Patriots offense on record-setting pace

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Patriots offense on record-setting pace

Here are some notes from today's game between the Patriots and the Rams, courtesy of the Patriots media relations staff.

PATRIOTS SET NFL RECORD FOR MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 350 OR MORE YARDS
The Patriots gained a total of 473 yards of offense against the Rams, and have now gained at least 350 total yards in 17 consecutive games to set an NFL record. The Patriots entered the game tied with the St. Louis Rams -- who set the record in 1999-2000 -- with a streak of 16 games.

PATRIOTS ON PACE TO BREAK FRANCHISE RECORD FOR MOST NET YARDS
The Patriots have 3,526 net yards through the first eight games in 2012 and are on pace to finish with 7,052 yards, a total which would rank third in NFL history. The Patriots finished the 2011 season with 6,848 total net yards, setting a new franchise record for most total net yards in a season. That total is fourth all-time in NFL history.

GRONKOWSKI NOW HAS 35 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS
Since he entered the NFL in 2010, Gronkowski has 34 career touchdown receptions and 35 total touchdowns. The NFL record for most overall touchdowns in a players first three NFL seasons is 47 by Barry Sanders and the record for most touchdown receptions in a players first three NFL seasons is 43 by Randy Moss. Gronkowski (10 touchdowns in 2010 and 18 in 2011) can become the first tight end in NFL history with three straight 10-plus touchdown seasons. Gronkowski and Antonio Gates (13 in 2004 and 10 in 2005) are the only tight ends to have back-to-back 10-plus touchdown seasons.

WELKER RECEPTION PACE
Wes Welker has 60 receptions through eight games this season and is on pace to total 120 catches in 2012. If Wes Welker reaches 100 receptions in 2012, he will become the first player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons. Welkers four seasons with 100 or more receptions ties Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice for the NFL record.

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS CONTINUES FOR BRADY
Tom Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 40 straight regular season games following a 19-yard touchdown pass to WR Brandon Lloyd in the first quarter. It is the third longest streak, behind Drew Brees at 49 (current) and Johnny Unitas (47) (1956-60). Bradys current streak started when he threw a touchdown pass in all 16 games in 2010 and 2011 and now the first five games of 2012. The old team record was 19 games, also set by Brady.

WILSON HAD THREE NFL INTERCEPTIONS TO MATCH HIS CAREER TOTAL IN COLLEGE
Rookie Tavon Wilson intercepted a fourth quarter pass and returned it 45 yards for his third interception of the season. Wilson had three interceptions during his college career at Illinois.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin. 

 

Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

Three Things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

1) It only seems like David Ortiz can come through every time.

When Ortiz comes to the plate as he did Friday night -- bases loaded, no out, bottom of the ninth, Red Sox trailing by a run -- it seems like a win is a fait accompli.

"I think everybody in the ballpark just assumed this one might have a chance to be ended right there,'' said John Farrell. "He's been so big for us that everybody in the dugout felt the same way -- confident that the stage was set for him to come through with another dramatic moment.''

Instead, Ortiz rolled over a ground ball to second, and with the Twins infield drawn in, it was enough to turn a 4-2-3 double play that took the starch out of the inning for the Sox.

If anything, though, the inning revealed how remarkable Ortiz has been so often. It's not easy to come through even most times, and it's certainly far from automatic.

"The pitcher (closer Brandon Kintzler) made good pitches,'' said Ortiz. "That's the name of the game. I'm always looking forward to something happening. It just doesn't work out all the time.''

2) Eduardo Rodriguez has his slider back.

When Rodriguez endured a rough stretch in late May and June, he seemed to all but abandon his slider, relying almost exclusively on his two-seam fastball and changeup.

But since returning from a stint in Pawtucket, Rodriguez has flashed the slider that made him so effective as a rookie last season.

"Since he's come back,'' said Farrell, "he's added much more depth. He's able to get to the back foot of some righthanders for some swing-and-miss. He was on the plate with three quality pitches for strikes tonight.''

"I feel like I can locate it better, where I want it,'' confirmed Rodriguez. "Outside, inside corner...I'm getting more confident in it. I think I got out of my mind the tipping (pitches) stuff and all that stuff and I'm just working to throw the ball right where I want it.''

It's almost impossible for a starter in the big leagues to survive with just two pitches, as Rodriguez was attempting to do earlier this season. And it seems foolish to even try, given that Rodriguez's slider can be a plus-pitch for him at times.

3) If Mookie Betts has to miss some time, the Red Sox have options in right field.

Farrell said Betts has been dealing with soreness and stiffness in his right knee since after the All-Star break and has been undergoing treatment.

There's no evidence that this is serious, and he's considered day-to-day. But even if Betts needs some time off, or in a worse-case scenario, has to go on the DL, the Sox can do some things with their outfield.

Michael Martinez's best outfield position is right, as he demonstrated Friday night after taking over for Betts in the top of the fifth. Martinez ran a long way to grab a ball in foul territory for the final out in the sixth, then turned in a fine, tumbling catch in the eighth to take extra bases away from Adam Grossman.

Bryce Brentz, who's been in a platoon of sorts in left with Brock Holt, has played a lot of right field in the minors and has the arm strength to play there.

Finally, there's the matter of Andrew Benintendi. The Sox raised some eyebrows with the news that they were having Benintendi move over to left field at Double A Portland, perhaps in anticipation of playing the position for Boston at some point later this year.

Benintendi is a natural center fielder and even though he doesn't much experience in right, if you're athletic enough to play center, you can usually move to either corner spot.