The Big Story – Heat on Mac Jones: It’s amazing what actual pass protection does for a quarterback. After being thoroughly pummeled as being most responsible for the Patriots’ 1-5 start, Mac actually got some on Sunday vs. Buffalo.
And guess what? With the O-line playing well for the first time all season the Pats resembled a good team as Bill Belichick got his 300th career win. And with Jones going 25-30 for 272 yards and two TDs with, most importantly, no picks in the 29-25 win, the heat is off Mac for the minute.
But to keep it off, he’ll have to do it again this weekend vs. Miami, who’ll likely be looking for payback after losing 31-17 to Philly last Sunday night on national TV.
Sports 101: Name the one-time Patriot who holds the NFL record for TD passes caught from the most different quarterbacks.
News Item – Sox Struggle Finding New Baseball Boss: The search for a new chief of baseball operations is about to enter its third month for your Boston Red Sox, and the most notable thing about the search is the number of people who have said they’re not interested in the job.
While President Sam Kennedy arrogantly (and delusionally) sniffed at questions during the season-ending press conference about widespread disinterest in Boston, the rumors appear to be true, with the problem being the owner, whose indecision and recent lack of interest have been behind each of his last three GMs’ lasting just four years on the job before getting dumped.
The big question about their search is not who’s it going to be, but will they be able to get the best person for the big job ahead?
News Item – Jose Altuve Bombs Away Again: After hitting two more vs. Texas, the Astros’ 5’6”, 166-pound second baseman is at it again. Altuve hit a monster ninth-inning three-run shot to give the Astros a crucial Game 5 comeback win to put them up 3-2 in the ALCS. It gave him a second most ever 26 homers in just 424 postseason at-bats. That makes him the active leader and puts him in position to maybe catch all-time leader Manny Ramirez’s 29 if Houston got to the World Series with a Game 7 win that happened just after I filed this story.
0 –interceptions by Jets DB Jordan Whitehead the last five weeks after getting three vs. Buffalo in Week 1.
523 – second-best NFL rushing yards for Indy’s Zach Moss after stepping in at running back due to star Jonathan Taylor’s holdout. But with Taylor now back, that’s a lot of yards going back to the bench
902 – league-leading receiving yards for Miami’s Tyreek Hill after six games, which projects to 2,558 over 17 games and would top Calvin Johnson’s single-season record 1,942 by more than 600 yards.
… Of the Week Awards
Thumbs Up – Eagles on Sunday Night: Loved those 1960s throwback uniforms Philadelphia wore Sunday night vs. Miami. Brought back memories of speedy flanker Tommy McDonald, the last NFL player to not wear a face mask, and the game’s last two-way player, ferocious Chuck Bednarik.
Why Can’t We Get Guys Like That – Nate Eovaldi: In case you ain’t been paying attention Big Nate is tearing it up in the postseason. After winning Sunday’s ALCS Game 6, he’s now 4-0 in October with a 2.42 ERA and 28 K’s in 26 innings.
I know Kyle Schwarber has five homers in 11 postseason games for the Phillies. But with 14 whiffs in 42 at-bats and just six RBI, why in the name of Richie Ashburn is a .196 regular-season hitter batting lead-off?
Is there any offensive or defensive coordinator NBC’s Cris Collinsworth doesn’t make out to be a genius? The latest was Miami DC Vic Fangio, whom he endlessly praised Sunday for concocting defenses that are soooo confusing to QB’s. Well, if he’s so good, how come in 37 years of coaching he’s never been on a team that won a Super Bowl?
Sports 101 Answer: Former first overall pick Irving Fryar, who once got into a caraccident during a game he played in, holds the record for catching TD passes from 19 different QBs during his 17-year career.
Final Thought – Tips For Coach B: Two notes Bill Belichick needs to take from the Buffalo win.
(1) Leave Michael Onwenu at right tackle instead of moving him back to guard because they play much better when he’s on the outside.
(2) After his day on Sunday of four catches for 54 yards and 20 rushing yards, I don’t care if Demario Douglas fumbles five times next week. Leave him in because he has a speed burst none of the other receivers have. And he’s also got the Welker/Edelman-like quickness in tight spaces that is vital (and been MIA) to play in the slot, which is the second most important position in their offensive system.
Email Dave Long at email@example.com.