Monday, March 12, 2012

Beer and football II — playoffs, week five
Super Bowl XLVI

The game: Patriots vs. Giants
The beer: Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
The result: Fuuuuuuck
The commentary: Time is a funny thing. With time, wounds heal. With time, losses seem unimportant. With time, you'd think you could stock a secondary with personnel at all capable of stopping one stinking drive at the end of the biggest game of the year. And with time, it's almost the middle of March and I have yet to write about the… unpleasantness.

There's not much to say that hasn't been said. I agree with future ex-Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien that Welker's non-catch wasn't really a drop. Where I seem to disagree with everyone is that the defense and not the offense lost this game (though one significant special teams play might have been enough to make a difference). The Giants have a good team, and when Brady and the boys aren't performing as well as they could it's up to our defense to win a game for once. For once! The coverage on that long Manningham catch was really solid, from what my already-fuzzy-on-the-details memory tells me, but you must stop that touchdown drive. The signs were there all season, up to and including a shaky finish against the Ravens—take away two great plays by Sterling Moore, another undrafted castoff, and there's not even a Super Bowl loss to mourn. Why Belichick continues to saddle himself with heroic efforts in coaching up mediocre talent instead of searching for the next Lawrence Taylor is beyond me, beyond reason, beyond space. It was the defense. It was always the defense.

Once again I'll watch the draft in anticipation of snaring high-upside defensive beasts—maybe this will be the year, and the defense will evolve from one watched through the narrow slits between my fingers. No-shows like Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace and Gary Guyton will be holding down benches on any of thirty-one other sidelines. Nice role players like Mark Anderson (free agent right now) and Kyle Arrington will indeed be used as nice role players who can maximize their specialized skills as game situations dictate, instead of playing so regularly that their limits become exposed. Two or three rookies who can start immediately, McCourty getting at least halfway to year one's production, Wilfork continuing to do what he does on slightly fewer snaps… suddenly you're a top-fifteen defense. Pair a top-fifteen defense with this offense, whether or not they draft a receiver capable of playing significant snaps by Thanksgiving, and there's your XLVII ticket. (End spoiled rant.)

Up next: Surely death! Beer, football and G. will return next season. Cheers!