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And the beat goes on

JJ Feigenbaum is a freshman at Wesleyan and an Andover, MA native. He has followed the Patriots for the entire 18 years of his life. Fanaticism runs in the blood, as his father, Mark Feigenbaum, was Patriots Fan of the Year in 1996. Ladies beware; he plans to name his first-born child, son or daughter, Belichick.

When an eight year old, even one that can recite the starting quarterbacks of every NFL team, has the defining word on your day I guess that tells you something. Sorry Ben, really, I am. Someday, it will probably be your year, just not while the Pats are around. Today, though, you just got beat. My little brother Tommy, watching the game at home with my father and what sounded like a roomful of other middle-aged football fans, right where he feels at home, called me in the third quarter of the AFC championship game to tell me he had come up with a new nickname for Ben Rothlisberger. “Rothlis-rookie,” my 8-year-old brother told me over the phone. “I think we should call him Rothlis-rookie.”

Based his performance on Sunday, the kid is exactly right about the other kid. Rothlisberger’s line was a very unimpressive 14-of-23 passing for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns matched by a troika of interceptions. And before we diagnose his stats any further, it needs to be noted the greatness of the word troika. Okay, now we can move on. If we ignore the garbage time passing yards and final touchdown to Plaxico Burress, we see Big Ben came up far from huge in the biggest game of his life. He threw an interception on his first pass and things only got worse from there. Rodney Harrison showed his Pro Bowl counterpart Troy Polamalu how to play safety in a big game, stepping in front of a Rothlisberger pass and taking it to the house, slamming the metaphorical dagger into the metaphorical hearts of the Steelers and their fans. But I can assure you, the pain that resulted was anything but metaphorical.

But we can’t blame it all on Rothlisberger: the Bus ran out of gas to the tune of a 3.8 yard-per-carry average. Jim Nantz mentioned Bettis is considering retirement after the game, and though I can hardly be objective on one of my least favorite players in the history of my own fandom, I wish him the best of luck on the infomercial spokesman circuit and cannot wait to buy a juicer from him. On the same note, the Pittsburgh receivers were limited and the defense, well, it was pretty clear based on the 41 points the Patriots put up that they did not play like the best defense in the league.   Continued...

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