Brady, Belichick and the Pats run Mahomes, Reid and the Chiefs in OT

The good, bad and ugly of the AFC Championship game

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In the matchup of the old versus young, we saw the oldhead prevail as the Patriots beat the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime. Here's how I saw things play out:

The Good

-Bill Belichick found what worked best and exploited it. He made Pat Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket by getting pressure up the middle, while also maintaining containment on the outside. Four sacks for 46 yards lost, mostly in the first half, was enough to frustrate the Chiefs' offense and help the Pats build a lead. But…

-…Andy Reid and Mahomes have weapons to combat whatever is thrown at them. The signing of running back Damien Williams midseason has proven to be their answer for losing Kareem Hunt due to stupidity. Mahomes/Reid is similar to the Brett Favre/Mike Holmgren combo in that you have a good, young quarterback with a good play calling coach.

-Tom Brady is the GOAT. There's no more arguing or debate. Put it to rest please. We all must learn to appreciate greatness when we see it happening, and the Brady/Belichek era of what they're doing is great.

The Bad

-Brady made an uncharacteristic red zone interception. In the second quarter, he threw a pass off target that Chief's linebacker Reggie Ragland picked off. Rob Gronkowski was running a crossing route off play action. He wasn't wide open, but the pass should've been thrown higher and more towards the back of the end zone.

-Speaking of Gronk, he went 50-plus minutes in between catches. From the 12:28 mark of the first quarter to the 5:28 mark of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defense held him in check. Being such a large part of what the Pats are able to do on offense, it helped the Chiefs get back into the game.

-The Chiefs defense couldn't hold up in overtime. They played up, or down, to the level of their competition up until when it counted most. In overtime, they never gave their offense a chance to try to win the game.

The Ugly

-Chiefs' safety Eric Berry was clearly playing injured. He was a shell of his former All-Pro self. On the Patriots' touchdown just before halftime, his zone assignment was a short zone in the middle of the field. He barely moved and the bulk of the action was nowhere near his zone. He also gave up a 25-yard completion to Gronk with 54 seconds left in the game that put the Pats in touchdown range. Word is that he'll need surgery on the heel in the offseason.

- The Chiefs were held scoreless in the first half. They totaled 32 yards of offense in the first half which 43 yards less than Patriot running back Sony Michel had rushing in the same time frame. All season, we've never seen this Chiefs team held in check like this for that extended period of time.

-Brady threw two interceptions in this game. Both came with them ahead by one score, but only one turned into points for the Chiefs. Typically when the Chiefs are given extra possessions, they're able to turn them into points and wins.

The Super Bowl in this day and age wouldn't be complete if the Patriots weren't in the mix. The Chiefs gave it their best shot, but couldn't pull off the win. As much as people would love to see the Patriots dynasty fall to pieces, it isn't time yet. A matchup with the Rams looms. Super Bowl 53 is set and we get another young versus old matchup.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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