Patriots 23, Chargers 20: Best and worst

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Patriots 23, Chargers 20: Best and worst

By Tom E. Curran and Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

SAN DIEGO -- The best and worst of the Patriots' 23-20 victory over the Chargers.
BEST RESPONSE TO A LONG WEEK In the first quarter, Patrick Crayton caught a pass at the sticks in front of Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather.After a week of being vilified (rightly) for his hit on Todd Heap, Meriweather lowered his shoulder and arrived at the right time, decleating Crayton. Crayton held on for the catch, though. BEST INSTANCE OF UNREWARDED TRICKINESSIn the first quarter, Tom Bradyhanded off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis who swept right then lateraled to Wes Welker who swept leftwho then lateraled to Brady who made a hurried throw into coverage intended for Deion Branch. In. Com. Plete. BEST INSTANCE OF UNREWARDED TRICKINESS IIThe Chargers attacked the Patriots with an onsides kick in the first quarter. The Patriots' Dane Fletcher recovered but New England didn't cash in, failing to make a first down.
BEST IMITATION OF THE 2002 PATRIOTS
Rob Ninkovich as KGB. The Chargers' lateral that Jacob Hester didn't pursue, for assuming an incomplete, was recovered after an awkward pause by Patriots OLB Rob Ninkovich. The move was reminiscent of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's recovery against the Patriots of a Brady backward pass that Kevin Faulk missed on October 13, '02. Ninkovich ran the ball 63 yards.

BEST HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTSAfter a stagnant first half, the Patriots took the second-half kickoff and went 89 yards in 17 plays with two third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion. The Chargers didn't get the ball until 6:19 remained in the third and the score was 20-3. WORST MIC MANAGEMENTBetween the third and fourth quarters, referee Tony Corrente left his on-field mic on. The stadium was treated to nuggets like, "Whadda we got, fourth-and-7?" "Just to let you know, we're behind three TV timeouts." The sounds of Corrente jogging to the other end of the field and his lament that "I can't hear poop in this thing."
WORST REALIZATION OF A POST-GAME GOAL
Tom Brady said that the Patriots "can't just play 30 minutes of good football" in reflection of his team's need to hustle for a last-second comeback win against Baltimore. New England followed up on its QB's statement with roughly eight minutes of good football this Sunday.

BEST UNDERRATED LINEBACKER
Jerod Mayo continues to impress. The defensive captain had nine tackles and a fumble recovery on the day. It's looking like Mayo will be the first Patriot to have three 100 tackle seasons since Lawyer Milloy. But New England some defensive issues on the front burner right now and not enough people are noticing.

WORST NERVES
Mary Paoletti, Comcast SportsNet New England, diving for cover when cannons and pyrotechnics accompanying the Chargers introductionswere set loose.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”