Week 1: The Aftermath

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Week 1: The Aftermath

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

I woke up Sunday morning at about 9:30 am. Got up, brushed my teeth, looked out the window and saw two dudes carrying a pair of 30 racks and mini-keg down my street.

Football season!

The significance of the games may increase every week, but in terms of pure fun, Week 1 of the NFL season ranks right up there with the first round of the NCAA tournament and the WNBA All-Star game as one of the greatest daylong spectacles in sports.

NFL Sundays are like a drug, and Week 1 is like a binge after eight months of sobriety. It hits you all at once, and you suddenly remember how you got hooked in the first place. Before Sunday, itd been eight long months since we had the pleasure to get blown away by Chris Johnson or stupefied by a Randy Moss press conference or gamble with the passion of Antoine Walker or become dangerously bipolar while following StatTracker.

It was all as glorious as I remember it. I loved every second. And over the course of the day I got at least 10 random texts messages from friends who were spending this Sunday doing the same thing as me: Just sitting on their couch, beaming over the fact that football's back.

Not those two guys from the morning, though. I'm pretty sure they were passed out by noon.

Anyway, here are a some quick thoughts on a few of Sundays biggest stories:

"Mr. Moss, the podium is yours."
I have no beef with what Randy Moss said after Sundays game. Could he have timed it a little better? Yeah, sure. But the question is, for whom? More than anyone, maybe himself, as Im sure that the front office wasnt thrilled, but who else really suffers from Moss postgame sideshow? One argument I heard was that the outburst took away from Wes Welkers heroic return. That Moss should have taken more time to praise his fellow receiver. OK, maybe that would have been nice, but in reality, do you think Welker cared even a little bit that he wasnt the focal point of that press conference? He was far more likely to be sitting at his locker, and feeling lucky to have a receiver like Moss out there with him every Sunday. And most of the other guys feel the same way.

Randy's been like this since he got here. You know what you're going to get. He's going to be crazy. He's going to dog it every once in a while. It won't always be smooth sailing. But at the end of the day, he always makes you a better team. He's still one of the best in the game. And that's why, despite all the baggage Moss brings, Tom Brady has still been so vocal about how badly he wants Moss back. It's because he understands his teammate. It's because he wants to win more than anything, and knows that Randy does, too. The Pats just need to accept that already. They have to, at the very least, open up a dialogue with the guy. Because as far as this team goes, it's not a matter of wanting Randy Moss. They need him.

Obviously, next weekend at the Meadowlands is huge. If Moss can escape Revis Island and help lead the Pats to a enormous statement win, then the cries to sign Randy will ring louder than the Rex Ryan when he's all hopped up on peanut M&Ms. All the onus will be on the Pats, and theyll be pushed to react. Youd like to think that they would, but who knows?

They'll probably try and make him publicly apologize for Sunday's tirade before letting him sign.

Speaking of apologies . . .
Lets say you're out at a bar one night with your girlfriend and her friends. It's a good time, everyone's having fun, the drinks are flying and then all of a sudden, through some random conversation, you find out she lied to you about something. Something pretty significant. You get upset. Now you're in a fight, it gets a little heated, you say one or two things that you shouldn't and she walks out. You guys break up.

I swear this will have a point in a second.

Two weeks pass, and you're still upset about what she did, but you know you can get over it. She feels the same way, and you guys decide to work it out. She apologizes for lying, and you explain how sorry you are for what you said. At this point, you realize that even though you're genuinely hurt, your comments were a little bit over the line. So you get back together; you're both ready to move forward.

Until an hour passes and she calls to say: "Hey, um, so, I've decided that the only way I'll take you back is if you also e-mail all the girls we were out with that night and apologize for what you said to me.

"I want them to all know how sorry you are. But it's not enough that they hear it from me. Gotta come from you."

Ehhh, I dont know. In some cases, maybe you write the e-mail. Maybe you say, "OK, this sucks, she's who I want to be with, so I'll suck it up to make her happy."

But if this relationship was already rocky to begin with, or, if you're still secretly harboring some very strong negative feelings from the night in question, then I doubt you'd do it. You'd take it as a slap in the face. You'd feel like she was trying to demean you in front of her friends, when in reality you were both at fault.

You'd probably walk. I know Logan Mankins would.

The Megatron Bomb
Did anyone else notice that Calvin Johnson's left hand was out of bounds in the back of the end zone before he dropped the ball? Actually, I'm not sure if it was, because we never got the perfect angle, but gun to my head, the left hand was down on the white before the ball came out. Think about that for a second. How does it make sense that a guy could have possession of the ball, go out of bounds, and then be penalized for something done after the fact?

In any other situation, if you go out of bounds when you have possession then that's it. Like, imagine a receiver makes a catch on the sidelines, gets two feet down, then steps out, stumbles and drops the ball on impact. That's a reception. But in this case that didn't matter. Or maybe it was just never brought up.

Either way, this rule does have to be tweaked. If for no other reason than because players today are absolute freaks. They can do things like catch the ball with one hand, be in complete control, and then go out of bounds with the other.

I understand the rule, but there's no doubt he caught the ball. The touchdown should have been good. But on Sunday, it was only good if you were a Bears fan (or if you were playing against Johnson in fantasy).

Fail Mary
If you missed the last play of the first half of last nights CowboysRedskins game, heres a quick recap:

Washington's up 3-0, and Dallas has the ball on its own 36. Obviously the Cowboys want to take a shot at the end zone, so Romo takes the snap, and fades back for a Hail Mary attempt. Nothing's there, so he steps up in the pocket and decides to throw a one-yard dump off to Tashard Choice, who promptly gets hit, fumbles and lies on the ground as DAngelo Hall returns it for six.

It was a crushing play. Which for some reason prompted Cris Collinsworth to take a collective shot at NFL fans. I'm paraphrasing, but this is essentially what Collinsworth said after the Washington TD:

"You know, Al, you've got all these fans around the league who like to yell and boo when their team takes a knee and runs out the clock at the half, and, well, this is what you get . . . By the way, how do you like the sound of my voice? I love it!"

He painted the Hail Mary as some intricate play with a high risk of disaster, which the fans so savagely ignore in their quest for entertainment. When in reality, the whole things pretty basic. There's no precision timing, laterals or fumblerooskis involved; it's basically, "OK, everyone run down there, I'm gonna yell '500' and toss it up. Or if I get in trouble, I'll just throw it away." Can something go wrong? Of course, but something can always go wrong. Shouldn't fans be able to trust that their team can pull a Hail Mary? Or that their quarterback knows not to throw a last-second shovel pass to a back-up running back who's surrounded by three defenders and the sideline?

Despite what Collinsworth was suggesting, Wade Phillips' mistake wasnt calling for an oh-so-risky Hail Mary. It was that, as usual, his team lacks discipline and doesn't know how to react in pressure situations.

Yet somehow, he continues to work.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-3 loss to the Rangers:

 

QUOTES

* “On a night when he didn’t have the consistency to the knuckleball that we’ve seen from many of his starts, he went to his fastball a little bit more. [Against] a good fastball hitting team . . . He’s typically made good adjustments staying over the rubber to get his release point out front -- that wasn’t the case [tonight].” John Farrell said about Steven Wright struggling with his knuckleball in his 4.2 inning outing.

* “The ball was spinning a lot out of my hand. It was a little bit hard to grip the ball because the humidity. But it was the opposite -- it was real sticky. That’s the first time I’ve had that ever. But I still felt like I should have figured that out. It was one of those things where I think I started trying to hard . . . I was trying to the throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t working.” Steven Wright said about struggling to find his knuckleball in the 10-3 loss.

* “It’s hard for me because you want to go out there and try and go as deep as you can to try to help the bullpen, but, you know, today was tough, a tough day for me.” Wright said on his disappointment with only going 4.2 innings.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Hanley Ramirez laced his fourth homerun in his last 11 games. In his nine career games at Texas, Ramirez has six homeruns.

* David Ortiz went hitless for the first time since June 12th. Boston’s designated hitter also hasn’t hit a home run since June 17th -- his third longest homerless spell of 2016.

* Xander Bogaerts scored his 57th run of the season, putting him one run behind Ian Kinsler -- the fourth highest total in the majors.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk -- scoring the team high three runs.

 

2) Ian Desmond

Desmond laced his 13th homer of the season in his second at-bat of the game, sparking Texas’ offense with its first run of the game.

 

3) Elvis Andrus

Andrus ended Steven Wright’s day quickly with a three-run triple in the fifth inning, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.

Revolution shut out by D.C. United, 2-0

Revolution shut out by D.C. United, 2-0

WASHINGTON -- Lamar Neagle had a goal and an assist to give D.C. United an early lead that stood up in a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday night.

D.C., after being shut out in its two previous games and four of six, opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Luciano Acosta chipped a perfect pass over the defense to the foot of Neagle, who volleyed it in from 10 yards out.

Sean Franklin scored the second goal, his first of the season, when he knocked in Neagle's cross. Albaro Saborio sent a long ball down the right sideline that Neagle ran down and crossed to Franklin for the easy counter.

D.C. (5-6-5) leapfrogged the Revolution (4-5-7) into fifth in the Eastern Conference with its fourth shutout in the last seven games and improved to 2-0-1 in the series this season.