The Patriots kicked off against Carolina while the Red Sox were still holding batting practice. They immediately committed the first of a dozen penalties on the day, a false start on Matt Light for five yards. All in all, stupid penalties would cost these pod people who have replaced the Patriots a total of 86 yards.
The Patriots did go on to score first, with 5:28 to go in the first quarter after a long run by Troy Brown, who was overtaken and shown completely up by Chris Gamble, who apparently wears a Rocket Pak, right about the time Matt Clement took the mound for the Sox against the A's at Fenway.
Around 2:15 pm, I asked my Dad if we were going to check on the Sox score. He flipped the channel. Matt Clement stood sheepishly on the mound, all but shrugging his shoulders at us with a 3 to 0 score above his head, runners at the corners, and one out in the top of the first inning.
We flipped back to the Patriots game, where there followed a Carolina drive of approximately 80 yards, including a shotgun blast by Jake "I Like to Holler F-Bombs on TV" Delhomme to Ricky "Every Time I Make a Catch, my Team Loses the Super Bowl to the Patriots" Proehl. There followed a pig pile, when Stephen Davis pushed the ball within about a foot of the goal line and then fumbled it, but apparently that's close enough. Carolina was awarded a touchdown, and nary a red flag was seen from the New England sideline. If I were a sane person, I'd probably recognize that, at second and goal, it wasn't worth wasting a challenge when Carolina would probably score anyway. But I am not.
Jeremi Gonzalez came in with the score 7-0 Oakland in relief of Clement. This called to mind Red's "5 Run Rule"--that a pitcher giving up five runs right away is a pretty sure sign he's cooked, and beyond five runs the offense is exponentially less likely to come back; therefore, five unanswered runs should be when a pitcher is removed from a game, period. It appears Terry Francona disagrees.
Randall Gay, trying to make a tackle (he didn't) appeared to break / sprain / tear his left ankle and was carted off on the meat wagon.
Gonzalez kept a lid on it till the fifth, when he suddenly allowed the A's to plate another five runs.
The Patriots came within three points of the Panthers after a Mike Vrabel interception return for a touchdown.
It was around this time I started to watch Yankees gameday, because I obviously like pain. They were within a run of sweeping the Jays and tying us for first place.
Then, Tom Brady threw several incomplete passes, was sacked, fumbled, and shortly thereafter, Stephen Davis cut through the Patriots like a knife through butter to make it 27-17 Carolina. For the next two series, the Patriots continued to commit penalties and Tom Brady continued not to be able to find his receivers with two hands and a flashlight.
Alejandro Machado took center field. Adam Hyzdu in right. Doug Mirabelli behind the plate. Keith Foulke, who I keep reassuring myself was our nails closer last year, was now, finally, reduced to coming in with the JV team on the losing end of a blowout.
Patriots punter Josh Miller hurt his shoulder trying to block on a punt return.
Kevin Youkilis got pegged in his bare hand by a bouncing ground ball, and in replay footage you could see it tear his fingernail off and break at least one of his fingers.
The Patriots dicked around, didn't manage the clock, let the time run out in the fourth trying to make a comeback, and finally, Ben Watson was stripped of the ball. With 2:10 on the clock and Carolina in possession, Tom Brady sat down on the bench and buried his head in his hands.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Sox finally scored their second run.
In the top of the ninth in Toronto, trailing by 2, the Yankees came within another run, but Derek Jeter struck out to end it.
The Indians won, putting another nail in the Wild Card coffin.
The Sox keep walking the tightrope. The Yankees and Sox will both be playing Baltimore with bewildering frequency in the remaining two weeks of the season.
The Patriots--who, in their second game, have half as many losses as last season, now have to play Pittsburgh, San Diego, Atlanta and Denver.
I don't really have a lot to offer in the way of commentary. The game highlights speak for themselves, and overall, I'm feeling kind of numb.