Final drive exactly what Belichick looks for in a win


Final drive exactly what Belichick looks for in a win

Bill Belichick said he "had a good feeling" when he woke up on Monday morning as the AFC East Champions. But during his afternoon conference call, the Patriots coach also acknowledged that their 23-16 win over the Miami Dolphins "wasn't perfect."

That would explain why New England's 7:18 fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a field goal was so vitally important.

Stephen Gostkowski's 20-yarder gave the Patriots a 10-point lead with 1:10 left in the game. It capped a 16-play, 77-yard drive that depicted everything Belichick looks for in a win: big plays in crucial times of the game.

"Ultimately, at the end, it comes down to being able to make the plays that you need to make to win the game," said Belichick in Monday's conference call. "And I thought, offensively, that was really a big key for us in this game, was, when the game got to a certain point there in the fourth quarter, we played our best football. We controlled the ball, we drove the length of the field, we were able to go up by two scores. And that really changed the outcome of the game.

"We've been in those situations before where we've thrown up a lot of big numbers and scored some points or whatever, and then get to that point in the game and we go three-and-out. So, it's really about being able to do the things that you need to do to win the game, and I thought that's what we did offensively.

"And on that last drive, that was a great drive, at a critical point in the game," added Belichick. "It's what we needed to do, and we did it. That's what I like to see from my offense, defense, or any part of your team for that matter, is to make the critical plays that you need to make to win the game. That's really what it's all about. Not stats, that's not what winning is about. Winning is about making the plays that you need to make to win the game."

Stevan Ridley did most of the damage in that drive, rushing for 46 of those 77 yards. It's something that sticks out to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"As far as what happened on that drive, not a whole lot in terms of schematics that we changed," he said in a conference call on Monday. "There were maybe a few things that we decided to do a little bit more of on that drive. But all in all, I think it was just execution up front, trying to give the back an opportunity to get started. I thought the backs made some really good runs on that last drive to keep us in positive down-and-distance situations and convert some first downs for us. And I thought that the line and the tight ends did a nice job of getting people covered up, to allow that to happen.

"You're sitting on the sidelines, you know it's a close game, you know it's a tight game. And really, what you're focused on is going out there and playing your best football when you need it the most, at the end. And I thought our guys really stepped up and handled that challenge at that time."

Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'


Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

Kyrie Irving said he hasn't heard from the NBA about a possible fine for his X-rated retort to a fan as he left the court in Philadelphia on Friday night after the Celtics' victory over the 76ers.

"I don't have any regrets for it," Irving told reporters Saturday afternoon at the Celtics practice facility. "I take full responsibility for what I said, excuse the kids at home and you move on."

After a fan taunted Irving by saying, "Hey, Kyrie! Where's LeBron?" Irving responded with a lewd suggestion. Does he regret it? "Hell, no," he said.

The NBA fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for dropping F-bombs at a fan in Memphis for what the league called "directing inappropriate language toward a fan", so expect Irving to be hearing about making a similar payment to the NBA. 


Morning Skate: Two sports writing legends talk Bruins


Morning Skate: Two sports writing legends talk Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while shaking my head that’s going to be close to 80 degrees in late October today in New England. Summer clearly isn’t over around here.

*A couple of Boston sports writing legends shoot the breeze about the Bruins and hockey as Bob Ryan hosts FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Paul Dupont on his podcast.

*Auston Matthews is happy to share his stick-collecting stories as a hockey-loving kid growing up in Arizona that’s now living the dream.

*The Los Angeles Kings are off to the best start in franchise history, which really seems strange given the Cup-winning pedigree that this organization has built up over the last five-plus seasons.

*The NHL has admitted that they completely botched a coach’s challenge for offside that cost the Avalanche a very important goal. This is the Pandora’s Box that you open up once you start making replay a big part of the game.

*Kailer Yamamoto is making a late push to stick around with the Edmonton Oilers for the entire season rather than be returned to junior hockey. Again, it should be mentioned that Yamamoto was Edmonton’s first-round pick this summer while the Finnish defenseman that the Bruins tapped wasn’t even a training camp invite.

*Claude Lemieux enjoys his son’s NHL debut in Winnipeg long after the notorious forward wound up his own event-filled NHL career.

*For something completely different: I think we all enjoyed Patrick Beverley taking Lonzo Ball to school in his first NBA game this week.