FOXBORO -- The Houston Texans are tied with the New York Giants for the league lead in fewest sacks allowed this season.
Sure, it's a credit to their offensive line. But according to Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, it's even more of a credit to Arian Foster and the Texans' run game, which continues to make it easier on quarterback Matt Schaub in third-down situations.
"Well, I think they do a good job of running the ball, obviously," said Ninkovich after Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "And that sets up the play action. So it's not like guys are just letting loose out there and getting up the field every play. Because obviously if you did that, then they're going to run even more on you.
"And even when they're in third down, it's not like they're 3rd-and-12. They're 3rd-and-4, 3rd-and-5. So the ball's coming out quick, and it's not like Schaub's going to be back there patting the ball all day.
"It all comes down to doing your best to stop the run," added Ninkovich. "That kind of sets everything else up."
So to stop that run, Ninkovich says Monday night will be "all about hustle" for the Patriots' defensive front to get through the Texans' zone blocking scheme.
"They're all rolling," said Ninkovich. "So I think that's how they've been having some of those big plays in the running game. Everybody's running and the back side's getting cut down. So that's when the cutback comes and those big 20-yard runs come out."
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.
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.