A mixed bag for Boston fans yesterday. The Patriots got their win in Arizona, Nick Cafardo assures readers that the Patriots will lose sometime. Once again, Nick says, the Patriots were “fortunate” in this one. Michael Felger tells us that once again the Patriot players were unhappy with their performance in this game. Tom Curran says this game was all about Corey Dillon and the Patriots new running game. Alan Greenberg says that while the play of the Patriots yesterday was uninspiring, nevertheless, the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Michael Parente says that it was the Patriot defense that was dominating in this one. Scott A Benson says that watching yesterday’s game was “needlessly taxing”, thank in no small part to Charlie Weis. Chris Kennedy says this one wasn’t pretty for the Patriots.
The title of Kevin Mannix’s article (which I realize he had nothing to do with) is much harsher than his article. While Kevin does opine that if the Patriots were playing a decent team yesterday, they’d have been in trouble, he does acknowledge that the hole there were evident in the run defense in game one were nowhere to be found yesterday. Ron Borges says that Corey Dillon made up for a lot lacking elsewhere for the Patriots yesterday, carrying the team to victory. George Kimball (subscription only) looks at Dillon’s presence on the defending Super Bowl champions and marvels at how much better he makes the offense. Ian M Clark celebrates the fact that the Patriots finally have a running back. I’m not sure if Jim Donaldson is using his column to praise the Patriots or bash the Red Sox and Ryder Cup team.
David Givens was another Patriot who had a big day, racking up over a 100 yards in receiving and picking up the slack after Deion Branch was knocked out of the game just before the end of the first half. Joe Burris and George Kimball spotlight the third year receiver from Notre Dame. Brian Gomez looks at Daniel Graham picking up a pair of touchdowns for the Patriots. Curran looks at the Patriots causing confusion for the Cardinals’ young QB. The defense brought the heat on Josh McCown all day according to Burris. Jerry Brown has McCown giving credit to the Pats defense. A subject of controversy, both on the WEEI Football show and the WBCN pregame was the rotation of players on the offensive line. The negative ones (Hello, Kevin Mannix, Ron Hobson) were saying it’s because the players all stink and Belichick can’t find the best ones, the positive ones were saying it was to give them all experience at the different positions, thus created depth in case of injury. Donaldson says that rotation paid dividends in the heat of Arizona yesterday. Gomez has a brief look at the tribute for Pat Tillman.
Another point of controversy on the WBCN pregame show involved Kevin Faulk. Ron Borges and Ken Powers were discussing with Gary Tanguay whether Faulk is out because of still dealing with the situation with his mother passing away, or if he is hurt. Powers and Borges state that Faulk was back with the team this past Tuesday, but did not practice at all during week. Yet, on the injury report, the only entry for Faulk was “personal” problems. Borges and Powers both believe that Faulk’s knee was injured and that the Patriots were just trying to get him through this game so then after the bye he’d have had five weeks to heal. They said Seymour got in trouble for coming back late from his grandmother’s funeral last season and that they themselves (Powers and Borges) only get two days of bereavement leave from their jobs, but Faulk got all this time off for his situation. It got to the point that Powers stated that he had contacted the league office regarding this issue and was assured that they were monitoring it closely. This statement was said in the voice of the kid who runs to the Principal’s office because the big kids are smoking in the boys room. This fixation among the local media with the injury report continues to baffle me.
Cafardo’s notebook has Mike Vrabel employing a little gamesmanship just before the end of the first half. Felger’s notebook focuses on the injury to Branch, with Belichick saying he probably could have played the second half, but the team wanted to be cautious. The ProJo notebook says it was a somewhat rough afternoon passing for Tom Brady. Greenberg’s notebook Kennedy’s notebook and Parente’s notebook all focus on the added dimension of having Corey Dillon in the backfield.
Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback is pretty a book review of Michael Holley’s “Patriot Reign”. Some interesting snippets and quotes in there. Most of the quotes about Parcell’s phone calls had been covered in the past already. King also reveals his love for Dan Shaughnessy later on in the column.
The Red Sox got thumped in the Bronx for the second straight afternoon, throwing cold water on hopes of overtaking the Yankees for the division this year. Game stories are provided by Bob Hohler…Jeff Horrigan…Steven Krasner…David Heuschkel and David Borges. After the wild win on Friday night, the rest of the weekend was about as low (no pun intended) as it could get for the Red Sox, as they were never in the two weekend games, falling behind early and big each day. Dan Shaughnessy says the chase for the division was fun while it lasted. Sean McAdam says this wasn’t exactly what the Red Sox had planned for the weekend. Tony Massarotti notes that the Red Sox rotation is supposed to be the area in which they’re better than the Yankees. It didn’t show that way this weekend.
Steve Buckley (subscription only) recounts Pedro’s rough day in the Bronx. He says true or not the perception is that Pedro can’t win in Yankee Stadium, and until he wins a World Series, his career is incomplete. He does note however, that Pedro seemed to have been offended by what took place yesterday and might be gunning for some revenge the next time he’s there. Rich Thompson looks at the long ball doing Pedro in yesterday. Shira Springer has Pedro putting the blame on himself for the loss yesterday. Michael Silverman also has a look at the home runs that Pedro gave up, and has been giving up all season.
Howard Bryant (subscription only) says the Yankees regained their confidence and swagger this weekend against the Red Sox, but Joe Torre remains respective of the Sox and what they’re capable of. Schilling and Pedro will be pitching in the three game series in Fenway this coming weekend. Gordon Edes says the much-maligned Yankees pitching staff did just fine this weekend against the top scoring lineup in the league. Rich Thompson looks at Mike Mussina finding himself at just the right time for the Yankees. Michael Silverman looks at the incident between Mike Timlin and Derek Jeter.
Krasner’s notebook has more on that Jeter/Timlin incident. Hohler’s notebook looks at the Red Sox silent bats in the series. Horrigan’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both look at Jason Varitek going hitless in the series. Borges’ notebook says that despite getting roughed up, Pedro insists that he’s healthy.
NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00. ABC has Vikings/Eagles at 9:00.