Texans secondary a big part of dangerous defense


Texans secondary a big part of dangerous defense

There is more to defense than J.J. Watt. 
That's the message New England's coaches and coordinators have been stressing since the Patriots-Texans Divisional Playoff was set, anyway. 
Houston's regular season passing defense was average in total yards surrendered (3612) but allowed the league's lowest completion percentage at 53.0. The Texans 44 sacks was tied as fifth-best in the NFL. 
Yes, Watt had 20.5 of those sacks, but the entire defense does not rest on his shoulders alone. 
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Monday that Houston's secondary also causes plenty of problems. Texans defensive backs play man coverage, they pressure, they play single coverage during blitzes, they play in the slot. 
"I think cornerback Jonathan Joseph has done a good job of matching up on some specific receivers during the course of the season," McDaniels noted. "He's really a talented guy and worthy of all of the accolades he's received. He's done a great job of really competing well and some of those games when he's been matched on some really top-notch receivers. 
"The safeties, they're asked to play a lot of different roles, too. Danieal Manning plays down near the front in some of their man coverages and is asked to cover some of the tight ends. I think he's really competitive in those situations. He does a great job of getting the ball off of people and stripping the ball away, and has a history of that over his career. Glover Quinn plays safety and has played down in the front and blitzed and been a disruptive guy in their dime package."
The point is, though the Patriots have a healthy respect for Watt's disruptiveness, they will prepare for the big picture. Houston has a solid secondary that complements a formative front, and to McDaniels, that's about as dangerous as a defense can get. 
"There's a lot of talented players back there," McDaniels said. "They have to hold up sometimes when they pressure, and then other times they do a good job of really shutting things down on the backend and giving the front an opportunity to get to the passer. And I think all of them will come up in run support. It's a really good defense and there's no question the secondary plays a big role in that."

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays


Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

The win secures them a spot in the postseason

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.