Patriots

Sox looking past .500

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Sox looking past .500

It's almost 4 pm, and the rain's still falling in Boston, making it less and less likely that the Sox will take the field tonight against Oakland. Just as well, now everyone can stay home and watch the Celtics. (Or in the case of John Henry, soccer!)

But if they by some chance get this one in, the Sox have an interesting opportunity in front of them: A winning record. That's right, with a win against the A's, Boston will move to 12-11 and jump over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

On the brightside, this would put them ahead of last year's pace the 2011 Sox didn't climb out of their early season hole until May 16 (against the Orioles, on a Adrian Gonzalez walkoff double). But on the much darker side, the season's a month old, and 13 other teams have a better record than Boston. It's not too late to get over the hump and join the party, but the time is now.

Or probably tomorrow. With the the non-stop rain, and less-than-ideal forecast for tonight, I'd be surprised if they get this one in. Although, that shouldn't stop the Sox from stalling on an announcement and selling a few more hot dogs

and what's left of their souls.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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