Welcome to November
By Timothy Braun,
3:25PM, Mon. Nov. 5, 2007
November is the greatest month of the year, where we bask in glowing post-World Series parades, the Austin Zoo has a chili cook-off, the Rockets have yet to lose a playoff series, and it’s all punctuated with a holiday concerning gluttony and pigskin.
It was a magical weekend for football. The LSU win over Alabama was nothing but storybook in construction. The Longhorns' come-from-behind victory (I admittedly left our hometown heroes for dead in the third quarter) was inspiring. Darren McFadden of Arkansas is poetry in motion. Navy beat the Irish. And it was all a prologue to an electric Sunday.
Drew Brees has re-established himself as the leader of a Saints team playing with pride, as his replacement in San Diego, Philip Rivers, looked terrible in a humbling loss to a middling Vikings squad. But few noticed this, as the game for the ages was broadcasted at 3:15 Texas time.
What “Iron” Mike Ditka called a battle between good and evil on ESPN’s Sunday Countdown, the Patriots and Colts showed signs of humanity, not godliness. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady looked more Robin than Batman against two aggressive foes. The disparity between the quarterbacks in this match, Brady made the plays he had to make when they counted, and Eli’s big brother couldn’t, losing a fumble as the curtain dropped on the fourth quarter.
Evil beat a team who had no wide receivers (Marvin Harrison was on the sideline with a bruised knee) and no left tackle (Tony Ugoh had issues with his neck) by only four. Houston native Joseph Addai ripped the Patriots vaunted defense with 100-plus yards rushing and another 100-plus yards receiving, out-performing the Patriot’s Laurence Maroney a player Evil selected over Addai in the ’06 draft.
The one thing that stood out to me, which I question if anyone else is talking of, was Patriots left tackle Matt Light’s frustration. Light had shown as a student athlete at Purdue he can be rattled, and once shaken Light falls into mistakes and mediocrity. The most glaring example of this during Sunday’s game was a “leg whip” on Dwight Freeney, leading to a 15-yard penalty. Light proved that with speed and pressure, a team could exploit the Patriots, maybe even beat them.
I think Pittsburgh, the blitz happy home of the Steel Curtain, is the third best team in the NFL, and Sunday’s game supplied the Steelers with a blueprint on how to ace both the Colts and Evil.
Mike Felger of the Boston Herald is now talking of Evil going undefeated. I wonder if Felger has looked at the schedule? The Patriots play the Steelers on December 9. But that’s December. Let’s enjoy November while it’s here.