|12.28.09 at 1:12 am ET|
The Patriots announced that playoff tickets will go on sale this week. Here’s the press release from the team that was sent out in the wake of Sunday’s game:
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With today’s 35-7 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Patriots earned their sixth AFC East division championship in seven years and their seventh division title this decade. As a result, the Patriots will host a first-round AFC playoff game at Gillette Stadium on either Saturday, Jan. 9 or Sunday, Jan. 10. The NFL will announce the playoff pairings following the conclusion of next week’s games.
The Patriots have not lost a home playoff game since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 (11-0). Seven of those 11 victories have been played at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots season ticket holders were allowed to purchase their playoff tickets last month, leaving a limited number available for sale. Currently, Patriots fans on the team’s season ticket wait list have an advance opportunity to purchase tickets via a private sale which will end Monday, Dec. 28 at 5:00 p.m. Any remaining tickets, plus a limited number of pre-held individual ones, will be offered in a public sale through Ticketmaster starting Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 10:00 a.m. Visa, a proud sponsor of the National Football League and the New England Patriots, will be the only accepted form of payment.
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|12.27.09 at 9:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — This time fourth-and-2 for the Patriots had a whole new meaning — and result.
The Jacksonville Jaguars came in with one of the most feared short-yardage weapons in football in the person of Maurice Jones-Drew.
And short yardage is just what the Jaguars needed at the game’s most critical juncture. Following an eight-yard connection between quarterback David Garrard and receiver Torry Holt, Jacksonville was facing a third-and-1 at its own 35 midway through the first quarter and the game scoreless.
The Jags, the way their coach Jack Del Rio figured, had two chances to get one yard. The rest of the football world was thinking: Are you serious?
This was not the fourth quarter and your defense had just come up with a huge play by stripping Laurence Maroney at the 1-yard line, preventing a sure Patriots touchdown. Why would you possibly risk the momentum — not to mention the game — on a fourth-down gamble here?
But that’s not what Del Rio was thinking. To his credit, he admitted what Bill Belichick would not on Nov. 8 at Indianapolis: His defense was no where nearly good enough to keep up with the Patriots offense. He would be proven correct in that regard.
He was thinking, just give it to Jones-Drew and let him get the necessary yardage, as he did four plays earlier on third-and-2 at the 9 when he gained three.
But Del Rio knew the Patriots would be expecting this, so they decided to change things up on third down and go with the reverse to receiver Mike Thomas. That end-around to the left resulted in no gain thanks to relentless pursuit by safety Brandon Meriweather, who chased down Thomas from behind.
“I just trusted my instincts,” Meriweather said. “I think that was what I was lacking in the last couple of weeks. I had a meeting with Bill [Belichick] and Josh [Boyer] and some of the defensive coaches and they just told me to get back to the basics, trust my instincts and stop trying to go out of my element and make plays, so I did that.”
Yes, there was 4:53 remaining in the FIRST quarter. And yes, the Jags were at their own 35 in a scoreless game. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.27.09 at 7:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots offense ran out of the gate with an 82-yard drive that stalled on the Jaguars’ 1-yard line after a Laurence Maroney fumble. It was the second time this season Maroney fumbled on the goal line. It also was the last time No. 39 touched the playing field on Sunday.
Despite Maroney averaging 4.4 yards per carry on the first drive, Bill Belichick elected to sit him and go with the trio of running backs Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk. After the game, Taylor told reporters Maroney was eager to get another chance.
|12.27.09 at 6:55 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s today’s complete postgame Q&A with Randy Moss:
Q: What did it mean to get a chance to win the division?
RM: I think that it’s good because the division’s back in New England. So, two out of my three years [here] we’ve helped win the division. Last year was very disappointing but the good thing is we got the hat and t-shirt so we’re able to move on to see what the rest of the season holds for us.
Q: What did you think of the mask on the Jumbotron [referring to the shot of a fan wearing a Randy Moss mask on the ProVision]?
RM: It was entertaining. You know, I had a lot of teammates wanting me to mess with the guy. He put a little humor into it and I enjoyed it, man. That’s the thing about having fun. When things go right, you get the fans in the game, you get the players in the game, so it was a stadium full of fun today and I think we all enjoyed it.
|12.27.09 at 6:53 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s today’s complete postgame Q&A with Tom Brady:
Q: Good win for you guys. You were 23 for 26. Did you know you were dead on today?
TB: It was a good day. When we’re completing a lot of passes, it’s really a lot things; It’s guys getting open and great protection and great play calling, so it makes it pretty easy on me when those guys are standing there wide open and it’s my job to hit them. It was a really good day in the passing game. We had some really big runs. Laurence [Maroney], Freddie [Taylor], Sammy [Morris], Kevin [Faulk] – they all contributed. It’s the time of year when we really need to start playing good football and I think today was one of our best 60 minutes that we played all year, probably other than the Tennessee game.
Q: You’re 49 for 54 in your last two games against the Jaguars. What can you attribute that kind of accuracy and success to?
TB: Well, like I said, we played pretty good today. If we played like that today, I’d love to go against anybody, whether it’s the Jaguars or any of these other teams. This happened to be the team we played against. Like I said, we just played good. We executed well. We had a great week of practice and I’m just proud of the way the guys came out and responded. You know, you sit there at the beginning of the week knowing that it’s really a championship game for you and that they’re fighting for their playoff life and it’s going to come down to one team putting it together. We were the team that came out ahead today.
|12.27.09 at 6:50 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s today’s complete postgame transcript from Bill Belichick:
BB: That was really a nice performance by the players today. I thought those guys really did a good job. We had a real good week of practice with the holidays and everything. But I thought they did a good job of being focused all the way through — Wednesday, Thursday, Friday [and they] just carried it right into today. I thought they played a real good football game today. The players stepped up. They made play after play. We just did a lot of things right out there. I’m really proud of them. I thought they earned what they got today. It’s a good win for us, a real good win. Right now we’ll just enjoy it here for a little while and then kind of figure out what’s next. But it’s good to walk off that field as AFC East Champions this year and I’m really proud of the way the players stepped up and played today.
Q: What does this title mean to you?
BB: Right now, it means that our season goes on. We’ll figure out exactly what that means later. It’s good to be in the postseason.
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|12.27.09 at 6:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO – Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Wes Welker, three leaders of the Patriots, all spoke afterward about the significance of clinching the AFC East on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
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