Sunday, January 19, 2014

NFL '13 Dread News - Week 19

The NFL world is back to normal, once again spinning on its proper axis - at least for this season, anyway. The cream rose to the top last weekend as 3 of the 4 teams that earned byes for the 1st round of the playoffs won their 2nd round games at home to advance to the conference championship round. And the one team still alive that didn't have a 1st round bye - the 49ers - certainly would have gotten one if they weren't in the same division as the Seahawks. The four winners in the 2nd round are arguably (and it would be a pretty strong argument) the two best teams in each conference, so CBS and Fox no doubt are very happy, because New England at Denver for the AFC title and San Francisco at Seattle for the NFC crown figure to be highly competitive games that draw huge TV ratings.

6 of the 8 teams in action last weekend have at least one running back with dreads. The only two that don't met at Denver, where the Broncos held off the San Diego Chargers 24-17. There were plenty of chances for the Chargers to win this game, but they didn't take advantage of enough of them to pull off the upset. For example, after the Chargers punted on their opening drive, they had a chance to stop the Broncos' first drive. But on 1st down from the San Diego 29-yard line, CB Shareece Wright dropped what should have been an easy interception, keeping the drive alive. 6 plays later Denver led 7-0. The Chargers' D did get the turnover on the Broncos' second drive, recovering a fumble after S Jahleel Addae stripped the ball from TE Julius Thomas just before he hit the ground (photo below) at the SD 45-yard line. But again the Chargers failed to take advantage, missing a FG attempt on their ensuing possession. 

Trailing 17-0 in the 4th quarter and having punted on all four of their possessions other than the one where they missed the FG, the Chargers finally got going, scoring on three consecutive drives, the last of which ended with a FG that cut the Broncos' lead to 24-17 with 3:53 remaining. And opportunity was knocking again for the Chargers when Denver faced a 3rd and 17 on the first series of their next possession. But again they failed to answer, as a blown coverage at the worst possible time allowed Thomas to run his route totally uncovered near the sideline, and he made the catch for a 21-yard gain. I'll bet there was a bunch of angry yelling at a bunch of television screens in San Diego County after that play. For all the time spent practicing and watching film in preparation for a game, how on Earth can you fail to cover one of the other team's top receivers on the most important play of the season?

Anyway, after that there was still enough time for the Chargers to get the ball back, but the Broncos made another 1st down, as Thomas beat Addae for a 9-yard reception to convert a 3rd and 6 with 2:02 to go. At that point the Broncos could have just did three kneel downs and killed most of the 2:02. But after that debacle by their defense in the closing seconds against the Ravens last year, they didn't want the Chargers to get the ball back at all, no matter how little time was remaining. And they succeeded, converting and 3rd and 1 with 1:05 to go, allowing them to keep the ball and run out the clock.
Addae (photo above), by far the player with the best dreads on either team, had a busy afternoon. He finished with a game high 8 tackles (6-2), 1 TFL, and the 1 FF. DT Cam Thomas and LB Reggie Walker each had 1 tackle (1-0) for the Chargers. LB Danny Trevathan had the most tackles by anybody with dreads in a Broncos uniform. He finished with 4 (3-1). LB Nate Irving had 3 tackles (3-0), DE Robert Ayers had 2 (1-1), and S David Bruton didn't have any. The Broncos finished with a 363-259 advantage in total yards, with none of the yards gained by anyone with dreads, as neither team has an offensive player with dreads on their active rosters.

Unlike last year, when we were fortunate enough to have the Ravens reach the Super Bowl, this year's Super Bowl will not have any team with a lot of players with dreads. That was assured when the Indianapolis Colts were eliminated by the New England Patriots 43-22 in the other AFC semifinal. Yes, they got away with it last week, but apparently the Colts still haven't gotten the memo that falling way behind early and turning the ball over 4 times is no way to win a football game - because they tried the same thing this week.
QB Andrew Luck threw an INT on the Colts' 3rd play from scrimmage (the first of 4 interceptions), and the Patriots cashed in the turnover immediately on a 2-yard TD run by RB LeGarrette Blount. The Patriots then went 74 and 75 yards on two of their next three drives to build a 21-7 lead early in the 2nd quarter, with Blount again finishing both of them with two more 2-yard TD runs (the second of those in photo above). At that point, yes, absolutely I was thinking it, that Blount had a chance to score 5 or even 6 touchdowns. Only 3 times in NFL history has a player scored 6 TD in one game, and the last time it happened was 48 years ago. 
The Colts pulled to within 21-12 by halftime, and then made it 21-15 early in the 3rd quarter. WR T.Y. Hilton, finding the Patriots' secondary just a bit tougher than the Kansas City secondary he scalded in the 1st round, was shut down in the 1st half, but his 40-yard reception to the Patriots' 20-yard line was the play that set up the FG. The Patriots answered with a 9-play, 88-yard TD drive; and the Colts came right back, with Hilton making a 46-yard reception on a 3-play, 80-yard drive that made the score 29-22. After that that Colts had two possessions down by 7 but punted on both of them. And on the first play after the second of those punts, Blount took a handoff, broke through the line, broke a tackle by S LaRon Landry, and took it to the house for a 73-yard TD (photo above), his 4th TD run of the game, with 12:55 remaining. That pretty much put the Colts away right there, but the Patriots added another TD less than 2 minutes later (cashing in another INT) for good measure. For a look at all of LeGarrette's highlights from the game, please click on the link below a for the video from the Patriots' website:
Patriots fans probably did a double take when they saw the final stats sheet. Of New England's 419 total yards, only 185 came via the pass. And I wonder when was the last time the Patriots scored 6 TD in a game without a single one of them being a TD pass. The 6 rushing TD in a single game set a new franchise record. Last week Hilton took the lead for the postseason head dread award; but he's got some competition now, as Blount finished with 166 yards rushing on 24 carries. Hilton's two big gains game him enough yards to make the dread stars list - 105 on 4 catches. There were several tackles by Colts players with sick dreads. LB Erik Walden finished with 8 tackles (4-4) and 2 TFL, including 1 sack. LB Kelvin Sheppard (#52 in photo above, failing to keep RB Stevan Ridley out of the end zone on a 2-point conversion attempt) had 7 tackles (1-6), CB Josh Gordy had 4 tackles (3-1), and DT Ricardo Mathews had 3 tackles (0-3). DT Ricky Jean Francois (#99 in photo above), with shorter dreads, had 3 tackles (2-1), including 1 TFL. LB Dont'a Hightower led New England with 8 tackles (3-5) and had an INT. 

The Seattle Seahawks, seeded #1 in the NFC after going 13-3 during the regular season, in control for most of the game, had a couple of anxious moments late before advancing with a 23-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Star RB Marshawn Lynch put in his first bid for postseason head dread honors, rushing for 140 yards and both of the Seahawks' touchdowns. After taking a 6-0 lead on a pair of 1st quarter field goals, the Seahawks quickly cashed in a turnover by the Saints earlier in the 2nd, with Lynch capping a 2-play, 24-yard drive with a 15-yard TD run. Trailing 16-0 late in the 3rd and seemingly on their way to being shutout, the Saints' offense finally started clicking, with RB Khiry Robinson's 1-yard TD run early in the 4th capping a 74-yard drive. A successful 2-point conversion made the score 16-8 with 13:11 remaining.
The Saints punted on their next possession and missed a FG on the one after that with 3:51 to play. Then the Seahawks, after punting on all 6 on their 2nd half possessions, drove 62 yards in 4 plays, with Lynch's 31-yard TD run (photo above) making it 23-8 and putting the Saints away with 2:40 to go. But not so fast. The Saints drove 80 yards, scoring a TD with :26 on the clock, as CB Richard Sherman closed in too late to prevent a 9-yard reception by WR Marques Colston (photos below).

Sherman, who finished with 5 tackles (2-3), had a quiet game, as the Saints didn't throw the ball in his direction much (if at all, prior to the TD). The Saints then recovered an onside kickoff, and it looked like they were going to have one shot at a pass into the end zone. But after Colston made a catch near the sideline at the Seattle 38-yard line with about 7 seconds remaining, instead of going out of bounds (which he very easily could have done), he tried to catch the Seahawks' defense asleep, throwing what was supposed to be a backwards pass all the way across the field (photo below). But it turned out to be a (illegal) forward pass; and since the Saints were out of timeouts, the penalty included a 10-second runoff, causing time to expire. It still would have taken a miracle finish, but Saints fans sure would like to have seen what would have happened had Colston gone out of bounds on that play.
Robinson, who definitely has a bright future, continued his strong play, rushing for 57 yards on 13 carries and catching 1 pass for 13 yards. Rookie DT John Jenkins' only tackle was a sack for no gain in the 1st quarter. Other than Lynch and Sherman, nobody with dreads had any stats for the Seahawks.

Unlike the game at Seattle, in the other NFC semifinal neither of the teams' RB with dreads handled the ball much as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Carolina Panthers 23-10 at Charlotte. That wasn't surprising as far as 49ers reserve RB Anthony Dixon is concerned. He hardly ever carries the ball (28 rushing attempts all season) and is mostly a special teams player. But for Panthers starting RB DeAngelo Williams, it was surprising - and greatly disappointing - that he got only 5 carries - a season low - in the game.

Williams (photo below), in his 8th season with the Panthers, has proven to be a home run hitter throughout his career. You don't stop giving him the ball after a few unsuccessful carries because you know he's going to break one for a big gain sooner or later. In fact, he broke one for a 27-yard TD (the only TD of the game) when the Panthers won at San Francisco 10-9 in Week 10. He finished that game with 46 yards on 8 carries. But this time he carried just 5 times for only 13 yards. And after the 49ers scored a TD on their first possession of the 2nd half to up their lead to 20-10, DeAngelo never touched the ball again for the rest of the game. Now I'm not saying the Panthers would have won if he had gotten more carries. But it sure would have been nice to see what he would have done with more carries.
Dixon had no touches in the game even though he was on the field more often than usual. AD saw a lot of action at FB after starter Will Tukuafu was injured on the opening drive of the game. On special teams Dixon had 1 tackle (1-0) and came oh, so close to blocking a punt early in the 2nd half. If only his arms were a couple of inches longer. S C.J. Spillman also had 1 tackle (1-0) for the 49ers, and DE Ray McDonald finished with 3 tackles (1-2).

The player with the best dreads on either team played more than expected, but that wasn't a good thing for the Panthers. You couldn't miss rookie S Robert Lester, not with those very long dreads of his. After starter Quintin Mikell was injured just before halftime, Lester moved into the lineup for the 2nd half. Unfortunately he didn't do anything to help his team win. I don't know for a fact that he blew a coverage on the 49ers' first drive of the half; but it sure seemed that way when CB Captain Munnerlyn, after tackling WR Anquan Boldin at the 2-yard line for a 45-yard reception, immediately sought out Lester (photo below), presumably to let him know he messed up. The 49ers scored a TD a couple of plays later to make the score 20-10. Then early in the 4th quarter Robert looked bad missing a tackle on 3rd and 1, turning what should have been a short gain into a 39-yard run by RB Frank Gore. That drive ended with a FG.
Lester's poor play notwithstanding, the Panthers lost mostly because they simply didn't get the job done on offense. On two drives in the 1st half they had the ball at the 49ers' 1-yard line - the first time on 3rd down and the second time on 2nd down. But neither time did they score a TD. QB Cam Newton was stopped on a QB sneak on 4th down to end the first drive, and the Panthers settled for a FG to take a 10-6 lead on the other. Maybe if Williams had been on the field ..... oh, never mind. The Panthers also finished -2 in turnover margin, as Newton threw a couple of key interceptions.

So, it will be the 49ers making the trip to Seattle for the NFC championship. The two NFC West rivals split their two meetings this season, with each team winning their home game.



Not a whole lot has changed since last year in the East and South divisions of the NFC. The Giants and Eagles continue to operate with practically nobody with dreads. And the Falcons still have the best dreads in the South.  


Best player with dreads: Dwayne Harris (DAL)
Player with the best dreads: Brandon Meriweather (WASH)


Cowboys lost free agent CB Mike Jenkins but still increased number of dreads in their secondary after drafting former FCS stars B.W. Webb and J.J. Wilcox. Webb (nearly sacking Vikings QB Christian Ponder in Week 9 in left photo below) made it a two-race with Dwayne Harris for best dreads on the team, although Webb's dreads aren't all his own hair. Harris (right photo) was on his way to a Pro Bowl selection as punt returner until being slowed by a hamstring injury in 2nd half of season. Former Colts DT Drake Nevis was on team for most of season until being cut after Week 15. Secondary might have even more dreads next season if the hair CB Brandon Carr is growing turns into dreads (which it looked like it was starting to by the end of the season). Rookies Anthony Amos and Taylor Reed cut at end of training camp.

ACTIVE                           INACTIVE
WR Dwayne Harris          None
S Danny McCray
CB B.W. Webb
S J.J. Wilcox

GRADE: B- ..... (LY: C+)
Plenty of sick dreads on the roster, but still not any on the field. Only active player is former Eagles draft pick (1st round in 2005) Mike Patterson, who signed as a free agent in the offseason. He had 23 tackles (18-5) and 3 TFL in his first season with Giants and his first season with dreads. Since I couldn't find a better photo, you can clink on the link below for a better look at his dreads in an interview from midseason on the Giants website. Laron Scott and Kris Adams on injured reserve all season. Sick dreads of Marcus Harris and Junior Mertile on practice squad most of season. S David Caldwell and G Michael Jasper cut near end of training camp.

ACTIVE                                INACTIVE
DT Mike Patterson            WR Kris Adams (IR)
                                            WR Marcus Harris (PS)
                                            CB Junior Mertile (PS)
                                            CB Laron Scott (IR)

GRADE: D- ..... (LY: F)

Eagles replace Giants as only team in league to get an "F" grade. Nary a single dreadlock on the entire roster when the season ended. G Brandon Washington, drafted in 2012, made his debut in 2013 - in a St. Louis Rams uniform. S David Sims and DT Antonio Dixon were cut at the end of training camp. After signing with team early in season, CB Roc Carmichael must have gotten confused when he saw nobody else with dreads in the locker room and thought Eagles had a no-dreads policy, because he cut off the short dreads he had been growing after joining team.

ACTIVE                   INACTIVE
None                         None

GRADE: F ..... (LY: D-)

The highlight here is the awesome dreads of 7-year veteran Brandon Meriweather. A headhunter throughout his career, Meriweather (failing -illegally, of course - to prevent a TD by Lions WR Calvin Johnson in Week 3 in bottom photo) not pleased that NFL's crackdown on hits to the head is messing up the way he likes to play. After being suspended for one game (Week 8), he vowed he would start targeting ball carriers' knees instead of their heads. Whatever. Biggest disapointment was that sick dreads of rookie Philip Thomas spent entire season on IR. O-lineman Adam Gettis appeared in 13 games after not playing at all as a rookie in 2012 and actually recorded a stat: 1 kickoff return for 5 yards against Giants in Week 13. S DeJon Gomes cut at end of training camp. Did not bring back free agents Brandon Banks and Cedric Griffin, but made up for it by signing free agents Darryl Tapp (greeting ex-dread CB and fellow former Virginia Tech Hokie Roc Carmichael after Week 11 loss to Eagles in top photo) and E.J. Biggers. OT Xavier Nixon cut from practice squad early in season.

CB/S E.J. Biggers              
G Adam Gettis
S Brandon Meriweather
LB Darryl Tapp

S Phillip Thomas (IR)
GRADE: C ..... (LY: B-)


Best player with dreads: DeAngelo Williams (CAR)
Player with the best dreads: Davin Joseph (TB)


Finishing at 4-12, Falcons were among the most disappointing teams in the league in 2013, but their dreads are better than ever, even without bringing back CB Dunta Robinson (free agent) and LB Mike Peterson (retired). I was delighted when team dumped RB Michael Turner and signed veteran Steven Jackson to replace him. Unfortunately he suffered a thigh injury in Week 2 (that's him headed to locker room in left photo) and missed 4 games. Also enduring injury-plagued season was Roddy White. For first time in a long time (maybe ever) Roddy had his dreads flowing for every game he played (no reduced dreads!); but his refusal to sit out a few games after suffering a high ankle sprain in preseason ruined his season. Instead of letting his ankle heal, he played at less than 100% for 3 months and was ineffective before finally getting healthy and finishing strong in December. Jacquizz Rodgers didn't have a good season; but it's hard to know if it was his fault because the blocking by the O-line was so terrible. 1st round draft pick Desmond Trufant looks like a future star. It'll be fun watching his dreads get longer in the seasons ahead. Like Jackson and White, veteran Asante Samuel dealt with injuries, tying his career low with 11 games played. Youngsters Kevin Cone and Kemal Ishmael in competition for longest dreads on the team. Peria Jerry (celebrating with Trufant after Week 13 win over Bills in right photo) and Jonathan Babineaux were major contributors on the D-line.

ACTIVE                                 INACTIVE
DT Jonathan Babineaux         WR Dominique Croom (PS) 
WR Kevin Cone                      WR James Rodgers (PS)
S Kemal Ishmael
RB Steven Jackson
DT Peria Jerry
DE Cliff Matthews
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
CB Asante Samuel
CB Desmond Trufant
WR Roddy White

GRADE: A ..... (LY: A-)

Two seasons ago DeAngelo Williams complained out loud because he was getting tired of tacklers grabbing his dreads too frequently. But obviously Williams likes his dreads too much to do anything other than complain, because here we are two years later and his dreads are longer and easier to grab than ever. Yes, he has resorted to reducing his dreads for a few games; but you get the feeling he doesn't like doing that either. With Steven Jackson and Roddy White having subpar seasons, I named DeAngelo as the NFC South's best player with dreads for 2013. After the sick dreads of Charles Godfrey went on IR after Week 2, Panthers signed the even better dreads of rookie Robert Lester off the practice squad. Free agent DE Antwan Applewhite not re-signed, and WR Joe Adams cut at end of training camp. Signed free agent Chris Scott, and he was pleasant surprise. Scott (celebrating with Williams after his 1st TD of the season in Week 8 in left photo and with QB Cam Newton after a TD pass in Week 6 in right photo) played 10 games (starting 8) on the O-line. New dreads of Kealoha Pilares spent entire season on IR.

ACTIVE                                        INACTIVE
G Travis Bond                                S Charles Godfrey (IR)
DT Colin Cole                                G Michael Jasper (PS)
S Robert Lester                             WR Kealoha Pilares (IR)
G Chris Scott
RB DeAngelo Williams

GRADE: B ..... (LY: C-)

Saints traded awesome dreads of Chris Ivory and replaced him with the usually reduced dreads of rookie Khiry Robinson - that alone automatically lowers their grade from last year, even though Robinson looks like a better player than Ivory and may become the team's feature RB next season. Khiry did not have his dreads reduced when he scored his 1st NFL TD at New England in Week 6 (left photo); but for most games he looked like he did last weekend (walking off field after season-ending loss at Seattle in right photo), with the dreads reduced to the point that they don't extend outside his helmet. Rookie John Jenkins a big contributor on the D-line, and Travaris Cadet a contributor mostly on special teams. S Jerico Nelson, CB Korey Lindsey, G Jeremiah Warren, LB Ray Shipman, and DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah all cut at end of training camp. WR Saalim Hakim on practice squad until he signed with N.Y. Jets in December.

ACTIVE                               INACTIVE
RB Travaris Cadet                None
DT John Jenkins
RB Khiry Robinson

GRADE: D ..... (LY: C-)

You can't sugarcoat it - Adrian Clayborn's dreads were the biggest disappointment in the league in 2013, by far. He's among the players with the longest dreads in the league, but every game this year he ruined them by keeping them reduced. Not partially reduced like Reggie Nelson (which I can almost tolerate), but seriously reduced into about only a half dozen locks - horrible! I kept waiting for him to return them to normal for at least one game, but no go. At least Davin Joseph (left photo) still keeps his awesome dreads flowing freely, as he has throughout his career. I can't remember him ever reducing his dreads. Bucs signed Pro Bowl S Dashon Goldson as a free agent, but he wasn't as effective as expected now that he can't use his helmet to hit you any more. Mark Barron (getting beat for a TD by Eagles WR Desean Jackson in Week 6 in right photo) was 3rd on team with 88 tackles and had 2 INT this season. After spending all of 2012 on Vikings practice squad, Bobby Felder's awesome dreads spent most of 2013 on Bucs practice squad. CB Myron Lewis cut early in training camp, and sick rookie WR Chris Denton cut late in training camp. Rookie OT Randy Richards cut from practice squad in October. TE Danny Noble on practice squad until signing with Jaguars in November.


ACTIVE                                   INACTIVE
S Mark Barron                       CB Bobby Felder (PS)
DE Adrian Clayborn 
S Dashon Goldson
G Davin Joseph
DE Steven Means

GRADE: B- ..... (LY: B)


1. On the last play of 1st quarter at Seattle, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman makes his 1st tackle of the game, taking down RB Mark Ingram at the Saints' 24-yard line after a gain of 4 on 1st down. Sherman finished the game with 5 tackles (2-3) - all on running plays - as Saints hardly threw any passes at all to the man he was covering.


2. On the 3rd play of 2nd quarter and the 2nd play after Seahawks recovered a fumble by Ingram, RB Marshawn Lynch, after taking the handoff on 2nd and 1, leaves LB David Hawthorne and S Roman Harper behind at the 5-yard line, leaving CB Corey White the last man with a chance to tackle him ..... 


3. ..... White leaves his feet and gets a hold of Lynch at the 2-yard line, but ......


4. ..... Marshawn has too much of a head of steam going, and White can't bring him down as he approaches the goal line .....


5. ..... White goes down as Lynch takes it to the house and has Lynch step on his arm to boot (accidentally, of course) .....


6. ..... White finally gets Lynch down as Marshawn stumbles over him, but it's too late now. The 15-yard TD increases Seahawks lead to 13-0. It was the first of 2 TD for Lynch, who gained 143 of the Seahawks' 277 total yards in the game.


7. Richard Sherman expresses his joy after Seahawks hang on for a 23-15 victory. It's Sherman's 1st playoff home victory. Seahawks advance to their first NFC championship game in 8 years. Bring on the 49ers.


8. After 49ers kicked a FG on their opening drive, RB DeAngelo Williams is stopped by DE Justin Smith after a 2-yard gain on Panthers' 1st play from scrimmage. The drive ended with an INT 4 plays later.


9. After missing an open-field tackle on RB Frank Gore early in 4th quarter, S Robert Lester whiffs again later in 4th, as RB Kendall Hunter eludes him and picks up 17 yards on 2nd and 11, a key play on 49ers' 8-play, time-killing drive that began with 4:22 on the clock and ended with a punt with :23 to play. Lester, forced into the lineup when starting S Quintin Mikell was injured late in 1st half, finished with 0 tackles. 


10. DeAngelo Williams can't hide his disappointment near end of the game, knowing this might be his last chance to win a championship. He carried the ball only 5 times in the game for 13 yards. After 8 seasons in the NFL - all with Carolina - DeAngelo is now 0-2 in the playoffs. Panthers lost at home as a #2 seed to Arizona in 2008 and lose again this season as the #2 seed to 49ers 23-10.



11.Chargers rookie S Jahleel Addae prances off the field after causing a turnover on Broncos' 2nd drive of the afternoon early in 2nd quarter at Denver. Broncos thought they would convert on 3rd and 2, but Addae stripped the ball from TE Julius Thomas at Chargers' 45-yard line after a 5-yard reception, and Chargers recovered it. Here is a video of the play from the Chargers' website: .....  But ......


12. ...... 6 plays later Chargers failed to cash in the turnover. S David Bruton (#30) and LB Nate Irving celebrate as Chargers miss a 53-yard FG attempt (wide left), keeping Denver ahead 7-0. Irving finished the game with 3 tackles (3-0), while Bruton didn't have any.


13. Jahleel Addae's spectacular dreads were on display frequently throughout the game, including this play in 4th quarter as he helps LB Donald Butler tackle RB Knowshon Moreno at the 10-yard line after a 14-yard run on 2nd and 4. Broncos got the TD 2 plays later to up their lead to 24-7.

14. QB Peyton Manning has a word with Jahleel Addae after Broncos hold on for a 24-17 victory ..... "Nice game, rook, but this is our year." Addae finished with a game high 8 tackles (6-2), 1 TFL, and 1 FF. BTW, Jahleel was 8 years old when Manning made his NFL debut in 1998.


15. Colts LB Erik Walden reaches out a hand and is able to stop Patriots WR Julian Edelman, preventing a big play from gaining even more yards than it does with about 10:00 remaining in 1st quarter at Gillette Stadium. Since Walden grabbed the top of Edelman's helmet and not the face mask, it was ruled a legal tackle. It was Erik's 1st tackle of the game. The play gained 25 yards to the Colts' 30-yard line. 3 plays later ......


16. CB Josh Gordy ends up on his head after tackling WR Danny Amendola at the 7-yard line. Amendola's 16-yard reception converted a 3rd and 3. 2 plays later Patriots got the TD to increase their lead to 14-0. 


17. After Colts scored a TD to pull within 14-7, Patriots fail to score on their next drive, going 3-and-out as Erik Walden sacks QB Tom Brady for a 5-yard loss on 3rd and 8 with 3:50 remaining in 1st quarter.


18. WR T.Y. Hilton is shaken up after an incomplete pass intended for him in the end zone on 3rd and 6 from the New England 18-yard line with 5:40 remaining in 2nd quarter. Colts settled for a FG on next play to cut Patriots' lead to 21-10. Hilton was OK - 102 of his 103 yards receiving in the game came after this play.


19. On the drive after the Colts' FG, Patriots try to punt on 4th and 7 from their 44-yard line, but the snap sails over the head over P Ryan Allen all the way back near the end zone. After picking up the ball at the 3-yard line, Allen loses control as he is hit by LB Kelvin Sheppard. Unluckily for Colts the ball then deflected off the hand of DT Jeris Pendleton and ricocheted all the way into and out of the end zone. Instead of getting the ball deep in Patriots' territory, Colts had to settle for a safety to pull within 21-12.  


20. After the safety, Colts drive to the Patriots' 39-yard line, but on 1st down a pass intended for FB Stanley Havili bounces off his hands and is intercepted by LB Dont'a Hightower (who had 0 INT during the regular season) at the 33-yard line with 1:14 to go until halftime. In addition to this pick Hightower led Patriots with 8 tackles (3-5).


21. What's this? ..... I think we have a Trent Richardson sighting. After carrying 1 time last week, Richardson must have been exhausted after getting 3 whole carries against Patriots. He gained all of 1 yard on those 3 carries, but at least he didn't fumble like he did on his only carry against Kansas City last week.


22. Julian Edelman can't make the catch on 3rd and 8 midway through 3rd quarter, but Patriots' drive stays alive because Josh Gordy is called for pass interference at the 7-yard line. Patriots scored 2 plays later on a Stevan Ridley 3-yard run to increase their lead to 29-15.


23. After Colts closed to within 29-22, Erik Walden nearly gets his 2nd sack of the game, but Tom Brady gets the pass off in time to avoid the sack on 3rd and 3. The pass was incomplete, though, and Patriots punted on next play. This was the first of back-to-back three-and-out possessions by the Patriots; but Colts couldn't get the tying TD. Walden finished the game with 8 tackles (4-4), including 2 TFL.


24. A sight Colts fans got tired of seeing - RB LeGarrette Blount in the end zone, and an official with his arms raised. This was after Blount's 4th TD of the game, making the score 36-22 with 13:08 remaining in the game. Blount followed up his career high 189-yard rushing game in Week 17 with 166 more on 24 carries against the Colts.  


25. After Colts turned the ball over on their next possession, WR Austin Collie converts a 3rd and 10 with a 15-yard reception, as Josh Gordy makes the tackle at the 3-yard line. 2 plays later Stevan Ridley scored his 2nd TD and the Patriots' new team-record 6th rushing TD of the game to complete the scoring for the evening. Gordy finished with 4 tackles (3-1) and 0 PBU.


26. Kelvin Sheppard congratulates WR LaVon Brazill after the game. Brazill, who started growing dreads in his senior season at Ohio U before cutting them off when he was drafted by the Colts last season, scored both of the Colts' touchdowns, on receptions of 38 and 35 yards. Sheppard finished with 7 tackles (1-6). But Colts' season ended with 43-22 loss to Patriots, who advance to AFC championship game for the 3rd straight season.


So, who do you have? I've got the Seahawks and Broncos advancing to the Super Bowl. On a neutral field I'd pick the Patriots and 49ers; but Patriots don't ever play well at Denver, and 49ers have struggled lately at Seattle. I'd kind of like to see LeGarrette Blount in the Super Bowl; but I don't want to be wrong, and before the season I did pick the Broncos to win it all.
We'll review the conference title games and look at the dreads in the AFC South.


  1. Do chaz powell and preston parker have dreads?

    1. Sorry I took so long to reply.
      I do not have the answer to your question. The last time I saw Chaz Powell was in college (Penn State) and he was letting his grow longer. I have no idea what he looks like now.
      As for Parker, in the last photo I saw of him - during the 2013 offseason - he had his hair in a very unusual style; but I would not classify it as dreads.
      Guess we'll have to wait until OTAs to see what they look like now.