Just another day at Foxboro yesterday, as Adam Vinatieri became the franchise’s all time leading scorer, Ty Law returned to New England as a member of the opposition for the first time, Ted Johnson was honored at halftime by the Patriots, Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk returned to the lineup from injury, and oh yeah, there was a football game as well.
The Patriots improved to 7-5 on the season with a 16-3 win over the hapless New York Jets at Gillette Stadium yesterday. Jerome Solomon says that maybe the return of the cold and snow was just the jolt the Patriots needed. Or perhaps it was the opponent. John Tomase says this would’ve been an impressive win had the Jets not been such as awful team. Tom E Curran notes that the return of a few key players on offense helped to restore the Patriots mojo. Alan Greenberg says there is nothing like a bad team to make a mediocre team look good. Albert Breer says it wasn’t so much the score, or the opponent, but the style of the win yesterday that was encouraging. Long drives, and controlling the tempo were the order of the day. Michael Parente agrees that changes to the defensive game plan encouraged the Patriots players to be more aggressive. Christopher Price lists out his 10 things that we learned from yesterday.
Michael Felger says yesterday’s game plan on defense was more about attack, which is how it is going to have to be if they are to have any chance in the postseason. Yesterday needs to just be the start of a transformation for the Patriots. Ron Borges says that yesterday’s win was certainly needed and an improvement over the recent past. He says that the team is still alive and getting well, which is about as much as we can put hope in at this time. Jim McCabe looks at the shift in philosophy to a more aggressive defense and how it got the job done for the Patriots, who realize it was just one game and they need to keep improving. Shalise Manza Young notes that the attacking style led to the best game of the year statistically for the New England defense. Ian M Clark says that a win over a beaten team like the Jets is still a win. A much needed win as well.
Jim Donaldson looks at “the best ever with the game on the line”, kicker Adam Vinatieri, who etched his name in the Patriots record books yesterday. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Vinatieri breaking Gino Cappelletti’s Patriots career scoring record and assesses his place in Boston sports history. Dan Ventura has more on Vinatieri becoming the franchise’s all time leading scorer. Tim Weisberg says that Vinatieri is certainly the one deserving of breaking this record.
Nick Cafardo has Ty Law reflecting on his career and this tough season with the Jets, only the third losing season that Law has endured in his career. Rich Thompson looks at Law keeping his emotions in check in his first game against his old coach and teammates. The Herald says that the Patriots chose not to fight Law yesterday, going away from him much of the time. Paul Kenyon says that it was hardly a happy homecoming for the former Patriots great. Dan Pires says Ty Law is one of a kind, both on and off the field.
Young looks at Ted Johnson being feted at halftime of yesterday’s game in recognition for his tenacious style of play during his career. Tomase has a very brief report on Johnson being honored by the club at halftime. Reiss has a little bit more on the retired linebacker turned commentator getting recognized for his playing career which ended just before training camp. Mike Parente has more on Johnson being honored by the club.
Karen Guregian looks at Tom Brady predictably bouncing back after his bad game in Kansas City last weekend. Amalie Benjamin pursues the same angle, examining Brady atoning for his performance of a week ago, and how that ate at him during the week. Paul Kenyon says Brady played conservative and smart yesterday, which was the key to coming back from his bad outing last week. Mike Reiss says that controlling the clock and the ball was the goal of the day on offense for the Patriots. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at the return of Corey Dillon and how the return of the running game impacts the offense. Greenberg looks at Kevin Faulk also returning for the Patriots and having an immediate impact on the offense as well.
Ventura looks at a big day from Rosevelt Colvin, who had an impact sack and another with a fumble taken away by a penalty on Richard Seymour. The linebacker was a disruptive force all afternoon for the Patriots. Breer looks at the Patriots managing to hold an opposing QB under 300 passing yards for the first time in well…a long time. Curran provides his game analysis, with a look at both sides of the ball plus coaching and special teams. Curran pinpoints a third quarter pass play to Deion Branch as the Key play of the game in the Patriots victory. The Standard-Times dishes out a report card for the Patriots yesterday, with all A’s save for one B. Felger has Richard Seymour expressing disappointment in the docile crowd at Gillette yesterday and in general.
Tomase’s notebook looks at Kevin Faulk playing a key role in his first game in 10 weeks. Solomon’s notebook looks at rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs holding his own against Laveranues Coles all afternoon, both in play and words. The Projo Talking Points article has a number of notes, quotes and stats from yesterday afternoon at Gillette. The Standard-Times notebook leads with a look at the Pats honoring Johnson at halftime. Parente’s notebook has more on Vinatieri moving to the top of the Patriots record books.
Celtics Also Topple New York
Earlier in the afternoon, the Celtics squeaked out a win over the Knicks, 102-99 in Madison Square Garden. It was another stressful game down the stretch as Doc Rivers continues to attempt to get his young team to learn how to close out games. Shira Springer has the game story, noting that the Celtics had all they could handle just to hold on and win this one against Larry Brown’s club. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics had the advantage of playing the Knicks, one of the few NBA teams more inconsistent than the Celtics themselves. Bob Ryan was also at the game yesterday, and he lends his experienced eye to the proceedings on the court, where the Celtics managed to pull out their first road victory of the season. The BSMW Full Court Press also looks at yesterday’s game.
Tim Weisberg looks at the impact that Kendrick Perkins is having on the Celtics since being inserted into the starting lineup. Bulpett looks at Dan Dickau becoming the Celtics closer, being brought into the end of close games simply to get fouled and shoot free throws, where he is now 13 for 13 on the season. Springer’s notebook has Paul Pierce pining for another chance with team USA. Bulpett’s notebook looks at another strong game for Delonte West yesterday as the second year point guard had 17 points before fouling out yesterday.
Patriots/Jets and Celtics/Knicks are well covered in the New York papers today as well. Check them out at the New York Sports Page.
Nancy Marrapese Burrell and Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins two game winning streak coming to an end in Vancouver last night as the Canucks skated to a 5-2 win. The Boston Bruins Blog Power Play has some more leftover thoughts on the Thornton trade. Mick Colageo also has a good look at the current state of the Bruins as the dust continues to settle on the deal, and we can look and compare it with other blockbuster deals. Burrell’s notebook looks at Sergei Samsonov being sent back to Boston for tests after experiencing tingling in his fingers and arms yesterday. Harris’ notebook has more on this story as well as a budding goaltender controversy.
Hot Stove Heating Up
The baseball winter meetings open up today in Dallas, and the Red Sox will be a center of attention in the baseball world as they explore deals for Manny Ramirez and David Wells. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox will be looking to do other things this week as well, and has a look at the areas of need for the team. Sean McAdam also looks at the possibilities out there, focusing mainly on deals that could be done involving Ramirez. Paul Doyle also looks at Manny’s options. Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox will be entertaining all offers for their slugging outfielder. Chris Snow has the Red Sox shooting down a story that appeared in the Herald yesterday that said that Johnny Damon and his wife were present for a meeting between Scott Boras and Larry Lucchino. Joe Fitzgerald (subscription only) looks at Johnny Pesky calling off his annual Johnny Pesky Friendship Dinner, a tradition of more than 50 years, citing the need for a break after losing his wife last year.
ABC has Seahawks/Eagles at 9:00.