New England 35, San Diego 21
The New England Patriots are 2-0 this season after defusing the San Diego Chargers to the tune of 35-21.
New England took a 20-7 lead in the first half, and matched the output generated by Sandy's second half rally.
Tom Brady continued his torrid statistical rampage, throwing for 423 yards and 3 touchdowns (one to Aaron Hernandez and a pair to Rob Gronkowski). We also got a TD out of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals. Danny Woodhead even got involved, banging in a 2 point conversion.
The defense had good and bad moments. We still can't cover a tall wide receiver. Devin McCourty was an All Pro last year, but he has been literally torched by Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson these past two weeks. Leigh Bodden picked up a pair of holding penalties, and rookie Ras-I Dowling suffered an injury. We made Chad Henne look like Joe Montana.
Our pass rush is also suspect. We did flatten Phillip Rivers several times, but we also had in a situation where we knew he was going to be throwing. Mark Anderson did clobber him from behind once, forcing a fumble. However, if he stayed upright long enough to let Vincent Jackson get downfield, we were giving up a 20 yard play.
Our offense can cover for these mistakes, as we are basically unstoppable at the moment. However, we see better defenses in the playoffs, which is why the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens took our scalps these last two years.
The Jets and the Buffalo Bills (next Sunday's opponents) also won, putting a 3-way tie up on the AFC East.
Tampa Bay 8, Boston 5
The Boston Red Sox just can't keep from tripping over their own sticks, losing yet again to the Tampa Bay Rays. The final score was 8-5.
Tim Wakefield (7-7, 5.08) coughed up 6 runs in 5 innings, and Boston's sputtering offense couldn't keep pace. Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia went a combined 1-11 at the plate.
Boston has 10 games left this season. 7 of them are against the last-place Baltimore Orioles, and 3 of them are against the powerful New York Yankees. The Yankers finish with the Sox and the Rays. Tampa has 7 against the yankees and 3 against the Blue Jays.
Here are the AL East standings:
New York Yankees 91 60 .603 --
Boston Red Sox 87 65 .572 4.5
Tampa Bay Rays 85 67 .559 6.5
Should be a wild, gut-churning September, no?