The Patriots 31-20 loss to Jacksonville tops this week’s Monday Replay, and for good reason as the only thing in doubt for much of the game was what the final score would be. It’s been a long time since a Patriots team has looked so lost in a game, and the Jaguars took advantage of every opening they could find to put the game away before the first quarter even ended.
It was amazing how badly the defense played allowing big gain after big gain, and on the few occasions where they stopped Jacksonville on first and second down the defense just couldn’t get off the field as the Jaguars converted on almost every third and long they had in the contest.
The offense wasn’t much better. I am not a fan of Josh McDaniels, and while it would be easy to blame the offensive issues on him it really appears like the entire game plan for the team was a total failure. Their halftime adjustments worked for a little bit until Jacksonville made adjustments of their own, and that was that.
The team was out played and out-coached, and that almost always leads to being outscored. And they were.
Over at Fenway the Boston Red Sox have officially clinched a playoff berth, presuming one considers qualifying as the road team in the one game Wild Card play-in contest as being in the playoffs, which I really don’t.
With their magic number down to two it’s just a matter of time before the Red Sox clinch the American League East Division so that will take care of any “the Wild Card play-in game isn’t really the playoffs” talk anyway. Oddly, the Red Sox have clinched home field in the World Series for themselves before winning their division. That’s the first time that’s ever happened in MLB, although that doesn’t mean much as the current system of awarding home field to the team with the best overall record only goes back to last season.
One bit of Red Sox news was humorous last week, with sports talk radio going absolutely bonkers that Chris Sale wasn’t allowed to start the second inning of his rehab stint, questioning why manager Alex Cora would do that and then wondering how could Sale possibly be ready for the playoffs after starting his comeback from injury with just one shaky inning.
As one would expect, it was all about nothing. On WEEI the next day Cora said Sale knew right away what he was doing wrong and communicated the issue very well to the staff. The decision to send Sale to the bullpen to complete his 40 pitches was agreed to by everyone involved so Brandon Workman could start a clean inning.
Cora also said that there is a plan in place to get Sale back up to normal and he expects Sale to be ready to go deep into games once the playoffs start. Cora indicated that because there will be a long layoff between Sale’s last schedule start and the beginning of the playoffs for Boston that Sale would likely work a simulated game during that break.
As if more proof was needed, Sale pitched three innings Sunday against the New York Mets, allowing just one hit and striking out one.
There was some potentially scary news Sunday when Mookie Betts left the game with “left side soreness”, but it’s apparently not serious and it’s expected Betts will DH in Tuesday’s game at the New York Yankees.
The Boston Bruins have begin their training camp and preseason schedule, which includes a couple of split-squad games in China against the Calgary Flames. The Bruins won the first of the two contests Saturday morning 4-3 in a shootout. Ryan Donato had a goal and an assist in the game. Trent Frederic and John More were the other goal scorers for Boston while Peter Cehlarik added two assists. Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk scored in the shootout for the Bruins.
Jaroslav Halak had the win, making 40 saves on 43 shots. Tuukka Rask made a brief appearance while Halak had an equipment issue, and stopped all thee shots he faced.
The half of the squad that’s still in North America played Sunday in Washington against the Capitals, and won 2-1 in a shootout. Jakub Lauko had the regulation goal for the Bruins and goaltender Zane McIntyre had 21 saves and was a perfect three for three in the shootout. Danton Heinen had the shootout game winner for Boston.
In PawSox/WooSox news, the fact there’s going to be a parade and fireworks in downtown Worcester just hours after this is posted should give anyone that hadn’t heard the news that the move of the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester is official as the City Council voted 9-1 to approve the agreement between the club and the city. Longtime City Councilor Konstantina Lukes was the lone dissenting vote.
It usually hard to get worked up over field goal kickers, but two with connections to the city had big ones on Saturday in college football.
First it was Derek Ng, the kicker for Holy Cross, nailing a 45-yard attempt to give his Crusaders a 31-28 upset win over the Yale Bulldogs. Ng has made both of his field goal attempts this season and is eight for eight in extra point attempts.
Then later last night LSU kicker Cole Tracy, who transferred to the SEC school from Assumption College this summer, stunned the Auburn Tigers with a 42-yard field as time expired to give LSU the 22-21 win. Tracy is eight for eight in field goals this season and also eight for eight in extra points.
The Worcester Blades announced their CWHL schedule this week. Their home games, all at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, are:
Sat, Oct 20 vs Toronto, 3:00pm
Sun, Oct 21 vs Toronto, 2:10pm
Sat, Oct 27 vs Calgary, 6:00pm
Sun, Oct 28 vs Calgary, 12:30pm
Sat, Nov 17 vs Montreal, 3:30pm
Sun, Nov 18 vs Montreal, 12:30pm
Sat, Jan 5 vs Shenzhen, 1:30pm
Sun, Jan 6 vs Shenzhen, 2:00pm
Wed, Jan 9 vs Shenzhen, 7:30pm
Sat, Feb 2 vs Markham, 8:00pm
Sun, Feb 3 vs Markham, 12:30pm
Sat, Feb 16 vs Montreal, 8:40pm
Sun, Feb 17 vs Montreal, 12:30pm
In important news for Worcester hockey fans there are no conflicting games with the Worcester Railers, and on October 20th and November 17th and 18th fans can take in both games on the same day with the Blades facing off in the mid-afternoon and the Railers playing in the evening.
Not much happening with the Railers right now as the team gets read to to open its second training camp. As of a few days ago all NHL training camps are open, and as soon as players start to be assigned to the minors the AHL camps start. Training camp for the Railers begins on Monday, October 1st. On Friday, October 5th the Railers will hold a blue vs gray intrasquad game, and on Saturday they’ll head to Exeter, New Hampshire to take on the Maine Mariners.
In some off the ice news, Adam Webster moves out of the public address booth and goes back to the arena host/emcee role he played for the Worcester Sharks. That role was one of the obvious shortcomings of the Railers gameday experience last season and with Webster being great at it the change will turn out to be a good one.
MISSED THIS LAST WEEK
Technically I didn’t miss it, rain is the reason why there was no mention of the PGA’s BMW Championships last Monday. With the tournament extended an extra day I didn’t get to say that one of my previous insights proved true. A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Tiger is no longer feared by the other pros, and that he could no longer count on the player in front of him on the scoreboard folding under the pressure of seeing his name up there and would have to earn it himself.
Woods tied for sixth with a 17 under score of 263. It was the seventh time in his PGA career that Woods shot 263 or better, but was the first time it wasn’t good enough to win the tournament. Despite shooting 65 in the final round Tiger was only able to gain on two of the six players that finished tied or ahead of him, Xander Schauffele and Tiger Woods. Even those he did pass still shot better than par.
It’s not all bad news for Tiger, his top-10 finish at the BMW guaranteed him a spot in the 2019 US Open.
In other golf news, Tony Finau was indeed Freddie Couples’ final Captain’s Pick for the upcoming Ryder Cup. Entering into this weekend’s Tour Championship Finau has fifteen consecutive rounds in the 60s, by far the best active streak in the PGA.
SOMETHING ONLY I CARE ABOUT
Moving away from the sports world for a moment, I watched a great BBC mini-series this weekend called The City & The City. It’s an adaptation of China Miéville’s book and if you get an opportunity to watch it I highly recommend it. It’s a murder mystery with a science-fiction world building twist, and was very well done.
It’s four one-hour episodes, and I’m not certain if it’s available on any of the streaming services. But file it away in the back of your mind in case you stumble into an opportunity to watch it.
HAVE SOME LINKS
From The Washington Post:
In wake of Serena Williams episode at U.S. Open, tennis requires a hard look within
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Red Sox at NY Yankees, NESN, 1pm
Bruins at Washington, no TV, 7pm (preseason)
Bruins vs Calgary (in Beijing, China), NBCSN, 7:30am (preseason)
Red Sox at NY Yankees, NESN,7pm
Red Sox at NY Yankees, NESN, 7pm
Red Sox at Cleveland, NESN, 7pm
Bruins at Detroit, no TV, 7pm (preseason)
Red Sox at Cleveland, NESN, 7pm
Revolution at Toronto FC, NBCSB, 7:30pm
Red Sox at Cleveland, ESPN, 7pm
Patriots @ Detroit, NBC, 8:20pm
All times EDT
On Sunday the NFL announced that their NFL Foundation was donating $1M to Hurricane Florence relief efforts, with the money going to “organizations that will address the immediate needs of those impacted throughout the Carolinas and other areas.”
Last season each of the NFL’s 32 teams took in $255 million in just national revenues, which totals $8.16 billion.
Far be it for me to say an organization donating any money to relief efforts should dig deeper into their pockets, but you can do the math here.
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