Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

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Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

FOXBORO -- In the waning moments of the first half, the Patriots were caught in a time crunch that forced them to settle for a field goal when they hoped to take a shot at the end zone for six points.

With just under 30 seconds remaining, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scrambled from the pocket and gained three yards before sliding at the Baltimore seven-yard line. With 20 seconds left, and one timeout, the Patriots had two options:

1) Call timeout, throw a pass into the end zone and hope for a touchdown catch or an incompletion, which would stop the clock and allow the Patriots to attempt a chip-shot field goal to end the half, or 2) spike the ball at the line of scrimmage, stopping the clock, and then still have time to run one quick play for a touchdown; if that didn't work, the Patriots could call time out and finish the half with a field-goal attempt.

Going off of coach Bill Belichick's explanation after the game, the Patriots tried for Option No. 2 but couldn't get to the line in time to "clock" the ball (read: spike it) in time.

Belichick said there was no thought of going with Option No. 1, calling an immediate timeout after Brady's run.

"I thought we could get up there, or we wanted to try to get up there and clock it and have time to run a play and have the timeout to kick the field goal," Belichick said. "So no there was no thought put into calling an immediate timeout, not really. I guess if we had known that it would take as long as it did to get the ball finally clocked we would have called a timeout, but then we didnt get a great look on the play."

Eventually, the clock ticked all the way down to four seconds and Brady was forced to call timeout just so the team had enough time to kick a field goal.

"Tom actually called timeout at the same time I did," Belichick said, "so we just didnt have it."

However, it looked like Brady was trying to line up a play without ever spiking the ball to stop the clock. He was lined up in the shotgun, lining up his teammates for a play before he looked up and realized time was running out in the half.

"Well, we had one timeout left so we were trying to save that for the field goal," Brady said. "I would have loved to get the touchdown there, but we settled for the field goal to go up, whatever it was, 13-7 at the half. We felt pretty good about where we were at halftime, but we just didnt come out in the second half and execute very well."

It was a bit of awkward time management that rarely seems to grip the Patriots, an uncharacteristic moment in a night full of them.

Ramirez bothered by right shoulder more than last year

Ramirez bothered by right shoulder more than last year

BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez on Wednesday afternoon acknowledged his shoulders are bothering him more this year than last year.

In specific, it’s the right (throwing) shoulder that’s bothersome, he said to CSNNE, noting it just doesn’t move as he wants it to — rotating his arm as he spoke. Asked how that happened, how it worsened, he said it was in spring training that he thinks he pushed it too hard.

On the positive side, Ramirez said his shoulders are improving.

"Honestly, yeah, it's feeling better now," Ramirez told a group of reporters. "It's started feeling better now than early in the year. I can use the top hand and drop a little bit the head of the bat. I was losing that. I was talking to [hitting coaches Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez] about that. I've got to be able to use that top hand. Like Jim Rice."

Ramirez, who seems to always want to be playful in his interactions with the media, appeared surprised to learn that he was not hitting lefties well so far this year. He’s 5-for-35 against them.

Ramirez was out the lineup for a third straight game Wednesday, but took batting practice on the field and also took grounders at first base. As batting practice ended, he spoke to a group of reporters coming off the field.

"What am I hitting against lefties right now?” Ramirez asked in a response to a question about how he was feeling vs. southpaws.

It was low, he was told. He waited while a reporter used his phone to look up the specifics for him.

“Is it really? So it’s not me. I've got to get going because I crush lefties. It can't happen,” Ramirez said in the group. "You're kidding me. It took you long enough to tell me that. I didn't know that for real. So OK, after this conversation, let's see what's going to happen now. I'll say it. Yeah. Bring it. OK? I didn't know, I swear. Interesting. Thank you.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t sure if Ramirez’s struggles vs. lefties was related to his shoulders. 

“Because if there’s the need or the tendency for Hanley to start his swing early because he might not feel as loose or reactive, as he might otherwise, if a left-hander’s going to sink the ball away from him or keep the ball on the outside of the plate and that early commitment might cause you to pull off some pitches, that’s one possibility,” Farrell said. “But I can’t say that’s the absolute sole reason.”

The Sox still believe Ramirez is healthy enough to contribute well.

“Without being in his body, and knowing what he’s feeling, you know, if you watch the number of hours he puts in for the shoulder maintenance, that’s real,” Farrell said. “All we can evaluate is his feedback and how he swings the bat with either the plate coverage or the aggressiveness and the ability to impact the baseball. And there has been stretches of that. I think he would be the first to admit, would like for it to be more consistent.”

Farrell was asked a bunch of questions about Ramirez on Wednesday afternoon in the usual pre-game press conference, including whether he’s difficult to manage. If that’s the case — and it sure seems so —  Farrell did not let on.

"With individuals you take the added time needed to sit down and talk things through and get a sense of where each individual player is," Farrell said. "I wouldn’t say Hanley is different than other guys in that clubhouse."

Ramirez did very well in the second half last year and was optimistic.

“It's coming along,” he said. “I think second half's coming and I'm ready for that. ... Just one click and you go from there. Like I said, I'm not going to stop working. I'm going to get hot.”