Tom Brady threw short touchdown passes to Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker while the defense stiffened after a shaky first quarter as the Patriots kept their hopes of a first-round bye alive with a 23-16 win over the Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Patrick Chung's second interception of the day in the end zone as time expired preserved the victory for the Patriots, as they improve to 11-4 on the season.
The Texans lost at home to the Vikings, meaning the Patriots can still wind up with a first-round bye if they beat the Dolphins and the Texans lose next week in Indianapolis. If that scenario holds, and Denver loses once, the Patriots can clinch the top seed with a win next week.
The Jaguars appeared ready to march in for the game-tying touchdown with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars had first-and-goal at the New England 1 but then the Jaguars committed a false start to move the ball back five yards. Dont'a Hightower sacked Chad Henne back at the 10. Then, on fourth-and-goal from the Patriots 10, Chandler Jones hit Chad Henne, forcing an interception by Chung at the goal line, New England's NFL-leading seventh forced turnover in the red zone.
Welker had 10 catches, his 18th game with double figure receptions, passing hall of fame receiver Jerry Rice.
The Patriots started off miserably on both sides of the ball. After winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half as they normally do, the Patriots defense allowed the 31st ranked offense to march right down the field, going 78 yards in nine plays. The drive was capped by a 3-yard TD pass over the middle from Chad Henne to Justin Blackmon.
With starting linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard out with injuries, the Patriots were force to juggle the defensive starting lineup. Patrick Chung started at safety, Rob Ninkovich started at middle linebacker and Devin McCourty moved from safety to cornerback. With confusion abound, Jacksonville managed to rack up a franchise-record 202 yards in the first quarter.
Brady was intercepted twice in the first half but the Patriots escaped serious harm, as the Jaguars converted the two rare Brady miscues into a pair of field goals. Coming into the game, Brady was 5-0 lifetime against Jacksonville, including a pair of playoff wins while throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady also felt pressure early and often in the first half, taking a pair of big hits from star defensive end Jason Babin, one of which left Brady shaking his right hand.
But Brady and the offense finally found their rhythm. Brady used an effective effort from Stevan Ridley on the ground and Danny Woodhead as a receiver out of the backfield to get the offense back on track. Brady's two biggest plays of the first half were to Woodhead. A 24-yard screen pass set up a 49-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Brady found Woodhead for 14 yards in the left flat, and Woodhead made a juggling catch and ran in for a game-tying touchdown with 18 seconds left in the half.
The Patriots opened the second half with their third straight scoring drive, capped by a 38-yard Gostkowski field goal that gave the Patriots their first lead of the day, 16-13.
Brady and the offense went three-and-out on their next series and Brady was hit hard on the next possession, winding up on the ground on three of the four snaps he took. The Patriots defense did their job, allowing just 83 yards total over the second and third quarters.
Brady engineered a 59-yard drive on nine plays, finished off when he found Wes Welker on a swing pass in the right flat. Welker fought off a tackle and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 14:20 left in the fourth quarter, putting the Patriots up, 23-13. Josh Scobee hit a 42-yard field goal to end a string of 20 straight New England points, making it 23-16 with 8:42 left in the fourth.
Butch and Price discuss how Belichick and the Pats manipulate the roster with cuts, injuries, practice squad etc. - it's a complicated subject! They then move on to the improving play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Butch and Price start salivating over the thought of regular season football being less than 2 weeks away and discuss some early intriguing matchups.
Butch is in for Dickerson on NFL Sunday and he and Chris get into the victory over Carolina and their take-aways - the receivers could be in trouble if they don't get healthy with Wayne struggling and Boyce not contributing at all, Scott Chandler is a beast that could be a huge redzone threat with Gronk on the field and more. They talk about the offense and break down the running back depth chart. Then Trags gives them a call to give his take on the roster and their play so far.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Reggie Wayne's arrival in New England and look at what he might be able to bring to the team.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Butch and John are talking Red Sox on the Sunday Sports Roundtable. They get into the current state of the rotation and how things have improved as of late. Joe Kelly has been on fire, but is he a trade asset? The guys discuss the starting pitchers that will be free agents this year and if any are good fits in Boston. Then they move on to the decision to let Orsillo go in favor of Dave O'Brien - Tomase has an interesting perspective on this topic.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just one run in the win over the Mets.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, who hit his first career inside the park home run and propelled the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the New York Mets.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Dave Portnoy gave us the latest from the Brady Goodell hearing.
The Big O announces his return to WEEI.
Jesse Spector of Sporting News on Schilling.
The word is out, as WEEI has chosen Glenn Ordway as the new host of the 10-2 show, with Lou and Christian. The guys start the show talking about the news.
The guys discuss some possible headlines come Pats opening night and talk about the reception that Roger Goodell might get if he's in Foxboro.
On the brink of the Pats' third preseason game, Christian kicks around some players that we might see suit up tonight in Charlotte.
We wrap up the week with the best in sound that you may have missed, plus our intern on the mic Laroy Streat has some well-wishes for the birthday boy Jerry Thornton.
We discuss the infamous apologies, and how a little humble pie could have ended this entire Chris Mortensen misreporting mess way sooner.
We talk some Sox, including all things Hanley Ramirez.
Chris Mortensen went on a sports radio station in Arizona today and talked about his deflate gate reporting, and said that the Krafts called him to apologize over the whole situation. Only thing is there's a report tonight from D&C saying their sources at the Patriots are saying that did not happen, could Mort be, dare I say, wrong?
Chris Villani and Lenny Megs talk with Bob McGovern about the proceedings in the Tom Brady and NFL's deflate gate court case.
Villani is in for Mikey, he's talking about Chris Mortensen going on an Arizona station and talking about deflate gate and getting an apology from the Krafts.
It’s peek draft season so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are back with today’s Fantasy Football Podcast on Draft Strategy. Pete Davidson’s article at Rotobahn.com “The 2015 Draft Plan” fuels a deep conversation on how to approach the draft at all the key positions Quarterback, Runningback, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Defense. Get prepared and Happy Drafting!
Ben, Russ & Alex discuss their favorite transfer moves of the window, Alex shares his dislike for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and just how far can the Revs go this season?
Gerry and Kirk discuss deflategate and the Patriots relationship with ESPN.
We go inside the audio from 98.7 Arizona Sports Radio/ESPN and listen in as well as Chris Mortensen finally details the circumstances behind the infamous "11 of 12" footballs tweet, and also claims that the Patriots ownership called him personally to apologize... for what he doesn't specify.More from this show
Sean discussed his own firing from the Red Sox broadcast booth.More from this show