Yesterday’s 23-20 Patriots OT victory

Yesterday’s 23-20 Patriots OT victory over the Texans should leave everyone happy. The fans are glad to get a win, and those who touted this as a “trap game” can say they told you so. Good times all around. Michael Smith tells us the Patriots are just trying to sample every way possible to win a football game. Michael Felger says the Patriots just don’t lose close games. Tom Curran says they were just tough enough to win. (Good anecdote about the CBS representative, too) Alan Greenberg says the Pats couldn’t give this one away no matter how hard they tried. Michael Parente puts the win right up there with the other come from behind victories of the Tom Brady era.

Ron Borges says the fact that the Patriots can make as many mistakes as they did yesterday and still come out on top is encouraging and bodes well for the future. Yes, they do need to make improvements if they hope to return to Houston, but they can feel fortunate after winning games like this one. Kevin Mannix says the Patriots go by the old UMass slogan “Refuse to lose.” Jim Donaldson says that it is clear that the Patriots weren’t at their best, but at 9-2, they’re looking good. Dan Shaughnessy writes about the magic of Tom Brady. He made some Bledsoe-esque mistakes yesterday, but still rallied the team to victory. George Kimball has a pay column on Brady, who may not want to look back on some of the gaffes he made, but can look with pride at another comeback OT victory. Steve Buckley has a pay column on Adam Vinatieri shaking off a missed kick and a blocked kick to win the game in OT.

Nick Cafardo looks at Daniel Graham, who bounced back from some brutal drops to make a couple of huge clutch catches, including the game tying TD. Ian M. Clark reminds us that winning ugly is still winning. Kevin Mannix, Alan Greenberg and Jim Donaldson also write about the second year tight end. Steve Buckley looks at a huge game from Kevin Faulk. Tom Curran gives credit to Charlie Weis for imaginative play calling because of his depleted offensive roster. Michael Felger looks at a dominant performance by Richard Seymour. Michael Parente says the Patriots did not let the trap close on them. George Kimball looks at Mike Vrabel’s interception in OT. Cafardo has a look at Adam Vinatieri bouncing back from the missed and blocked kicks to nail the game winner. Brian McTaggert says the Texans just fell one defensive play short in this one. Jim Donaldson says that Ramone Walker would’ve been the player of the game had the Texans pulled this out.

Smith’s notebook looks at Kevin Faulk’s emergence as the lead back and some other roster shuffling. Felger’s notebook looks at Faulk and Rohan Davey moving up on the depth charts. Curran’s notebook has Brady making amends for early goofs. Parente’s notebook also looks at the emergence of Faulk.

Bob Hohler looks at the importance of stats and data in baseball, and how it will effect hiring practices in the game. Jeff Horrigan looks ahead to the interview of DeMarlo Hale by the Red Sox today. Yesterday, John Tomase looked ahead to the tough player decisions the Red Sox have to make soon. Namely, Jason Varitek.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks back at Saturday night’s Bruins loss to the Flyers. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins will not panic as a result of the disappointing loss. Yesterday’s hockey notes by Russ Conway looked at the rising attendance in Boston and a number of other items.

Get your Celtics links over at Fox Sports Net New England.

A BSMW announcement – This site is now the on-line home to John Molori’s syndicated Media Blitz column. Each week’s column will be published on that page and archives of the column will be kept. This week Molori looks at Keyshawn Johnson’s FOX pregame appearance yesterday, and has news on Glenn Ordway’s contract negotiations with WEEI. Could he be taking the “Big Show” elsewhere?

FSNE has Celtics/Knicks at 7:00. ABC has Giants/Bucs at 9:00. ESPN2 has the Maui invitational starting at 5:00 and running through the rest of the night. ESPN Classic has The Flutie Game – BC/Miami at 9:00.

A number of good articles

A number of good articles in the Sunday papers today. Jackie MacMullan has an interesting look at Ty Law, who wants to stay here, and the implication is that he may just consider making some concessions with his contract after seeing what Lawyer Milloy is going through in Buffalo. Karen Guregian has a look at Rodney Harrison. John Clayton has an article on about the Patriots personnel decisons. Ron Borges looks at Keyshawn Johnson. The Borges article left me scratching my head a little bit. He seems to be defending Johnson pretty vigorously:

Johnson has long been perceived to be a selfish brat, but in reality he is not. He is insecure, afraid that he might not really be what he hopes to be, and his reaction to those fears is to beat his chest and stomp his foot.

He is not selfish. He is a young man without a sense of self, lost in the ego-driven mania of professional athletics.

OK. So he says Keyshawn is not selfish. A few paragraphs later, he says:

Not surprisingly, Keyshawn will get an instant forum to express his views on Fox's NFL pregame show today. It will be interesting to see if any of Fox's football-players-turned-journalists have the spine to ask him to explain his selfishness and the self-centered approach he has taken to life ever since he entered the NFL.

Um, which is it, Ron? Selfish, or not? This isn’t just a little swing of opinion here, it’s 180 degrees different…in one paragraph Keyshawn is not selfish, in the other he’s not just a selfish player, his whole approach to life is selfish. Of course, the bottom of the article contains the usual “Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.” So which part belongs to Ron? Did someone else write the second part? Does he think Keyshawn is selfish, or not? Weird.

A win at home for

A win at home for the Bruins. Stephen Harris, Nancy Marrapesse-Burrell and Joe McDonald wrap up the action from the Fleet. Mick Colageo wonders why the NHL doesn’t promote Joe Thornton more. Karen Guregian fears the team is starting to fall apart just as it did last year. Ron Indrisano says Martin Lapointe is finding his role with this team. Joe Gordon looks at the play of Andrew Raycroft. He also has a look at Glen Murray. McDonald’s notebook says that Coach Sullivan is in no hurry to name one of his goaltenders as the top one. Harris’ notebook has more on Lapointe and his role. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the Bruins skills in the faceoff circle.

Another edition of Ask Nick is in the books, and as usual, there is plenty of Drew talk. Nick responds to one question on the Bills QB thusly:

Drew isn't my brother or anything. He's a player that I covered for many years that I grew to respect as a person. People love to trash him. They love to rub it in his face, which is something I just don't understand and never will. I don't think the guy ever did anything to deserve that. That's all. I had the same respect for Roger Clemens in the 12 years I covered him. Drew is definitely on the decline. Anyone can see that.

Nick doesn’t understand. Let’s see if I can explain it for him. It’s all well and good to respect a player as a person, and indeed Drew is someone anyone can respect in that manner. I don’t think a single person in this region can argue that Drew is a class act. The way he handled himself during the SuperBowl season, and then taking out the ads in the paper when he left town showed what type of person he is. Nick and others now have this act going where they say people around here “love to trash” Drew. I don’t see that at all. I like Drew and I always will. So does everyone I know. What Nick doesn’t get, or chooses to ignore is that any of this illwill that he perceives being against Drew around here, is really a product of the agenda driven writing that he and others in the media have put upon the fans. They anointed the Bills as the next dynasty in the AFC East, taking shots at the Patriots every step of the way. They proclaimed Tom Donahoe a genius for stealing Drew and Lawyer Milloy away from the Patriots. They denigrated the achievements of the Patriots and their coaching and management. They insulted the Patriots for trading Drew within the division for only a first round pick. For people rooting for the Patriots, all this Bills hype was just a continuous slap in the face. Nick and his cronies could barely contain their admiration for the juggernaught in Buffalo and now that after 10 games, that team has pretty much fallen on its face and is in disarray, the fans here feel exalted. The fact that Drew, the good guy, the class act is at the centerpiece of that collapse, is an unfortunate development. But after having it thrown in their face since the trade that the Patriots were making the Bills a championship contender for trading Drew to them, the fans here are throwing it back at Nick and the others. Their animosity is not towards Drew. Let me repeat. The fans animosity is not towards Drew. It’s not even that much towards Tom Donahoe, (though it is annoying to read him quoted in every article written) Lawyer Milloy or the Buffalo Bills. It’s towards the ones who have perpetrated this agenda that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are evil and that Tom Donahoe and the Buffalo Bills are the agents of redemption who will cause them to pay for their transgressions. Day after day, week after week this is pounded upon the fans. They’re sick of it. They’re striking back. I hope that clears it up for you.

(rant over, back to your regularly scheduled links)

Michael Smith writes about the new-look Patriot receiving corps. Rich Thompson looks at the re-signing of Dedric Ward. Mike Reiss looks at the QB ratings for each game against the Patriot defense this year. The ratings are down from last year, and as you might imagine, the highest rated performance against the Patriots came in game one this year. Some guy named Bledsoe. Alan Greenberg has a look at the struggles of Ken Walter. Tom Curran looks at the progress of Matt Light in this his third NFL season. Hector Longo looks at Kevin Faulk as the Patriots go-to guy on offense. Jim Donaldson says Keyshawn Johnson would be a better fit with the Red Sox, not the Patriots. Reiss’ notebook looks at the return of Dedric Ward. Curran’s notebook looks at the opposing quarterbacks against the Patriots this year. Thompson’s notebook looks at Dan Koppen facing Steve Martin. Smith’s notebook looks at Tony Banks.

DeMarlo Hale will be the next candidate interviewed for the position of Red Sox manager. David Heuschkel, Bob Holer, and Jeff Horrigan report on the candidate. Sean McAdam says the Red Sox are serious in their pursuit of Andy Pettitte, even though they’re realistic about their chances. Horrigan’s notebook says that Pettitte’s agents canceled a scheduled visit to Boston for today. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox have lost out on Kelvim Escobar. Gerry Callahan has a pay column saying this Red Sox ownership is not playing the fool this offseason, they won’t be used by Pettitte. The won’t make foolish choices in free agency, and that they should still go for ARod.

Get your Celtics links over at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bob Ryan lines up for his chance to bash the BCS.

Bill Griffith looks at Harvard/Yale, the 120th annual matchup.

FSNE has Celtics/Sixers at 7:00. ESPN has Timberwolves/Cavs at 8:00 and Rockets/Blazers at 10:30.