INDIANAPOLIS - Brian Waters said the safety that came on the Patriots first offensive play of Super Bowl XLVI "didn't make a difference one way or another."Too much time left in the game to look at that play as a reason the Patriots didn't win. But when you look at the fallout from that play, you realize just how badly thetwo pointsthe Giants got when Tom Brady threw the ball to nobody with Justin Tuck bearing down on him in the end zone really hurt. The Patriots had just survived the first Giants' drive, an 11-play excursion that got down to the Patriots 33 before three straight negative plays forced a punt. After the safety, a Patriots defense no doubt a little short of breath from the drive and playing with so much adrenaline, had to come back on the field. And the Giants reeled off a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive against the Patriots as a result. It was New York's only touchdown of the night until the Patriots allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to score in the final minute so they could get the ball back. And, while the Giants were driving on their last possession, you couldn't help but look at the 17-15 score and realize how much harder it would have been for Eli Manning if he needed a touchdown to win instead of just a field goal. Deion Branch said the Patriots had three receivers out on the pattern. Rob Gronkowski was open short. Wes Welker ran a crossing pattern. Branch ran a deep in-cut. Brady threw it in the direction of Branch but his aim was to get rid of the ball, not complete a pass. And that's why the flag flew. New England didn't cry about the call but they seemed to disagree. "It's not my call," said Belichick when asked about the play. "It's a referee's judgment call," said Brady. "I was looking down the middle of the field and (Justin) Tuck was looking to come get me and I tried to get rid of it. The referee made the call."It was a huge play in the game regardless of the time. And even though Brady came back to complete20 of his next 22 passes after the grounding,the two points he gave away at the beginning haunted the Patriots all night.
BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.
The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.
The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.
The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.
“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”
The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.
“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”
A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.
The Bruins drop their third straight game as they fall 1-0 to the Blackhawks at the TD Garden.