Closeout fail

Closeout fail

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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.