By Tom E. CurranSEATTLE - Close to three weeks ago, after the Patriots failed to close out the Baltimore Ravens, I took a deep look at the team's recent failures to lock things down at the end. Three games later, they've failed twice more in closeout situations. And it's getting to the point where the Patriots are either going to blow teams out or tighten up at the end. The defense is what it is. Flawed in the secondary, susceptible to stupidity. The offense? It's the league's best with the league's best quarterback. It should be able to play keepaway in the final minutes. But Sunday, with two chances to shut down Seattle and win a game they outplayed the Seahawks in, they spit the bit. First, they took over with 7:21 remaining and - after picking up two first downs and burning 3:14 - they punted. They got a quick three-and-out from Seattle and then went three-and out themselves and Seattle got the ball back with 2:38 left. The rest is ugly history. Last week, it was a Stevan Ridley fumble that ended the Patriots' first closeout drive. This week, it was a little of everybody. BRANCHThey didn't do nothing. Everything, all the mistakes made on the field were by us. They were self-inflicted mistakes. As the game went on, they really didn't do anything to stop us. The flags, the interceptions, the dropped balls, things of that nature. That's stuff that we control. The game's never over. We never really took 'em out and we had the opportunities. We had turnovers, defensive things. It was like we never finished them when we had the opportunity and it was there. That's how it goes. I'm one of the last guys that'll complain. There were a couple in the end zone that were flagrant. But I spoke to the guys and that's football. It's hard for them to see everything on the field. Regardless of what you see on paper, we gotta win the games, we gotta be able to finish the game and that starts with mistake-free football. MANKINSWe're 3-3. Not ideal but I know one thing about the team we won't quit and the coaches won't quit. We'll try to improve this week and get back on the right track. We had chances in the red zone right before half we don't score. We were down there again and turned it over. We had our chances and we didn't score enough points. We shoulda been in the 30s and we didn't get it done. Faltered on four-minute again at the end of the game. When it was time to make plays we didn't make 'em. It's mistakes. We could put more pressure right before halftime and let it get away. Got the ball in a great spot and didn't get any points out of it. Got the ball down there again and turned it over. When you get down there, you gotta score points. That's the difference in this league. There's 11 guys out there. We gotta do it as a unit. Everyone's gotta be on the same page and doing things the right way and sometimes not all 11 are doing it. WELKER"We talk about playing a good 60 minutes of football and we seem to come up a loittle bit short. These close games like this, espeially one where youhave the lead int he fourth, you have to put them away and we weren't able to do that today. It's really frustratinjg. We just gotta get back to work and work on these things and make sure we're pushing through and win the games in the end.
Rick Porcello attempts to increase his record to 6-0 as he starts tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York.
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DB
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Rick Porcello P
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Aaron Hicks RF
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronnie Torreyes 3B
Michael Pineda P
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fairly certain I’ll never be buying Tom Brady’s $200 cookbook:
-- Good piece on NBC’s Inside the Glass man Pierre McGuire, who is once again doing yeoman’s work during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
-- Bruce Boudreau is excited at the prospect of coaching the Senators as he readies for an interview with Ottawa. Boudreau would be a good fit there, given his past history with offensively talented teams.
-- Down Goes Brown lists their top-10 old guys without a Stanley Cup whose playoff hopes are still alive in this current postseason.
-- You’ve got to love the fancy stats crew that, when their team is down 3-1 in a playoff series, contends it’s all based on luck. No, it’s based on the other team scoring more goals than your team rather than which team is winning the puck-possession battle.
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Jason Brough has San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer ripping the goalie interference replay system, saying it’s been “clear as mud” all season after it cost the Sharks in their triple-overtime loss to Nashville. It feels like he’s got a point: I thought the Joe Pavelski goal should have been a game-winner too rather than be waved off for goalie interference.
-- It looks like the mighty have fallen quite: Stephane Da Costa isn’t on France’s World Championships roster after being in the NHL a couple of years ago. Or maybe the mighty are just hurt after playing last season in the KHL. It’s tough to tell at this point for the former Merrimack hockey star.
-- The massive nation of China is becoming a growing incubator for budding young hockey players and could become a new resource for the NHL.
-- For something completely different: For a Lego commercial for Star Wars movies that still don’t come out for almost a year, this is pretty great.
Watching Robert Kraft refer to Cyrus Jones by Jones’ twitter handle “Clamp Clampington” was the perfect confluence of amusing, surreal and awkward.
Like when my father used to complain about the kids “making donuts” in the intersection outside our house in the middle of the night, or anybody over 30 combining the words “epic” and “legit,” it just hits the ear wrong.
Social media has bridged the communication gap between the generations. Or at least made “old” people privy to conversations that -- throughout the course of recorded history -- kids haven’t wanted them nosing into.
This newfound access doesn’t allow us to merely appropriate and make others cringe. It also allows people -- in the context of professional sports -- to consume, judge, interact and drop consequences on athletes because of their social media persona.
Employers, fans, owners and media members now have unprecedented access to players’ personal lives. And the player who forgets that, or decides he doesn’t care and marches on without asking “How will this reflect on me?” is courting disaster. Or at least a level of irritation.
No player drafted in 2016 will ever forget the impact social media can have on a career. Even though Laremy Tunsil didn’t tweet out a video of himself smoking a bong while wearing a gas mask in front of a Confederate flag (social media hat trick), he paid the price. His draft drop cost him millions because, even though he didn’t actually tweet it, the video called into question Tunsil’s decision-making, off-field habits and the circle of people around him. That’s a lot of judging off of one tweet, but that’s what the deal is.
I asked Mr. Clampington – whose twitter feed shows he’s a Sagittarius who’ll go back at people who offer critiques – what his philosophy will be now that he’s in the NFL.
“Social media is one of those things where you gotta control and discipline yourself to not pay too much attention to it,” said Jones, the Patriots second-round pick on Friday. “As you get older, people tend to stray away from social media and I’m already starting to. At least trying to. And being more aware of what I put out there and knowing that I can’t respond to everything somebody says. That’s definitely something that myself and fellow rookies have to understand . . . We’re not just representing ourselves but our families and this organization. “
Jones -- based on the 10 minutes we spoke to him and the conference call from last Friday -- seems sharp enough to know where he ought not tread. In case he doesn’t, he and the rest of the rookies will get an indoctrination.