Kevin Mannix hands out A’s, B’s and C’s in his Patriots report card this week, but also one F, to the quarterback. Ron Borges says Bill Belichick and the Patriots made the right call by not going for the 55 yard field goal at the end of the game Sunday. Kevin McNamara looks at Mike Cloud’s return to practice yesterday, and whether the running back can help out this team. Alan Greenberg says Sunday’s loss could come back to haunt the Patriots down the road. Mike Reiss looks at the struggles of Tom Brady, noting the correlation between his play and the team record. Michael Smith looks in detail at what could be wrong with Brady. Michael Parente says that in the end, all it came down to was that the Patriots didn’t get the job done. Rich Thompson looks at the Patriots still having the personnel to play the defensive fronts that they want to this season. Christopher Price looks at Belichick defending Tom Brady’s interceptions, noting that they were not all the QB’s fault. Tom Curran notes that Sunday was similar to the loss in the fourth game of last season. Ed Gray looks at Cloud, eager to play after coming back from his suspension and injury. Thompson’s notebook has Adam Vinatieri agreeing with the decision to go for it on fourth and three. McNamara’s notebook says it was the execution, not the play calling that did in the Pats on Sunday. Smith’s notebook looks has more on Cloud.
Tony Massarotti turns in the Red Sox report card. The only F’s are earned by Mendoza and Sauerbeck. Bob Ryan has a look at Manny Ramirez and his amazing abilities that draw praise from teammates and foes alike. His work ethic is also lauded here. Sean McAdam looks at Billy Beane and Theo Epstein, how their thinking is similar and how it differs. Jeff Horrigan says the trade of Shea Hillenbrand saved the season for the Sox, and not just by acquiring Byung-Hyun Kim. From a huge list, Bob Hohler narrows it down to display the Sox top 10 moments from this season. Keeping with the list theme, Bill Reynolds gives us 10 reasons why the Sox are going to win the World Series. David Heuschkel looks at the preparation the Sox have made and are making for the playoffs. Christopher Young previews the AL playoffs. Steven Krasner says that despite all of Pedro’s other baggage, he’s still the best in the game. Gerry Callahan has a pay column today complaining about network TV’s decision to put the Sox on at 10:00 tomorrow night. It’s the usual…little kids can’t watch any of the game, people who work won’t see the end, baseball is run by TV, and the networks only love the Cubs and Yankees. Dan Shaughnessy looks at former Sox Scott Hatteberg. Gordon Edes has Grady Little praising Jerry Narron for his role as bench coach, and also citing Damian Jackson as having had just as big of a clubhouse impact as David Ortiz and Kevin Millar. Howard Bryant has a pay column looking at the A’s and the lessons they’ve learned from this season and from past playoff failures. Someone at the Herald web site was still a little asleep this morning as the link to Bryant’s article on the Red Sox page read: “Manly: A’s hope for happy ending.” Howard Manly, as many of you know used to do the job that Bill Griffith currently does at the Globe. McAdam looks at the networks to blame for the Sox late TV start. Jon Wallach also weighs in on the late show. Ryan also has a look at the Yankees and their nine year postseason run, which began with a wild card berth in 1995, the first year of the expanded playoffs. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Dave McCarty trying to provide some inside info on his former team. Out in Oakland, Dave Albee and Bruce Jenkins are talking about the Red Sox “cursed” history. Susan Slusser has a little more balanced look at the matchup, but even she is compelled to bring up the curse.
Shira Springer notes the one year anniversary of the new Celtics owners taking over and what they’ve learned in the first year. Mark Murphy looks at the expectations that will be placed on rookie point guard Marcus Banks.
Bill Griffith looks at the broadcast times and channels for the Sox playoffs, (Tomorrow’s game will be carried by channel 68 locally.) and the myriad of options Sox fans for pre and post game coverage. He also has the finalists for the Celtics PA job, a group that does not include longtime voice Andy Jick. Jon Meterparel is among the contestants. I had some correspondence with Jick over the past year and when the position was open a year ago, he was interested, but they wouldn’t even return his calls. He also expressed interest this year, and it seems the Celtics weren’t interested this time around either. That baffles me. Jim Baker’s pay column also looks at the Sox coverage.
Elsewhere, Herald sports writer Ed Gray has decided to come out of the closet. He wasn’t forced out, he says: “I’m out, and I am exercising my right to walk around proud.”
No Sunday night recaps. These shows are becoming more and more irrelevant, in my opinion, as they’re just the same guys saying the same things they’ve already said on a couple other shows elsewhere. I’ll continue to tape them, and perhaps watch them while doing the links on Monday morning, but it’s getting too much to stay up and transcribe the shows until 1:00 AM and then get up at 5:30 AM to do the links. If while watching the tapes, anything of note happens, I’ll mention it. If anyone wants to take on the task of reviewing and transcribing the shows, you’re welcome to do it. Last night, Sports Final did have a nice video tribute to the Red Sox amazing up and down regular season.
Sometime this week this site will have its one millionth visitor. This will likely happen Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks again to all who have made that mark possible.
Turnovers will almost always kill a team’s chances. Yesterday was no exception. Tom Curran looks at a game that the Patriots should have won, despite having nine starters out due to injury. Nick Cafardo looks at frustrating results by the offense, especially on the final drive of the game. Alan Greenberg lauds the Patriots effort, even if the “bloodless Bill Belichick” wasn’t happy with losing the game. Michael Felger says this one was gift wrapped for the Pats, but they couldn’t get the wrapping off. He also has four points of question on the final drive. Ian M. Clark notes that the defense did its job, the offense was what let the team down in Washington. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots just not having quite enough to pull out the win. Ron Borges is full of admiration for the way that the Patriots played yesterday, saying:
Because they refused to acknowledge the difficult circumstances they were in, the Patriots rose to the occasion. They didn't win, but they were not losers. They just didn't score enough points.
Kevin Mannix says the Patriots defense did the job it was supposed to on the Redskins passing game. Jeff Jacobs writes about Tedy Bruschi and the Pats having nothing to do with any injury excuses. Jim Donaldson has a decent column expressing the conflict that fans might have in trying to deal with a loss that was likely to be expected, but was frustrating nonetheless. Michael Smith looks at Tom Brady, taking the loss characteristically hard. George Kimball looks at the turnovers yesterday, but especially at the Patriots inability to jump on the loose ball. Joe Burris looks at things from the Washington perspective, happy to be at 3-1. Donaldson looks at the Redskins, happy knowing that they dodged a bullet. Karen Guregian looks at the non-catch by Laveranues Coles which allowed the Pats to get the ball back one more time. Michael Gee looks at a decent outing from David Givens, who could’ve had a much bigger afternoon with a couple sharper passes. Parente shows that it was mistakes not injuries that did the Patriots in yesterday. Smith looks at the decision not to have Adam Vinatieri try the 55 yard field goal at the end…a decision the kicker agreed with. Greenberg has a look at Tom Brady, toughing it out. In the Herald pay columns, Michael Gee looks at the Patriots taking the shorthanded loss pretty hard, not taking comfort in coming close. George Kimball writes about Tom Brady being hard on himself for the loss yesterday, knowing it was a game they should’ve won. Donaldson questions Brady’s decision making in the loss. Curran looks at the three makeshift starters on the offensive line, who more than held their own yesterday. Guregian looks at the mild uproar over a hit laid by Patriots fullback Larry Centers. Felger’s notebook looks at Mike Cloud being eligible to join the Patriots starting today. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Centers being in the middle of a few things yesterday. Curran’s notebook also looks at Centers.
David Heuschkel looks at the fourth consecutive meaningless regular season finale in Tampa for the Sox. Jeff Horrigan says the loss in the finale of the regular season just gives the team another thing to bounce back from. Steven Krasner looks at Bill Mueller winning the batting title. Bob Hohler looks at a record breaking season for the Sox. Gordon Edes has a feature-like article looking at the job Grady Little has done for the Red Sox. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the opposing manager in the first round of the playoffs, Ken Macha. Perhaps it was the influence of Eddie Andelman, but at the beginning of the season, Tony Massarotti was one of the harshest critics of Theo Epstein, today, he has a glowing article on the Sox GM. Howard Bryant looks at the opposing GM, Billy Beane, the object of the Red Sox pursuit prior to giving Epstein the job. Sean McAdam looks at a very different postseason fate for Tim Wakefield this time around. Massarotti looks at Mueller winning the batting title yesterday. Bob Halloran knocks those who criticized the Sox for the “over the top” celebration on Thursday night. John Tomase looks at how Boston has changed but not beaten Grady Little. The Globe continues to shove Bucky Dent down our throats. C’mon, today isn’t even the official anniversary. Bill Burt examines what Carl Yastrzemski and Jeremy Fuller have in common. Krasner’s notebook looks at Wakefield getting the game two start. Horrigan’s notebook also looks at Wakefield. Hohler’s notebook looks at batting champion Mueller.
Shira Springer looks at Celtics training camp starting today…well sort of. Only players with less than four years of experience are allowed to start camp today. All others cannot report until Thursday. Non-roster invitees to camp include Mateen Cleaves. Mark Murphy reports on the Celtics annual season ticket holder barbecue.
ABC has Packers/Bears at 9:00. Curse devotees can watch the 1978 Sox/Yankees playoff game on ESPN Classic at 9:00.