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.
Phil Perry joins SNC to explain to you why it is still possible that both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett could be ready for Week 4 against the Bills.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.
“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.
“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”
Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.
“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”
Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.
As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.