Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse

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Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two weeks ago, Josh Beckett, making his first public comments about the disastrous end to the Red Sox 2011 season, was strident and seemed more angry about the fact that information was leaked than anything else.

Sunday morning, facing questions from reporters, Beckett took a slightly more contrite stance while addressing last September.

On the way things ended: "Nobody was more disappointed than the players were. I didn't pitch well. That was the bottom line. The last two starts against Baltimore, they weren't good.''

On the clubhouse behavior and misdeeds: "I'm not saying that we didn't make mistakes because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistakes I made were not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn't execute pitches when I needed to.

"We made mistakes in the clubhouse and that's about as far as I'll go talking about the clubhouse . . . I'm upset with myself for the lapses in judgement. But there's also some ill-feelings toward some people.''

On whether as the acknowledged leader of the staff, he should take more responsibility for the clubhouse scandal: "I can only speak for myself here. I had lapses in judgement; I can't speak for anybody else. I want to try to keep it at. I can't speak (for other starters); I want this to be about me.

"I had things going and I got distracted and I think that was the biggest thing for me, going forward, that I would change, just not to be distracted.''

Asked to elaborate on being distracted, Beckett was asked if he was referencing becoming a parent, he repeated: "I was distracted.''

On his conditioning and apparent weight gain by the end of the season: "I never missed a workout . . . I was ready to pitch every time I pitched and I didn't execute pitches in my last two starts.

"I put on a little bit of weight. I don't have a reason for it, but it happened. I'm looking forward to going forward from here.''

On whether he understands the fans' anger: "Absolutely. I've been a fan of (teams), too. It stinks whenever things don't go the way they're supposed to go. We were a really good team and we were the best team in baseball for about five months. It sucks the way things ended and yeah, we're just as let down as they are.

"That doesn't make it right, but we were very let down as well.''

On needing to win back the fans: "I think we need to earn that trust back. I think they're the best fans in baseball. There's some good and some bad, but I think they're the best fans in baseball and I definitely think we need to earn that trust back and the way we have to do that is just go about the business the way we have in previous years and win ballgames. That's probably going to be the best way.''

Roethlisberger takes aim at young Steelers teammates after loss to Patriots

Roethlisberger takes aim at young Steelers teammates after loss to Patriots

FOXBORO – Ben Roethlisberger rolled some teammates under the bus Sunday night but it was hard to tell exactly which ones had the tire tracks to prove it.

“It just at times almost felt like it was almost too big for some of the young guys,” said Roethlisberger after the Steelers were sent home sucking on a 36-17 loss.

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

He could have been talking about young receivers Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton, each of whom had deep balls slide through or past their hands.

Or he could have been talking about Antonio Brown, who within a week, went from being the star of his own Facebook Live broadcast to being bottled up by the Patriots secondary (seven catches, 77 yards).

While Coates and Hamilton didn’t come up with “combat catches,” a Steelers term that both Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin employed, Brown launched the Steelers week of preparation by depantsing Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers veterans with his tone deaf self-promotion.  

Roethlisberger may have been talking about the on-field product when he said the following, but it just as easily could be applied to Brown.

“Hopefully this is a learning game for guys to understand that this isn’t promised to anybody,” said Roethlisberger. “Tomorrow’s not promised to any of us and just to make the playoffs isn’t enough to get to this championship game. A lot of guys have been in this league for a long time and haven’t been to any of these or have been to very few, so I hope that they understand the importance and relish the opportunity if it comes again.”

Asked if he thinks the younger players understood that, Roethlisberger said, “I don’t know. That’s a good question. That’s probably a question for other guys, but I know I did.”

Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'

Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'

FOXBORO -- Someone told Chris Hogan before the AFC Championship that it would be a game he'd look back on 30 years from now and remember in perfect detail. 

That may be difficult for him given the sheer volume of plays he made in Sunday's 36-17 win over the Steelers. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets, surpassing Deion Branch for the franchise record for receiving yards in a postseason game.

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

"It'll be something that definitely I'll remember for the rest of my career," he said, "and probably for the rest of my life . . . I'm happy for everyone in this locker room, all these guys in the locker room, the coaches. We've worked so hard to get here, and I was just happy that I was able to help this team get a win tonight."

Hogan did more than that. He was pivotal during New England's first touchdown drive of the night, catching passes on three consecutive plays for a total of 41 yards, and then reeling in an easy 16-yard touchdown when the Steelers defense lost track of him in the right half of the end zone. 

"I moved a little bit to the left because they were pressuring up the middle, and the pocket kind of collapsed," Brady said. "So I kind of slid to the left and I had good vision. They kind of bit down on Julian [Edelman] pretty hard, and then Hogs just was standing there in the back of the end zone."

Hogan's other catches were generally more contested than that one, but several were made without a Steelers defender harrassing him. And when they let him be, he made them pay. 

The flea-flicker pass that resulted in Hogan's second score of the day was a kick in the gut for the Steelers defense, putting the Patriots ahead, 17-6. Brady initially needed a reminder of how Hogan scored his second touchdown of the night, saying, "Oh, the flea-flicker. How could I forget that?"

"We ran one earlier in the year against, I think it was Baltimore, and it worked," Brady added. "I hit Hogan on that one too, on a crossing route. Those were well-executed plays. It's nice when you can take advantage of some of those plays, nice to gain some chunks that way when you kind of get some misdirection or double-pass, flea-flicker, something like that. It's a big spark for the team."

At that point Hogan already had racked up a career day. He had never scored multiple touchdowns in an NFL game coming in, and he set his own career-high for receiving in the postseason with 117 yards. In his first and only playoff game the week before, he had 95 yards on four catches. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury in that game that limited him in practice and made him questionable against the Steelers. But he played, and he gave his team an early boost, helping force the Steelers to play catch-up for the vast majority of the night.

And the injury didn't appear to slow him down all that much. Though there were times when he was slow to get to his feet after being tackled, he showed the kind of speed that allowed him to put himself near the top of the list in the NFL when it comes to yards-per-catch (18.7). Among  receivers with at least 20 catches, he trailed only Sammie Coates (20.7) of the Steelers. 

"He's been incredible," Brady said. "I mean, to lead the league in average yards per catch is spectacular. He's made big plays for us all season. He made big plays in the biggest game of the year for us."

It's one that he'll remember for a long time, but he's hoping to add to that happy memory in two weeks.

"We've grinded throughout this entire year, this is what we worked for, and this is what we wanted to get to," Hogan said. "It's a special moment for all of these guys in this locker room. We'll enjoy this and get back to work because we've got one more."