Safety ends up being dangerous to Pats


Safety ends up being dangerous to Pats

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.

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The addition of Chris Sale to the Red Sox' rotation has created a rare glut of starting pitchers, including seven with major league experience.

That means that at least one will have to be moved in a trade. But Red Sox' president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski isn't in any hurry.

"We're not aggressively looking to do something,'' he said. "We're really just digesting what's taken place. I think if we wanted to aggressively make a deal, we could definitely do that. But I don't really have a big hole on our major league club to address at this time.

"I think it's really important to gather all the info. Some teams have (starters) available; there are free agents out there. Our philosophy is kind of say, 'Let's just see what happens.' We're not going to rush out and do anything.''

That makes sense, especially since there's a very thin free agent market for starters, and many teams that need upgrades to their rotation.

Eventually, some are going to get desperate and may have to overpay. In that scenario, the Sox could really capitalize.

The starter the Sox would like to move the most is Clay Buchholz, if only because his salary ($13.5 million) is easily the highest among the three the Sox would be willing to part with. Steven Wright has yet to qualify for salary arbitration and Drew Pomeranz will get a bump from last year, but will still be under $5 million after arbitration.

Eduardo Rodriguez, meanwhile, almost certainly won't be dealt because of his youth and potential, though Dombrowski hinted that teams have checked on the availability of every starter except The Big Three of Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello "as well as guys who aren't (in the current major league picture like Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, and Roenis Elias).''

Depth in the rotation is always welcome, but the numbers are such that the Sox can't make the current group of seven starters work.

"You start counting,'' said Dombrowski, "and there's not enough spots for everybody on the team.''

It's possible that the Sox could go into spring training with all seven and wait to see if injuries elsewhere give them additional leverage.

But that, too, is unlikely.

"It seems like there's not a lot of moves made in spring training,'' he said.

As for what the Sox might be seeking in return, the Sox don't have any obvious need they have to fill. It's possible they could want to obtain some prospects to help restock the system after six were traded in two trades this week.

"I can't really answer that question.'' he said. "We've traded a lot (of prospects). We wouldn't mind replenishing some of what we've traded.''

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

There’s no such thing as a good time to have an injury. 

But in terms of Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a right groin injury and the schedule awaiting the Boston Celtics … this is about as bad a time as you can imagine to be without their scoring leader.

Thomas returned to Boston ahead of tonight’s game at Orlando, marking his first game missed since the 2014-2015 season. 

He suffered a right groin injury in the second quarter of Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday. 

At the time, Thomas was optimistic that he would be able to play tonight. But with a day off from practice, the soreness proved to be too much for Thomas to suit up and play tonight. 

While it’s unclear just how severe his groin injury is, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious (like they are with most injuries) about his return which may result in him missing more games than Wednesday night’s matchup against Orlando. 

“Those things (groin injuries) are a little unpredictable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier today. “Especially in this sport, you have to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. It’s important that he’s 100 percent.”

Stevens is spot-on when he talks about how uncertain a return for Thomas is currently. 

New York’s Kristaps Porzingis suffered a groin injury against the Celtics in a preseason game back in October that didn’t result in anything more than him missing a day of practice. 

It was a different story when Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic suffered a right groin injury last spring (March 7-29) that sidelined him for 13 games. 

The timetable for Thomas’ return to the floor is likely to fall somewhere within those two timetables which would make an already daunting stretch of games even more difficult. 

Following tonight’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining in the month of December with nine being against teams with a winning record. And of the three games against teams below-.500 (Miami twice, Indiana), two of them are on the road.