Forcing fumbles something Patriots practice, study on film


Forcing fumbles something Patriots practice, study on film

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has made everyone aware, in the past, that his teams practice forcing fumbles and causing turnovers everyday.

As he re-iterated on Friday, it's "part of defense" in the NFL.

New England leads the league in forced fumbles as a team, with 26, while recovering 18 of those and returning three of them for touchdowns. All are a league-high.

So, needless to say, practice is paying off.

"We work on stripping the ball everyday, recovering them everyday, and we talk about opportunities to get the ball back, and we watch film," said Belichick on Thursday, as his Patriots prepare for Sunday's game in Miami.

As for watching film before practicing those turnovers, Belichick said he focuses on pretty much everything, while thinking about how to get that football. After watching film on team's opposing ball-handlers, Belichick said he then continues to "rotate and keep drills fresh" throughout the season.

So causing turnovers isn't just about taking advantage of the opponent's mistake. It's also about practicing those techniques, and studying that opponent's ball-handling on film.

"Carry it, throw it, whatever opportunities we have," said Belichick. "If we see certain types of plays, certain techniques, point those out. If we're in a situation where we have an opportunity to be in the throwing lane, or disrupt the ball, or strip it out. Or if we read this, we could have a chance to undercut the route and intercept it . . . We watch plays and talk about those things, sure."

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night


Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Drew Moor, Sebastian Giovinco score, Toronto FC beats Revolution, 2-0

Drew Moor, Sebastian Giovinco score, Toronto FC beats Revolution, 2-0

TORONTO - Drew Moor scored early and Sebastian Giovinco struck late and Toronto FC overcame a tight schedule turnaround to beat the New England Revolution 2-0 on Friday night.

Toronto was coming off a 1-1 tie Wednesday night in Montreal in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. The Revs had been off since a 2-1 home loss to Chicago on Saturday.

Moor's 11th-minute goal looked to be enough, with Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono preserving the win with a save on Teal Bunbury's header in the 88th minute. But Giovinco added an insurance goal deep into stoppage time, bringing down a high ball before beating a defender and banging a left-footed shot home for his 50th goal in MLS regular-season and playoff action.

MLS leading Toronto (10-2-5) has won seven straight at home. New England (5-7-5) is 0-6-3 on the road.