“It’s just not playing football,” said Bill Belichick last week, when asked about Junior Seau’s retirement conditioning regime. Seau’s been surfing, and waiting for a call from the “right team” and the “right coach.” The right team, according to Seau, made his decision an easy one.
What Belichick was doing was deflecting expectations that Junior would show up on Sunday, strap on his cape and save the wallowing Pats defense. Well, that’s very nearly what he did anyway and it seems, at least for the ageless Seau, a few practice reps was all it took to get him in game condition.
To Seau, it is just playing football and the near certain future Hall of Famer proved that 39 is the new 20 in the NFL.
More Pats injuries made Seau’s return necessary a little sooner than planned and an early deke from Deion Branch made it look like Junior was still on the beach. “That was a great play! Branch did a heck of a job throwing me a little fake. I went surfing and that was it.”
From there on Seau just played ball, “It is time to play football. I expected to be thrown in there later on in the game, but obviously with the injuries that we had I was rushed to it.”
The young guys had a say in things, too, as Matt Cassel finally got his game-winning fourth-quarter drive as he marched the offensive unit methodically down the field with no signs of panic as the clock ran down.
While no rookie, Wes Welker “The Slot Machine” proved why he’ll be going to Hawaii in February and Brandon Meriwether stamped “The End” on what was arguably the first Pats playoff game of the season forcing a fumble to end Seneca Wallace’s chances to pull his version of the final drive victory.
Belichick and the Pats are doing it the way they did before they were expected to win every Sunday. They’re the underdogs; the long-shot to make the playoffs and they’re somehow responding.
They’re not going to blow anyone out; they’re going to “make plays when they need them” and they’ll “do what it takes” at just the right time to turn your hair grey.
There are three games left in the season and the playoffs have come early to the AFC East. With New York, New England and Miami locked in a cage match every game is a playoff game. Ellis Hobbs gives us the mood of the team, “The last three games, everybody needs to play as if these are the last downs, because for this season, it is.”
Stock up on your beer, pretzels and popcorn; this is going to be fun.
When Jim isn't blogging for B/R he's America's Black Belt Powervator; speaker, coach and author of Dynamic Components of Personal POWER. Click here for more information!