Patriots

Wakeup Call: Shades of BledsoeBrady in San Francisco

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Wakeup Call: Shades of BledsoeBrady in San Francisco

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, November 29:

BASEBALL
The Braves snagged B.J. Upton for five years and 75.25 million. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

So what now, Phillies? (CSN Philly)

Michael Bourn, perhaps? (Hardball Talk)

You know times have changed when the players' union sounds amenable to even more drug testing. (AP)

If, as expected, the Giants let him go today, don't be surprised if Brian Wilson shows up in L.A. (CSN Bay Area)

Angels to the world: Make us an offer on Jordan Walden. (Hardball Talk)

If you had hopes of the Red Sox bringing back Nick Hagadone -- sent to the Indians way back when in the Victor Martinez deal -- well, forget it. (AP)

The Reds say they're going to put Aroldis Chapman on an innings limit as he switches to the starting rotation, but they don't sound fanatical about it. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UConn sure isn't hiding its lust to escape the sinking Big East, is it? (AP)

Take a page from Navy, will ya, Huskies? (AP)

A nice comeback win for Duke over The Ohio State University. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

And a nicer upset of No. 11 Creighton by Boise State. (AP)

Whoa, Miami fans: Beating the 13th-ranked team is no reason to storm the court. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Jon Gruden says there's "no truth" to the rumors that he's been offered a minority stake in the Cleveland Browns if he becomes coach at the University of Tennessee. (AP)

Charlie Strong wasn't too happy with reports that he interviewed for the job at Auburn. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Les Miles is staying put. (AP)

GOLF
That wail of anguish you heard yesterday was from the nation's duffers, bemoaning the new rule -- which, at least, won't go into affect until 2016 -- that will prohibit them from anchoring a club against their bodies while making a stroke. (AP)

HOCKEY
Some truly sad news in the midst of lockout idiocy: Wild goaltender Josh Harding has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (nhl.com)

Now back to lockout idiocy: The two sides met separately with the federal mediators yesterday, and will do so again today. (AP)

Ted Lindsay -- one of the founders of the NHLPA, back in the 1950s -- wants today's players to stop their bad-mouthing of Gary Bettman. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) How about me, Ted? Can I keep on doing it?

Imagine how much they'd be worth if they'd actually won anything in the last 45 years. (AP)

That arena deal we discussed yesterday has cleared the way for Greg Jamison to buy the Coyotes. (AP)

Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan was arrested Oct. 29 while dressed as Tinky Winky -- you know, one of the Teletubbies -- and charged with being "super drunk". (AP) Wouldn't you pretty much have to be, to go out in public as Tinky Winky?

PRO BASKETBALL
The 13th time was a charm for the Wizards. (CSN Washington)

And the best part was shutting up Charles Barkley. (CSN Washington)

The Rockets beat the Raptors in Houston Tuesday night, flew to Minnesota for Sasha McHale's funeral Wednesday morning, then went to Oklahoma City for a game Wednesday night. The result after all that traveling, and emotion, was predictable -- a Thunder romp. (CSN Houston)

And it spoiled James Harden's homecoming, to boot. (CSN Houston)

Sign of the times: The Rockets taking to Twitter to ask for prayers for Kevin McHale and his family. (CSN Houston)

From blowing a 27-point lead against Milwaukee to blowing out Dallas: What a difference two days makes for the Bulls. (CSN Chicago)

So now it's Derek Fisher to the rescue for the Mavericks. (AP)

Like many people, Mike D'Antoni regrets going to New York. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Ricky Rubio says "Life is good!" -- via Twitter, of course -- after being cleared to resume practicing with the Timberwolves. (AP)

The Kings are turning Horace Greeley's advice on its ear: They may be moving to Virginia Beach. (CSN Bay Area)

PRO FOOTBALL
Shades of BledsoeBrady: Colin Kaepernick's the man in San Francisco. (CSN Bay Area)

Though Jim Harbaugh says to "assume nothing" when specifically asked if Kaepernick "is the starting quarterback moving forward". (CSN Bay Area)

The Ndamukong Suh version of his kick at Matt Schaub's private parts: "I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man." (AP) And for that, the poor guy gets fined 30 grand. Life just ain't fair, is it?

Schaub's reaction: Suh who? (CSN Houston)

Jared Allen's 21,000 poorer after the hit on Lance Louis that knocked the Bears' guard out for the season. (AP)

Jason Babin wasn't unemployed for long. (AP)

If a cold-weather city like New York can host a Super Bowl, why not Denver? (AP)

Brandon Weeden's recovered from his concussion and will start for the Browns Sunday in Oakland. (AP)

And Greg Jennings is set to return to the Packers after his abdominal tear. (AP)

Rolando McClain's no longer a Raider . . . or is he? (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

SOCCER
Boy, Hope Solo sure snared herself a winner, didn't she? (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

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Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

SEATTLE - Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did enough through 3 1/2 quarters that even the best comeback attempt by Russell Wilson fell short this time.

A couple of yards short to be exact.

Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Falcons watched Blair Walsh's 52-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fall short, holding off the Seattle Seahawks for a 34-31 win on Monday night.

Atlanta won its second straight to stay on the heels of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss.

"What an absolute team win from the guys tonight," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way."

Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a 1-yard TD run on Atlanta's opening possession.

But it was Clayborn's fumble return that helped break the game open early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. He scooped up a loose ball after Wilson was crunched by Takk McKinley and Courtney Upshaw.

"I think we're moving in the right direction. We keep proving we can finish games and beat guys. We have to take the momentum and keep rolling with it," Clayborn said.

With Seattle down 11 points, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 29-yard TD with 3 minutes left and then threw to Jimmy Graham for the two-point conversion. Seattle got the ball back and moved in range for Walsh, whose attempt was on line but landed short of the crossbar.

"That was in our range, and in hindsight I would have just driven it more," Walsh said. "I would have driven it more and not left it short. I was too accurate and didn't have enough on it."

Wilson again was the entirety of Seattle's offense, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another 86 yards and a TD.

But it was an awful night for the Seahawks, filled with more injuries and questionable decisions by coach Pete Carroll. He called for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a questionable challenge in the fourth quarter that didn't go his way and left Seattle with just one timeout.

That lack of timeouts came back to haunt Seattle on the final drive when seconds ticked away and rather than running one more play, Walsh was sent out to attempt the 52-yard kick. His long for the season is 49 yards.

The conclusion only amplified Carroll's baffling decision at the end of the first half, when Seattle ran a fake field goal rather than having Walsh attempt a 35-yarder that would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Holder Jon Ryan completed his shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.

Willson said Atlanta's defense on the play was different than what Seattle had seen on film.

"It would have been a really good call if we had made it," Carroll said. "Terrific opportunity right where we wanted it and the defensive tackle made a better play."

Seattle played a game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season without Richard Sherman. His streak of 99 consecutive starts in the regular season was snapped because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered against Arizona. The Seahawks were also without safety Kam Chancellor because of a neck injury, leaving their vaunted secondary with several new faces.

"Those two are phenomenal players. ... It was a lot different," Sanu said. "They did a lot of different things but we just had to take advantage of our routes."

MATTY ICE

Ryan was more than happy to pick on a defense without Sherman and Chancellor. He was 19 of 27 passing for 195 yards and rarely faced pressure. Seattle had one sack, and the Falcons went 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Sanu made a great one-handed grab for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan found Toilolo on a 25-yard TD in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead. Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:49 left to put the Falcons ahead by 11, and Wilson's late heroics weren't enough.

Ryan's streak of 64 straight games passing for at least 200 yards was snapped.

INJURIES

Seattle's injury woes continued. The Seahawks lost rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion on the second play of the game, forcing newly signed veteran Byron Maxwell into a more prominent role than expected.

Early in the second half, promising running back Mike Davis was lost to a groin injury after taking a screen pass 21 yards. Davis had two receptions and had carried six times for 18 yards before getting hurt. Seattle also lost starting guard Oday Aboushi in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta got a scare when safety Keanu Neal was checked for a concussion in the first half. He was cleared to return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday to open a three-game homestand.

Seahawks: Travel to division foe San Francisco on Sunday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

We have seen the Boston Celtics play less-than-stellar basketball for long stretches, only to turn it on in the second half and escape with a win.

But Monday night’s game at Dallas was different.

Usually it has been Boston’s offense that has kept the game closer than expected, but on Monday it was the team’s defense that struggled more than usual.

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But this team continues to show an ability to withstand all in-game struggles to eventually emerge victorious which was exactly what happened as the Celtics rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Mavericks 110-102 in overtime.

The Celtics (16-2) have now won 16 in a row which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

But this win, like so many of its predecessors during this historic run, was not one to celebrate afterwards.

“Quite a resilient comeback in the fourth,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Not our best foot forward before that. Of all the comebacks, that did not look good for a long time. We found a way to win it.”

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 47 points, 10 of which came in the overtime period.

But his performance was just one of many Boston needed to extend its winning streak.

“In a game like this, you have to do whatever it takes, both ends of the floor,” Boston’s Jayson Tatum told reporters afterwards.

And he did just that.

In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Tatum’s defense forced a Harrison Barnes miss that would have won the game for Dallas.

And in the fourth quarter, Tatum’s rebounding was critical to Boston (16-2) extending its stay atop the NBA standings.

The 6-foot-8 rookie had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, with four of his boards coming in overtime.

Boston also got another strong game from Jaylen Brown (22 points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Smart, whose shooting was well off the mark most of the night (3-for-15) but like he has done too many times to count, Smart managed to make a positive impact on the game.

He led the Celtics with eight assists off the bench, in addition to a slew of hustle plays that included a desperation save of a ball going out of bounds that managed to find its way into the hands of Kyrie Irving, who drained a much-needed 3-pointer late in the game.

“Those are worth more than whatever the shot goes in,” Stevens said. “That’s why it’s hard to quantify Marcus Smart.”

The same can be said about Boston’s winning streak, which has come about despite several stretches, every game seemingly, where the Celtics struggle.

But to their credit, they don’t allow the in-game setbacks take away from their focus night-in and night-out and that’s to find a way, any way possible, to emerge with a victory.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE