Patriots Overtime Victory Over Ravens Sets CBS Ratings Mark

The Patriots 23-20 overtime victory over the Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 17 helped CBS set the mark for the highest rating for its single-game window since it acquired the current AFC package in 2008. 

The window, which included the Patriots-Ravens, Dolphins-Packers, Jets-Broncos, and Browns-Steelers matchups, averaged a 12.8 HH rating and 21.5 million viewers nationwide, making it the most-watched Sunday CBS single-game window since CBS resumed NFL coverage in 1998. The window broke the old record set week 16 of the 2008 season during a game for first place between the Steelers and Titans, which had a 12.3 HH rating and 20.0 million viewers.

Locally, the game had a 29.84 rating with a 61 share. The game peaked with a 38.25 rating during overtime.

With 734,000 households watching the game locally, the Patriots-Ravens game more than doubled the 338,400 households that watched Dancing with the Stars, the second most watched program of the week in the Boston TV market. Dancing with Stars had a rating of 13.8 and a 20 share on Monday, October 11. Patriots 5th Quarter, which followed the New England game on WBZ, placed third with a 13.7 rating and a 27 share on Sunday.

The Patriots-Ravens game was the second most-watched game in the Boston TV market of the year, behind CBS’s doubleheader weekend on Sept. 19 that featured the Patriots and the Jets as the 4:15 game. That game was the most watched September CBS game ever and the third most watched game during the NFL season with 27 million viewers nationwide.

Bruins Sharp In Home Opener

The Bruins rocked the TD Garden in their home opner, beating the Washington Capitals 4-1, aided by another top-notch performance in goal from Tim Thomas.

It’s early, but the town is excited about the Bruins.

A real crowd-pleaser – Bob Ryan says that the atmosphere at the Garden last night was absolutely festive.

Tim Thomas backs Bruins by Capitals – Stephen Harris says that this game was a message.

Bruins’ Tim Thomas back in the zone – Joe McDonald has the Bruins goaltender feeling great.

The Hat Trick: Tim Thomas, power play shine, while fourth line’s a charm – DJ Bean has three thoughts on the win.

Thomas, Rask pull ‘trickeration’ on the media – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins goaltenders doing a little bait-and-switch on the media.

Big things coming from Boychuk already – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the defenseman coming a long way in one year.

On Brandon Meriweather, His Hit And The Reaction Afterward – My SB Nation Boston media column goes into the Brandon Meriweather reaction in more detail, and I’ve got more thoughts on Dennis and Callahan heading to NESN.

Gorman, Heinsohn hold court – Chad Finn has the CSN broadcast duo marking their 30th season as a team.

Miller offers Celtics a nod – Bill Doyle has TNT’s Reggie Miller saying that the Celtics (not the Heat) are the team to beat in the NBA.

Patriots maturing before our eyes – Mike Reiss and Tedy Bruschi break down the Patriots/Chargers game.

Deconstructing Tom Brady – Christopher Price asks eight people — current and former teammates, Hall of Famers, coaches, analysts, former MVPs and other Super Bowl champions — one question: What makes Tom Brady great?

Chung getting it done – Mark Farinella has the second year safety emerging as a standout.

Linebacker Mayo comes into his own – Robert Lee has the third-year linebacker getting some serious praise from Bill Belichick.

Better off Deaderick – Dan Duggan has the seventh round pick emerging as a surprise starter last week.

Patriots- Chargers rivalry loses zest – Ian Rapoport notes that many of the players who attacked the Patriots in the past are no longer with the Chargers. Tom E. Curran runs down the Patriots/Chargers matchups in the Belichick era.

Patriots figure to have some special (teams) opportunities in San Diego – Glen Farley says that the Chargers are already wary of the Patriots special teams.

Two sides to Vollmer’s success story – Michael Vega has the second year tackle equally comfortable on the left or right.

Around The League – Week Six – Jeremy Gottlieb has a look at the big issues in the NFL this week.

The secrets of their success – Paul Flannery looks at why Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have had such success since joining forces.

With Baby, Celtics see changed man – Steve Bulpett has Glen Davis with the best training camp of his career.

And finally:

waving hand furiously! “@mikecwright: Another worthless locker room access session…wonder if there’s a worse locker room in entire NFL.”Thu Oct 21 18:17:21 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Guys, you’re not doing yourselves any favors here.

Bruins Tickets For Capitals and Rangers Trending Down

Hoping to catch the Bruins in the early going? Waiting until the last minute might pay off, as ticket prices on the secondary market have dipped for the home opener tonight against the Capitals and Saturday’s game with the Rangers:

Many of the tickets have instant delivery, so you can print them at home. (Choose the e-ticket filter.)

Meriweather Contrite, Patriots Ready To Move On

Brandon Meriweather continued to be the focus of much of the talk in the local sports media yesterday, and the Patriots safety made a brief statement in front of his locker yesterday, apologizing for the hit and looking forward to moving on and preparing for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

This topic will no doubt continue to be a hot one, and carry on through to Sunday.

We’ve got three got articles on Patriots Daily this morning:

Randy Moss Is Expecting – Dan Snapp has changed his thinking on the Randy Moss trade.

First Impressions – San Diego Chargers – Greg Doyle has a look at the Chargers, including former Boston College defensive lineman Antonio Garay who has come out of nowhere to emerge as a starter for San Diego.

Worry Wart – Game Six At San Diego – Chris Warner always finds things to worry about.

Patriots better with Mayo – Ian Rapoport has Jerod Mayo making a big impact this year after a disappointing 2009.

Patriots focus on Chargers’ defense – Mike Reiss has the Patriots offense preparing to face the Chargers top-ranked defense.

I encourage you to look over Bill Belichick’s press conference from yesterday and contrast the coach’s responses when asked a technical football question, and when asked about something off the field – the Meriweather suspension. When asked about football, the coach is expansive, even loquacious, but when shuts right down when being asked about something not peripheral to the game. Tom E Curranthough, was still mildly frustrated with Belichick after the session.

Shawn Crable running with it – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the third-year linebacker happy to finally get on the field.

Shaq’s promise greater than problems as C’s beat Nets – A. Sherrod Blakely says that last night’s preseason finale was a prime example of the good and bad Shaquille O’Neal can bring to a team.

The Three-Pointer: Making a point – Paul Flannery offers up three points from last night’s game.

Celtics’ Garnett looks ready to go after healthy preseason – Jim Fenton notes that KG looks like a different player than a year ago.

Danny Ainge fit puzzle pieces – Steve Bulpett says that Danny Ainge had a better offseason than perhaps even he could’ve hoped for.

Drawing a line for Rajon Rondo – Mark Murphy says that Rajon Rondo can’t shy away from going to the free throw line.

It’s not easy seeing green – In the last year of his contract, and with a work stoppage looming, Glen Davis is trying not to let the situation distract him, the Globe notebook reports.

Make it a Garden party – Stephen Harris says that the Bruins must be a tough home team.

Answering with an attitude – Mike Colageo has the Bruins answering questions that critics had prior to the season.

Five (very) early Bruins observations – James Murphy notes a few things he’s seen about this team.

Bruins Shoot for Fourth Straight Win As TD Garden Opens for 2010-11 Season – Doug Flynn previews the home opener tonight.

Wood have, should have? Yankees reliever thought Red Sox would get him – Alex Speier has the Yankees reliever explaining that he thought he’d end up in Boston this season.

Bruins Look Good in Washington, Prep For Home Opener

The Bruins looked good last night, posting a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals.  The two teams will face off again on Thursday night in the Bruins home opener at TD Garden.

Bruins send a message with 3-1 win over Caps – Joe Haggerty has the highlights of the victory.

Bruins head home winners – Steve Conroy has the Bruins showing why there is such optimism for this team.

Milan Lucic Posts Second Career Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Bruins Win Over Capitals – Don’t know what a Gordie Howe Hat Trick is? Douglas Flynn explains.

Tuukka has to play sometime – D.J. Bean says that despite Tim Thomas’ early success this season, Tuukka Rask needs to get back between the pipes.

Wait isn’t weighing on Paille this time – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has Daniel Paille not upset at being a healthy scratch again.

The NFL’s controversy regarding helmet-to-helmet hits continues to be a hot topic everywhere. Yesterday, the league fined Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, $50,000 for his hits on Baltimore tight end Todd Heap. Interesting, Meriweather, who has been the national poster boy for this outrage, did not receive the highest fine handed out by the NFL yesterday. Steelers linebacker James Harrison was hit with a $75,000 for his hit on Cleveland Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi, and Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson also got whacked $50,000 for a hit on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. The topic is even the subject of a Globe Editorial.

It’s the right thing to do – Rich Levine says that the league acted properly.

From seventh-round pick to starting defensive lineman –– it didn’t take long for Patriots’ Brandon Deaderick – Brian MacPherson has a look at the Alabama product, who played under Belichick crony Nick Saban.

Devin McCourty’s Rutgers teammate paralyzed – Karen Guregian has the Patriots rookie talking about his college teammate Eric LeGrand.

Pats’ Ingram stays calm in eye of the storm – Glen Farley chats with Patriots longsnapper Jake Ingram.

O’Brien calls Moss disagreement normal – Monique Walker’s notebook has the Patriots QB coach and offensive playcaller talking about his time with Randy Moss.

Fenway Park upgrade enters final phase – Mike Fine looks at the winter plans for renovation at the old ballyard.

Latest Fenway fix comes up short – Michael Silverman think it would be a huge mistake to expand the bullpens.

Did John Lackey cost the Red Sox a shot at Cliff Lee? – Alex Speier looks at whether signing Lackey will prevent the Red Sox from pursuing Cliff Lee.

Celtics’ inside looking out – Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics will have a much-improved post game this season.

Wafer on thin ice with Celtics – Scott Souza has the guard coming on strong as of late, but still in danger of not making this team.

Jermaine O’Neal limping out of gate – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics battling a number of injuries.

Rivers throat biopsy negative – Frank Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics coach relieved after a health scare.

Dennis and Callahan To Be Simulcast on NESN

NESN and WEEI announced this morning that beginning on November 16th, The Dennis and Callahan program will be simulcast on NESN from 6:00 to 9:00 am weekdays. The show will also be available to NESN National subscribers across the country.

NESN will install four remotely controlled HD cameras in WEEI’s studio in Brighton, MA and fiber the feeds back to the NESN HD Television Center in Watertown, MA where NESN will direct the four feeds and add graphics. In addition to the live simulcast every weekday morning, NESN will also replay The Dennis and Callahan Showin primetime on NESN National. A one-hour “Best of Dennis & Callahan” is also planned for late night. The partnership also includes regular appearances by WEEI personalities on NESN’s Red Sox pre-game shows and other sports programs.

First reaction? Ugh.

Second reaction? How will Jason Wolfe attempt to use the TV numbers in his radio ratings numbers?

They insist it won’t, but I’ll be curious to see if the move means that D&C will be forced to tone down their hate act a bit. When it comes to politics, we already know that prominent members of Red Sox management are at the opposite end of the spectrum politically with D&C, how much will they be willing to tolerate on their own station? Or will the 9:00-10:00 hour now become the political hour for D&C?

I’m also interested in this move from the standpoint of WEEI’s relationship with Comcast SportsNet. Those two have sort of always been allies in many ways, now, with WEEI alligning itself so strongly with NESN, does that have a trickle-down effect on the other talent at the station?

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It’s unfortunate that a big Patriots win on Sunday is being overshadowed by the possible suspension on Brandon Meriweather for his hit on Todd Heap. Is it only in New England that fans and media are calling for their own player to be suspended?

Meriweather deserves suspension for vicious hit on Heap – Glen Farley’s column this morning is a perfect example of the above.

Belichick on top of his game – (registration may be required) Jonathan Comey says that Sunday’s win might be one of the crowning moments of Belichick’s career.

Quirky nickel scheme key to Patriots defense’s success – Ian Rapoport looks at the 1-5-5 defense that was so successful on Sunday.

Bowl of Belichicken soup – Gerry Callahan has the Patriots once again thriving under Belichick.

A single stop told story – Dave D’Onofrio looks at a big play that spoke volumes on Sunday.

Banta-Cain loses job to Cunningham – Rich Garven has the rookie from Florida making his third straight start on Sunday over the veteran who got the contract extension in the offseason.

The new Patriots’ passing game: Shorte routes, with more congestion – Tom E Curran says that Tom Brady will need to become more a point guard in the new offense.

Ravens, you’re not as good everyone thought you were – Bill Burt gets his column from today published in the Baltimore Sun. It doesn’t go over well. I love that the first commenter says that the column is sour grapes from the playoff loss. As Tom Brady pointed out, the Ravens have beaten the Patriots once in nine years.

Praise for Mesko still hanging in air – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook covers a number of topics.

Report Cards from Sunday are out. Check the grades from Jeremy Gottlieb | Kirk Minihane | Ron Borges.

To Celtics, Frank the perfect fit – Julian Benbow has a look at the newest Celtics assistant. Steve Bulpett also has a good piece on Frank.

No sixth sense for Shaq – Peter May says Shaq doesn’t want to compare himself to Bill Walton in ’86, he just wants another championship.

Job-sharing works for Rask – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins goalie okay with sharing time with Tim Thomas.

Boston Bruins defense will be put to test by Washington Capitals – Mike Loftus notes the tough test the Bruins will face in their home opener.

McAdam at the ALCS: Lee solidifying his place in history – Sean McAdam looks at another historically great performance from Cliff Lee.

Top Games In Bruins 2010/11 Schedule

The Bruins have started one of the most-anticipated seasons in recent memory, and already there are some interesting ticket trends emerging.

This chart shows the top games in terms of ticket price and demand for this season:

The March 29th game against the Stanley Cup  champion Chicago Blackhawks is the top game on the schedule, along with an April 9th game against the Senators and a January 15th  matchup with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Boston Sports Ticket Watch Bruins page gives you all you need to find the best deal on Bruins tickets. Check out the page for this Thursday’s matchup with the Washington Capitals.

There are some great new features on the TiqIQ interface, there is now an “all-in price” feature, which gives the buyer the ability to hover over the ticket price and see a total cost of their desired transaction.  The hovering detail shows the base price as well as any fees charged by the vendor that go along with the purchase. 

There is also now an e-ticket filter that, if selected, will only show the e-ticket option – this helps if you’re hoping to get the tickets immediately, via email.

Patriots Go The Distance In Beating Baltimore

The young Patriots defense appeared to grow up right before our eyes yesterday, looking shaky early on, but playing their best in the fourth quarter and overtime, beating the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 at Gillette Stadium yesterday afternoon.

Deion Branch starred in his return to Foxborough, with 98 yards and touchdown. The Patriots offense looked different yesterday, without the deep throws to Moss, and the short and mid-range routes.

I will give Michael Felgercredit for his persistence on the Moss/Branch dynamic. When Branch and the Patriots were having the contract issues, Felger insisted that Branch was a guy because of his skills, and his chemistry with Brady that you pay even if you need to give him a little more than you want to.  His stance on Moss may have been influenced by the receiver’s spurning of his beloved Packers, but I think he was on to something about what having a guy like Moss on your team means – you have to try and use his incredible skills, which at timesmay have taken away from the effectiveness of the offense as a whole. I loved seeing Moss here, and watching him play, I’m not goign to knock him at all, I didn’t want to see him leave, but I’ll be interested to see how the offense evolves the rest of the season.

(By the way, check out this interview with Felger on Patsfans.com – Sunday Morning Conversation With Michael Felger)

A Patriots home game always generates dozens of links, so I’ll try and weed through the chaff for you here this morning:

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Against Ravens, Patriots were tough enough – Christopher Price notes that this win had all the earmarks of one from a vintage era.

Branch Part Of The Patriots’ Family Tree – Jeff Jacobs has Branch very happy to be back with his “family.” Karen Guregian has more on the Branch/Brady reunion.

Patriots’ play calling gets creative in Moss’ absence – Brian MacPherson examines how the Patriots offense looked different yesterday.

Nice old-time feel to this one – Bob Ryan says that  it wasn’t so much the What as the How in this win.

Patriots’ defense grows into job – I like Mike Reiss’ line about how the Patriots defense has been carved up this season by “an aggressive media corps,” but that they delivered yesterday. Ron Borges has a similar piece about the young defense.

Belichick apparently still has his fastball – Bill Burt says that perhaps the game hasn’t passed the Patriots coach by just yet after all.

Wilfork inspires youthful defense  – Rich Garven has the defensive captain leading his squad on and off the field.

Patriots prove they’re not last year’s team – Tom E Curran has the Patriots turning the page on 2009.

Memo to league-Pats can contend – Dave D’Onofrio says that this was a statement from the Patriots.

Patriots find answer in Danny Woodhead – Dan Ventura has Woodhead again coming up big.

Not merely footnote in win – Monique Walker’s notebook has Gostkowski and Mesko both playing big roles yesterday.

I caught some of NESN Daily last night, to check out some more Patriots highlights/analysis and caught their segment with David Givens and Max Lane. Givens is pretty good, and it was interesting to hear him talk about both Branch and Brady, as he was close with both. Lane isn’t quite ready for prime-time, he’s pretty soft-spoken, and didn’t add a ton to the discussion.

Patriots Interested In Improvement, Not Revenge

Revenge makes for a good storyline. While it would be foolish to deny that the Patriots would indeed like some payback for last January’s debacle at Gillette Stadium, its safe to say that the team is more interested in getting better than they are in revenge.

While some in the media will certainly play up the revenge factor, you won’t find much of that in these top links from today:

Numbers don’t lie when it comes to Pats’ offense, Ravens’ defense – Robert Lee looks at the challenges that both teams will face on Sunday.

Matt Hasselbeck predicts big things for Branch – Ian Rapoport has the Seattle QB saying that the Patriots will know how to best use Deion Branch.

Patriots hope to avoid Raven runover – Jennifer Toland says that stopping Ray Rice will be a priority for the Patriots.

Pees ready to match wits with Belichick, Patriots – Christopher Price has the former Patriots defensive coordinator gearing up to face his old team for the first time.

Sunday school on tap for Patriots and Ravens – On his medication today, Ron Borges explains that this game will say a lot about each of these teams.

Too much confusion to make sense of Moss trade – Putting the Randy Moss saga to rest, Jim Donaldson tries to figure out what really happened last week.

Pace picking up for Tate – Mark Farinella has the second year receiver being thrust into a larger role.

Branch restructures deal – Michael Vega’s Patriots notebook reports on Branch re-doing his contract.

Around The League – Week Five – Jeremy Gottlieb on Patriots Daily looks back at the week that was in the NFL.

No other way to spin this one – Chad Finn goes after Deadspin.com for their handling of the Brett Favre texting scandal.

Media Roundup: A Rolling Moss Gathers … Nevermind – My SB Nation Boston media column looks at the Moss trade, Delonte West’s diary on ESPN Boston, and Tommy Heinsohn’s new slogan for the NBA.

Sharks radio voice Eric Lindquist a big fan in booth – Bill Doyle has Worcester Sharks radio voice Eric Lindquist admitting that he is a homer in his broadcasts.

Bruins looking for the right defensive combos – Joe Haggery has the Bruins trying to find the right pairings for the defensive end.

Horton looking like a sure shot – Fluto Shinzawa has the new winger looking good early on.

NBA is taking heart, soul out of the game – Mike Fine has the league going too far in their latest crusade to cut down on griping by the players.

Allen cracks jokes; Harangody gets up to speed – A. Sherrod Blakely has a few Celtics notes.

NESN Launches Bruins Coverage With Special Tonight

Yes, the Bruins regular season schedule has already started when they traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic for two games against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, October 9th and Sunday, October 10th.

Now that the team is back from Prague, and ready to take on the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday night, NESN will deliver live and exclusive high definition (HD) coverage of up to 72 Boston Bruins games during the 2010/11 season, the network’s 26th season covering Bruins hockey. 

Joel Feld, NESN’s executive vice president of programming and executive producer sees that there is interest in the Bruins and top draft pick Tyler Seguin citing the fact that  “over 25,000 Bruins fans showed up at TD Garden in September to get an early glimpse of Tyler Seguin and the Bruins rookies.” The network’s coverage will attempt to take advantage of that interest, starting with tonight’s season preview with Andy Brickley.

Here is an overview of what NESN has planned this season for Bruins coverage.

The Broadcast Team

Jack Edwards (play-by-play) and Andy Brickley (color analyst) return for their sixth season together in the NESN broadcast booth. They will be joined by reporter Naoko Funayama who enters her third season with the network. Kathryn Tappen will once again lead NESN’s studio team as host of WB Mason Bruins Face-Off Live, NESN’s intermission coverage and Bruins Overtime Live presented by Ace Ticket. She will once again be joined by former Bruins favorites Mike Milbury, Barry Pederson, and Gord Kluzak.

The Bricks: 2010/11 Bruins Season Preview

Andy Brickley will set the stage for the regular season on Thursday, October 14 at 7:00 PM with The Bricks: 2010/11 Bruins Season Preview; a half-hour special that will look ahead to the coming season and introduce Bruins fans to the team’s exciting off-season additions. Brickley will also make his pre-season predictions about the Bruins and the rest of the league and look back at the team’s season opening trip to Prague.

The Big Bad Bruins Show with Kathryn Tappen

NESN will launch a new weekly show called The Big Bad Bruins Showon Saturday, October 23 at 6:00 PM. Hosted by Kathryn Tappen, the Original NESN Entertainment production will feature in-depth one-on-one conversations with Bruins players, a regular segment with Bruins President Cam Neely, and weekly reports from reporter Naoko Funayama.

The Instigators with Mike Milbury

The Instigatorswith Mike Milbury will return for its third season on Thursday, October 28 at 10:30 PM. Milbury holds back nothing when sharing his opinions on the hottest issues and latest controversies in the NHL. Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley will once again mix it up with Milbury on a regular basis along with other special guest commentators including another episode this winter featuring former Bruins coach and hockey icon Don Cherry.

NESN.com

NESN’s in-depth coverage of the Bruins also extends online with NESN.com’s Bruins beat writer Doug Flynn providing daily Bruins news and analysis along with a live blog during every game. Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Kathryn Tappen and Naoko Funayama will also contribute regularly over the course of the season. NESN.com offers the network’s best Bruins highlights and interviews in addition to interactive fan forums, polls, photo galleries, quizzes and Top 10 Bruins prospect lists.

NESN National

NESN’s Bruins coverage also extends to fans outside New England who subscribe to a sports package that includes NESN National, the network’s national television service. NESN’s pre and post-game shows, Bruins in 2 replays, Bruins Classic games, The Bricks, The Big Bad Bruins Show and The Instigators are all available to NESN National subscribers throughout the season. NESN’s Bruins game broadcasts can also be enjoyed outside New England by purchasing the NHL Center Ice package.