It’s Monday again so we’ll take another look as the sports happenings over the past seven days, and like last week it’s a New England Patriots loss that leads us off.
In almost a carbon copy of last week’s defeat the Patriots looked totally clueless again in their 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. They couldn’t do anything on offense. They couldn’t do anything on defense. The reason they only lost by 16 is because the Lions are terrible, which says all you need to know about how poorly the patriots are playing right now.
One bright spot was linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley picking up his first pro interception early in the second half which eventually led to a Tom Brady to James White touchdown pass.
If you were looking for any sort of positive you could point to special teams, where kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen had good games.
But of that’s all you got you’ve essentially got nothing.
While I’m generally a fan of Bill Belichick it’s hard to call his handling of the media inquiries into the signing of Josh Gordon anything but arrogant. Now he’s very consistent about not talking about transactions until they’ve “hit the wire” even if the Patriots have already announced them, so I have no problems with him taking the same tactic in this case.
But as soon as it hits the NFL transaction wire the deal is official, so it’s more than a tad disingenuous when he continued to refuse to answer questions saying, “I’m not going to talk about players that are not actually on our roster, totally…There are terms that have to be met before the trade is finalized.”
Sorry Bill, but when the NFL announces a transaction, that transaction is finalized because they don’t report the transaction until both sides indicate the deal has been finalized.
In some non-Patriots NFL news, on Sunday Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for his third “roughing the passer” penalty in as many weeks when he tackled Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. You can view his hit right here on the off chance you missed it.
Now I’ve been watching football for a long time, and I know that the NFL goes out of its way to protect quarterbacks, but this is getting out of hand now. All Matthews did was tackle the guy with the ball. He didn’t slam Smith down, didn’t make any move to intentionally hurt him, all he did was wrap up the ball carrier and tackle him.
Perhaps the most telling thing about this hit is Redskins fans are mostly saying it’s a terrible call. When the benefactors of a penalty are saying it’s a bad call, then that’s all that really needs to be said about it.
The Boston Bruins have broken up training camp and have started farming out their prospects to Providence. While no one should really take much out of the early preseason games the team has play both groups, the ones that went to China to take on Calgary and the ones who stated stateside, looked pretty good in their games.
There was one bit of shocking news early last week when it was announced that Patrice Bergeron had not started skating yet after having off-season surgery to correct a groin issue from last season. Because it was thought he wouldn’t need the surgery it wasn’t performed right after the 2017-18 campaign ended, putting Bergeron behind in the recovery process.
Officially Bergeron didn’t take part in camp because of back spasms, which many speculate occurred during the rehab process for the groin injury. It has been reported that when Bergeron fully recovers from the back spasms he will be able to participate in practice without limitations.
Then on Friday Bergeron was seen skating prior to the Bruins practice, with those in attendance saying he was skating hard and looked fine. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said he expects Bergeron to be ready for opening night October 3rd at Washington even if Bergeron doesn’t play in a preseason game.
In some other hockey news, the NHL’s “Wheel of Justice” appears to be as broken as ever.
Earlier this week the NHL suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi for the rest of preseason for sucker punching Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during the third period of their preseason game on Wednesday night. On the ice Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty for the incident.
To make matters worse, Ekblad has a history of concussions and had to leave the game to go through the concussion protocol. Luckily for Ekblad he was cleared to play after the game.
If the NHL is serious about removing such incidents from the game one has to question how Domi wasn’t suspended from any regular season games. By suspending him for preseason games Domi loses no salary. So essentially the NHL just gave Domi the rest of the preseason off.
The PGA season is officially over, and while Justin Rose won the Fed-Ex Cup most of the talk was about the return to the winner’s circle for Tiger Woods with his taking the Tour Championship Sunday. It was Wood’s 80th PGA Tour win, putting him just two behind the legendary Sam Snead for most all-time. It’s Tiger’s first win since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, or as others have figured out, in one thousand, eight hundred and seventy-six days.
There are reports that Woods, who was ranked world number 1,199 less than a year ago, will end the season ranked 13th.
What’s more amazing is Woods was about six inches away from winning the Fed-Ex Cup. He needed about a half dozen things to happen for him to win it, and every single one was in his column except for Rose finishing sixth in the Tour Championship.
As it took place on the course Rose needed a birdie on the 18th hole to win the Fed-Ex Cup, and after playing an incredibly sloppy 17 holes Rose hit the drive of his life down the center of the fairway, only to amazingly hit it too far as it rolled into the rough and sank down into a partially filled divot. Rose’s next shot hit the front face of a greenside bunker and somehow bounced forward onto the green. If it had hit just inches lower he would have needed an up-and-down to win the Fed-Ex Cup, no easy task from where he would have ended up for his third shot.
It’s a good bet the TV ratings for the Tour Championship, which was on NBC, will be through the roof. Anytime Tiger is in contention TV rating soar, and judging by my social media feeds there were many, many people watching. Except for small blips when Matthews was penalized (see above) and when Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt the majority of sports tweets I saw were about Tiger.
It makes next week’s Ryder Cup all the more interesting if Tiger is playing well and Rose and Rory McIlroy, who shot 4-over 74 on Sunday paired with Woods, are playing poorly. It’s a pretty safe bet there will be lots of stuff on the Ryder Cup in next week’s posting.
Nothing much new in the Worcester pro hockey world as both the Railers and Blades had slow news weeks as they inch toward their respective training camps.
At the New York Islanders training camp Jeff Kubiak, who played for the Railers last season under a contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, got into a preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers. I didn’t see a lot of the game but I did notice Kubiak, wearing #67, had two great shifts early on. The box score has Kubiak at (-1) with a blocked shot and four hits in 11:42 of ice time.
The Blades announced a few signings prior to their training camp opening with Nicole Anderson, Jessica Convery, Rebecca Flemming, Jennifer MacAskill, Alexis Crossley Miller, Meghan Turner, and Lauren Williams all now added to the roster.
HAVE SOME LINKS
From The Toronto Star:
Meet the NHL goalie who turned game-day retirement into an art form
From Golf Digest:
For Valentino Dixon, a wrong righted
From The New Yorker:
The Deliberate Awfulness of Social Media
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Bruins at Philadelphia, No TV, 7pm (Preseason)
Red Sox vs Baltimore, NESN, 7pm
Red Sox vs Baltimore, NESN, 7pm
Bruins vs Detroit, NESN, 7pm
Red Sox vs Baltimore, NESN, 7pm
Red Sox vs NY Yankees, NESN, 7pm
Red Sox vs NY Yankees, FOX, 1pm
Bruins vs Philadelphia, NESN, 5pm
Revolution at Toronto FC, NBCSB, 7:30pm
Patriots vs Dolphins, CBS, 1pm
Red Sox vs NY Yankees, NESN, 3pm
While I’m a huge fan of many of the reporters who work for the Worcester Telegram I’m really starting to lose my patience with the people who run the newspaper.
I know no one can replace Bill Ballou, but with the Red Sox in the midst of a franchise record breaking season it seems like a smart move to have someone continue Ballou’s Sunday Red Sox column in the paper. Granted Ballou was great at it and anyone taking over will look like, well, me, but that shouldn’t stop the people running the show on Front Street from at least having something put together.
Hell, the Telegram uses stuff from the Providence Journal, another Gatehouse Media property, all the time. They should get together with the ProJo and come up with something.
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