Bruins

Vick KO'd as Eagles' skid hits 5

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Vick KO'd as Eagles' skid hits 5

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Nick Foles couldn't end the Eagles' worst losing streak in 15 years. He'll get another chance at a win if Michael Vick can't return from a concussion.Foles filled in for Vick and briefly rallied the Eagles until the Cowboys capitalized on turnovers and dominated the fourth quarter. The Eagles' 38-23 loss to Dallas on Sunday was their fifth straight, the longest losing streak in coach Andy Reid's 14 seasons.Reid might not make it to Year 15. Vick might not make it to Sunday in Washington.With a 3-6 record, it's likely too late for the Eagles, no matter who the quarterback is, to save their season."Not good enough to win," Foles said. "I made some mistakes and I can't turn the ball over. That's the most important thing to win games."Foles hit the field in the second quarter and was greeted by a loud ovation from a crowd that had become fed up with Vick's erratic play.Vick was knocked on his back by linebacker Ernie Sims on an incomplete pass and was slow to get up. He headed for the locker room and Foles started warming up. Vick, however, may have been injured on the previous play when he was driven from behind headfirst into the ground by tackle Jay Ratliff.Vick did not talk to reporters but appeared groggy in the locker room.The loss could speed up the countdown clock on Vick and Reid's time in Philadelphia.In the final minutes, fans behind Dallas' bench unrolled a banner that read, "Andy, Quit, Your Team Has!"Angry Eagles fans brought "Fire Andy!" and "This Is Not Acceptable" signs with them as they tailgated in the parking lots. There was at least one mobile billboard that read "Fire Andy Reid Now!!!" and "No Mas" with a pair of red Xs near the embattled coach's photo.The 1998 Eagles lost their first five games of the season under Ray Rhodes.Reid said he'd determine the starter for Sunday's game at Washington based on Vick's health"I was hoping he'd make it through without having a concussion, but that's where we sit right now with him," Reid said.Foles, a fan favorite without ever throwing a regular-season pass, looked like an instant hit and woke up a sleepy crowd in the third quarter when he hit Jeremy Maclin for a 44-yard TD and a 14-10 lead. Alex Henery's 40-yard field goal made it 17-10.Foles was rolling, the Eagles were scoring, and the good times were back at Lincoln Financial Field.But in a season unraveling with each bumbling defeat, the Eagles were knocked down to reality.Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes, Dwayne Harris had a 78-yard punt return TD, and Brandon Carr returned an interception 47 yards for a score for the Cowboys.The Cowboys (4-5) and are second in the NFC East, 1 games behind the New York Giants, who lost to Cincinnati earlier Sunday.The win, and a break in the schedule, could propel the Cowboys back in the thick of the division race. They will play five of their next six games at home, starting Sunday against Cleveland."Don't use words like desperate," Romo said. "The importance was at its highest level. I don't know if we are thinking anything more than we need another win."Romo, who finished 19 of 26 for 209 yards, tied it with that TD pass to Bryant.Dallas coach Jason Garrett had insisted the Cowboys weren't desperate after losing four of five. And they were dominant in the fourth period. The Cowboys need to keep playing like they did late on Sunday for a shot at catching the Giants.Owner Jerry Jones refused to call the win a season saver."I don't want to do that," he said. "You can, but I don't want to do it. I know how important the game is to us."Early in the final quarter, Foles had an interception return for a touchdown wiped out on a holding penalty. No worries, Dallas. Harris returned a punt 78 yards for a 24-17 lead that silenced the crowd.On the next drive, Foles had an interception returned for a score that counted, by Carr, returned 47 yards for a 31-17 lead. Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards.That was it for the fans in green, who fled for the exits. Stanley Havili had a 1-yard TD run with 1:55 left, but Henery missed the extra point.Then Foles fumbled after he was sacked and Mike Jenkins recovered for a touchdown."Critical win for us," Garrett said. "I thought the effort was there. I thought we were focused the whole game. When you have success, you have to play through it, you have adversity, you have to play through it, and today was a good example of that."The Eagles could have used some of that tenacity this season.Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, has struggled this season and entered with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.He looked like his old self on the first drive, finishing it by connecting with Riley Cooper for a 2-yard TD. Cooper's sensational one-handed grab on a fade route gave the Eagles their first points on their opening drive all season.The fun was short-lived when Romo hit Felix Jones on an 11-yard TD pass. Dan Bailey kicked a 30-yard field goal to send the Cowboys into halftime with a 10-7 lead.NOTES:Foles was the first Eagles rookie QB to throw a TD pass since AJ Feely in 2001. Brian Westbrook, a running back, threw one in 2002. ... The Eagles had won six straight division games, including a sweep of the Cowboys. ... Eagles WR Jason Avant left with a hamstring injury. ... Sims started 15 games for the Eagles in 2010 and had two sacks.

Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

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Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – While it’s still early in the careers of all the young Bruins rookies making their way this season, it sure looks like 22-year-old Danton Heinen is among the B’s youngsters that are here to stay. The former University of Denver standout didn’t make the cut at the end of training camp this season and he failed early last year when it was clear he wasn’t ready during an eight-game audition with the big club.

But Heinen continued to look ready while scoring a pair of goals and three points in the three games on a pivotal road trip through California last week, and is now tied for fifth on the Bruins in points despite missing four games in the AHL. In all, Heinen has four goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 rating in 15 games this season, and is on pace for a really strong 21 goals and 52 points in his first full year.

This has been a really nice step forward for Heinen after being a point-per-game player for Providence during their playoff run last spring.

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“Last year’s playoff did a lot for him. When I saw him playing there, he was a different player than when he’d left [Boston],” said Bruce Cassidy. “There was a willingness to stay in the battle and his growth when it comes to winning pucks…you’ve seen it here. A lot of the things he’s down well are his second and third efforts on the puck where last year I thought he was pushed off the puck pretty easily [at the NHL level].”

There could be a period when his offense slows down or some other part of his game drags his minutes down, but right now he looks like he’s well on his way to establishing himself in a key role with the Black and Gold. The difference has been Heinen increasing his speed and also adding a little more tenacity to the skill and offense package that he was always bringing to the table.  

“I don’t want to say that because when we get our guys healthy then we’ll see where we’re at,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked if Heinen was a keeper at the NHL level at this point. “But I think he’s certainly shown he’s a much more consistent player than he was last year. He’s probably a bit ahead of the other younger guys because he has gone through a bit of it [at the pro level]. The fact that he’s been able to play in a lot of different situations, play left or right wing, and moved up in the lineup while being very effective with [Sean] Kuraly and [Tim] Schaller down in the lineup, as a coach it’s to have a guy like that who can move around and fit in a lot of different places.

“So he’s certainly helped himself [to stay in the NHL]. I think it’s too early to say if he’s here for good, but I don’t envision him leaving [Boston] anytime soon with the way that he’s played.”

Only time and consistently good play will allow the playmaking Heinen to truly lock up his spot on the NHL roster, but it’s increasingly difficult to envision any scenario where the fifth-round pick isn’t playing an increasingly important role for the Bruins. 

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Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo

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Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo

The first came in the second quarter, when Brandin Cooks turned on afterburners to beat a Raiders double team and glide underneath a Tom Brady heave for 52 yards. The second came in the third quarter, on the third play from scrimmage of the second half, when Cooks faked an out-route, jetted past rookie corner Obi Melifonwu, and sped into the end zone to make the score 24-0. 

Both deep completions in New England's 33-8 win over Oakland just added to cumulative effect that Cooks has had on the Patriots offense since arriving before the season to become their top deep threat. 

Paired with Brady, Cooks has actually become the most productive deep threat in the NFL. 

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According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks leads all receivers with 431 yards on deep passes (throws that travel 20 yards or more down the field). In second place is Houston's DeAndre Hopkins with 313 yards. 

And Brady, who has long been more effective in the short-to-intermediate range than he has been deep, is now among the league leaders in creating explosive plays from the quarterback position. The Patriots are third in the NFL with 41 pass plays of 20 yards or more, and they are tied for second with nine plays of 40 yards or more. 

"You're always trying to work on that," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show of his team's deep passing game. "It's not one particular year [you work on it]. I think that's been a concerted effort by our entire offense, trying to make more explosive plays in the pass game. 

"Sometimes your offense is built differently. We actually have some guys now that can really get down the field so that becomes more of a point of emphasis. The way Brandin runs, the way that Chris Hogan runs, the way that Phillip Dorsett runs, they're very fast. You need to be able to take advantage of their skill set . . . 

"When we had David Patten we were throwing it deep. I mean, but David Patten didn't run a lot of short routes. I would say Brandin Cooks, in general, he doesn't run a lot of short routes. Everyone has a different role. If we can get by you, I think that's a good place to throw the ball. if we can't, we gotta figure out ways to throw it underneath and different weeks are going to call for different things based on the strengths of the defenses we're playing, too."

A week before beating the Raiders, against the Broncos and their talented corners, the Patriots had less luck pushing the ball down the field -- though they tried to hit Cooks deep multiple times. In Mexico City, Cooks matched up with a weaker secondary, and he wasn't at all slowed by the altitude, catching six passes in all for 149 yards and a score. 

Per PFF, Cooks has seen almost one third of his targets (30 percent) come on deep passes, which is the ninth-highest rate in the league. He's caught all 11 of his catchable deep passes, three of them accounting for scores.

"Obviously when you're throwing the ball 50-60 yards down the field," Brady said, "your chances of completion go down, but if you hit it, it ends up being a very explosive plays and you can change a lot of field position and get a defense really on their heels if they have to defend every blade of grass on the field." 

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