Friday Night “Clash”

I always look forward to my annual Friday night clash with APBA Hall of Famer, Greg Wells, at the convention. This years it was a matchup between the 2004 New England Patriots and the 2004 New York Jets. My strategy facing the Super Bowl champion, New England Patriots, was simple, on offense, establish some sort of running game to limit New England possessions and take some risks on defense. On New England’s first play from scrimmage, they broke the huddle and lined up in a Pro Set formation any my defensive call was “Standard, G alignment, Goal Line, Key Dillon” and to my delight it resulted in a four line drop once the play card was revealed. However, my joy was short lived and it was all New England for the entire first half. New England’s offense generated 18 first downs in the first half and entered the locker room at halftime with a 14-0 lead. Tom Brady was 16 of 18 for 162 yards and one touchdown. Truth be told, the score should have been even worse. Twice rare plays resulted in Brady fumbles inside the New York ten-yard line. New York only made three first downs the entire first half and an injury to offensive guard, Pet Kendall, put the Jets in “C” passing index for the majority of the first half. Curtis Martin was having minimal success running out of a three wide receiver set (7 carries for 48 yards) until a key third down and three from the New England 42-yard line. The play call was an inside run from a three wide receiver set but Greg’s defensive play call was brilliant, “Standard, S alignment, key Martin” resulting in a four line drop and a loss of yardage and any momentum that I had.

Determined to make a game out of it, New York opened the second half with a 7-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. On a third and one from the New England 27, it was a 2TE offense versus a goal line defense in G alignment, however, the play call was a medium pass resulting in a 27-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Becht from Chad Pennington. After New England answered with a 47-yard field goal to make the score 17-7 a key coaching decision on my part changed the game. Realizing the Jets had three capable running backs (Curtis Martin, LaMont Jordan and Jerald Sowell), I decided to go to a “Full House” backfield with 5:00 remaining in the third quarter. It changed everything, New England was completely off balance on defense. It reminded of the game in 08 when Miami unveiled the “Wildcat” and ran the Patriots out of Gilette Stadium. The Jets marched right down the field and Sowell finished off the drive with a 26-yard touchdown run. New England closed out the third quarter with a 20-yard field goal to make the score 20-14.

Faced with a third and nine, I went three wide and called a draw play to Curtis Martin. To my delight, Greg not only went “Dime” but he blitzed resulting in a 22-yard touchdown run and New York’s first lead of the game. On the 26th play of the fourth quarter, New England had a first and goal from the New York six-yard line. New England went 2TE and called an inside run with Dillon, I decided to let them score and called “Dime, D alignment” and watched Dillon reach the end zone untouched. Vinatieri booted the extra point before Greg realized there was the two-point conversion during the 04 season. This kicked off a lively conversation between players and participates. Armed with all my timeouts, I reached the New England 27-yard line with one play remaining in the game. I went three wide and called a medium pass to Wayne Chrebet but I rolled a 46 resulting in an incomplete pass.

New England                                     7          7          3          10        – 27

New York                                          0          0          7          14        – 21

NE – Givens 3 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick)

NE – Givins 5 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick)

NY – Becht 27 pass from Pennington (Brien kick)

NE – FG Vinatieri 47

NY – Sowell 26 run (Brien kick)

NE – FG Vinatieri 20

NY – Martin 22 run (draw play) (Brien kick)

NE – Dillon 6 run (Vinatieri kick)

                                                                          NE                           NY

First Downs……                                               25                             14

Rushed – Yards…..                                          25-110                      24-155

Passing Yards……                                          272                           115

Sacked- Yards Lost……                                 1-4                            1-4

Return Yards……….                                      82                              127

Passes………………                                      27-34-2/0                  11-19-1/0

Punts ………                                                  0-0.0                          5-37.8

Fumbles-Lost………..                                    2-2                             0-0

Penalties- Yards……..                                   3-20                           8-66

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING–

            NE: Brady 27-34-272-2-0

NY: Pennington 11-19-115-1-0

RUSHING–

           NE: Dillon 21-71, Faulk 2-10, Patten 1-29, Brady 2-0

NY: Martin 13-71, Sowell 4-43, Jordan 6-33, Pennington 1-8

RECEIVING–

          NE: Branch 8-126, Givens 11-92, Faulk 3-32, Graham 2-7, Patten 3-17

NY: McCareins 1-12, Moss 1-23, Martin 3-3, Becht 2-31, Chrebet 4-52

4 thoughts on “Friday Night “Clash”

  1. If I recall correctly, last year was the Red River Game with teams from the late 1960s. The Jets were a playoff team while the Pats weren’t very good. 2004 featured a Super Bowl winning Pats team against an adequate Jets team. Is there a season where both teams had a similar ranking or records? This is probably the APBA Football match-up of the year given the teams being long time division rivals. – Steve

  2. Greetings Greg
    I really enjoy reading your game recaps, sounds like you had a great time! I think you were taking it easy on the Patriots by “limiting” Sowell’s carries. I have not seen Sowell’s 2004 card which must be strong, did he have a card with a Hall of Fame look to it in 2004? Also wondered if you thought Brien’s kicking card was weaker than it should be. I think in real life he had decent stats at long distance in 2004 and as I was reading this I thought he might be able to punch in a field goal to win in for you! (though probably not with a 46 roll). Thanks again for sharing! Kazman

    • Greg,

      I wrote too fast! I did the math and see that the final spread was not 2 points so you did need to go for the whole enchilada at the end! Great game and great read, thanks again!
      Kazman

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