Pats deal with second straight subpar performance


Pats deal with second straight subpar performance

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots have picked a bad time for some mediocre performances.

Now they have just one regular-season game left to gain momentum going into the playoffs.

New England got off to a slow start for the second straight week and trailed the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars 10-0 before getting a 23-16 win on Sunday.

That victory followed a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in which the Patriots had an even worse start to the game, falling behind 31-3.

That's how quickly the Patriots (11-4) went from a dominant team with seven straight wins after a 42-14 rout of the Houston Texans to a disappointed one.

``We always talk about how we throw out the stats and throw out the records because it doesn't mean anything,'' defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Monday. ``We never really know what we're going to get or what we're going to run up into.''

They ran into numerous problems on Sunday, some caused by the Jaguars (2-13) and others they brought upon themselves.

Jacksonville had more first downs on its opening possession (six) than New England totaled on its first four (five).

Tom Brady threw interceptions on two of the Patriots first three series. And they punted on their last two, allowing the Jaguars to move to the Patriots 12-yard line before Patrick Chung intercepted Chad Henne's pass on the final play.

``Certainly, (we) never really got into the game where we felt like we were going to string together a bunch of drives,'' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.

The biggest problem was ``self-inflicted errors,'' Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio.

``We've got to do a better job,'' he said. ``We've got some pretty important weeks of football ahead, and that's when we really need to play our best.''

The first chance to get rolling again comes Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins (7-8).

The Patriots beat the Dolphins 23-16 in Miami one week before rolling over the Texans, who had the NFL's best record at the time.

``What matters is that we finish out the season the right way and then try to prepare and have a great week of preparation, whomever we play (in the playoffs),'' McDaniels said.

Despite their recent problems, the Patriots still can be the AFC's top-seeded team. They'd achieve that with a win over the Dolphins while the Texans lose to the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos lose to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Patriots would finish second, and still get a first-round bye, with a win and a loss by the Texans or Broncos.

They would be seeded third if all three win, or fourth if they lose and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals.

With all that uncertainty, the Patriots still are thinking ahead even though they usually say the only game they focus on is the next one.

``You can't be totally oblivious to the possibilities that exist out there,'' coach Bill Belichick said. ``It's really hard to be specific on something like that when there are so many possibilities. You're working on a 25 percent chance of something; whatever you're working on, there's probably a 75 percent chance that you're wrong.''

If they don't get a bye, they'll play Indianapolis or Cincinnati. If they do, they won't know their opponent until the wild-card round is over.

So many possibilities.

``The most immediate one, that's the one that we'll take first and that would be the wild-card weekend if we're playing that weekend,'' Belichick said. ``We'll definitely do as much preparation as we can on those teams this week to make sure that we're ready to go on Sunday night or Monday morning if that's the way it goes.''

More immediately, the Patriots must analyze what went wrong against the Jaguars - execution, effort, emotion - and try to make sure it doesn't happen against the Dolphins.

Brady's passer rating of 73.9 was his lowest of the season. Henne's 348 yards passing were the third most the Patriots have allowed.

Sure, the Patriots won.

But beating a team that had just one win in three months since beating the Colts 22-17 on Sept. 23 - and doing it by just seven points - left them thankful but dissatisfied.

``I'm proud of the way we responded,'' defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said, ``but, at the same time, at the end of the day it won't be good enough.''


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March Madness 2018: Sweet 16 TV Schedule, Tip times, announcers, how to watch, live stream

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March Madness 2018: Sweet 16 TV Schedule, Tip times, announcers, how to watch, live stream

The first and second rounds of the 2018 NCAA Tournament are in  the books.

We witnessed history, with UMBC becoming the first No. 16 seed in men's tournament history to defeat a No. 1 seed, beating Virginia 74-54.

We saw the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago make a Cinderella run, beating Miami and Tennessee on the final possession.

We saw No. 7 Nevada rally from 22 points down to stun No. 2 Cincinnati.

We saw great games, great finishes and great moments.

But now it's time for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

The madness begins again on March 22, with the Sweet 16 taking place Thursday and Friday, with the Elite Eight taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a complete listing of TV channels, tip times and game locations.




Thursday, March 22

7:07 pm — No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (South/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
7:37 pm — No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M (West/Los Angeles, Calif), TBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson
9:37 pm — No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State (South/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
10:07 pm — No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State (West/Los Angeles, Calif), TBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Friday, March 23

7:07 pm — No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Clemson (Midwest/Omaha, NE), TBS. Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
7:37 pm — No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 West Virginia (East/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
9:37 pm — No. 2 Duke vs. No. 11 Syracuse (Midwest/Omaha, NE), TBS. Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
10:07 pm — No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (East/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce



Saturday, March 24

Time TBD — Nevada/Loyola-Chicago winner vs. Kentucky/Kansas State winner (South Regional Final/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
Time TBD — Michigan/Texas A&M winner vs. Gonzaga vs. Florida State winner (West Regional Final/Los Angeles, Calif.), CBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Sunday, March 25

Time TBD — Kansas/Clemson winner vs. Duke/Syracuse winner  (Midwest Regional Final/Omaha, NE), CBS. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
​Time TBD —  Villanova/West Virginia winner vs. Purdue/Texas Tech winner (East Regional Final/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

 WANT MORE COLLEGE HOOPS? Troy Machir is spending all March chatting with some of the biggest names in college basketball. Listen to the March Only Podcast below and be sure to like, rate, share and subscribe on iTunes.

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Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins


Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins

NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets. 

While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:

Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. 

Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks.