Patriots Survive Wild Sunday In NFL

It was just one of those Sundays in the NFL where crazy things were happening all over the league. The Raiders put up 59 points on the Broncos, The Ravens, after talking about how things were going to be rough on the Bills, needed a Buffalo fumble in OT to get a home win, Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt put up 225 receiving yards and three touchdowns, the Steelers beat the Dolphins on a controversial play in the end zone.

The Patriots game against the chargers was no exception. After jumping out to a 20-3 lead after three quarters, but needed to hold on to win 23-20 when Kris Brown of the Chargers missed a 5o-yard field goal attempt for the tie.  To get to that point, we had another 4th down decision by Bill Belichick, which is already being made the focus of the game by some in the media, and the Chargers – they of the horrible special teams needed to surprise the Patriots with an onsides kick in the fourth quarter.

Some will be quick to dismiss this win, others will look at Baltimore’s struggles with Buffalo and try to dismiss last weeks win as well. In my mind though, the 2009 Patriots lose both these games. The 2010 Patriots found a way to win them.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Different year, different players, different mentality – Christopher Price leads us off today by noting how the players are striving to separate themselves from the 2009 Patriots.

Pats’ gamble pays off — sort of – While Mike Felger was critical of Bill Belchick’s decision to go for it on fourth down late in the game, Mike Reiss says the choice was the right one. Tom E Curran says that the play just shows that Belichick is fearless.

These Patriots are lucky and good – Chris Gasper says that while the Patriots were very lucky yesterday, good teams make their own luck.

Take it and run – Mike Felger lays out where the Patriots failed, but calls this a very good win.

‘D’ comes through – Dave D’Onofrio dubs the Patriots unit the “New Name Defense.” Karen Guregian also has a look at the defense. The Patriots’ offense? Different story.

Toughness, smarts save the Patriots – Ron Borges says that the Patriots didn’t need to dominate this game they just needed to survive – which they did.

Patriots played to the whistle, and Chargers did not – Jim Donaldson notes the difference between the teams yesterday.

Meriweather plays it safe – Monique Walker’s notebook has the Patriots safety hitting hard, but legally.

Pierce: Most pain gone, some lingers – Jackie MacMullan talks to Paul Pierce, who is recovered physically from last season, but the sting of game seven still hurts.

The moment that changed Jermaine O’Neal’s life – Paul Flannery with a look at an important moment in the Celtics center’s life.

18 Questions on the Drive to 18: Part 1 – Rich Levine with part one of his Celtics preview.

Learning to deal without Perkins – A. Sherrod Blakely has a look at a big issue the Celtics will need to deal with.

In O’Neal, West finds key corner man – Julian Benbow has the Celtics notebook. No mention of the Delonte West-Von Wafer dustup.

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Opening Night Leads The Way In Celtics Ticket Demand

As you might expect, Tuesday night’s season opener against the Miami Heat is the most in-demand game of the Celtics season, with Miami’s visit on 2/13 and the Lakers arrival on 2/10 close behind.

Right now tickets for opening night are at Patriots-level, fetching an average of almost $300 per ticket.

We’ve also got a new Celtics ticket buying page, which can be accessed by clicking on the image above or by visiting BSMW Tickets.

Time For Some Friday Megalinks

I haven’t given you a full set of Friday megalinks since October 1, so it’s time to do some now. Let’s get to them.

The Weekend Viewing Picks has your sports and primetime viewing.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate what can be done to improve baseball’s ratings.

Fanhouse says Jenn Sterger appears to be ready to talk with NFL Security about Brett Favre.

Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter says the FCC is urging Cablevision and Fox to talk in good faith on Monday.

John Eggerton from Broadcasting & Cable says the FCC is calling both Cablevision and Fox on the carpet.

Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News looks at how Time Warner Cable customers can legally watch Monday Night Football and other ESPN programming online.

Mike Farrell of Multichannel says Fox is telling Cablevision subscribers to buy an HD antenna so they can watch network programming.

Kelly Ridell of Bloomberg says the Cablevision/Fox dispute is heading into its second weekend with no apparent end in sight.

Noah Davis at SportsNewser says ESPN Boston will webcast the Head of the Charles event this weekend.

Wayne Friedman at MediaPost explores the story that won’t go away, Timeoutgate, from the Monday Night Football game in Jacksonville.

SportsbyBrooks looks at Jay “The Rat” Mariotti deleting his Twitter account. Good riddance, Jay.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media notes that TSN has picked up 24 Montreal Canadiens games.

The Sports Media Watch notes that former NBA star Chris Mullin has apparently joined ESPN’s roster of analysts.

SMW says NLCS Game 5 received its highest ratings in three years.

Joe Favorito says a former New York Giant understands the value of a publicity stunt.

Emmett Jones of Sports Business Digest says NBC is asking in excess of $400,000 per 30 second spot for Sunday Night Football, up significantly from last year.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe profiles Celtics TV duo Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn who have worked together for 30 years starting with two seasons calling Providence College basketball.

Thomas Grillo of the Boston Herald says a Tweet from the New England Patriots helped to prevent a blackout of the team’s game in San Diego this weekend.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has TNT’s Reggie Miller singing the praises of the Boston Celtics.

Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir from the New York Times says former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks is seeing his former team’s success as an outsider.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with polarizing New York Yankees voice John Sterling.

Neil has his weekend viewing picks.

Bob Raissman at the New York Daily News feels YES’ and ESPN Radio New York’s Michael Kay has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

As expected, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post takes his newspaper owner’s side in the Cablevision/Fox dispute. News Corp. owns both the Post and Fox.

Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union says NBA fans will overdose on seeing the Miami Heat this season.

In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that DC sports icons got to tape new “This is SportsCenter” ads.

Andrew Beaujon at the DC-centric TBD.com notes that co-author of the new ESPN book, Tom Shales is leaving the WaPo after 39 years as its television critic.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with NFL RedZone host and former Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic anchor Scott Hanson.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Heat have terminated their agreement with their flagship radio station and are now looking for a new home.

The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn finds a way to jab Newsday’s Neil Best. A couple of years ago, Horn and Best had a friendly war of words in their respective blogs.

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron talks with NBC’s Rodney Harrison about his statements about hard hits in the NFL.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks about the Dan Patrick Show premiering on Fox Sports Detroit on Monday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley notes that the Big Ten Network will profile a Wisconsin defensive end tomorrow.

And Bob says Joe Namath on his Sirius XM show likes Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers.

Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune writes that ESPN has postponed the airing of a 30 for 30 documentary on the infamous Steve Bartman.

Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports that Jenn Sterger won’t talk to the NFL if Brett Favre pays her off. Thanks to Robert Littal of Black Sports Online for the link.

Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says ESPN’s College Gameday loves being at the University of Missouri.

Dan says the Missouri Attorney General has weighed in on the Dish Network/Fox Cable Networks flap.

West

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune has CBS’ Phil Simms previewing this Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers game.

John Maffei of the North County Times gets Jim Nantz’s favorite San Diego sports moments.

Tom Hoffarth in the Los Angeles Daily News writes that even without a home team, LA still loves watching the NFL.

Tom has his extensive media news and notes.

I’m going to end it there. Have a good weekend.

Patriots Overtime Victory Over Ravens Sets CBS Ratings Mark

The Patriots 23-20 overtime victory over the Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 17 helped CBS set the mark for the highest rating for its single-game window since it acquired the current AFC package in 2008. 

The window, which included the Patriots-Ravens, Dolphins-Packers, Jets-Broncos, and Browns-Steelers matchups, averaged a 12.8 HH rating and 21.5 million viewers nationwide, making it the most-watched Sunday CBS single-game window since CBS resumed NFL coverage in 1998. The window broke the old record set week 16 of the 2008 season during a game for first place between the Steelers and Titans, which had a 12.3 HH rating and 20.0 million viewers.

Locally, the game had a 29.84 rating with a 61 share. The game peaked with a 38.25 rating during overtime.

With 734,000 households watching the game locally, the Patriots-Ravens game more than doubled the 338,400 households that watched Dancing with the Stars, the second most watched program of the week in the Boston TV market. Dancing with Stars had a rating of 13.8 and a 20 share on Monday, October 11. Patriots 5th Quarter, which followed the New England game on WBZ, placed third with a 13.7 rating and a 27 share on Sunday.

The Patriots-Ravens game was the second most-watched game in the Boston TV market of the year, behind CBS’s doubleheader weekend on Sept. 19 that featured the Patriots and the Jets as the 4:15 game. That game was the most watched September CBS game ever and the third most watched game during the NFL season with 27 million viewers nationwide.

Bruins Sharp In Home Opener

The Bruins rocked the TD Garden in their home opner, beating the Washington Capitals 4-1, aided by another top-notch performance in goal from Tim Thomas.

It’s early, but the town is excited about the Bruins.

A real crowd-pleaser – Bob Ryan says that the atmosphere at the Garden last night was absolutely festive.

Tim Thomas backs Bruins by Capitals – Stephen Harris says that this game was a message.

Bruins’ Tim Thomas back in the zone – Joe McDonald has the Bruins goaltender feeling great.

The Hat Trick: Tim Thomas, power play shine, while fourth line’s a charm – DJ Bean has three thoughts on the win.

Thomas, Rask pull ‘trickeration’ on the media – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins goaltenders doing a little bait-and-switch on the media.

Big things coming from Boychuk already – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the defenseman coming a long way in one year.

On Brandon Meriweather, His Hit And The Reaction Afterward – My SB Nation Boston media column goes into the Brandon Meriweather reaction in more detail, and I’ve got more thoughts on Dennis and Callahan heading to NESN.

Gorman, Heinsohn hold court – Chad Finn has the CSN broadcast duo marking their 30th season as a team.

Miller offers Celtics a nod – Bill Doyle has TNT’s Reggie Miller saying that the Celtics (not the Heat) are the team to beat in the NBA.

Patriots maturing before our eyes – Mike Reiss and Tedy Bruschi break down the Patriots/Chargers game.

Deconstructing Tom Brady – Christopher Price asks eight people — current and former teammates, Hall of Famers, coaches, analysts, former MVPs and other Super Bowl champions — one question: What makes Tom Brady great?

Chung getting it done – Mark Farinella has the second year safety emerging as a standout.

Linebacker Mayo comes into his own – Robert Lee has the third-year linebacker getting some serious praise from Bill Belichick.

Better off Deaderick – Dan Duggan has the seventh round pick emerging as a surprise starter last week.

Patriots- Chargers rivalry loses zest – Ian Rapoport notes that many of the players who attacked the Patriots in the past are no longer with the Chargers. Tom E. Curran runs down the Patriots/Chargers matchups in the Belichick era.

Patriots figure to have some special (teams) opportunities in San Diego – Glen Farley says that the Chargers are already wary of the Patriots special teams.

Two sides to Vollmer’s success story – Michael Vega has the second year tackle equally comfortable on the left or right.

Around The League – Week Six – Jeremy Gottlieb has a look at the big issues in the NFL this week.

The secrets of their success – Paul Flannery looks at why Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have had such success since joining forces.

With Baby, Celtics see changed man – Steve Bulpett has Glen Davis with the best training camp of his career.

And finally:

waving hand furiously! “@mikecwright: Another worthless locker room access session…wonder if there’s a worse locker room in entire NFL.”Thu Oct 21 18:17:21 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Guys, you’re not doing yourselves any favors here.

Meriweather Contrite, Patriots Ready To Move On

Brandon Meriweather continued to be the focus of much of the talk in the local sports media yesterday, and the Patriots safety made a brief statement in front of his locker yesterday, apologizing for the hit and looking forward to moving on and preparing for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

This topic will no doubt continue to be a hot one, and carry on through to Sunday.

We’ve got three got articles on Patriots Daily this morning:

Randy Moss Is Expecting – Dan Snapp has changed his thinking on the Randy Moss trade.

First Impressions – San Diego Chargers – Greg Doyle has a look at the Chargers, including former Boston College defensive lineman Antonio Garay who has come out of nowhere to emerge as a starter for San Diego.

Worry Wart – Game Six At San Diego – Chris Warner always finds things to worry about.

Patriots better with Mayo – Ian Rapoport has Jerod Mayo making a big impact this year after a disappointing 2009.

Patriots focus on Chargers’ defense – Mike Reiss has the Patriots offense preparing to face the Chargers top-ranked defense.

I encourage you to look over Bill Belichick’s press conference from yesterday and contrast the coach’s responses when asked a technical football question, and when asked about something off the field – the Meriweather suspension. When asked about football, the coach is expansive, even loquacious, but when shuts right down when being asked about something not peripheral to the game. Tom E Curranthough, was still mildly frustrated with Belichick after the session.

Shawn Crable running with it – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the third-year linebacker happy to finally get on the field.

Shaq’s promise greater than problems as C’s beat Nets – A. Sherrod Blakely says that last night’s preseason finale was a prime example of the good and bad Shaquille O’Neal can bring to a team.

The Three-Pointer: Making a point – Paul Flannery offers up three points from last night’s game.

Celtics’ Garnett looks ready to go after healthy preseason – Jim Fenton notes that KG looks like a different player than a year ago.

Danny Ainge fit puzzle pieces – Steve Bulpett says that Danny Ainge had a better offseason than perhaps even he could’ve hoped for.

Drawing a line for Rajon Rondo – Mark Murphy says that Rajon Rondo can’t shy away from going to the free throw line.

It’s not easy seeing green – In the last year of his contract, and with a work stoppage looming, Glen Davis is trying not to let the situation distract him, the Globe notebook reports.

Make it a Garden party – Stephen Harris says that the Bruins must be a tough home team.

Answering with an attitude – Mike Colageo has the Bruins answering questions that critics had prior to the season.

Five (very) early Bruins observations – James Murphy notes a few things he’s seen about this team.

Bruins Shoot for Fourth Straight Win As TD Garden Opens for 2010-11 Season – Doug Flynn previews the home opener tonight.

Wood have, should have? Yankees reliever thought Red Sox would get him – Alex Speier has the Yankees reliever explaining that he thought he’d end up in Boston this season.