No Huddle: Patriots-Rams postgame sound


No Huddle: Patriots-Rams postgame sound

New England's win over the Rams in Old England was about as lopsided as it gets. Surprising to no one, the 45-7 victory had the Patriots in as good of moods Sunday night as we've seen all season.

They will enter Week 9 on the upswing of 5-3, just as they did in 2011.

Here's some of the best post-game sound from both sides.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on playing at London's Wembley Stadium:

BB: "The stadium was great. Playing on grass is always good. We play most of our games on turf. It's good to see the jerseys muddy, grass stains. Guys picking up dirt out of their facemasks, stuff like that. We don't see a lot of that back in the States. We see grass fields down in Florida, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville. It's Florida grass. We were out there in the mud and rain. Good oldfashioned football game. I think our guys liked it."

The night definitely had a different look. Between the rain and the colorfully lined grass, it didn't take long for players to look like they'd engaged in more of a paintball battle than a football game. Offensive lineman Nate Solder's belly was so splotched with red it appeared he got shot right in the gut.

And there were divots everywhere. One memorable tackle saw linebacker Brandon Spikes pop back up with a huge chunk of dirt and grass lodged in his helmet.

You had to wonder during the week if the real grass would slow the game down at all. There were a few slips, but overall, the surface didn't appear to bother New England much, as Belichick noted.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the crowd noise at Wembley:

TB: "There's times when the crowd's really into it. They booed us. "

They certainly did. New England's 45-7 lead was built and unchallenged with more than 11 minutes left in the game. Backup QB Ryan Mallett was inserted into the contest on the Patriots' next series.

That alone wasn't enough to make local Londoners break out a Bronx cheer. No, the boos rained down on Mallett's second drive when he kneeled instead of trying to run the score up further on the Rams.

Brady continued on the difference between the crowd at Wembley and the crowds in the U.S:

"Were the fans more engaged? I think they liked seeing the action. There were a lot of stoppages between the timeouts. There were quite a few stoppages today. That's how the game is played."

It's an interesting point when you think about it: British (European, really) football fans are raised to worship a sport with a clock that doesn't stop. Think about all the breaks in an NFL game; the locals must have either loved the beer breaks or been bored to tears.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on the fast start by St. Louis:

SB: "Yeah, you can't ask for a better start to the game. First time we touch the ball, go down and score, exactly what we plan to do and then it just all fell apart from there."

It's amazing how the team's first, lightning-like touchdown drive indicated absolutely nothing as to the rest of the night would go. St. Louis scored on a five-play drive that took little over two and a half minutes. The weird thing is, the 50-yard touchdown strike looked just like a 46-yarder thrown to Seattle's Sidney Rice just two weeks ago. In that moment, it looked like the Rams were going to have their way with the Patriots secondary just like other teams have. Especially considering the receiver on that score, Chris Givens, set a record on the play with five-straight games with a 50-plus yard catch.

Bradford on thinking the offense would perform better against the Patriots secondary:

SB: "You look at their defense and I think they were 30th defending the pass, so we came into this game really expecting to move the ball."

At least Bradford did his homework.

Sometimes cornerback-sometimes safety, Devin McCourty on keeping the whole unit together despite adversity, including a head injury to corner Kyle Arrington:

"I felt today I did a better job communicating, getting all those guys on the right track. Actually once you have some moving parts back there, guys go down, it's important everybody lines up and plays the same defense.

"They put me back there, put me in charge of making sure everyone knows what they're doing. I felt I did a better job this week than last week. Things started to slow down for me back there."

With the continued absences of safeties Pat Chung and Steve Gregory, it looks like McCourty will continue getting reps at the position. If nothing else, it helped balance the youth in the secondary when he started alongside rookie Tavon Wilson in the backend and Arrington paired with rookie Alfonzo Dennard at cornerback.

There will be a serious lack of depth to consider in general if Arrington is out for long. Cornerback Ras-I Dowling was placed on IR just two days ago with a torn thigh muscle. Marquice Cole got more minutes Sunday night and played well, but left the game in the fourth quarter in an injury.

The bye week couldn't come soon enough.

Nose tackle Vince Wilfork on tight end Rob Gronkowski's big night:

VW: "He's a funny guy. I always say, if somebody doesnt like him, that person has the problem because he's very likable. Hes just one of those guys that you can't get mad at. Even if you do something wrong, you yell at him, but you feel bad yelling at him. He is always coming up with something. He always seems to find a way to come up big for this team. Once again, he did it tonight."

That's a lot of love for Gronkowski's character from the big D-tackle. But some compliments about on-field play should have been thrown in, too. The tight end had eight catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second 100-plus yard receiving night of the season, but offensive night by a mile.

Brady on Gronkowski's enthusiastic touchdown celebrations:

TB: "I don't know what the hell he was doing that first time. I was just trying to get out of the way so he wouldn't get fined. But, yeah, he needs some work on that."

You can read more about those here. Pret-ty funny stuff.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"


Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game. 

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0


Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.