, Newburyport, MA


December 30, 2013

Hector Longo's Two-Minute Drill



Mea culpa time here from this corner. I mocked the Pats for having to do it. I mocked Bill Belichick for actually suggesting it. And I mocked rock-footed LeGarrette Blount for even attempting to run back kicks in the NFL.

Finally, I won one, right?

Wrong. Wrong again. Blount, who obviously adapted to the sloppy track better than the 91 other players out there in this December monsoon, keeps the surging Bills at bay with second-half returns of 83 and 62 yards — each setting up Pats’ TDs.

How did Belichick know? They didn’t let Blount return in Tampa Bay.

Heck, Chip Kelly didn’t even let him attempt it at Oregon in a real game. “Once in the spring, I think,” recalled Blount.

Yet Belichick knows in August. And it wins this team a football game four months later.

I tip my cap ... again.


So, the one team New England won’t see, unless it’s in the title game, is San Diego, the sixth seed, which survived somehow in overtime yesterday in what amounted to the Kansas City Chiefs JV team.

The Chargers got what they needed early — losses by Miami and Baltimore — to open the door for either them or Pittsburgh.

This week’s slate will have the Broncos and Pats, seeds 1 and 2 respectively, on winter break, while No. 3 Cincinnati hosts No. 6 San Diego and No. 4 Indianapolis hosts No. 5 KC.

New England will host the best remaining seed on the divisional weekend, Jan. 11 and 12, while Denver hosts the lesser of the two winners.

Does track record mean anything? The playoff records of the six remaining QBs (by seed): 1. Peyton Manning 9-11; 2. Tom Brady 17-7, 3. Andy Dalton 0-2; 4. Andrew Luck 0-1; 5. Alex Smith 1-1; 6. Philip Rivers 3-4.

Or in other words, Brady 17-7; other guys, 13-19!


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