There was a triple-header on tap for Boston sports fans yesterday, with the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics all in action, one after the other. From noon until midnight, it was a perfect day for Boston fans, as the Patriots and Bruins won, the Colts decided to not go for the undefeated season, and the Celtics looked ready to put away the Clippers (more on that later).
The Patriots looked strong in a 35-7 pasting of the Jacksonville Jaguars that wrapped up the AFC East for New England, and put them back into the playoffs, where they will host a wild card game in two weeks.
Adam Kilgore has the Patriots bouncing back from adversity uncommon in Foxborough to wrap up the division and get back to the postseason. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots using perhaps their most complete game of the season to wrap up the AFC East. Shalise Manza Young says that despite the AFC East title, there wasn’t exactly a celebratory mood permeating the bowels of Gillette Stadium. Tim Whelan Jr. has fun times returning to Gillette yesterday. Glen Farley says that it was business the way it used to be at Gillette yesterday. Jennifer Toland says that All’s Well in New England. At least for now. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots actually looked like a team deserving to be in the playoffs. Jeff Howe has the Patriots wrapping up the East and getting the dirty work out of the way. Tom E. Curran says that these Patriots might have a shot at being pretty good after all. David Pevear says that the season still doesn’t seem like much fun. Tom King has the Patriots reclaiming their throne atop the AFC East with a physical beating of the Jaguars.
Bob Ryan says that success is relative, as 11-5 couldn’t even get the Patriots to the playoffs last season, while 10 wins is enough to win the division this season. Ron Borges says that this team has reached its fullest potential – anything it does after this point should be viewed as a bonus. Bill Burt says that the Patriots were awesome yesterday, resembling the “December Destroyers of Patriots Past.” Jim Donaldson has Randy Moss and the Patriots finding redemption in the big win. Kirk Minihane looks at the reasons why we might be optimistic that the Patriots could be gearing up for another title run. Chris Warner on Patriots Daily has the Gut Check for this one.
Albert R. Breer asserts that it is time now to give the players who need a rest the week off against the Texans next Sunday. Karen Guregian has Tom Brady with a look of contentment rarely seen this season following the division-clinching win. Mike Reiss says that suddenly, the Patriots postseason chances look a lot brighter. Christopher Price jots down the ten things we learned from yesterday’s win, including the fact that Voltron is now fully reconnected. Danny Picard has the Patriots happy to be ruling the AFC East once again. King says that after a rough patch, Everyone’s smiling now for the Patriots.
Brendan Hall has Brandon Meriweather and the secondary making some big plays to spark the Patriots. Dan Ventura has James Sanders again making an impact alongside Meriweather. Andy Vogt looks at a dominant day for the defense. Rich Garven has the division title very satisfying for Leigh Bodden, who came over from the 0-16 Lions. Farinella has the Patriots starting safeties standing tall in this win.
Monique Walker has Wes Welker with 13 more catches yesterday, adding to his own team record for catches in a season. Welker currently sits at 122 catches, despite missing two games early in the season. Dan Duggan has another extraordinary performance just becoming the norm for Welker. Robert Lee has Welker continuing to defy the odds. Forsberg has more on the receptions record set by Welker yesterday. A Gatehouse news story says Welker should get a Gold Glove following his 13-13 performance. Farinella has 13 as a lucky number for Welker.
Steve Buckley has a fan with a Randy Moss mask and afro getting the attention of Moss, and the entire stadium. Gregory Lee Jr. has Moss enjoying himself during and following the win, in which Moss hauled in three TD passes from Tom Brady. Chris Forsberg has Moss winning the fans over with his performance. Tim Weisberg has Moss making amends for his lackluster performance in the Patriots previous home game. Steve Krause has Moss removing his mask of unhappiness following the win.
Dan Duggan has the offense not skipping a beat when Sammy Morris was inserted into the game. Reiss notes that the tight ends were featured prominently in the passing game after being ignored for much of the last few weeks. Brian MacPherson has the offensive line enjoying the renewed emphasis on the running game. Farinella says that the other members of the Patriots stable of running backs were ready to go after Maroney’s fumble. Michael Hurley says that there is reason for excitement after the peformance of the offense yesterday. Picard has Maroney stepping out and Morris taking over following the fumble.
Borges selects the Best and worst from yesterday. Ventura’s Play of the game was the Meriweather interception following a huge hit from James Sanders. In Hector Longo’s Two Minute Drill, he’s glad that Jerod Mayo finally decided to show up for a game this season. Robert Lee’s analysis is that It was all Patriots yesterday. Curran gives us his top five from yesterday.
Walker’s notebook has the backup running backs picking things up after Laurence Maroney dropped the ball on the opening drive. Rapoport’s notebook has the hard work by the defense paying off with big plays in yesterday’s game. Young’s Patriots journal has Fred Taylor getting the better of his old mates. Whelan’s notebook has more on Taylor facing his old team. Farley’s notebook has Maroney dropping the ball once again. Toland’s notebook has Moss getting some vindication yesterday. Weisberg’s notebook has more on Taylor facing the only franchise he had played for prior to this season. Krause’s notebook has Belichick saying that success is all relative. King’s notebook has Taylor returning just in time to face the Jaguars.
Fluto Shinzawa has Tim Thomas and the Bruins starting slow but finishing strong in their 2-1 win over the Panthers yesterday. Joe Haggerty has the Bruins waking up after a sleepy first period. Stephen Harris has the Bruins going to work over the second half of the game to get the win. Matt Kalman has a balanced attack paying dividends for the Bruins. Neil Keefe has Tim Thomas and the Bruins getting the job done. Graig Woodburn says that this was far from a classic for the Bruins.
Shinzawa’s notebook has Derek Morris returning after missing the previous three games. Harris’ notebook has Milan Lucic hoping, though not confident, that he’ll be on the ice for the winter classic at Fenway on Friday.
The Celtics found themselves tied with the Clippers at 90, with 1.5 seconds remaining. Rajon Rondo was at the free throw line for two. He missed both. The Clippers grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 1 second remaining. Despite Mike Gorman’s warnings, the Celtics let Baron Davis get the ball, and he had exactly enough time to nail a turnaround jumper at the buzzer, giving the Clippers a 92-90 win over the Celtics, ruining the perfect day for Boston fans.
Gary Washburn has Rondo getting the better of Davis for much of the night, but Davis getting the last laugh. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics going from ecstasy to agony in a Hollywood minute with Davis’ shot. A. Sherrod Blakely says that this loss is not all on Rondo’s missed free throws, the entire club did not execute down the stretch. Jessica Camerato has a few other things to take away from this one. Chris Forsberg has Doc Rivers lamenting his team’s complete lack of mental focus down the stretch.
Tim Weisberg says that the last 10 years have seen it all from the Celtics.
John Tomase has the Red Sox putting themselves in position to do things their way this offseason. He also says we need to blow up this “bridge talk” in 2010. In the greatest decade of Red Sox baseball, Jon Couture looks back at the 10 worst Red Sox of the last 10 years.
Mark Blaudschun has Boston College looking to build on this football season, and remain one of the better programs in the country. Eric Avidon has BC laying a foundation for the future this season. Steve Conroy says that BC has the pieces in place for an ACC title next year.