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Chandler Jones on M&M: ‘I get a front-row seat to watch Tom Brady and this offense go to work’

11.04.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and cornerback Kyle Arrington joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about Sunday’€™s 55-31 win over the Steelers.

Jones, Arrington and the rest of the Pats defense did not need to be at their best as New England’€™s Tom Brady-led offense erupted for 55 points and 610 total yards on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

‘€œI get a front row seat to watch Tom Brady and this offense go to work, and it’€™s fun,’€ Jones said.

Brady and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dueled as both threw for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns.

‘€œ[Roethlisberger is] tremendous, it’€™s almost like playing that backyard streetball,’€ Arrington said.

Although the defense did not have its best showing of the season, it stepped up when necessary. The Pats forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) and sacked Roethlisberger five times. Rookie defensive back Duron Harmon and safety Devin McCourty registered the interceptions, while defensive tackle Joe Vellano recovered the fumble.

‘€œFourth quarter, I think we did a great job of finishing the game. Offense did a tremendous job of helping us out,’€ Arrington said. ‘€œIt was a great team effort yesterday.’€

The defensive line once again performed admirably, as Jones led the way with two sacks. Jones continues to thrive in a versatile role that puts him as a traditional defensive end at times, and as an outside linebacker as well.

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, chandler jones, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon

Adam Schefter on D&C: Dolphins OL Jonathan Martin ‘felt threatened, he felt harassed’ by teammate Richie Incognito

11.04.13 at 9:50 am ET
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the ongoing Jonathan Martin bullying saga with the Dolphins, and the health issues of a pair of NFL coaches.

Miami announced on Sunday the indefinite suspension of offensive lineman Richie Incognito for his role in the alleged bullying of Martin, the Dolphins’€™ second-year lineman.

Martin left the team for emotional reasons last week, before Miami’€™s 22-20 overtime win against the Bengals on Thursday. A voicemail left by Incognito on Martin’€™s phone was the smoking gun, according to Schefter.

‘€œThey went over the transcripts of one voicemail last night, and made the determination to suspend Richie Incognito immediately,’€ Schefter said, adding: ‘€œRichie Incognito is on the Dolphins’€™ leadership council. ‘€¦ It’€™s unbelievable to think that he wielded his powers the way that he did.’€

The reported trigger for Martin’€™s absence was a lunch room incident. According to ESPN, Incognito also approached Martin last summer to help fund a trip to Las Vegas with a group of Dolphins players. Martin donated $15,000 out of fear of retribution if he didn’t, but he never joined his teammates.

‘€œWe’€™ve seen in the NFL, veterans take rookies out and rookies picking up big dinner tabs and things of this sort,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œThis went above and beyond that. This was an example where Jonathan Martin felt threatened, he felt intimidated, he felt harassed.’€

It’€™s unknown when Martin will return to Miami, and how long Incognito’€™s suspension will last.

‘€œThe union is in a very difficult spot, because it is the union’s job to defend Richie Incognito,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œHowever, once the union gets a copy of this one particular voicemail, and the instances and text messages, the defense is going to be difficult to do.’€

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Read More: adam schefter, Ben Roethlisberger, Gary Kubiak, Jack Del Rio

Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Everything kind of worked out the way that we hoped it would’

11.04.13 at 8:42 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday’s offensive explosion in a 55-31 victory over the Steelers.

The Patriots closed the game on a 35-7 run after squandering a 14-point halftime lead. The 55 points marks the most scored in the NFL this season and the most every scored against Pittsburgh, and New England’s 610 yards of total offense is the most ever allowed by the Steelers as well.

“It was just one of those days where everything kind of worked out the way that we hoped it would,” Brady said. “It really hasn’t gone like that all season for us. It was really a great time for it to happen. Hopefully we can gain some confidence, and going forward we can really understand we can be that type of team that can make big plays, that runs the ball well, that can chew up the clock, be a ball-possession team if we need it.

“We took advantage of some turnovers and really answered the call I thought in the third quarter when they tied it up 24-24 and we lost our momentum. It was a great way to finish the game.”

Added Brady: “To get to 7-2 at this point, it’s pretty cool. I know it hasn’t felt that way, we’ve been grinding our way out of these wins. But to be 7-2 at this point is pretty good.”

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, in his third game back following multiple offseason surgeries, had a career-high nine receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown.

“He’s one of the best players in the NFL,” Brady said. “We really haven’t had him for a long time, and we’ve learned to play without him. But it’s obvious, when he’s in there he adds a different element to what we’re trying to do. That’s why he’s such a good player.

“He worked really hard to get back to this point. After he’s got a few games under him and he’s got his football legs back, hopefully he can continue to do it. It was a big spark for us yesterday. He really came out making some really great plays on third down, some drive-starters where we got things going into the drive.

“He’s a tough matchup because of his quickness and his strength and his size. He’s tough to cover. And when the extra coverage goes to him, it means there’s less coverage on the other guys, which frees them up.”

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Read More: Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins, Rob Gronkowski

What pundits were saying about Patriots on Sunday

11.04.13 at 3:00 am ET
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Here’€™s a quick rundown of what some NFL analysts were saying about the Patriots before and after Sunday’€™s game against the Steelers.

Tony Dungy on NBC’s “Football Night in America” following the game: ‘€œThis New England offense has been very, very mediocre for three weeks, and they looked like world-beaters today.’€

T.J. Houshmandzadeh on Tom Brady and the Patriots offense on the NFL Network before the game: ‘€œIt’€™s up to the Kenbrell Thompkins and the Aaron Dobsons of the world to make it easy on Tom Brady. Make him trust you. ‘€¦ [Rob] Gronkowski comes back and he’€™s forcing the ball to him because he does not trust those wide receivers. They’€™re not being where they’€™re supposed to be, they’€™re not creating enough separation.’€

Kurt Warner on Brady on the NFL Network before the game: ‘€œI believe everything that’€™s gone on around Tom Brady has made him change the way he plays the game; he’€™s second-guessing himself, he’€™s second-guessing what he’€™s seeing — he’€™s second-guessing whether he can throw it to certain guys, and how to throw it and when to throw it. All of that is making me worry about him. I’€™ve never seen Tom Brady play like this.’€

Read More: Kurt Warner, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Tom Brady, Tony Dungy

Snap Judgments: Patriots crush Steelers, 55-31

11.03.13 at 7:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — That’s how you head into the bye week.

The Patriots put up 55 points — more than any team has ever scored on a Steelers defense — on the way to a 55-31 victory over Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. While it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game to defensive aficionados, it was plenty good enough for New England football fans, as the Patriots now head into their week off with a 7-2 mark.

Tom Brady ended up with season highs in several categories — he finished 23-for-33 for 432 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his fifth career 400-yard game. Stevan Ridley had a banner afternoon — against one of the worst run defenses in the league, he accumulated 115 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. (The Patriots are now 6-0 when they top 100 yards rushing.) In addition, Rob Gronkowski had 10 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, Aaron Dobson had nine catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns and Danny Amendola ended up with four catches for 122 yards.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Steelers were led by Ben Roethlisberger, who went 28-for-48 for 400 yards for four touchdowns and two interceptions. Emmanuel Sanders — the receiver who nearly became a Patriot after New England signed him to an offer sheet, only to see him return to Pittsburgh — ended up with 11 catches for 98 yards.

Here are a few notes on how things went down:

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS Read the rest of this entry »

Halftime analysis: Patriots 24, Steelers 10

11.03.13 at 5:58 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 24-10 lead on the Steelers. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢ The big connection for the Patriots has been Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end accounted for 110 of Brady’s first 161 yards through the air, and the two hooked up on a second-quarter touchdown pass that gave New England a 14-0 lead. Gronkowski has eight catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Danny Amendola (91 yards on two catches) also had a big first half for New England. On the other side of the ball, Ben Roethlisberger is 11-for-15 for 173 yards, and had his best throw of the first half at the end of the second quarter when he connected with Antonio Brown on a 27-yard touchdown pass.

‘€¢ The Patriots opened up in a 3-4 on defense, with newcomer Isaac Sopoaga over the nose and Chris Jones and Joe Vellano at defensive ends; Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich were at outside linebacker/edge-of-the-line players. (New England also flashed a look with Andre Carter in for Sopaga, a scheme that saw Chris Jones move to the nose.) Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower were the two inside linebackers. In the secondary, it was Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard at corner (Logan Ryan rotated in as the nickel corner), and Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory at safety.

‘€¢ The two highlights of the first half defensively for New England came on takeaways. First, there was a third-down play at the end of Pittsburgh’s first drive. Ninkovich sacked Roethlisberger and knocked the ball loose. Vellano came away with the ball. New England couldn’t do anything with the takeaway, but it marked the 36th consecutive game where the Patriots registered a takeaway, the longest active streak in the league. And second, McCourty pulled down a wounded duck from Roethlisberger late in the first quarter and took it back to the Steelers 34.

‘€¢ Pittsburgh eventually got on the board midway through the second quarter when Roethlisberger put together a seven-play, 68-yard drive — highlighted by a 42-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders — that ended with a 30-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham. They added to that with 1:55 left in the second quarter when Roethlsiberger hit Brown on a sweet 27-yarder over the top of Alfonzo Dennard to make it 17-10. It was the 200th touchdown pass of Roethlisberger’s career.

‘€¢ The Patriots put together their best and most complete offensive series late in the first quarter, but couldn’t punch it in for a touchdown. Brady and Co. engineered an 11-play sequence, with the two big connections coming on passes to Gronkowski — first, there was a 34-yard pickup that allowed New England to convert in a 3rd and long situation. That was followed up with a 27-yarder to Gronk that got the Patriots into the Pittsburgh red zone. The Patriots couldn’t convert when the Steelers stepped up on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line.

‘€¢ That inability to convert was rendered moot when the Patriots struck like a thunderbolt later in the first half. Following the McCourty pick, Brady hit Amendola for a 34-yard touchdown strike on a play where Amendola was so wide open, it appeared he might have materialized right out of thin air. Seriously: no one was within at least 10 yards of Amendola when he caught the ball and cruised into the end zone untouched to make it 7-0. They piled on shortly after that with their first touchdown of the second quarter — a six-play, 67-yard drive was capped off by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski to make it 14-0 with 10:30 left in the second quarter. And they got more points at the end of the first half when Stevan Ridley banged one home from one yard out with 10 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 24-10.

‘€¢ Amendola had another Houdini moment on a 57-yard pass play toward the end of the first half, a connection that set up a 20-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the second quarter.

‘€¢ There were no injuries to report over the first half.

Patriots honor World Series champion Red Sox before game with Steelers

11.03.13 at 4:38 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The World Series champion Red Sox and their latest jewel – the World Series trophy – made an appearance at Gillette Stadium before the Patriots game against the Steelers.

Following the introduction of the Patriots through the tunnel, Red Sox owner John Henry led out his world champions. Among those coming out in blue No. 1 Patriots jerseys were third base coach and huge Patriots fan Brian Butterfield, Clay Buchholz, David Ross, Will Middlebrooks, John McDonald, Shane Victorino and Jon Lester, who was carrying the trophy.

Before Lester and the trophy, the highlight of the introductions was Jonny Gomes running onto the field in his bright red boots.

Lester and the trophy were designated the honorary captains and came out with Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Logan Mankins and Rob Ninkovich.

Read More: 2013 World Series, Boston Red Sox, John Henry, Jon Lester

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