Morning Sports Update

Dan Orlovsky explained why he still thinks the Patriots are a playoff team

"I saw a ton of 12 jerseys in New England, but there should've been more hoodies."

Patriots playoff chances
Mac Jones celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Hunter Henry. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The Patriots lost to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday night, 19-17. New England’s record now stands at 1-3 with a trip to Houston to play the Texans ahead in Week 4.

And the Red Sox clinched the top American League wild card spot with a 7-5 comeback win against the Nationals. Rafael Devers’s two-run home run gave Boston the decisive lead:

The Red Sox will host the Yankees on Tuesday at 8:08 p.m. in a winner-take-all play-in game ahead of the actual start of the Major League postseason.

The Patriots’ playoff hopes: While the Patriots fought hard against Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday, the game nonetheless ended in defeat.


Still, there were plenty of positives to take away from the primetime matchup.

“I saw a ton of 12 jerseys in New England, but there should’ve been more hoodies,” noted ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, “because Bill Belichick was at his absolute best last night.”

For Clark, who recapped the game on ESPN’s “Get Up!” morning program, the performance of New England’s defense was particularly encouraging.

“I thought Bill Belichick was amazing, I thought J.C. Jackson did an amazing job on Mike Evans,” said Clark. “I thought that they had a great rush and coverage combination, and they also fooled Tom Brady. They made Tom Brady guess and figure out what the defense was in his drop.”

Yet when asked if he thought the 1-3 Patriots are a potential playoff team, Clark had a direct response.

“No, they’re not. They’re a team that can fight, they’re a team that’s not going to be content, they’re a team that’s going to compete, but when you look at the AFC, they just aren’t good enough,” he explained.

Not everyone is ready to count out the Patriots. Fellow ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky noted that New England’s trajectory is heading upward.

“I think they’re a playoff team still,” said Orlovsky. “I think that their offensive line can only get better. Trent Brown is going to get healthy. Mac Jones was fantastic last night.”


Orlovsky also teased something that, while far from definitive, would be a huge boost.

“Stephon Gilmore coming back [would be] a big deal,” Orlovsky noted.

“I’m not taking New England out of the picture.”

Trivia: In Drew Bledsoe’s only win over the Patriots in his career, the Bills won on opening day in 2003, 31-0. What defensive tackle returned a Tom Brady interception for a touchdown in that game?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was also a member of the 2000 Super Bowl-winning Ravens defense.

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The Revolution clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference: New England accomplished the feat before any other team had even clinched a playoff spot.

Bill Belichick’s press conference from Monday morning:

On this day: In 2018, Tom Brady threw the 500th touchdown pass of his career to Josh Gordon in a 38-24 win over the Colts.

Daily highlight: Mohamed Salah scored a sublime goal in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Sunday, dancing past several defenders before firing his shot inside the far post.

Trivia answer: Sam Adams

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