Overreaction: it’s in the DNA of sports fans, and the sports media. A team loses and it’s time for a forklift change, they are doomed and will surely miss the playoffs; a win and fans are mimicking that clown that in the NFL.com commercials a few years ago: championship!

The latest example is the angst over Brandon Lloyd having one reception last week at Miami. Whether it is unrealistic expectations due to lust for Randy Moss highlight reel plays, selective amnesia over the cries for a more balanced offense that would run the ball more often, or simply a case of the grass always being greener elsewhere, Lloyd’s stats now have a sizable segment of Patriot nation biting their fingernails.

For a bit of objective analysis, please check out Greg Bedard‘s column in today’s Boston Globe titled Brandon Lloyd a victim of Patriots’ game plan, not poor performance. Bedard breaks down each of Lloyd’s snaps and points out that “there were nine times Lloyd could be considered open” and that “(a)lmost every time, Brady’s decision not to throw to him had to do with circumstances that led him to throw elsewhere.”

I can recall all too well when Chad Ochocinco Johnson was targeted only once, but the similarities end right there. Lloyd has 50 receptions for 561 yards and 34 first downs, and we still have 25% of the regular season left to play. The team has rushed for the 8th most yards in the NFL, Wes Welker is on pace for yet another huge season; while Lloyd’s numbers may be slightly of what expectations were, I don’t see any reason for the consternation that some are exhibiting.

Same holds true for those that are clamoring for the Pats to sign Braylon Edwards, promote Jeremy Ebert, or whatever other remedy materialized in the last thirty seconds. Let’s not forget that with all the injuries that the Patriots have, roster spaces are at a premium. There is never a good reason to waste one on some player with a ‘why not give it a try, what do you have to lose‘ attitude; that applies even more so right now.



This Day In Patriots History


December 5, 1947:
Jim Plunkett was born in San Jose; number one pick of the 1971 draft started 61 games at QB with the Pats from 1971-75


December 5, 1971:
Marrio Grier was born in Charlotte; 6th round draft pick played FB with Pats in 1996-97


December 5, 1971:
New England Patriots 34, Miami Dolphins 13 at Schaefer Stadium

Jim Plunkett threw two touchdown passes on his 24th birthday and the Pats defense forced five Miami turnovers, handing the Dolphins just their second loss of the season in Foxboro.

Things got off to a rough start when Mercury Morris returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a Miami touchdown, but the Pats came back with a 6-yard touchdown run by Jim Nance, a 26-yard TD from Plunkett to Randy Vataha, and a 37-yard field goal by Charlie Gogolak to take a ten-point lead at the end of the first quarter; the two teams then exchanged field goals to give the Pats a 20-10 halftime lead.

After Garo Yepremian‘s second field goal cut Miami’s deficit to seven, Plunkett hooked up with Vataha again, this time on a 25-yard score to give the Patriots a 27-13 lead. Larry Carwell finished the scoring off with a 53-yard return of an interception for the final score. Vataha ended up with seven receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns on the day.


December 5, 1976:
New England Patriots 27, New Orleans Saints 6 at Schaefer Stadium

The Pats won their fifth straight game, improving to 10-3 and qualifying for their first NFL playoff appearance and their first playoff appearance since the 1963 AFL Championship game.

Steve Grogan ran for two scores and passed for two others to lead the Pats. In the second quarter Grogan hit Al Chandler with a 12-yard pass, then ran it in from 11 yards to give the Pats a 13-0 lead. The Saints added a field goal before halftime and then another early in the 4th quarter to make it a one-score game; Grogan then scored on a 10-yard run, and a 6-yard toss to Ike Forte to seal the win and the playoff berth. Don Calhoun rushed for 123 yards for the Patriots and the defense did the rest, limiting the Saints to 14 first downs and 236 total yards of offense, while keeping them out of the end zone.


December 5, 1982:
Chicago Bears 26, New England Patriots 13 at Soldier Field

The Bears won after taking a 23-0 first half lead, as Jim McMahon threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to. Stanley Morgan caught seven passes for 130 yards for the Pats, but the Chicago defense won this game. The Bears limited the pats to 46 yards rushing on 21 carries, sacked Steve Grogan five times and forced four turnovers. The Pats got back into the game when Rick Sanford intercepted a McMahon pass on the one-yard line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 23-13, but the Bears D clamped down and didn’t let the Pats get any closer.


December 5, 1993:
Pittsburgh Steelers 17, New England Patriots 14 at Three Rivers Stadium

On the final play of the game with the Pats down by three, Bill Parcells elects to go for the win rather than tie the game with a field goal and send it into overtime. Rookie QB Drew Bledsoe‘s sneak from the one -yard gets whistled short of the goal line – though replays showed that was not the correct call – and the Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive, while the Pats in Parcells’ first season with the team fell to 1-11 on the year.

The Pats took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 3-yard pass from Bledsoe to Ben Coates and a 3-yard run by Leonard Russell. Pittsburgh came back in the 2nd quarter with 17 points on one and five yard TD passes from Neil O’Donnell to Merrill Hoge, sandwiched around a 35 yard Gary Anderson field goal. The Pats tried to give the game away – Bledsoe threw five interceptions – but Pittsburgh refused to take advantage, committing ten penalties. Michael Timpson led the Pats with 97 yards receiving.


December 5, 1999:
New England Patriots 13, Dallas Cowboys 6 at Foxboro

The Pats defense shut down the vaunted Dallas offense led by Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith on Sunday Night Football, improving their record to 7-5.

The D sacked Aikman three times (Ferric Collons, Willie McGinest and Larry Whigham), forced two fumbles, allowed just 12 first downs and limited Dallas to 203 total yards of offense while keeping them out of the end zone. Terry Allen scored the game’s lone touchdown on a 3-yard run, Kevin Faulk had 129 all-purpose yards, and Adam Vinatieri was 2-2 on field goals from 41 and 23 yards out.


December 5, 2004:
New England Patriots 42, Cleveland Browns 15

Bill Belichick returned to Cleveland and reminded Browns fans of what could have been as the Pats improved to 11-1, while Cleveland dropped to 3-9 and focused on finding a new head coach and an new general manager.

Bethel Johnson ran the opening kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown and Corey Dillon scored two touchdowns to put the Pats up 21-0 midway through the 2nd quarter; Dillon finished with 100 yards rushing despite sitting out the second half. Randall Gay ran a fumble back 41 yards for a touchdown, Kevin Faulk scored on a 10-yard run, and after Tom Brady hit David Patten on a 44-yard TD the Pats were up by a score of 42-7 – with 21 minutes still left to play. The defense got into the act too; at one point Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Willie McGinest each recorded a sack on three consecutive plays.


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December 5, 1791:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at the age of 35

December 5, 1899:
Sonny Boy Williamson was born in Mississippi

December 5, 1901:
Walt Disney was born in Chicago

December 5, 1932:
Little Richard was born in Macon, Georgia

December 5, 1938:
JJ Cale was born in Oklahoma City




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