in the backyard i collected some fallen hawthorn berries for future sichuan paocai spice mixes. i noticed a garlic sprout in one of my garlic boxes. mild weather causes them to germinate but they will stop growing once it gets cold again. for best results, i should cover up the sprouts to protect them from freezing. elsewhere, my sister and i found 2 rabbit holes by the fences. i used planks of wood and rocks to block them up. rabbits just love coming into our backyard to feed on the plants. now that everything is dormant, it's easier to spot rabbit holes, though i haven't seen any rabbits in the backyard for a while now.
for lunch i had some rice porridge mixed with oatmeal. i mixed in some pork floss and ate some pickled radishes.
it was an afternoon of football, waiting for the 4pm pats-steelers game. i played with the 538 interactive playoff projection chances chart to figure out what-ifs scenarios. new england needed the win to stay within the playoff bye hunt; pittsburgh needed the win just for a chance to get into the playoffs. it was also a crucial game for them as there's been murmurs that coach mike tomlin's job might be on the line if they don't get into the post-season. anyway, the steelers ended up winning 17-10. patriots had a chance to tie the game in the final minute and sent it into overtime, but they couldn't score a touchdown. it was a strange game, with the pats plagued by a barrage of uncharacteristic penalties. receivers also had a case of the dropsies on key possessions.
the pats have looked vulnerable all this season, especially having lost to bad teams they should've soundly beaten: jaguars, lions, titans. dolphins at miami is a special case as it's now confirmed that they're new england kryptonite, but the pats should've won that game last week. and now losing back to back for the first time in so many years, it's definitely a warning that their super bowl hopes might be jeopardy. i've watched all of their games this season and it's been painful. new england doesn't dominate like they used to. teams are still weary of them given all their past success, but which each loss, opponents are beginning to lose their fear. so now the patriots are either in the 3rd or 4th spot, with the chiefs and texans with playoff byes. if the pats win out their last two games and the texans lose one, new england will be back in the no.2 spot.
my sister returned to belmont after dinner to pick up her dog. there was less than a quarter left in the game by that point, so she waited for it to finish. afterwards she gave me a ride back to cambridge in the heavy rain.