Patriots

Rich Levine's Red Sox Home Opener Live Blog

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Rich Levine's Red Sox Home Opener Live Blog

Rich Levine's Opening Day Live Blog

In a little bit, the Red Sox will take the field at Fenway for the first time since September 21.

On that day, they dropped a close one to the Murderers Row Baltimore Orioles, 6-4. Josh Beckett picked up the loss. The immortal Clay Rapata registered the win. And in the 205 days since, life has gone from bad to worse to holy hell for the Sox.

You know what happened. We dont need to relive it here. But, as a result of what did happen, heres the reality that we live in today:

The Sox are going to get booed.

Maybe not individually. In fact, when it comes time for each player to be introduced before the game, Josh Becketts the only guy who will or should receive any sort of negative ovation. (Thats assuming they dont introduce John Lackey, and thats not to say some of player ovations wont be a little more subdued than theyre used to).

But, when they take the field as a team, when Carl Beane introduces Your 2012 Boston Red Sox! there will be boos. Maybe not across the board, but theyll be there. More than you ever could have imagined at any point over this past decade.

The boos will in some part be aimed towards the team, to the collective group of players who couldnt get in done down the stretch last season, havent got it done in the early going this season, and in the process have helped make our lives a living hell. But more than anything, the boos will be directed to the bozos in the background, pulling the strings and signing the checks. To the institution of the Boston Red Sox, which has failed so miserably on so many levels in the years since that first World Series win and especially in the months since last Septembers collapse.

For years and years, ownership screwed with their real fans. They alienated the people who stuck with this team when times were tough. But at the same time, back then, the Sox were winning, so what could you say? Why complain about what was going on behind the scenes when there was so much success right in front of your face?

Today, that success is gone. As a result, there will be a whole bunch of pent up booing on display. And theres only one thing the Sox can do to make it stop.

Win.

Becketts back on the mound, and Im back on the keyboard. Ready to relay all the action as it happens, complete with a little analysis, a little humor and, hopefully, minimal typos.

So, please follow along, and I hope you enjoy it.

If not, feel free to boo.

Jags safety says Gronk hit was unavoidable

Jags safety says Gronk hit was unavoidable

FOXBORO -- During the tail end of the season, Rob Gronkowski was probably the league’s most unstoppable skill player. If any team was going to beat the Patriots, it needed to stop Gronk.

The Jaguars stopped Gronk on Sunday. They still didn’t win.

PATRIOTS 24, JAGUARS 20

The Patriots tight end was driven from the game by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church. Gronk, running down the seam on a first-and-10 play with 1:28 left in the half, was hammered by Church, who really didn’t have a lot of options on the play. The throw was too up-for-grabs for Church to ignore the chance of picking it off. And by the time a pick was out of the question, the collision was inevitable.

“I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church explained. “He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball but I gueess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football.  If you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder.”

Gronk was slow to rise and when he did, he was unsteady. Teammate Chris Hogan kept Gronk steady until he got some assistance to the sideline. From there, we was squired to the locker room and into the concussion protocol. He didn’t return.

The hit, the flag and the fact the Patriots would soon score a touchdown to chew into the Jaguars lead caused the inevitable discussion of what Chruch was supposed to do on that play.

Church had the same debate himself.

“It’s tough, that guy s humongous,” said Church. “If you wait for him to catch it and bring it down, he might run you over. You have to go with it and try and hit him in the right target zone but, going 100 MPH, that is nearly impossible.”

Gronk wasn’t spotted in the locker room after the game. He’ll have checkpoints to pass before he’s cleared to play in Super Bowl 52. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

First look at Tom Brady's injured thumb

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First look at Tom Brady's injured thumb

Apparently there was a miscommunication of sorts during Patriots practice this week.

Reports of gushing blood and Brady screaming in pain left many wondering what type of shape Tom Brady was in.

It turned out that he was just fine and ready to go, leading the Patriots to yet another comeback postseason victory.

But a first look at Brady's thumb was finally captured by an Associated Press photographer after tonight's game.

The collision occurred during a handoff and Brady needed 12 stiches, it also injured the collateral ligament in his thumb.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE