Mitch's Sports Report: No Defending Terrible Patriots Defense In Loss To Panthers
All is not well in Foxboro, where the defending Superbowl champion New England Patriots are now 2-2 on the season, with two home losses in that mix after a 33-30 defeat against the Carolina Panthers yesterday.
Defense, or the lack thereof, is the main culprit, with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton picking apart the Patriots secondary at will. He threw three touchdowns on the day and ran for another, and built up a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. But Tom Brady answered, and led two drives that resulted in touchdowns on an 8-yard run by Dion Lewis and then a pass in the back of the end zone to Danny Amendola to tie the game at 30.
The Patriots defense finally showed some mettle in the ensuing drive, sacking Newton on a third and four that should have put the ball back in Brady's hands with less than four minutes to go, but on the play Stephon Gilmore was flagged for a hands to the face penalty and that gave Carolina an automatic first down and the drive continued. That was all Newton needed to move the Panthers into field goal range and kicker Graham Gano nailed a 48-yarder as time expired to give Carolina the win. Gilmore, meanwhile, was only in the game due to an injury to Eric Rowe, and it's a bafflement as to why Gilmore has struggled so much since signing a $65 Million deal with New England in the off season. He is not the only party guilty of poor secondary coverage but he was supposed to be a lock-down defender who would bolster the Pats secondary, but he was already in the dog house for blown coverage on two earlier Panthers scores when his costly penalty occurred late in yesterday's game. Stephen Gostowski did kick a franchise best 58-yard field goal for the Pats in the loss.
The NY Jets used the ground game to score a 23-20 overtime win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bilal Powell rushed for a career-high 163 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, and rookie Elijah McGuire had a 69-yard score, but the Jets won the game on the foot of Chandler Catanzaro, who split the uprights from 41 yards out with 28 seconds left in OT to even the Jets record at 2-2.
And yet another game ended on a game-winning field goal in Tampa, where the Buccaneers beat the NY Giants 25-23 on a last second field goal by Nick Folk, a 34-yarder that keeps the Giants winless on the season in their first four games. Jameis Winston threw for 332 and three touchdowns in the win for the Bucs.
The Major League baseball season officially wrapped up yesterday and fortunately for the Boston Red Sox the game had no meaning for their playoff positioning after securing the A.L. east division title on Saturday. Most of the starters were rested yesterday in a 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros, the team the Red Sox will open the playoffs against Thursday in Houston. Hector Velazquez got the start and pitched well, giving up three hits and no runs over four innings. The Sox had a 3-0 lead until the seventh when Houston scored four times off relievers Brandon Workman and Fernando Abad, but the games that mean something for both teams start Thursday when Chris Sale gos for the Red Sox against Justin Verlander for Houston in a great pitching match up for game one.
The NY Yankees finished the season with a 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays but that game also had no meaning compared with today's one-game, winner-moves-on, loser-is-out wild card playoff at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks will host the Minnesota Twins, a team they swept a little over a week ago, and they'll have ace Luis Severino on the mound for today's game. Ervin Santana will counter for the Twins, and much as I'd like to believe the Twins can steal this game and pull off an upset, I can't see it happening. Call here is a 6-1 win for the Yankees and somewhere in there Aaron Judge will hit a home run.
The UVM women's hockey team got off to a good start against the Providence Friars, taking a 2-1 lead on goals by Val Caldwell and Daria O'Neill, but the Friars took control after that, scoring the next five goals en route to a 6-2 win in Rhode Island.
In women's college soccer, nationally ranked Williams shut out Castleton 5-0, dropping the Spartans to 4-6-1 overall. Williams is still undefeated on the year.
UVM picked up its first conference win of the season, defeating Binghamton on the road 2-Nil. The Catamounts got goals from Brooke Jenkins and Colby Snyder. Jenkins also added an assist in the win as the Cats improve to 5-5-1 overall and 1-1 in America East conference play. Coco Speckmaier made a career-high 13 saves in net.
In college field hockey Albany beat UVM 4-1 with Landon Warren scoring the only goal of the game for the Catamounts, now 4-7 on the season.