Thursday, October 16, 2014
Buffalo Springfield Sports Chowdah Update- Pats Put Damper on Coming Out Party for Bills New Onwership; Detroit Block City- Rask, Bruins Outlast Red Wings; Royal Festivities- Kansas City Parties Like Its 1985
NFL- A week after handing the last undefeated team of the 2014 NFL season their first loss, the Patriots travelled to western New York for Bills first game under new owner Terry Pagula. Pagula- a multimillionaire that made his money on the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale also owns the Buffalo Sabres and is a major donor to the Penn State hockey program- was approved by the NFL as the teams' new owner in an October 8th owners meeting. Pagula successfully outbid tycoon Donald Trump, rocker John Bon Jovi and Canadian interests who openly supported relocating the franchise to Toronto. Pegula, who promised to keep the franchise in western New York, purchased the Bills from the estate of the late Ralph Wilson earlier this year.
However, the key name to remember from Sunday's game was Patriots WR Brandon LaFell, an unheralded signing in the offseason earlier this year.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots got the ball back with a shorter field when LB Jamie Collins intercepted a pass attempt from Bills QB Kyle Orton at the New England 39 yard line. Thanks to a Bills penalty, the ball moved to the Buffalo 1 yard line where Brady connected with TE Tim Wright for the first score of the game. After a three and out for each team, the Bills got the ball back on their own 33 yard line with 8:43 to go in the half. Orton kept the drive going for the Bills with a 28 yard pass to Scott Chandler to give Buffalo the ball on the Patriots 19 yard line. The Bills would tie the game up at 7-7 when Orton connected with Robert Woods on 2nd and goal from the Pats 7 yard line and the PAT was good.
Although the Bills got the ball back after holding New England to a 3 and out following the kickoff, DE Chandler Jones managed to break through and sack Orton and strip the ball, giving the Patriots the ball back on Buffalo's own 24 yard line. Although the Bills defense were able to keep the Patriots out of the red zone, the ball was still close enough for a Gostkowski chip shot FG to put New England up 10-7.
The following kickoff was a touchback and Buffalo actually lost yards when DE Rob Ninkovitch sacked Orton, pushing the Bills back to their own 13. While the Patriots had good field position at their own 42, they'd once again go three and out after Brady was sacked. After the Patriots kickoff, the Bills got the ball back on their own 30 yard line with 14 seconds to go in the half. On first and 10 for Buffalo, CJ Spiller rushed for 12 yards before he fumbled, which was recovered by Patriots DE Zach Moore at the Bills 42 with all of 6 seconds left in the half. With the clock ticking, Brady completed a quick 7 yard pass to Julian Edelman to give Gostkowski a slightly shorter field to work with for this FG attempt. As time expired, the 53 yard FG attempt was good and the Patriots headed to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
New England got the ball back to start off the second half, and after a 3 and a half minute drive that started out on their own 20, the Patriots barely crossed into Buffalo territory when Brady connected with WR Brian Tyms for a 43 yard TD pass to put New England up 20-7. However, Buffalo would counter with a nearly 7-minute drive from their own 20 that was capped with a 1 yard Fred Jackson TD run to cut New England's lead to 20-14.
The Patriots replied with a drive that went all the way to the Buffalo 22, where New England had to settle for another Gostkowski FG to make it a 24-14 game. However, the Patriots began to pull away with their first possession of the 4th quarter thanks to an 18 yard TD pass from Brady to WR Brandon LaFell to make it a 30-14 lead. After a touchback on the following kickoff, Buffalo started from their own 20 and after the drive appeared to sputter on the Bills 40, Orton managed to convert a 4th and 2 thanks to a 35 yard completion to WR Robert Woods. With just under 6 minutes to go, Orton connected with Chris Hogan for an 8 yard TD pass to once again make it a 1-score game, with New England now leading 30-22.
However, the Patriots would strike back quickly and take a 37-22 lead thanks to a 56 yard completion from Brady to LaFell for his second TD of the afternoon with 2:39 left in the game.
That would be all New England would need, putting a damper on the celebrations for the start of the Pegula era in Buffalo. With talk of Brady's career being all but over after the Monday Night fiasco in Kansas City, Brady is now 23-2 against Buffalo in his career.
Turns out this is a short week for New England- they head home to take on the Jets for a Thursday night game. Kickoff is 8:25 PM ET and the game will be televised on the NFL Network and CBS.
NHL- It was a rather forgetful weekend for the Bruins- after winning the season opener, Boston dropped three straight to the Red Wings, Washington and Colorado [Washignton shut out Boston 4-1 while the Avalanche won in the final second of regulation- NANESB!].
On Wednesday night, the Bruins travelled to the Motor City hoping to break their 3-game skid and got off to a pretty good start when David Krejci scored a little over five minutes into the first to give Boston a 1-0 lead. However, Tomas Tatar got the equalizer about three minutes later.
The Bruins re-took the lead in the second when Reilly Smith scored an even-strength goal to make it 2-1. The Bruins would take their 2-1 lead to the 3rd period until Gustav Nyquist scored a power play goal just 2:56 into the 3rd. The power play tally was enough to force OT, and after a scoreless OT, the game would head to a shootout. The Red Wings would miss on both of their shootout chances while Krejci and Reilly Smith would score for Boston to give them the shootout win and snap a 3-game losing streak.
The Original Six action continues on Thursday night when the Bruins travel to Montreal for the first meeting of the 2014 season. Puck drops at 7:30 ET and the game will be broadcast on the NHL network.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret missed the team's home opener this month after being diagnosed with throat cancer in July. The Sabres radio and TV play-by-play man- who has been with Buffalo since their inaugural season in 1971- received the diagnosis in his native Canada after doctors discovered a malignant golf-ball sized growth in his throat. Jeanarette will undergo treatment in the USA and was given an 85% chance of recovery.
ALCS- For the first time in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series....and they got there by making quick work of the teams with the two best records in the American League.
After getting out to a 3-0 series lead against Baltimore, the Royals got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first at Game 4 in Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday. All of the scoring for Kansas City came in the bottom of the first with a one out and runners on second and third when Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball between first and second for a fielder's choice. O's 2B Jonathan Schoop threw home to C Caleb Joseph as Alciedes Escobar slid on, but the throw went past the catcher and Nori Aoki immediately came home on the error to give Kansas City the quick 2-0 lead.
Although he would give up a solo homer to Baltimore's Ryan Flaherty to cut the Royals lead to 3-1 in the top of the 3rd inning, Kansas City starter Jason Vargas would throw 5⅓ innings and the bullpen would allow no additional runs by Baltimore. Despite allowing a leadoff walk to Adam Jones to start off the 9th, Greg Holland got Nelson Cruz to hit into a fielder's choice, erasing the potential tying run at second, before Delmon Young struck out swinging and JJ Hardy hit a groundout up the 3rd base line to finish off the series.
Kansas City has gone an impressive 8-0 this postseason, and have only trailed in a few innings between the Wild Card game, the Division Series and the ALCS. This performance has already drawn comparisons to the 2007 Rockies, who got off to a similar start as a Wild Card in the postseason [but because of inclement weather and a prolonged ALCS between the Indians and Red Sox never were quite the same once the World Series beagn- NANESB!].
The Royals await the winner of the NLCS between the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants- San Francisco is taking a 3-1 series lead into tonight's game five and the Cardinals will have to win three in a row if there's to be a rematch of 1985's "I-70" World Series.
NCAA FOOTBALL- A pretty good weekend, although not as turbulent and dramatic as week 6. As far as nationally ranked teams go, the big story would have to be Baylor's roaring-from-behind-in-the-4th-quarter win over Texas Christian to remain the only undefeated team in the Big Twelve conference. The #4 Baylor Bears came all the way back to beat the #12 TCU Horned Frogs by a 61-58 final on Saturday afternoon.
The Magnolia State continues to produce winning football as Ole Miss and Mississippi State are nearly done with the most difficult part of their respective schedules [Ole Miss hosts Auburn on Nov 1st while Mississippi State travels to Alabama on Nov 15th- assuming the two teams run the table, that sets up a matchup between undefeated Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Nov 29th for Rivalry Week- NANESB!].
As for Week 7, the #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs hosted Auburn and would go on to beat them by a 38-25 final while the #1 Runnin' Rebels ran out of College Station, TX with a 35-20 win over the Texas A&M Aggies.
MEANWHILE IN THE ACC- The Boston College Eagles came out of their off week looking pretty good, travelling to the Tarheel State and beating the NC State Wolfpack by a 30-14 final.
Tyler Murphy had 132 rushing yards and ran for two 2 TDs while passing for another 132 yards. John Hilliman and Sherman Alston also had rushing TDs on the day. The win is also Boston College's first against an ACC opponent this season.
This weekend, the Eagles once again return to host a ranked opponent at Chestnut Hill as they host #24 Clemson. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 ET and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- The game of the week- at least one involving an ACC team- will be a matchup between two undefeateds when #2 Florida State will host #5 Notre Dame at Tallahassee on Saturday. Both teams are sporting 6-0 records coming into Saturday's prime time matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 PM ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.