After a week in which practically no one thought the Patriots could win this week, and on a day in which ESPN’s Tom Jackson declared that the Patriot players “hate their coach” and Steve Young declared that Belichick had “ripped the heart out” of the team, the Pats go to Philly and take care of business. Nick Cafardo, who picked “the Eagles in a romp” for this game, seems pretty impressed with what the Patriots did. He praises their game plan and defense. Michael Felger looks at the team coming together and making big plays in this game. Apparently last night on Sports Final, (I didn’t see it.) he reported that Rosevelt Colvin left the stadium on crutches and reported hearing something pop in his hip…doesn’t sound good. Tom Curran looks at the Patriots getting fans to come down from the ledge with their performance yesterday. Alan Greenberg says the Patriots flipped a switch and delivered a totally different performance from last week. Michael Parente looks at a productive afternoon in Philly. Ron Borges looks at Tom Brady answering his critics, including Borges, with his performance yesterday. Last Tuesday, Kevin Mannix had an email read to him on WEEI (from me) which criticized him for his personal attacks on Belichick and asserted that he could not be considered an objective reporter, as he would write now with the object of supporting his Anti-Belichick stand. Mannix insisted that he could write objectively. After the game yesterday, this is the opening paragraph from Mannix:
It certainly wasn't perfect. There were too many passes that could have been intercepted. There were too many Philadelphia receivers running clean in the Patriots secondary. There were too many failed third-down situations.
I’m silly to have doubted you, Kevin. Bob Ryan notes that if you’re the road team, the hearing the boo-birds is a welcome sound, especially in Philly. Jim Donaldson repeats a theme that was echoed on Patriots Fifth Quarter yesterday, namely that it wasn’t that the Patriots were so good as much as it was that the Eagles were bad. Jeff Jacobs says things are very ugly in Philadelphia for Donovan McNabb right now. Rich Fisher looks at tough times for McNabb. Ian M. Clark looks at the huge turnaround from last week. Karen Guregian examines whether Tom Jackson’s comments yesterday are true. Dennis and Callahan looked at this article and noted that no one denies hating the coach. Curran also garners reaction to the quote. Parente says that however they feel about the coach, a win eases a lot of tension in the locker room. George Kimball looks at Willie McGinest, who played increased minutes with the injury to Colvin yesterday. Michael Smith, Donaldson, and Guregian look at Christian Fauria, who somehow seems to always get open in the end zone. Mark Murphy looks at a strong performance from Deion Branch. He also looks at Dan Koppen, who did a fine job of filling in for Damien Woody. Cafardo’s notebook looks at an emotional week for Tedy Bruschi. Felger’s notebook has word on the injuries to Colvin and Brady (elbow soreness). Curran’s notebook also looks at Bruschi. Parente’s notebook has Kenyatta Jones itching to get back on the field.
The Patriots did suffer a loss yesterday, however. Ron Burton, their first over draft pick, and community stalwart, passed away after a long battle with bone cancer. Lenny Megliola remembers Burton. Michael Smith writes about Burton’s passing for the Globe. Steve Buckley has a pay column in which he remembers Burton.
Kent Thaler’s Patriots thoughts will likely be posted late this afternoon, or early this evening. Check back for those.
Bob Hohler looks at the Sox dropping their second in a row, but managing to hold onto their slim wild card lead. Jeff Horrigan looks at the loss and the upcoming schedule, which could be deceiving. Steven Krasner looks at the difference in the game, ability to pitch with runners on base. David Heuschkel gets on Manny for not breaking up a double play yesterday. Sean McAdam says the playoff race is going to come right down to the end, and if the Sox don’t win 10 of their last 14, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Gordon Edes hopes the Devil Rays aren’t about to play spoiler. Dan Shaughnessy claims to have been sucked in by this Red Sox team and should have know better than to have thought they were headed for an easy road to the playoffs. Rich Thompson looks at another early hole dug by John Burkett. Kevin Paul Dupont also looks at Burkett. Thompson also looks at another strong performance from Mark Buehrle. Howard Bryant has a pay column in which he asserts that clubs that rely as much on offense as the Red Sox do, do not perform well in the postseason. I’m thinking, then again, teams with pitching staffs like the A’s have had the last few years haven’t done so well in the postseason either. Also the Braves of the 90′s. From yesterday, John Tomase in a feature type article, says Jason Varitek is the conscience of the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Nomar being scratched with the flu. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Nomar. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny on the basepaths.
Stephen Harris looks at Mike Knuble, who is looking to improve upon the best season of his career last year. Andy Nesbitt looks at Glen Murray, who is also looking to improve. Harris’ notebook looks at Joe Thornton spending his third night in a row at the hospital with a staph infection on his forehead.
NESN has Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ABC has Giants/Cowboys at 9:00. ESPN Classic is showing Bill Parcells SportsCentury at 8:00 & 11:00.