Wilfork, Mayo: Patriot Way means putting team first

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Wilfork, Mayo: Patriot Way means putting team first

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork didn't need reminding when he took to the podium Wednesday of AFC Championship week. He knew he was fortunate to have done the exact same thing last year. 
This season marks Wilfork's ninth in the league, ninth with the Patriots. Sunday's conference title game will be his fifth with New England. 
He understood the tradition of winning better than anyone else in the room. It is, after all, The Patriot Way. 
Wilfork discussed what it all means to him at this stage in his career. 
"I learned a long time ago with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour . . . I learned from some of the best that played around here," Wilfork said. "And the first thing that comes to your mind is you can't be selfish. It's not about you, it's about team, and if you buy into it, you'll be very successful.

"That's the one thing, I think, that this organization has had for a long time -- guys that come in and they're not selfish. They put the team first because it is a team sport, it's definitely a team sport. You need everybody working on the same page. If you have one or two guys that's not, you can be in big trouble. 
"That's The Patriot Way -- we put team first. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I've won a lot of games in my career here and I wouldn't trade it for nothing."
Another defensive captain, linebacker Jerod Mayo, was also asked to reflect. He explained that the attitude of excellence in New England goes beyond the athletes. Full commitment is expected on all levels of the organization, from sunup to sundown.
"The Patriot Way, for me, I think starts at the top with the Kraft family," Mayo said. "That's just not only being a good football player, but being a good person and falling in line. 
"We always talk about. If you want to be a good football team, you'll never get stuck in rush hour traffic. You want to be the first one here and the last guy to leave. I think guys really buy into that. Guys that come from other teams, I think they follow the lead of the bulk of the team and it's worked well here."

Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'

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Rex Ryan: 'If Belichick's playing quarterback, we're coming after him'

Must be Bills week. 

After Rex Ryan's club put together an impressive win at home over the Cardinals, 33-18, it wasn't long before the Bills coach was yapping about the Patriots and their coach Bill Belichick.

Ryan was asked about the quarterback situation in New England since both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are dealing with injuries at the moment. Who might the Bills see when they visit Gillette Stadium?

"Look, I can sit back and say I don’t care who plays quarterback, cuz I know (Tom) Brady ain’t," he said. "I don’t care who plays quarterback; Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If Belichick’s playing quarterback, we’re coming after him. I promise you that."

There's no indication yet as to whether or not Garoppolo or Brissett will be unavailable for Week 4. When asked about his level of concern when it came to his quarterbacks, Belichick didn't say much during a conference call on Sunday

Ryan, like the rest of us, will probably have to wait for the Patriots to release an injury report before he learns about the status of either young passer. And until then, he'll have to prepare for both. 

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

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Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.