One That Did Get Away

Mike Reiss and Mike Felger each have pieces on former Patriot and East Boston native Jermaine Wiggins, who has flourished in Minnesota and is one of the few free agents to get better after having left New England. Felger also mentions whispers that Richard Seymour’s injury is more serious than “day-to-day”, and doesn’t think he has a great shot of playing Monday night. I’ll be shocked if he plays…Michael Parente looks at the challenges that the Vikings will provide for the Patriots. Glen Farley says that the Patriots haven’t done anything fancy this season, but they’ve gotten the job done. Eric McHugh notes that the extra work put into the passing game seems to be finally starting to pay dividends.

Lenny Megliola says that Bill Parcells is ready for a Tuna Meltdown. Mark Farinella says Drew Bledsoe has to realize that he is just about at the end of the road – a pretty good retrospective of Bledsoe by Farinella. Christopher Price says that Bill Belichick should be a Jim Leyland fan instead of a Tony LaRussa supporter.

Reiss’ notebook looks at the Patriots special teams discipline, which has resulted in very few penalties for the squad. He also has a number of other interesting items packed in there. Albert Breer’s notebook has Jarvis Green ready to go if Seymour can’t. Farley’s notebook has some unfamiliar foes coming up on the Patriots schedule…so preparation work is going to go overtime. McHugh’s notebook has rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski taking pride in his kickoffs.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer report on Paul Pierce missing last night’s preseason game and coming home to get an infected finger treated. Pierce’s finger had swollen up and he was unable to bend it after getting a paper cut. Mike Fine says that Allan Ray is looking like the odd man out at this juncture. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics falling to the Nets last night 109-107 in New Jersey.

Bruins

Rich Thompson has Belmont’s Paul Mara looking forward to getting his first taste of participating in the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry after having watched it for so many years growing up. Kevin Paul Dupont has coach Dave Lewis posting the standings in the Bruins dressing room so they can see daily how far they have to go. Bud Barth says the Bruins need to bump up their goal scoring production, but they also need to get healthy. Mike Loftus notes that neither Hannu Toivonen nor Tim Thomas have been particularly impressive thus far. Thompson’s notebook has Marc Savard looking to bump up his shots on goal.

Red Sox/World Series

Rob Bradford followed Curt Schilling to MIT to hear him speak about his new venture – Green Monster Games. Michael Silverman and Tony Massarotti team up for a Red Sox notebook, with news that Mike Timlin will be back with the team in 2007. Stan Grossfeld has a feature on former Red Sox pitcher Sammy Stewart, who turned into a Major League crackhead after retiring from baseball. It’s not a pretty tale, but Stewart, currently in jail, hopes to still be able to turn his life around. Jon Couture looks at a movement to bring old time (like 1860’s old time) baseball to New Bedford. Where’s Steve Buckley on this?

Bob Ryan and Tony Massarotti look at NH’s Chris Carpenter pitching the Cardinals to a 5-0 victory in game 3 of the World Series.

After a nine-day hiatus (apparently in rehab for his Dunkin Donuts coffee addiction) Chad Finn is back and posts responses to real and imagined emails.

FSN has Celtics/Raptors at 7:30. ESPN has Rockets/Heat at 8:00. FOX has Cardinals/Tigers Game 4 at 8:00.

World Series Rates in Boston

We lead off with a look at some local ratings numbers from the weekend.

The World Series numbers, though still likely a disappointment to FOX, still contain some interesting results here in the local area. Local pundits like to claim that Boston is so provincial that unless the Red Sox are playing, baseball doesn’t get watched. Well, the overnight numbers in the Boston market actually outperformed the national numbers for FOX. Nationally on Saturday night, game one garnered a 7.3/13, while Sunday’s game two, which had the benefit of an NFL lead-in and no competition from football on NBC, rated a 10.5/16 across the nation. As you’ll notice below, the Boston numbers were higher on both nights.

Game two was in fact, the second highest rated event that we charted this weekend, behind only the Patriots, who absolutely stomped the competition at 1:00pm Sunday.

Here’s a look at some other events of note from the weekend:

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Note: I’ve been unable to get consistent cable numbers for NESN, ESPN and FSN. If anyone out there wants to help me out, please send an email.

Now onto the links…

Michael Felger has his weekly report card, and this week it consists of all “A’s” and “B’s”. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots once again showed an ability to correct their flaws and mistakes that they had made the first time they faced a club. Ian Clark also has a report card, and he hands out a “D” to the offensive line for allowing Brady to get hit too often on Sunday. Rich Garven sums up the Patriots this way: “A stingy defense, an opportunistic offense, a positive turnover differential. Those are the things we’ve been seeing from the Patriots as of late, and you can’t do better than that.” We’ve also got the Second Look from the game on the BSMW Game Day page.

Christopher L Gasper looks at the Patriots receivers and Tom Brady starting to establish some chemistry and rhythm. Lenny Megliola has Steve Grogan agreeing that the QB and Receivers are starting to come together. John Tomase looks at Benjamin Watson, who also benefits from the receivers coming along. For the first time this season, on Sunday he caught the ball with a little room to run. Michael Parente says that Brady looks comfortable as well. Christopher Price has more on the receivers stepping up.

Tony Massarotti says that the Patriots haven’t proven anything by steamrolling the cupcakes in the AFC East. Jim Donaldson agrees and says that the Patriots could be 5-3 and facing the 5-3 Jets on November 12th. Alan Greenberg has a look at the Patriots defense, which has been pretty impressive thus far this season. Breer also has Junior Seau starting to really establish himself in the Patriots defense. Tom King says that things will now start getting a little bit tougher for your New England Patriots.

Albert Breer says there is no sympathy in the Patriots locker room for the Chargers’ Shawne Merriman, who was suspended yesterday for four games, reportedly for steroid use.

Tomase’s notebook attempts to update us on Richard Seymour, and the only clue available is the fact that he didn’t appear on WEEI’s “Dale and Holley” show yesterday – something he didn’t do last season either when injured. If Seymour is out on Monday, Gasper’s notebook says Jarvis Green is ready to step in and fill the spot. Young’s notebook has the media being rebuffed in their efforts to find out about the Seymour injury.

Celtics

Peter May looks at the controversy among NBA players regarding the new synthetic ball that is being introduced this season. Many players have been outspoken in their disapproval of it, but at least one organization is pleased: PETA. Sean on the BSMW Full Court Press has a look at Tony Allen, and the decision that the Celtics face in the next week of whether to pick up his option for next season or not.

May also has a look at the center position for the Celtics. Theo Ratliff has been battling a sore back all preseason, and Doc Rivers doesn’t believe he’ll be ready to play in the opener, a week from tomorrow. Michael Olowokandi has been ok in the preseason, but much of the load is going to fall on Kendrick Perkins, Al Jefferson and even rookie Leon Powe. Steve Bulpett has a look at Powe, who has won the affection of Paul Pierce for his rugged, physical style of play inside…something that the Celtics could really use. Scott Souza has more on Powe, who didn’t play much in the early games because he struggled to learn the system.

Mike Fine looks at Al Jefferson finally showing some improvement on the floor after being called out a bit by Rivers. Bulpett’s notebook says that the Celtics might be looking to make a trade instead of a roster cut this week. Jim Fenton looks at the Celtics struggling to find some sort of rotation for the season.

Bruins

Rich Thompson says that the Bruins really need to show improvement on the power play – something that their next opponent, Montreal – has been very successful at thus far. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on goalie Tim Thomas getting an ice chip in his eye in practice yesterday. Thompson’s notebook says Thomas will start in goal on Thursday, and says Hannu Toivonen had an ice chip hit him in HIS eye on Saturday’s night against Buffalo.

John Molori says that FOX deserves credit for firing Steve Lyons.

FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:30. FOX has Tigers/Cardinals game 3 at 8:00. Versus has Devils/Penguins at 7:00.

Patriots Take Care of the Bills

The Patriots were their predatory selves of old yesterday, pouncing on mistakes made by the Buffalo Bills and converting them into points. They did this to the tune of a 28-6 victory in Orchard Park yesterday, a win that showed how far ahead of their division foes the Patriots really are.

David Scott has a look at CBS’ bungling coverage after having to cut away from the 38-38 Pittsburgh/Atlanta game.

Scott Benson leads the BSMW coverage on the Patriots Game Day page with a look at the action in Buffalo. Joe McDonald says that everything seems to be falling into place for the Patriots as they improved to 5-1 on the season. Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots taking care of business after a bad practice earlier in the week that led to a marathon session on Thursday and visible improvements yesterday. John Tomase says that the Patriots basically stepped aside and let the Bills lose the game themselves yesterday. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots having plenty to smile about yesterday. Ian Clark says that yesterday was vintage 21st century Patriots football. Rich Garven reports on just another demolition job to an AFC East opponent. Michael Parente says that the Patriots have created a division between themselves and the rest of the AFC East. Mark Farinella says that the Bills are like a self-fulfilling prophesy for the Patriots.

Ron Borges looks at the Patriots defense, which he notes may not get as much attention as other “higher ranked” defenses, but their penchant for keeping opponents off the scoreboard will take them far. Michael Felger begins to fret over what is going to happen when the Patriots run out of AFC East teams to beat up on. That will be the drum that will get beat this week on air and in print by Felger…just watch. Tony Massarotti notes that the passing attack is miles ahead of where it was the last time these two teams squared off. Albert Breer notes that the Patriots and Bills were pretty even in terms of offensive stats yesterday, but the New England defense kept the Bills out of the end zone. Dan Pires has a report card from yesterday’s win.

McDonald looks at Asante Samuel, who had another strong performance this week, earning the praise of head coach Bill Belichick. Ethan Ramsey has more on Samuel, who is likely seeing his free-agent price rise each week this season. Breer has a look at Samuel bringing his 17-year-old brother up to Bellingham to live with him and go to high school, playing football and especially basketball.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at rookie wideout Chad Jackson, who caught a 35 yard TD pass from Brady, but also dropped his next pass attempt. She says Jackson will continue to be a work in progress, but the Patriots need his talent and production now. Breer also has a look at Jackson finally getting a chance to show his stuff to the Patriots. Greenberg looks at rookies Maroney and Jackson both making big plays for the Patriots yesterday.

Massarotti has more on the defense, again noting that it is better than it’s ranking. Farinella looks at the Patriots defense getting down and dirty in Buffalo. Garven reports on Tom Brady getting a bit battered by the Bills D-Line yesterday afternoon. Farinella has Brady keeping his receivers busy yesterday. Breer looks at Corey Dillon’s success in the red zone yesterday and this season. Christopher L Gasper has a look at the first quarter kickoff return from Laurence Maroney which led to a 14-3 Patriots lead. Felger also examines Maroney’s 74-yard kickoff return that sparked the Patriots.

Shalise Manza Young puts forth a game analysis for yesterday afternoon. Felger looks at Matt Light and Ryan O’Callaghan having a hard go of it at times in trying to keep the Bills off of Brady. Greenberg has his Patriots Sidelines report, which has analysis of the action. Pires had listed out 5 keys to the game yesterday and looks at how they worked out. Young names Tom Brady as the player of the game. Young calls the personal foul committed on Brady after he had gone down as the play of the game. Massarotti presents the best and worst from yesterday. Farinella has the Patriots getting in J.P. Losman’s head.

Check out the Buffalo side of things in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and in the Buffalo News.

Tomase’s notebook leads off with a look at Richard Seymour injuring his elbow in the first half and not returning for the rest of the game. McDonald’s talking points also addresses Seymour’s elbow injury. Reiss’ notebook says that Seymour should know more about the severity of his injury today. Garven’s notebook reports on injuries to Seymour and Eugene Wilson. Parente’s notebook has Rodney Harrison handing out some strong praise to Asante Samuel. Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots playing some good situational football yesterday.

Celtics

Mike Fine has Paul Pierce dishing out advice to his colleagues on the dangers of hanging out in the wrong spots. Pierce of course, can speak on this subject with first hand knowledge, having nearly lost his life in a stabbing incident back in 2000. Scott Souza says too many people have been too quick to judge Sebastian Telfair. Steve Bulpett has a look at Luke Jackson, who even if he doesn’t make the Celtics, will still have some appealing options open.

The BSMW Full Court Press continues to crank out analysis of the decisions that the Celtics need to make on the contracts of several young players on their roster. Shira Springer has Doc Rivers insisting that there will be no set rotation for his players this season. Bulpett’s notebook has Rivers saying that a rotation is only effective if your team is good enough to have one. Fine’s notebook has more on the decisions on rosters spots and roles that the Celtics still have to make. You can get these links plus a look at the Celtics Point Guards on the FSN Nothing But Net page.

ESPN has Giants/Cowboys at 8:30. Versus has Sabres/Canadiens at 7:00.