Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Sports

Pats have plenty to work on this week

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Short nights and short off­seasons.

It's the Patriot way.

New England has advanced to the AFC Championship Game for a record sixth year in a row and the 11th time in 16 seasons. With one more win, the Patriots would play in their seventh Super Bowl since 2001.

But to find out who was still in their way, they had to wait until Sunday's game between the Chiefs and Steelers. That's also something they've grown accustomed to in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.

"It was a long night — or a short night, however you want to look at it," Belichick told reporters Sunday, about 13 hours after beating the Texans 34-16.

"We have people on our staff that work on our next opponent, just like we always do. This one's a little tougher because we're working on two teams instead of one, but they've just worked harder and gotten it done."

Brady completed 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns in the divisional round victory over Houston. He also threw two interceptions — as many as he had all season.

Dion Lewis had three touchdowns — one running, one on a pass reception and a 98-yard kickoff return — but fumbled another return and helped the Texans stay in the game.

So the Patriots don't have to look too far to find things to work on this week.

"There are some things I could do a lot better on, protect the ball. I put my team in jeopardy," said Lewis, who is the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a run, catch and kickoff. "We have a lot of work to do. We made a lot of mistakes. I'm glad we got a win, but in order to advance next week, we've got to play a lot better."

WILFORK DONE? Texans defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said after Saturday's loss to the Patriots that he's leaning toward retirement. "No emotions and I will take my time and think about it. I think I have played my last NFL football game," said Wilfork, 35, a 13-year veteran. "I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back to see if I really want to retire."

HESTER, TOO? Return specialist Devin Hester, 34, said after the Seahawks' loss to the Falcons on Saturday that he had probably played his last game after 11 seasons. "I told my wife this is pretty much my last year," the former Hurricanes standout said.

FALCONS LOSE CLAYBORN: Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn suffered a torn biceps Saturday, and the former Bucs first-round pick will miss the rest of the playoffs.

SAFETY PLOTS RETURN: Despite concerns raised after sustaining season-ending neck injuries in consecutive years, Bills starting safety Aaron Williams is preparing to resume his playing career, his father said. "He's leaning toward coming back," Anthony Williams said. "We'll take it slow and go from there."

BRONCOS: Secondary coach Joe Woods was promoted to defensive coordinator, replacing Wade Phillips, whose contract was not renewed.

49ERS: The team interviewed Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable for its head coaching vacancy.

Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, September 26

TODAYBaseballAstros at Blue Jays4 p.m.MLBMarlins at Nationals4 p.m.FSFYankees at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMBrewers at Cardinals7 p.m.ESPNDodgers at Diamondbacks10 p.m.ESPNCollege volleyballAuburn at Mississippi State7 p.m.ESPNUFlorida at LSU8 p.m.SECK...
Updated: 25 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Tuesday, September 25

Tuesday’s scoreboardBoys swimmingShorecrest 181, Tampa Prep 133Girls swimmingShorecrest 159, Tampa Prep 135
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Yankees game

LHP Jalen Beeks didn't make a good showing with his pitching, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks over 32/3 innings and throwing 65 pitches to do so. But he did open eyes with a running, sliding catch of a pop-up near the Rays dugout.Manag...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Playing well, Pham promises even more

Playing well, Pham promises even more

ST. PETERSBURGTommy Pham has been doing some impressive things for the Rays since coming off the DL after coming over from the Cardinals in a July 31 trade. Going into play Tuesday, he had hit .358 in 31 games, posted a 1.085 OPS and had reached base...
Updated: 1 hour ago
New forward Danick Martel hoping to stick with Lightning

New forward Danick Martel hoping to stick with Lightning

TAMPA — Danick Martel didn't have much of an opportunity to ease his way into his time with the Lightning.10,164 Lightning fans flocked to Amalie Arena on Sunday to watch Martel's debut practice, also known as Fan Fest.As if there was not alrea...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Ryan Fitzpatrick played better than you may think

TAMPA — The announcement of which Bucs quarterback will start at Chicago Sunday will have to wait.Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick met with Dirk Koetter Tuesday and were given the news."So we know what we're going to do,'' Koetter said. "Bot...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy heard apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger mid-hit

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy heard apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger mid-hit

For all of his accomplishments on the field, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been dogged by unfair criticism throughout his career that he's too nice.One moment during Monday's 30-27 loss to the Steelers isn't going to help him in th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF football attendance on the rise

USF football attendance on the rise

Even as college football attendance suffers a general decline, USF's turnout appears to be on the uptick.Average actual attendance for the Bulls' first three home games is 24,815, an increase of more than 18 percent from the first three home contests...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

TAMPA — Dirk Koetter knows. He met with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick Tuesday and now they know. But he doesn't want the Chicago Bears to know which will quarterback the Bucs Sunday at Soldier Field.So the waiting game continues."So I kno...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

You might have walked away from the game Monday night feeling pretty good about your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure, the first half was about as ugly as it gets. After the Steelers returned Ryan Fitzpatrick’s third interception for a touchdown late...
Updated: 5 hours ago