Monday, January 23, 2012

Sometimes Tom Brady is Really GD Stupid

All right, the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Fine. They're going to be playing a terrible team. Awesome. I'm really happy today. But I'm unnecessarily nervous because yesterday, Tom Brady played like shit. The Patriots, an actual team, are going to play the Giants, a team that has no goddamn business being in the Super Bowl, and I'm not super confident. One play in particular really made me nervous for February 5th's game, and I hope Belichick treated Tom Brady like a scrub and reamed him a new asshole for this one.

The play happened with 7:22 left in the game and the Patriots leading 23-20. Brandon Spikes had just pulled off an interception that saved a hapless Patriots' defense from giving up the tying or go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. The interception was pretty awesome, and showed that Brandon Spikes has Gronkian hands. The Patriots got the ball at the fifty yard line, ready to take some time off the clock, grind out a touchdown, and seal this game. Golden opportunity. With Tom Brady at the helm on an important drive, how could I not be confident to the point of jubilation? Then this happened:

Are we goddamn serious?

Let's just say, generally, what happened on this play. Tom Brady saw a receiver in man coverage towards the end zone and decided that this was a golden opportunity to drastically shift the momentum of the game and put the Patriots up two scores. The Ravens pulled off a miraculous interception. Fine, can't blame Brady for that. Or can you? Let's analyze further.

Tom Brady threw the ball to an area of the field in which there was 1 patriot and 3 Ravens. But it's okay, because the 1 Patriot was Rob Gronkowski, one of the best receivers in the league. Oh no I mean it was Deion Branch, their "deep threat" who is really responsible for catching bombs like that. No wait my mistake, it was Wes Welker, who, though he doesn't really catch long passes a lot, was the NFL's leading receiver this year. No wait it was Aaron Hernandez, their other stud tight end who can out-jump everyone for that ball. No wait it was...

...Is that Matthew Slater? Matthew Slater? MATTHEW SLATER?!!?!? Sure, he's a Pro Bowler...AS A SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER. He's listed as a free safety on the Patriots' roster. You threw the ball into a 3-on-1 to Matthew Slater, Tom Brady? Here's something: why is he even in as a receiver? Matthew Slater is a guy who is nice to have on your team because he can do a lot of things. He's good in special teams, he can play a little safety, and he can receive if you really need him to. He's on the depth chart as a receiver mostly as a courtesy. He's behind Ochocinco on said depth chart.

So Tom Brady decided to throw to some schmuck and figured Oh, he can catch the ball. Those other three Ravens don't have a shot. He's Matthew Slater! A Pro Bowler!

Let's think about the reasonable best case scenario with this play. Brady throws to Slater, Slater stops the ball from being intercepted, and it's 2nd and 10 on the 50 after a bizarre play given the circumstances. The worst case scenario: one of the three Ravens in the vicinity intercepts the pass and returns it all the way back for a touchdown. Basically the 3rd worst case scenario happened: the Ravens got the interception and returned it close to field goal range. The 2nd worst case scenario is obviously if they intercepted it and returned it into field goal range.

You'll notice that I didn't list "Matthew Slater catches the ball for a touchdown" as the reasonable best case scenario. I didn't list it because that scenario is unreasonable. Tom Brady made just about the illest-advised throw he could have made in that scenario.

Brady threw the ball there because he obviously had an unreasonable thought in his head: that Matthew Slater could catch that ball for a touchdown. Let's consider what would have happened had this unreasonable outcome come to fruition. The Patriots would have been up by 10 with 7 minutes to go in the game, and the Ravens would have had the chance to quickly march down the field on the tired-ass and terrible Patriots defense, and taken, say, 3-4 minutes off the clock. So now we have a 3-point game with 3-4 minutes left. Fine, good, great, super, fine. But doesn't Brady see the value in grinding out that possession, giving his shit defense a rest, and keeping the side of the ball that's actually good on the field? Sure, if Slater were actually wide open down the field, you take the touchdown when you can get it. But he wasn't wide open. Not even goddamn close.

This obviously falls 100% on Brady. You can't blame Slater for this; he did his job. He was supposed to attract attention down the field and open up short passes that keep drives going. That seems to have been effective: Welker looks open for a nice 5-10 yard gain. Brady was never supposed to throw to Slater, unless he was actually wide open. Matthew Slater did his job, and he did it perfectly well. It's not like he should have caught the ball; he was well-defended, and he's not that great of a receiver bless his heart. The fact that Brady could make such a boneheaded mistake is pretty perturbing to me.

The Patriots are goddamn lucky that the Ravens couldn't put together a scoring drive. I'm not even going to go into how lucky they are that Billy Cundiff forgot where the goal posts were. Seriously, this happened. I just hope Brady stops jizzing all over himself and calms the fuck down for the Super Bowl. He's lucky he escaped that one. This Super Bowl should be a cake walk. We don't need Tom Brady playing like a goddamn Eli Manning in this Super Bowl. That's for goddamn sure.

Also, an 85-year-old person who put football before justice for a child molester died of lung cancer and not a broken heart yesterday.

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