Wilfork: 'We weren't ready to go'


Wilfork: 'We weren't ready to go'

Focus on the bottom line if you'd like, but the Patriots will examine every millisecond of their 23-16 win over Jacksonville. Only one more game stands between New England and the playoffs; any weaknesses exposed now, after almost an entire season of work, are troubling. 
Vince Wilfork certainly isn't satisfied with the defense.
"I dont know if we were flat or what, but it showed that we werent ready to go right away," the nose tackle said Sunday evening. "When that happens we really have to buckle down and play football. I think sometimes we did, sometimes we didnt."
The Jaguars steamrolled New England's defense on their first series of the game. Quarterback Chad Henne completed all six of his pass attempts in the nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. 
Jacksonville's 202 total first quarter yards are a franchise record. The team went up 13-3 (it would have been 16-3 if not for a missed 43-yard field goal) in the second quarter before New England really began to claw its way back in. 
Per usual, there were a couple of gaudy gains. 
Henne found Jordan Shipley for a 36-yard gain as time ticked down on the first quarter. Henne put an exclamation on the end of the frame with a 53-yard connection with Montell Owens. The Patriots allowed seven plays of 17 or more yards, including two on third down and one on fourth down. 
But the defense did tamp down.
"They gave us a little different approach offensively," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We made some adjustments once we kind of saw what they were doing. I think our players and coaches, we all got a better look at it. They did a good job starting the game off with a little different style and they were able to get the advantage on us but I think eventually we settled down and handled it."
Jacksonville was forced to punt on four of its last five drives. 
The biggest Patriots stop came in the fourth quarter when their 23-16 lead was in jeopardy. The 'D' was staring down a third-and-1 play on its own 1-yard line. An offsides penalty on Jacksonville's Zach Potter made it third-and-5 on New England's 5. That's when rookie Dont'a Hightower sacked Henne back to the 11. On fourth-and-10, fellow rookie Chandler Jones got after Henne, bothering the QB's throwing arm enough to create an interception for safety Patrick Chung. 
The game ended with Chung's second interception, this time on a jump ball in the back of the Patriots end zone. 
It was a good enough effort in the end. And you can add a few asterisks, if you're inclined. Both linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard were inactive due to injury. Cornerback Aqib Talib's bad hip pained him enough that he grabbed it after every play. The lack of secondary depth moved Devin McCourty back to corner and got Chung more snaps at safety. 
New England's defense saw a lot of rotation in general. 
Perhaps having Belichick dip into the bench earlier, and more often than usual made it difficult for the unit to get into a rhythm. Either way, inefficiencies against the NFL's 31st-ranked offense surfaced on Sunday. 
And the Patriots won't want to see it in the playoffs. 
"Im proud of the way that we responded, but at the same time at the end of the day, it wont be good enough," Wilfork said. 
"Plain and simple."

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason


Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015. 

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B


Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

Closing in on the A.L. East title, the Red Sox look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.

Right hander Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) goes for his 22nd win for the Red Sox, opposed by Rays right-hander Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41). Porcello is coming off a complete game victory in Baltimore.

The Red Sox began the day with a magic number of four to clinch the A.L. East with eight games to play. They could clinch a wild-card spot tonight with a victory and a Baltimore Orioles loss. 

Brock Holt starts at third base and Chris Young is in left field for Boston.

The lineups:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Brock Holt 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Rick Porcello RHP 

Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Corey Dickerson LF
Nick Franklin DH
Mikey Mahtook RF
Alexi Ramirez SS
Curt Casali C
Matt Andriese RHP