From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Eli Manning needed a near-record performance to make up for his own mistakes and help the Super Bowl champion New York Giants avoid a second straight loss.Manning threw for 510 yards and three touchdowns and capped the second greatest passing day by a Giants' quarterback by setting up Andre Brown's game-winning 2-yard run with a 50-yard pass that lifted New York to a wild 41-34 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The game featured four touchdowns in the final 6:48, and ended with some postgame squabbling between Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. Coughlin screamed at the former Rutgers coach after Manning was knocked down on the final play because the Bucs went all out to try to force a fumble on a kneel-down."I told some of our young players, you've played in big games in college, but this is something else," Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "This is what you live for. We'd have liked to play better, but if I was a fan at the game and not so close, I would have enjoyed it."Manning, who completed 31 of 51 passes, made it really enjoyable for Giants' fans. The two-time Super Bowl MVP overcame a miserable first half with a 295 yards passing in the second half, tying for the eighth most in NFL history and coming up 3 yards short of Phil Simms' club record. After his three first-half interceptions staked the Bucs (1-1) to an 11-point lead, Manning was nearly flawless when the Giants needed him at his best."Eli hung in. He made a couple of bad plays, but he didn't get discouraged," Coughlin said. "We just kept talking about the character of this team and we finally made some plays and came back."Manning threw touchdowns of 23 yards to Hakeem Nicks, 80 to Victor Cruz and 33 to Martellus Bennett with 3:59 to play to give New York a 34-27 lead. After Cruz scored and celebrated with his trademark salsa, Brown scored on a 2-point conversion run to tie the game."Nobody wants to start 0-2, so it was a big win, especially after the first half playing poorly," said Manning, whose previous single-game best was 420 yards passing against Seattle in a loss last season. "After not playing well, it's kind of getting back to that level of playing good football. Really good. No punts, no turnovers. Some big-time plays and stepping up when we needed it, that was fun to have."In 1951, Los Angeles' Norm Van Brocklin threw for a record 554 yards against New York.Josh Freeman tied the game at 34-all with a 41-yard pass to Mike Williams, but Manning drove New York 80 yards in four plays to win it. A 50-yard completion to Nicks led to Brown's score, which came one play after he kneeled at the 2 when Tampa Bay was letting him score."They made plays. It's a game of inches," Schiano said. "They were able to make them. We were close and we didn't. Just got to do a better job all around, coaching, playing.Schiano defended the way the Bucs played on the final snap, saying his team will play through the final whistle, which came one play after Michael Boley intercepted Freeman's pass at the Giants 30 in the closing seconds.Manning was not hurt, but there was shoving and maybe even punches in the scrum."It was a little bit of a cheap shot," Manning said. "We're taking a knee in a friendly way and they're firing off. It's a good way to get someone hurt."Manning's effort helped the Giants gain 604 yards and hold the ball for 33:29. Cruz, who attended his grandmother's funeral on Friday, and Hicks, who has battled foot injuries all season and had a foot stomped on in the Giants' 25-point fourth quarter, both had career games.Cruz finished with 11 catches for 179 yards, both career highs, while Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards, with the yardage a personal best.The Giants are the second team in NFL history to have a 500-yard passer and two 150-yard receivers in the same game. Van Brocklin's '51 Rams were the first."This team always says we're going to come back. It's just a confidence level you've got to have," Nicks said. "Eli is an elite quarterback, so there's a confidence that he can get it done."Lawrence Tynes kicked four field goals for the Giants, who played a lot better after a season-opening 24-17 loss to Dallas 10 days ago. But they trailed for most of the game.Freeman finished 15 of 28 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. The first score covered 29 yards to Vincent Jackson, who had five catches for 128 yards. Doug Martin (20 for 66) ran 8 yards for a TD and Eric Wright returned the last of Manning's interceptions 60 yards for a touchdown just :08 before halftime."It hurts, but I still believe in my teammates, and the coaching, and the staff," Buccaneers defensive lineman Michael Bennett said. "It's going to come together and it's going to be something great."The Bucs turned Manning's three first-half interceptions into 21 points, with the most crushing pick being Wright's 60-yard return for a 24-13 lead. Manning was moving New York into position for a field goal when Wright simply reached up and snatched Manning's short pass to Cruz. He then weaved his way through a logjam and down the sideline.Linebacker Mason Foster got the first interception at the Giants 28 early in the second quarter when Manning didn't put enough air under a touch pass to Bennett.Three plays later, Freeman showed poise under pressure and lofted an arcing pass that Jackson caught in stride for a touchdown.Backup cornerback Brandon McDonald got the second interception as the replacement officials missed a holding call on Barber against Cruz. McDonald returned it 40 yards and a personal foul moved the ball to the 13. Martin scored two plays later.Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Nicks closed the gap to 17-13, but Wright ended the half with his big play."He made some throws," Barber said. "They made more plays than we did. One more, in fact."NOTES:Wright's interception return was the 40th defensive TD for the Bucs since 2000, the third most in the NFL behind Baltimore and Green Bay, who are tied at 42. ...Tampa Bay PK Connor Barth made field goals of 45 and 52 yards and now has made 20 straight. ...Foster led the Bucs with 13 tackles. ...The Giants had two sacks with linebacker Chase Blackburn and Jason Pierre-Paul recording them. ...Pierre-Paul led New York with eight tackles. ..The Giants rushed for 94 yards against a Bucs' defense that limited Carolina to 10 yards in the season opener.
READING, Mass. – As Isaiah Thomas stood before a media scrum in the middle of his first basketball camp in New England, it was hard not to notice the Citi corporate backdrop behind his 5-foot-9 frame. And as you walk around gym at Reading Memorial High school, another sign with Body Armor SuperDrink, Hard Rock Café, Wilson and Welch’s Fruit Snacks among other sponsors, adorn a nearby wall.
Thomas’ rags to riches story is impressive when you stick to what he has accomplished on the basketball court.
But when you factor in the growing number of sponsors that have jumped on the Thomas bandwagon since he arrived in Boston, it’s clear his reach extends far beyond being just another player in the NBA.
Thomas will be the first to acknowledge that the perception of Boston and the reality that he has experienced in increasing his brand and overall awareness, are not one and the same.
“Ever since I’ve been here, people here have shown me nothing but love,” Thomas told CSNNE.com recently. “I know I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in, and I’m thankful that Danny [Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations] went and got me. Coming here has really been the best thing to happen for me, both as a player and as a person.
Thomas added, “Being a Celtic is something special; something that I don’t take for granted.”
The evolution of Thomas from the last player selected in the 2011 NBA draft, to being a sought-after player for the most storied franchise in NBA history, is the kind of Hollywood script that would become the lining to some hot shot producer’s trash can because it’s just not believable.
And yet it is indeed the story of Isaiah Thomas’ life, one that has made him a player whose magnetic smile, upbeat demeanor and talent have elevated him to a level few would have envisioned.
For Thomas, he sees the increased interest he has generated being about one thing: winning.
Prior to his first game with the Celtics, they were 20-22.
Thomas’ arrival in the middle of the 2014-15 concluded with Boston getting to the playoffs by winning 20 of its final 30 regular-season, which was a win total that was the third-highest in the league in that span of time.
And last season, Thomas’ first full season in Boston, the Celtics (48-34) finished in a four-way tie for the third-best best record in the Eastern Conference.
“Everything has gone up since I became a Celtic, and that goes with winning,” Thomas told CSNNE.com. “When you win and you’re seen a lot more, things start to happen for you. That says a lot about this organization and where I stand.”
Thomas’ standing as both a favorite of fans and corporate America isn’t all that surprising to Celtics officials.
“What makes Boston different than a lot of markets is how fans embrace the players and not just from a talent perspective, but from their personalities and the intangibles that they bring,” Rich Gotham, president of the Celtics, told CSNNE.com. “That’s what endears players to the Boston market and why fans follow them so closely. It affords them opportunities. A guy like Isaiah Thomas is a great example; we knew fans would love the guy. We knew what a competitor he was. We knew with him being a smaller guy, he was going to be the underdog-personality that fans like.”
Added Thomas: “People liked me a little bit when I played for those other teams and back home as well. But ever since I got on the Celtics, it skyrocketed. Everywhere I go people notice me and that says a lot because I blend in with everybody; I’m short just like everybody.”
While Thomas is admittedly short in stature, he continues to grow into a giant pitch man ranging from the shoe contract he signed with Nike last fall, to Citi, Good Humor Ice cream and Slim Jim beef jerky, just to name a few.
“It’s a blessing,” Thomas said of the uptick in endorsement opportunities. “I dreamed of things like this; for people to come for me for things like this … it’s a surreal moment.”
Thomas adds [seemingly on cue], “I’m excited for Citi … and everybody who is trying to partner with me.”
David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston.
It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.
With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays.
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Bryan Holaday C
Drew Pomeranz LHP
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison DH
Scott Souza RF
Mike Mahtook LF
Luke Maile C
Jake Odorizzi RHP
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox said Thursday that they still don't have a definitive diagnosis on Andrew Benintendi's injured left knee -- but they know enough to place the rookie outfielder on the disabled list.
Benintendi underwent an MRI Thursday morning and the results were being sent back to the Red Sox medical staff in Boston -- led by team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis - to be reviewed.
Marco Hernadnez was recalled from Pawtucket to take Benintendi's spot on the roster.
"The initial read down here was enough to place him on the disabled list,'' said John Farrell. "To what severity the injury is, I don't have that exactly. That will be determined after the review by Dr. Asnis and people back in Boston.''
Benintendi injured his knee on the basepaths in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. The outfielder attempted to elude a tag and return to second base when he wrenched his knee and rolled his ankle.
Asked if Benintendi's injury could be season-ending, Farrell said: "That's probably too early to tell. We're hope that it's not. We've just got to wait and see what comes out of this. And then depending on the findings, what is the safest thing for Andrew to get him back on the field. Optimistically, it's still this year.''
Farrell said there's little swelling and that Benintendi slept fairly well. He also noted that the ankle -- which he rolled -- isn’t a problem.
"Those are the positives,'' he said.
Boston has used seven players in left field this year -- Benintendi, Chris Young, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Ryan LaMarre and Bryce Brentz.
Benintendi, Young, Swihart and Holt have all spent time on the DL, leading the manager to refer to the position as a "kind of a Bermuda triangle unfortunately...it's been little bit of a dark hole.''
Farrell said Young will get the majority of playing time in left, according to Farrell. Holt will also see some playing time, though he won't necessarily play against all right-handers.
Hernandez, meanwhile, will serve as another utility option in the infield.
"We'll mix and match out there,' said Farrell. "But CY will probably get a good portion of the at-bats [in left].’’
Farrell added that, regardless of who gets the playing time in left, the Sox need others in the lineup to step forward.
"We need guys to revert back to their normal contributions,'' Farrell said. "We've been in a dry spell of late...We've got a few guys who are in a little bit of rut since the All-Star break.''
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is an obvious example, having gone just 10-for-41 on the long road trip. Jackie Bradley is another who's slumping, with just six hits in his last 36 at-bats. Finally, Travis Shaw is 3-for-20.