Postcards from Camp: Day 4

830037.jpg

Postcards from Camp: Day 4

Day 4 of Patriots Training Camp. It was the second day in full pads. The team holds a morning walkthrough each day in the stadium before the practice in the afternoon that's open to public. It was another fat crowd on hand, more than 14,000 according to Patriots media relations.

WEATHER

It was a player-friendly day in terms of weather. Full cloud cover and temperatures in the low 70s.

WHAT THEY WORE

Full pads. And James Ihedigbo and Matt Slater still cruising around in red "Leave Me ALONE!!" jerseys.

WHAT THEY DID
1:45: The warmup period that included half-speed walkthroughs of some running plays, a few special teams reps and then team stretching and running before the team broke into positions and stretched and did drills.

2:15: Everyone but the offensive linemen took part in a strip drill, jogging across the width of the field while a teammate tugged at the ball. The teammates would switch and run back to the original spot. DBs and WRs again worked on setting the edge on running plays and funneling ball-carriers inside to the help. On one play, James Ihedigbo - despite the red shirt - got toppled by Britt Davis, a wide receiver. Assistant coach Steve Belichick was working as the quarterback during the run-force session. He needs to work on his tosses.

2:30: The linebackers and running backs engaged in a heated blitz pickup session. Tight end Spencer Larsen irritated linebacker Jeff Taripinian when he took Tarpinian down hard. Jerod Mayo finished his rush against Stevan Ridley with a high elbow near the helmet of the second-year back. Dane Fletcher beat Ridley badly on a blitz. Dont'a Hightower was a beast, running through Eric Kettani then pitching Kettani into running backs coach Ivan Fears. Fears hit the deck on contact. On Saturday, Hightower threw Danny Woodhead into assistant coach Pepper Johnson.

2:50: The team again ran half-line running plays giving the interior lines a chance to work on their reps from Saturday. The defense again continued to get good penetration against the makeshift offensive line group.

3:00-4:00: The team broke into 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. There were some goal line reps at the end. The defense held on two of the four plays run down there, one of the holds was a drop by Rob Gronkowski who had two drops on Sunday. One of the touchdowns came after Brandon Bolden toppled in after being hit in the backfield.

WHO'S HOT

Stevan Ridley continues to look fast and decisive and really comfortable in the offense.

Kicker Chris Koepplin drilled each of his field goal attempts, drilling about seven and moving all the way back to the 50-yard range before he was done.

Brian Hoyer continues to shine with his accuracy. His ability to gauge speed and anticipate openings on crossing routes is remarkable.

WHO'S NOT

Still not seeing much from Shane Vereen.

Same goes for Robert Gallery.

Brandon Spikes. Haven't seen him do too much as he works back from offseason knee surgery. He's not been a fast healer in the past and that seems to be holding.

WHAT WE SAW

Jabar Gaffney and Deion Branch were flipped in taking reps today. Branch ran with the 1s; Gaffney ran with the 2s with few exceptions.

Rookie Justin Francis blasted Danny Woodhead to the ground in 11-on-11.

After a number of running plays in 11-on-11, Tom Brady went play action and found Brandon Lloyd way behind the defense. Either Patrick Chung or Steve Gregory was the safety that blew the coverage. It was hard to tell because both men had their jerseys rolled up and they were at the far end of the field then obscured as they came back to the huddle.

Aaron Hernandez had cheek kisses for Jonathan Kraft.

Offensive lineman Jamey Richard wobbled off with a concussion.

WHAT THEY SAID

"To see three big linemen in front of you trying to get downfield on some DBs, it's a chance to make a big play. To me, it's a present, almost." - Stevan Ridley on the Patriots' screen game which has been cropping up quite a bit in early work.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams hold off 49ers for wild 41-39 win

ap_17265033973715.jpg

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams hold off 49ers for wild 41-39 win

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Coach Sean McVay walked into the postgame news conference and immediately asked, "Anyone have a beer?"

He probably wasn't the only person who wanted a drink after watching a surprisingly thrilling Thursday night shootout between his Rams and the San Francisco 49ers that wasn't decided until Los Angeles prevented a potential game-tying 2-point try and then delivered a rare defensive stop after blowing the onside kick in a 41-39 victory.

"We talk about mentally tough, be your best regardless of the circumstance," McVay said. "I thought the players did that. They found a way in spite of some of the ups and the downs to come away with the win."

While the defense came up big late, it was the offense that carried the day for the Rams (2-1), who have gone from the lowest-scoring team in the NFL a year ago to a dynamic one through three games under McVay.

Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns, Todd Gurley ran for 113 yards and scored three TDs and Robert Woods (108) and Sammy Watkins (106) each topped the 100-yard mark receiving in Los Angeles' second 40-point performance of the season. The Rams have 107 points in all so far, the second-most in franchise history after three games to the 119 by "The Greatest Show on Turf" squad in 2000.

"Since I've been here we haven't been able to do that," Gurley said. "Hopefully we can keep putting points together, keep working together and keep learning from this. I think we left a lot more points off the board."

This win didn't come easy as the Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead, giving up two late touchdowns, fumbling a kickoff return and failing to recover an onside kick. But Los Angeles managed to stop a potential game-tying 2-point conversion on a deflection by Troy Hill and then used an offensive pass interference penalty against Trent Taylor and a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald to stop the Niners after the onside kick.

The 49ers (0-3) scored five touchdowns after failing to get any the first two weeks but still came up short in part because a missed extra point by Robbie Gould forced them to try for 2 on their late touchdown.

"I just rushed it, I missed it, I made a mistake," Gould said. "Obviously, I wish I didn't do that, or we'd probably be playing in overtime right now.""

This time it was a tired defense that hurt San Francisco. After facing 79 plays in a 12-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the 49ers appeared to run out of gas on the short week as Goff frequently had wide-open receivers, especially on third down.

The Rams were 8 for 12 on third down, including all three of Goff's touchdown passes.

The Rams needed all that offense on a night where Brian Hoyer threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.

QUICK START: The Rams took just 12 seconds to get on the board as Nickell Robey-Coleman intercepted Hoyer on the first play from scrimmage and returned it to the 3-yard line. Gurley ran it in on the next play to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

"I just told him to start over," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Got to go back to work. We didn't change anything, went right on with the script. But it was a tough way to start out."

DROUGHT BUSTER: The 49ers came into the game without a touchdown on the season but broke through in the first quarter with some help from the Rams. After Blake Countess jumped offside on a punt, the Niners took advantage of the second opportunity and drove to score on Hoyer's 9-yard run 126:43 into the season. That was the longest it took a team to score its first TD since 2006 when both Tampa Bay (143:03) and Oakland (127:10) took more time.

FOURTH DOWN CALLS: Both teams drove to the opposing 1 on their opening drives of the second half with help from a Willie Mays-style basket catch by Watkins and a perfect toe drag on the sideline by San Francisco's Pierre Garcon. But the Rams opted to kick a short field goal, while the 49ers went for it and converted on Carlos Hyde's 1-yard run that cut Los Angeles' lead to 27-20. Hyde added a second 1-yard run on fourth down in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES: Rams S Lamarcus Joyner left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. ... Los Angeles C John Sullivan injured his groin in the second half and Watkins and Tavon Austin left with concussions. ... 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (concussion), FB Kyle Juszczyk (neck), DL Tank Carradine (ankle) and LB Brock Coyle (concussion) all left with injuries in the second half.

UP NEXT: The Rams travel to Dallas on Oct. 1. The 49ers visit Arizona.

Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.

0:41 - Tom E. Curran breaks down the ‘blueprint’ to beat the Patriots and if the Texans have the talent to do it.

5:27 - Michael Holley and Kayce Smith discuss Kyrie Irving’s comments that he made on Early Edition about going back to Cleveland for the opening game. 

9:52 - We take a listen to what Malcolm Butler had to say about his role on the team and discuss how the cornerback keeps saying all the right things. 

15:18 - Michael McCann, Legal Analyst for Sports Illustrated joins BST to talk about Aaron Hernandez’s brain found to have CTE and his family now suing the NFL and the Patriots.