’s been noticeably little on Texans cufflink crew (McNair, Rootes & Smith). Could argue this franchise has been trending for trouble since 2013 and the bail on QB Schaub.

Good Spots (W5)

Pitt offense: Tied or took lead 3x to a SD road-win (24-20)
Le’Veon Bell (PIT) RB: 21-111, 1t
Antonio Gates (SD) TE: 9-92, 2
Brian Hoyer (HOU) QB: 24-31, 312, 2-1
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR: 11-169
Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB: 23-35, 262, 2; just 3c-23y. Poise-ing
Eli Manning (NYG) QB: 41-54, 441, 3-1, GWD
Odell Beckham (NYG) WR: 7-121, 1
Tom Brady (NE) QB: 20-27, 275, 2t
Julian Edelman (NE) WR: 4-120, 1
Darren McFadden (DAL) RB: 9r-62, 5c-16
Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR: 9-111
Chris Johnson (AZ) RB: 11-103
Carson Palmer (AZ) QB: 11-14, 161, 3t
Theo Riddick (DET) RB: 10-53, 1t
Blake Bortles (JAX) QB: 23-33, 303, 4t-1i
Doug Martin (TB) RB: 24-123, 2t, 3r-35, 1t
Willie Snead (NO) WR: 6-141 (59)
Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB: 27-153, 1
Josh McCown (CVD) QB: 36-51, 457, 2
Justin Forsett (BAL) RB: 21-121, 1
Gary Barnidge (CVD) TE: 8-139, 1
Todd Gurley (STL) RB: 30-159
Thomas Rawls (SEA) RB: 23-169, 1
Andy Dalton (CIN) QB: 30-44, 331, 1t, 7c-18-1t

Bad Spots

NFL: So many bad run games (team / player), too many to list
Texans (L): 13 PEN – 125y
Jaguars’ OL: six (6) sacks Bortles
Patriots’ OL: Letting face of NFL (Brady) go face-down 5x in Dallas
Peyton Manning (DEN) QB: 22-35, 266, 0t-2int, versus…Oakland
Matthew Stafford (DET) QB: 20-32, 188, 1-3
Drew Brees (NO) QB: 26-43, 335, 2t-1i-2lf
Matt Ryan (ATL) QB: 24-42, 254, 2i, 1lf
Nick Foles (STL) QB: 11-30, 141, 1-4i

Kicker’s Korner (Football’s Genesis)

Sam Martin (DET) P: 4-39, 3 [-20]
Jordan Berry (PIT) P: 8 –, 6
Josh Brown (NYG) K: 3-3 (41), 3x-3 (12)
Steve Gostkowski (NE) K: 3-3 (57), 3-3 (12)
Ryan Allen (NE) P: 4-42.3, 3
Marquette King (OAK) P: 4-50.8, 3. Cool name, cooler if Joliet is his middle
Brandon McManus (DEN) K: 3-3 (41), 3-3 (10); P: 1-41y
Barth Connor (TB) K: 3-3 (47), 3-3 (12)
Caleb Sturgis (PHI) K: 4-4 (41), 3-4 (15)
Dustin Colquitt (KC) P: 7-41.6, 4
Travis Coons (CVD) K: 4-4 (43), 1-1 (13)
Sam Koch (BAL) P: 6-49.2, 2
Jon Ryan (SEA) P: 8-36.8
Kevin Huber (CIN) P: 6-44.3, 3

♫ Here, there and everywhere ♫

NaVorro Bowman (SF) LB: 13t-3a
Mike Wilhoite (SF) LB: 11-5
Greg Hardy (DAL) DE: 4-1-2s-1ff
Jerraud Powers (AZ) DB: 9-2-1
Deone Bucannon (AZ) SS: 9-2
Telvon Smith (JAX) LB: 13-1
Fletcher Cox (PHI) DT: 6t-3s-1fr-2ff
Kenny Vaccaro (NO) FS: 9-2
Robert Alford (ATL) CB: 1t-2i (1td)
Guy Lawrence (BAL) DT: 3-3-2s
Robert Quinn (STL) DE: 4-3-1s-1ff
Lamarcus Joyner (STL) CB: 6-1-1fr
James Laurinaitis (STL) S: 3-5-1i
Michael Bennett (SEA) DE: 5-1-1s
Vincent Rey (CIN) LB: 6-7
Carlos Dunlap (CIN) DE: 3-3-1.5s
Bashaud Breeland (DC) CB: 6-2-1i
Chris Baker (DC) DT: 2-1s-2ff

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credit: T.Brady, 12.18.11, J.Beall, wc.cca, Denver; T.Brady, 8.28.09, K.Allison, wc.cca, Washington-DC.
Posted: 10.13.15 @ 1:30pm EST; Copyright ® 2015

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