Monday, November 24, 2014

Patriots Roll, Raiola Cries

The Patriots continued rolling Sunday with a commanding 34-9 win over the Detroit Lions.  The Lions came into Foxboro with a 7-3 record that had them sitting atop the NFC North.  With Green Bay breathing down their necks, fresh off back-to-back blowouts in which they put up over 50 points, this was set to be a big game for Detroit.

Coming into Sunday's matchup, Lions and Patriots fans alike were both curious to see how the high-octane Patriots offense would fare against the NFL’s best defense.  The matchup of Calvin Johnson against the New England secondary was also something to watch out for.

An emerging storyline now, however, is the dirty shot that Lions center Dominic Raiola took at Patriots tackle Zach Moore on the final play of the game.  Detroit was lined up in the defeat formation, ready to take a knee and put this game behind them.  But Railoa had other plans.  After snapping the ball to Stafford, Raiola immediately lunged forward at the knees of Moore.

While it was technically a legal cut block, it was clearly done with malicious intent.  As if the act itself wasn’t disgraceful enough, Raiola wasn't about to apologize when asked about the play postgame by the Detroit Free Press.

“I cut him. We took a knee, so I cut the nose [tackle].  They went for a touchdown at 2 minutes.  They could have took three knees and the game could have been over.  It’s football. He wants to keep playing football, let’s play football.  Not a big deal. It’s football.”

If this isn’t the whiniest, sore-loser comment of the season so far, I don’t know what is. Instead of thinking about how he and his offense could have taken some pressure off the Lions defense by scoring at least a single touchdown, Raiola was busy pointing the finger across the line.  Apparently, since the Lions defense could not stop the Patriots offense, the Patriots offense was supposed to stop themselves.

The problem with Raiola’s running up the score defense is that the Patriots had run the ball all but one play on that drive.  They were actually lined up to kick a field goal until Detroit linebacker CJ Mosley decided he was going to dive head first at the Patriots long-snapper on the play.   That drew a personal foul call, giving New England a first down and putting the ball back in Brady’s hands.

Maybe Raiola should have run over and dove at Mosley’s legs for that move.  Or perhaps he should have attempted to cut down his head coach Jim Caldwell for calling two timeouts that only served to extend New England’s final drive.

This was just a dirty, classless move by a team and a player that have reputations for plays like this.

The Patriots will now turn their focus to their marquee matchup against the Packers next Sunday, while the Bears and their defense should be careful not to hurt Raiola’s feelings next weekend.