Doubront impresses in first start of season


Doubront impresses in first start of season

TORONTO -- Felix Doubront didn't pitch as deep into the game as the Red Sox would have liked. But while he was on the mound Monday night, there were no complaints.

Doubront allowed two runs on four hits while striking out six against the Toronto Blue Jays. The only problem was, thanks to his pitch count, he was lifted after five, having already thrown 101 pitches.

"That was a really well-pitched game by Felix," gushed manager Bobby Valentine. "He took spring training right into the game. I thought he had great stuff. His curve ball was terrific. His fastball was moving."

"I was pretty much focused on throwing strikes," said Doubront, who set a career high with his six strikeouts. "I was focusing on keeping the ball down, no matter what. I threw five innings and kept the score like that and waited for the team to get some runs and win the game."

Doubront said he understood the significance of the game after an 0-3 start in Detroit and concentrate on giving his team a chance to get its first win.

He also handled Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista expertly. Three times, Bautista came to the plate with runners on base and three times, Doubront won the battle.

The lefty got Bautista to hit into an inning-ending double play in the first, retired him on a flyout to right with two on and one out in the third and finally, got him to foul out weakly to third with a runner on first and one out in the fifth.

"I just kept the ball down and didn't elevate the four-seamer up," said Doubront. "He's a good hitter and he can do some damage if you leave the ball up over the plate. Pretty much, that was my approach to him -- keep the ball down. I did a pretty good job against him."

The only negative for Doubront was working deep into counts, and with it, running his pitch count up to the point where he could only give the team five innings.

"There were a lot of real close pitches," said Valentine. "I'm sure when the umpires get to know him and know that he's around the plate the way he is, he's going to get a lot more (calls his way)."

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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