Things weren’t looking so good for the Patriots yesterday, their playoff hopes tottered as they trailed the lowly Seattle Seahawks for most of the afternoon. Old friend Deion Branch had burned them for a pair of touchdowns, having one of his most productive games since being traded from New England. Injuries continued to mount up, as Vince Wilfork and Tedy Bruschi left the game, unable to return.
Somehow, the Patriots found a way to claw back and take the lead with just under 3 minutes to go. Then, right after the two minute warning, Brandon Meriweather came on a safety blitz and separated Seattle QB Seneca Wallace from the football, and Richard Seymour recovered, to save the game, and possibly the season for New England.
Mark Farinella says that this is how it must’ve been in the final days of the dinosaurs. I think Mark’s trying to be a little too clever. Christopher L. Gasper has this as one of those games that define a team. Karen Guregian has the Patriots not quite ready to give up the chase just yet. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Mike Reiss has old battleaxes Junior Seau and Rosevelt Colvin playing a much bigger role than expected yesterday. Michael Felger examines the keys to a gutsy win for the Patriots. John Tomase has the Patriots doing their part for the economy by creating plenty of jobs on defense. Rich Garven has the Patriots somehow staying in the hunt.
Dan Shaughnessy prefers this year’s exciting AFC East to last year’s series of boring blowouts. Bill Burt says that like Santa, Bill Belichick does his best work in December. Ron Borges has the Patriots teaching the Seahawks a lesson in perseverance. Garven has Brandon Meriweather coming up with the big play on defense to seal the game for the Patriots.
Gregory Lee Jr. has Wes Welker coming up with another big game. Sean McAdam says there was no keeping Welker down yesterday. Farinella has more on Welker’s big afternoon against the Seahawks. Jim Donaldson also writes about Welker.
Hector Longo says that the Patriots could run the table and still finish out of the playoffs.
Branch was a holdout from training camp in New England in 2005, wanting the Patriots to tear up the final year of his original contract and give him a new deal. They didn’t. He wound up playing and leading the team in receptions, with 78, for 998 yards and 5 TDs.
But when he became a free agent in 2006, he signed with the Seahawks, who gave him a five-year contract worth $39 million.
This is just embarassing for someone who is supposed to be plugged into the Patriots. Does he not remember the trade to Seattle for the first round pick (which turned out to be Brandon Meriweather, who clinched the win for the Patriots with his sack of Wallace yesterday) after the “tampering” situation with the Jets? It was a pretty big deal at the time.
Gasper’s notebook has Stephen Gostkowski’s foot coming up big yesterday, but his hands needing some improvement. Farinella’s notebook has Lofa Tatupu talking about his former USC teammate, Matt Cassel. Guregian’s notebook says that it was just like old times for Seau and Colvin. Young’s notebook has more on the return of the veteran duo.
The Celtics improved to 20-2 on the season, matching the best start in franchise history. Frank Dell’Apa has the details of the 122-117 OT win in Indiana for Boston. Steve Bulpett has a big night from Ray Allen leading the way for the Celtics.
Michael Silverman looks at whether the Red Sox will gamble in Vegas. Dan Lamothe looks at the stalled free agent period thus far. Alex Speier looks at the night that the catching market changed for the Red Sox. Silverman also has Jason Varitek rejecting arbitration. Nick Cafardo says Varitek will be receptive to offers from other teams. Joe McDonald has more on the Varitek situation.
Jon Couture has the Junichi Tazawa signing highlighting US/Japanese relations.
Joe Haggerty has Marc Savard as Boston’s best kept secret. Mike Loftus has the Bruins looking to extend their Garden winning streak. Kevin Paul Dupont has Manny Fernandez not interested in stats. Stephen Harris has the Bruins growth even impressing their own management.