Patriots Suffer Worst Win of Brady/Belichick Era, Sox Get Their Man

The Patriots did manage to win the football game yesterday, though it surely won’t seem like it for much of this week, as once again they couldn’t hold onto a fourth quarter lead, and instead appeared to hand the game to the New York Jets when Devin McCourty fumbled a kickoff return with two minutes remaining. The Patriots managed to rally, getting a game-tying field goal from Stephen Gostkowski as time expired in regulation, and a game winning field goal in overtime (do those count as “clutch” kicks, or not?) and the defense made a big play in overtime to seal the game for the Patriots.

This team has some prominent flaws, and at times you scratch your head at the play calling (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t anticipate pining for the days of Bill O’Brien – and that’s no knock on O’Brien.) and execution, but in the end they got the win, an important division win, and that’s the most important thing at this point.

Don’t Let the W Fool You – Bill Barnwell disagrees, saying that if you’re a Patriots fan, you are required to panic right now. Thanks, I’ll hold off on that.

Win over Jets exposes flaw Pats will need to overcome – Tom E Curran says that what the Jets were able to do yesterday should be of concern.

Patriots defense still a concern – Even the steady Mike Reiss can hardly contain his fret over the Patriots defensive woes.

Late execution is killing them – On the other side of the ball, Greg A Bedard says that the four-minute offense needs to improve for the Patriots.

Clutch beats good every time – If you’re looking for a positive, Bill Burt notes that while the Patriots weren’t very good yesterday, they were clutch, and clutch is what wins Super Bowls.

What we learned Sunday: A win is a win, but questions remain – Christopher Price looks beyond the easy takeaways at a few deeper points we can glean from this game.

Thankfully, this is a Red Sox town. (or so I’m told repeatedly.) Instead of hearing endlessly about the Patriots fatal flaws, we’ll hear about the Red Sox new manager, and the rebuilding project Ben Cherington faces this offseason. Right?

Late Saturday night, news broke that the Red Sox and Blue Jays had come to an agreement to allow John Farrell to come to Boston to manage the Red Sox.

While some seem to be down on this move, (Nick Cafardo is heartbroken) I’ve got no problem with it all. If you want any shot of unity in the clubhouse, you need to have it between the manager and front office. Farrell is a smart guy who was worked in both the front office and on the field, and from all accounts commands respect.

I don’t think the Red Sox are going to turn around immediately. Right now this is a team and organization stripped of talent. Their biggest advantage is money, and while there aren’t the type of franchise free agents out there this offseason that can make a team – and haven’t we seen that might not be the way to go anyway – the franchise has the ability to make moves by taking on salary in trades.

Ben Cherington’s neck is on the line – Gordon Edes says that now that Farrell is in the fold, the GM has to deliver.

Pitching Farrell: New manager’s most pressing task is obvious – Alex Speier looks at job #1 for John Farrell as he takes over the Red Sox.

Jays GM no fan of Red Sox games – Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos isn’t happy with the leaks to the media that he feels the Red Sox put out there to gain an advantage in the Farrell talks.

The Celtics wrapped up their preseason schedule, and now prepare to face Ray Allen (who seemingly won’t stop talking about how the Celtics disrespected and evicted him) and the Heat next week in the season opener.

Sizing up the C’s at the end of the preseason – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at where the Celtics stand.

Meet the new and improved Jeff Green – Paul Flanney looks at the impressive preseason by the Celtics forward.

  • latetodinner

    On the John Farrell trade. I am on record already as being against this move. I find it hard to believe Farrell is Cherrington’s guy especially after he interviewed Wallach, Pena and Azmus. I did not see him as successful in Toronto and there is a long, long litany of unsuccessful pitching turned manager experiments over the history of MLB. Add in Farrell’s arrogance and bully persona and I don’t see how anyone could think this is a good move.

    Having said that, until they go out and play games I will try and give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s just say the expectation bar is not set high. What does concern me more is the idea that the Sox are bereft of talent and that this will take a few years to fix. They spent $180 mill last year. If they decide to go young this year, first step in that direction was trading Aviles for Farrell which should mean Inglesias next year as the starting SS, and they decide not to spend money because they do not see value in the market while ending up at $130 mill…then they better lower ticket prices otherwise they will have empty seats. Boston fans will pay top dollar for tickets to a contender…I will be shocked if they do it for rebuilding.

    • Rack Him

      You’re on record? Splendid. I’m sure people are keeping track of that. Do you keep a compendium somewhere that we can use for reference?

      Is it possible that Cherington (one r) interviewed other candidates (including someone named “Azmus”) in case the deal with Toronto couldn’t be worked out?

      Examples of Farrell’s arrogance?

      Thank you for trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure that will make all the difference.

      • whitey b

        In the words of my ex good friend Kevin Weeks, “tee hee.”

  • latetodinner

    On the Patriots performance. A win is a win is a win. I am happy they won and don’t really care too much about style points. However there is a trend that is driving me nuts. The Jets had a 3 minute advantage in Time of Possession…even with the OT included. It was closer to 5 minutes without the OT. Look at the 3 losses and this game…the gave up leads of 10 points with less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter in each of the games. The knee jerk reaction is to look at the defense and say “they are not getting it done down the stretch”. However I think the defense has been great this year. I think the problem is the Offense has done nothing to defend them. This uptempo finese style of play is putting way too much pressure on the defense. Slow the game down, ground out first downs. Let the defense rest. They are doing the same things that rove me nuts when McDaniels was here last time. The only difference is Randy Moss covered up a lot of those issues by being awesome.

    The threw 8 balls to Brandon LLoyd and he caught 1. Each of those passes killed momentum and all but 1 were catchable balls. I am not knocking Lloyd…they are asking him to play downfield and outside the numbers which takes time. It is high risk/reward. What I am knocking is the stubborn refusal to slow down, move the chains, shorten the game and protect the defense.

  • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

    It’s a no win situation (as far as media coverage and SOME fan reaction) I’m well aware that AT THE MOMENT the Pats have some issues. What bugs me is that a lot of these people act like THIS IS IT. Nothing can change. Have they not been watching this team for the past 12 years?….in 2005 they were horrible against the run for a large part of the year, but by the end they were pretty good at it. In 2006 the Pats had NO RECEIVERS, Brady was upset,remember his BODY LANGUAGE?…yet they made it to AFC Championship game (and put up 34 points in it)

    Like I said, it’s a no win situation because you can’t predict the future. Every Gasbag that says the Pats are toast cause of their pass D can just point to the recent games and act like “experts”. Going by that it’s hard to argue with them. However it’s week 7, there is a good chance this isn’t the “finished product”. They got outta Dodge with the victory, on to the Rams. ….The Gasbags can go on another week ranting about DB’s SUCK don’t TURN THEIR HEADS, Brady is WASHED up talk, without me.

    • bsmfan

      If I had to put my finger on this, it seems like many in the local media do the “First Take” (show on ESPN) thing and analyze an overall game, looking for iota of trends, and then cherry pick facts from those who can analyze it from the technical part to make their points. Sound familiar? it’s the Skip Bayless $2 special.

      However, I don’t think you could just write technical stuff like Greg Bedard/Reiss/etc do and have it sell. The majority want the trends/overall story/eye test because they would just gaze over the technical stuff (which Bedard/Reiss do very well at translating to a broad audience).

      The “experts” who you are supposed to trust do have valid points, no? I though Bedard summed it up best with this:

      ‏@GregABedard Moved from ‘it will happen at some pt,’ to ‘show me’ RT @mleagle88: You’ve been saying “they’ll be fine” for weeks now. Changing your mind?

      I think it’s reasonable to say that they need to start showing everyone something before they don’t get the weekly “washed up” and “they’re toast” pieces in the media.

      Thankfully, the AFC is a completely mediocre division. Three teams, including us, with winning records and it looks like you’ll have two 8-8 teams as wildcards. The one upside to the win: could you imagine if we missed the last-second fieldgoal or lost in OT? ESPN would be leading with it for the entire week, making it look like a former President or someone beloved died.

      • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

        yep, I agree Bsmfan… The screamers just irk me with their. “DEFINITIVE STATEMENTS” like they KNOW, the Pats are toast…same people will just backtrack or suffer “memory loss” if pass defense improves. It’s not like we haven’t seen them do it before.

        • bsmfan

          So far, Bedard/Reiss have been the only folks approaching this rationally. We all agree there are problems but either glossing over or turning these into something on the scale of a team like the Browns.. another thing

        • fred

          clueless in new england

        • fred

          clueless i new england

      • tl;138

        The AFC is a division? Then why is it called a Conference?

        • bsmfan

          Fixed. Thanks for the heads up if this isn’t too long for you to read.

  • bsmfan

    Along with Bedard, best review/coverage so far: @MikeReiss Timely, detailed, educational, check out 1st-half film review http://es.pn/PMfbLl & 2nd-half review http://es.pn/Tb2l8v by @FieldYates

    Speaking of Bill O’Brien… it was big news that everyone covered when they lost their first 2 (Ohio, being the shocker, who is still undefeated). Now? 5-2. They’ve won five straight and are even -2.5 favorites this weekend over Thee school that Albert Breer reminds you about constantly (7-0). I know some in the media here want to ship anyone who speaks positive about PSU to Gitmo, but he’s knocked off 5 in a row and now in the 3-4 names for Coach of the Year. Mentions locally? 0. Like most, I didn’t know much about who he was until that famous blow-up at FedEX Field last year but you have to wonder about if we are missing something.

  • guntfather

    If this pussy fanbase and media would accept that this is a decent team with some flaws, you might actually enjoy it. 2007, 2003, and 2004 aren’t coming back. They are not easy to replicate even if you have Brady and Belichick. You win 10 or 11 games play a home game and see what happens.
    More and more this is a matchup league and if Brady has a hot streak in the playoffs you might be able to win a title again. Stop acting like you are entitled to winning by 30 points a week and see what happens. This is a good not great team that has a chance to win like most other normal franchises.

  • sjc6224

    I have tuned out most of the coverage but know from watching the game how bad it would be despite winning the game. 2003-2004 and 2007 are not coming back, but this team is as well positioned as anyone else in the AFC. Baltimore has fallen apart and as good as Houston looked yesterday, they looked just as bad against Green Bay last week. The Pats will either get better or they won’t but it is important to realize it is a young team with exactly 2 players (excluding the kicker) from 2004 and 2007.

    What gets me though is the lack of perspective compared to the rest of the NFL. The Giants yesterday did all they could to lose. They got a turnover late from the Redskins and the next play, Eli threw a pick. They let a rookie QB march down the field and let an old receiver in Santana Moss get behind the defense for a late touchdown. Eli bailed them out with a bomb to Victor Cruz (no one in the NFL, not just the Pats, can cover people late in games). Are they get roasted in NY and around the NFL media like the Pats? No.

    For all of Nance’s histrionics about how the Pats held late leads in every game they have lost the last two years, he ignores the central fact that they lead in every single game. What other team does that consistently from week to week? None.

    Eli Manning gets such praise for all his 4th quarter comebacks, as well he should, but seems to get no bashing for the fact the Giants are regularly behind. Imagine what the coverage would be like if the Pats no showed a game like the Giants did against the Eagles and Cowboys this year.

  • bsmfan

    Did you forget the NBA starts soon? Never too early for some “David Stern” sucks media coverage is there? If you haven’t followed, the NBA is now dictating who ESPN hires for its coverage:

    http://www.awfulannouncing.com/2012-articles/october/jeff-van-gundy-speaks-out-about-nba-blocking-stan-van-gundy-s-espn-move.html

    Love for the day when someone besides Woj investigates all of this stuff.

    Also, kudos to Sean McAdams on the lead with the Farrell hire. I was surprised the front office didn’t leak this to ‘EEI/NESN/etc. Even ESPN gave him credit on the hire (rare for them. Usually just “sources” then they have a Buster Olney or someone else “confirm” it so they can bury the original source).

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andy Dursin

    I turned off the coverage last night when Buckley said “this team is what it is.” Obviously he’s developing dementia since nearly every one of these pundits forgot LAST SEASON when the team improved over the months of November and December from where they were in October. This current team is good — it could BECOME very good — but let’s see where the chips fall. Writing them off as “this is what they are” like Buckley, Borges, etc. consistently do completely fails to take into account the big picture of Belichick’s teams improving and developing as the season progresses.

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