FOXBORO -- Wes Welker extended his reception streak to 88 straight regular-season games on Monday night . . . but not until the Patriots' final drive.
Up to that point in the game, Welker had only had one pass thrown his way by Tom Brady and it seemed as if his streak was in jeopardy. But when the Pats got the ball back with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter at their own 38-yard line, Brady wasted no time finding Welker for a six-yard reception on second down and a 16-yarder on third down.
After New England's win, Welker admitted to having knowledge of the streak. But he said he was still more concerned about preserving the win.
"Yeah, I mean, I know about it," said Welker. "But it's not my emphasis every time I step out there on the field. I'm just trying to go out there and catch balls and help the team win the game.
"That's not really our deal around here. We're just trying to do what we can to move the ball down the field, and move the chains, and win the game."
Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known.
He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.
“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.
“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”
More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.
"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.
*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.
*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.
*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.
*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.
*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.
*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.
*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.