Best and Worst: Patriots vs. Dolphins


Best and Worst: Patriots vs. Dolphins


Oh, Devin McCourty. Miami's first series on the game wasn't really going anywhere until McCourty got burned on third-and-9. Brian Hartline burned the Patriots defensive back by making him bite on an out-and-up along the sideline. The gain? 39 yards. The obvious issue? It was not unlike a third-and-8 play McCourty got schooled on last week in Denver. Things aren't getting better.


Matt Light, who's been a stalwart at left tackle this season, came up lame in pregame. That meant the Patriots had to shuffle. Logan Mankins started at left tackle instead of left guard and Donald Thomas started at left guard.


On the Patriots first offensive series, a miscommunication on the left between Mankins and running back Danny Woodhead resulted in a sack on third-and-8.


Mankins began hobbling. Then Nate Solder, summoned from his right tackle spot to play left tackle, yielded a sack to Jason Taylor. Meanwhile, Marcus Cannon had entered the game at right tackle. And Tom Brady had started the game 2 of 9.


The Patriots were slapped with TWO defensive pass interference penalties on one drive. Devin McCourty was whistled for the first, after he put his hands on Brian Hartline. Two things to note: the down was third-and-12 and Hartline would have had to use a jetpack to catch the pass. (Another) stupid play by McCourty. The second was on linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who manhandled Matt Moore on a running back throwback play. Another blatant penalty on an uncatchable ball. ANOTHER stupid play. (US Presswire)


Rob Gronkowski set a new franchise record on Saturday. His first 43 receiving yards put him at 1,184 for the season, and pushed him past Ben Coates (1,174) for single-season yardage amassed by a tight end. Impressive! Did you forget Miami was winning 17-0 at the time? No? I tried.


Hope the Dolphins keep taking themselves out of it. Matt Moore's decision to throw deep left to Will Yeatman (Will Yeatman!) on second-and-8 was dumb. New England's secondary didn't even have to worry about making a play on the ball because the throw was off. Immediately after that, Moore fumbled at the line of scrimmage and Vince Wilfork recovered for the Patriots. Presents!


If a team could be collectively bipolar, your New England Patriots could have gotten an affirmative diagnosis Saturday afternoon. After entering the half down 17-0 the Pats returned 17 unanswered. Brady and Welker started connecting after starting just 5-for-12, the running game picked up some yards, and the defense played defense. Bill Belichick surely had words during the break -- none suitable for print.


Remember how we started out with McCourty looking awful? And then the second half began and things got all backwards and inside out for the Patriots -- in a good way? Throw McCourty back in there, too. He got his hands on his first interception of the season on a first-and-10 bomb hurled by Matt Moore. The relief he felt to finally pick off a pass -- after having 7 in his 2010 Pro Bowl season -- was evident in his heated celebration.

Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft


Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, upset over the six-game suspension of his star running back Ezekiel Elliott, has been fighting against a contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

How hard has he been fighting? Enough to reportedly insult Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the process. 

ESPN reports that on a conference call in August with Goodell and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash when Jones was informed of Elliott’s suspension for domestic violence incidents, Jones told the commissioner, “I’m going to come after you with everything I have.” He then invoked Kraft’s response to Deflategate and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

“If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—-y compared to what I’m going to do,” Jones told Goodell, according to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham.

Elliott, like Brady, abandoned his court fight this week and will serve his suspension. Kraft, of course, produced the Wells Report in context website, but grudgingly accepted the NFL’s penalty in the Deflategate case. Jones has threatened to sue the NFL if Goodell’s contract extension is approved.   


Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

BOSTON – The words of Stephen Curry following the Celtics’ 92-88 win over his Golden State Warriors had an off-handed, end-of-the-night throwaway feel to them, a statement that would soon be forgotten after the Warriors reel off what should be a long string of victories going forward.
“They’re playing the best right now in the East,” Curry said of the Celtics, who now have a 3-2 edge in their past five meetings following Thursday night’s thriller. “And obviously until they beat Cleveland, who's done it three years in a row … so we’ll see.”


We already have, folks.
The Celtics and the Warriors are both quick to remind us all that we are only a month into the season and that there’s still lots of basketball to be played.
But the big takeaway from Thursday was that the Celtics’ ascension to the top of the NBA mountain is a matter of when, not if, it’ll happen.
Because what we’re seeing now is a team that is very much a work in progress, yet one that still manages to win games on a lot of nights that they have no business winning.
Think about it.
They shot 32.9 percent against the Warriors, the best team in the NBA, and still managed to get the win. According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, it was only the second time in the past 35 years that the Celtics shot less than 33 percent from the field and still managed to win.
That speaks to how well Boston defended the Warriors, who came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game.
But more than that, it shows this team has a will to win that’s almost unheard of for a group whose pieces are so relatively new to one another.
Of the 14 Celtics with guaranteed contracts on the roster, all but four are in their first season in Boston.
But even with the new guys coming together quicker than anticipated, Boston should not all of a sudden be considered the favorites in the NBA.
Even with the victory, Boston still has some ground to make up if they are to be on the same level as Golden State, a franchise that has been to the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons and has emerged a champion twice.
“It takes a lot of basketball to get there,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “They have a good, young, hungry team. You have to give them credit. They have a better record than us, so you can say they’re better now.”
And while Thompson didn’t place an emphasis on it, the last word in his comments, “now,” is why Thursday’s victory leaves the Celtics cautiously optimistic.
Because as we’ve seen time and time, regular-season success does not always travel well beyond that and into the playoffs.
Still, Thursday’s win provides something for Boston beyond hope and optimism.
They now have results to go with the work they’ve put in to be a better team and compete with the league’s best.
And they’ve done it under less-than-ideal circumstances.
Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury less than five minutes into the season and he’s expected to be lost for the rest of the season. Al Horford missed two games while recovering from a concussion while Kyrie Irving missed a game after suffering a facial fracture.
So in other words, the Big Three that Boston was set on unleashing to the rest of the world has logged less than five minutes together all season.
And yet there are the Celtics (14-2), tops in the NBA while riding a historic 14-game winning streak, and there's reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, these two will be the last teams standing when all is said and done and some of those customary throwaway lines uttered by Curry might have some value after all if these two wind up meeting in the NBA Finals.

“I hear the weather is great here in June,” Curry said.