After the New England Patriots put yesterday’s game out of reach scoring TDs on their first three possessions, didn’t you sympathize for all those die-hard fans in rainy Oakland Coliseum? Me neither.
In fact, nothing stirred me more than the still quiet of the Black Hole, interrupted by raindrops echoing off chainmail vests and the light breeze whistling through choke collar spikes. They came to avenge a properly-called tuck, but were instead served notice that there’s a class difference between these two teams that all the black and gold lacquer in the world can’t mask.
Karen Guregian has the Patriots completing the sweep in this two-game West Coast swing with their 49-26 victory. Christopher L. Gasper says this win against the NFL’s clown franchise counts like any other, and they’re all important down the stretch. And, while everything around them was ugly, Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots coming up beautifully in Oakland.
Gregory Lee Jr. has the Raiders as the perfect cure for New England’s inconsistent ground game, which piled up 277 yards yesterday. Eric Gilmore has Sammy Morris leading the way with 117 yards, setting his single season career-best in the process. Art Spander has the buzzards from New England picking at the carcus of the self-proclaimed Team of the Decades. Despite the win, Michael Felger feels the frustrations of having to rely on an unreliable NFL for playoff assistance. Chris Warner counts the Bills’ and 49ers’ performances as part of the bad in an otherwise good day.
Mike Reiss has Randy Moss playing large in his old stomping ground, moving into the NFL’s top ten all-time in receiving yards among his other accomplishments. Manza Young also has Wes Welker establishing himself in the history books with six catches yesterday. Rich Garven has Welker’s milestone performance exasperating Raiders fans. Guregian’s Patriots Notebook has Welker and Belichick both celebrating century accomplishments. In his Patriots Notebook, Gasper reminds us of another Patriot who felt vindicated with a win in Oakland. John Tomase says it was quite the payback for both Moss and Lamont Jordan. Brian MacPherson makes an interesting positional comparison of some no-name Patriots against their big-name counterparts.
Dan Shaughnessy is moved by the gutsy performance of Matt Cassel, who threw for 218 yards and 4 TDs only days after the passing of his father. Ron Borges has Cassel’s cell phone eerily quiet in the locker room after yesterday’s win. Jim Donaldson says Cassel’s big performance earned him even more respect as he did his part in keeping his team’s postseason hopes alive. For Garven, Cassel’s first game without his dad was one of his finest.
The Herald tops its Player of the Game award with Cassel. Chris Price puts teammates’ admiration for Cassel high on his 10 Things We Learned segment. Yes, I know they’re unranked, but I’m reading between the lines here. Statistics and a reverence for Raiders fans strongly influenced Borges’ Best & Worst. Ellis Hobbs makes the Herald’s Play of the Game.
Michael Silverman suggests the Red Sox are preparing an 8-year offer for Mark Teixeira that will be a record for this ownership group. And even though Boston writers have seemingly discounted the Empire’s ticket in the Teixeira sweepstakes, George King warns us otherwise. When it comes to the Bronx, you have to keep your head on a swivel around here.
The Patriots weren’t the only ones working in the rain yesterday. Pat Bigold has the account of Hideki Okajima’s Honolulu Marathon. The AP is now reporting Daisuke Matsuzaka has been named to Japan’s WBC team, where he made his mark in 2006. Steve Buckley states his case for Jim Rice’s place in the Hall of Fame.
Mike Loftus has our beloved Bruins taking care of business.
This came out yesterday, but offseasons like those of the Mets and Yankees remind Nick Cafardo of another team – the 2007 Detriot Tigers. You would think the Tigers’ last-place finish last year would alarm our Met and Yankee rivals, but they’re too wrapped up in what the Bosox will be wearing.
George King now reveals why it took more than three weeks and a Cashman vs. Cashman bidding war to entice a reluctant C.C. Sabathia to go to the Bronx.
We’ve got the Celtics and their 14-game winning streak on tap for tonight. Mike Fine has a nice piece on Jerry Sloan, the Utah Jazz head coach and model of consistency.
That’s all for now, but we’ll keep our eyes on Hot Stove developments during the day. Also, be sure to check in on Patriots Daily for the latest post-game coverage. Bruce will be back at it tomorrow. Until then, thanks as always for penciling BSMW in as your lead-off hitter.