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What pundits were saying about Patriots on Sunday

09.07.14 at 11:40 pm 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 Dolphins:

Tony Dungy on NBC’€™s Football Night in America after the game: “œI had [the Patriots and Saints] going to the Super Bowl, both of these teams. They didn’€™t look like it today.”

Rodney Harrison on Patriots defense on NBC’€™s Football Night in America after the game: “€œBill Belichick, he has to be a little bit concerned. Not panic mode, but a little bit concerned.”

Dungy on Patriots after the game: “Don’€™t get too panicked now if you’€™re ready to kill the New England Patriots. They didn’€™t play well. They had some offensive line problems. But Bill Belichick is the best adjustment coach in the league, so don’€™t bury the Patriots just yet.”

Michael Irvin on NFL Network before the game on comparisons between Tom Brady and Troy Aikman: “A whole lot of things remind me of Troy Aikman. … He never lets what he did become bigger than who he is. But on game day, when the game is on the line, there is a hyperfocus that both these guys reach to bring the best out of everyone around them.”

Michael Robinson on NFL Network before the game on the Seahawks‘€™ greatest opponents: ‘€œThe one team that can even challenge the Seahawks is the New England Patriots. That’€™s because of their defense and their quarterback. Tom Brady, the plays that he makes with receivers — we don’€™t even know their names half the time — puts him in a category to be able to challenge the Seattle Seahawks.”

Robinson on the Patriots before the game: “This defense is too good. It’€™s Super Bowl or bust for Tom Brady. I expect them to be in the Super Bowl this year.”

Deion Sanders on NFL Network after the game on Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis and the rest of the Patriots: “We normally never see Tom Brady under duress like that. It seems like he calls it like a Peyton Manning; he gets rid of the ball methodically. They need a better running game. Defensively, this is not a Bill Belichick defense’€¦Darrelle Revis, I love him, he is a good corner, but he has to get back to the old Revis or they are going to keep victimizing him. They targeted him several times today. He played a fairly good game but not a great game, and I expect a little more. I know I’€™m going to get more because he has to get that attitude back. They brought him over there to take them to the next level, not to be an average corner. He’€™s better than that.”

LaDainian Tomlinson on NFL Network after the game on Patriots defense allowing 33 points in loss to Miami: “We didn’€™t expect that defense to play like that. They gave up 33 points and that’€™s not reminiscent of a Patriots defense from Bill Belichick. I look on the other side of the ball and I didn’€™t get anything from the run game. You’€™re expecting Tom Brady to do everything. I thought when the season first started that they were going to rely a lot more on their run game; a lot of play-action passes, a lot of passes to [Rob Gronkowski] but also managing the game, not putting Tom Brady in a bad situation. We saw that. They couldn’€™t block Cameron Wake and that was a problem all day, and they didn’€™t try to give him any help.”

Steve Mariucci on NFL Network after the game on Patriots-Dolphins: ‘€œThis game was decided in the trenches. The inability for the Patriots to run the ball and giving up 191 yards rushing; Knowshon Moreno had 134 by himself. And then of course all of the pressure on Tom Brady. The Patriots go into halftime with a 20-10 lead and then they can’€™t get anything done really in the second half. I don’€™t know if the heat or anything got to them a little bit, but Miami really poured it on in the second half and controlled this game.”

Read More: Deion Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Irvin, Michael Robinson

Darrelle Revis: ‘Very frustrating’ to miss end of game with cramps

09.07.14 at 8:06 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis had tough luck on Sunday with Mike Wallace. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis had tough luck on Sunday with Mike Wallace. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It may not have changed the outcome but Darrelle Revis said he was frustrated to be kept on the sideline by a minor issue in the closing moments of Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.

“€œVery frustrating. I couldn’€™t be out there and help the team out in desperation mode at that time,” Revis said.

Revis was asked specifically if it was cramping from the heat and humidity that kept him out of the game at the end.

“Uh, yeah,” Revis said. “Minor. Minor. Minor things going on but yeah.”

Revis made his official debut with the Patriots and was targeted several times by Ryan Tannehill, including on the Mike Wallace touchdown reception over the middle that tied the game, 20-20, in the third quarter.

“I actually knocked the pass down and thought it popped up like the post he ran earlier in the first half. I don’€™t know, I have to see the film,” Revis said of the Wallace TD grab. “My teammates were telling me it hit his knee and popped back into his hands. You don’€™t want those happen – sometimes they happen ‘€“ but the only thing you can do is, I don’€™t know. Sometimes the plays happen and you have to tip your hat off to Mike for keeping focus and coming up with it some weird way.”

Wallace, who finished with seven catches and a TD on 11 targets, nearly had another touchdown on Revis on an out-and-up move in the second quarter but Wallace’s right foot came down out of bounds.

“€œIt’€™s not a good day for us,” Revis said. “We didn’€™t play too well and that’€™s the taste we have in our mouth today. It doesn’€™t matter about my first day, it would have been way better if we would have come out with a victory. We’€™re worried about the loss.”

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Miami Dolphins, Mike Wallace, New England Patriots

Tom Brady isn’t throwing his offensive line under a bus: ‘I don’t think any of us were gelling’

09.07.14 at 7:38 pm ET
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Tom Brady struggled against the Dolphins Sunday in Miami. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady struggled against the Dolphins Sunday in Miami. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tom Brady was a beaten and banged up quarterback on Sunday but he was not about to let the pounding show itself by blaming his offensive line.

“€œTruthfully I don’€™t think we were really gelling anywhere,” Brady said. “There wasn’€™t much positive from the quarterback position, the receiver position, the tight end position and the running back position. None of us can play like that and expect to win. All of us have to go out and do a much better job than we did today. We’€™ve got to take the coaching, understand what we need to do better and then go out and execute next week.”

Brady, sporting his Logan Mankins beard, wouldn’t call out an offensive line that allowed four sacks, two of them for strip sack turnovers, and six official quarterback hits (though it seemed twice that number). This can happen when you have an interior offensive line by committee, which is what Bill Belichick and his staff has decided to use, at least to start the season.

The starting line was left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Marcus Cannon, center Dan Connolly, right guard Jordan Devey and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Three drives – and three quarterback hits – into the first half, the Patriots shifted Connolly to right guard, brought in Ryan Wendell at center and featured Cameron Fleming as a tackle eligible for added protection.

“€œI think our execution was just terrible,” Brady said. “We just couldn’€™t do anything offensively, we couldn’€™t sustain drives and we couldn’€™t get a first down. We couldn’€™t run it and we couldn’€™t throw it. It was just a bad day.”

The Dolphins were without their projected three starting linebackers just 10 minutes into the game as Koa Misi (ankle) and Dannell Ellerbe (hip) left with injuries.

‘€œI know but like I said they had some guys that came in and did a good job,” Brady said. “No. 53 (Jelani Jenkins) and [Jason] Trusnik did a good job. They have some good players and depth at that position, they’€™ve got a good front and they have good players in the secondary that make you earn it. We just couldn’€™t sustain anything. We just had too many drives where we sputtered and starting in the second half and the third quarter, you can’€™t play football that way.’€

But Brady did eventually hint that he was mentally affected by the constant pounding when asked if the hits changed his thinking in the pocket.

‘€œThat’€™s a good question,” Brady said. “I just don’€™t think you want to stand back there and hold the ball when you know they’€™re bearing down. You just try to pick guys out and make the throws but there’€™s time when you look on the film and you had more time than you think and that’€™s part of playing football. I’€™ve got to do a lot better job using my instincts to help our team move the ball and score points.”

All the pounding didn’t appear to affect his ailing calf or his sense of humor, when asked about the leg after the game.

‘€œIt’€™s good, thanks for asking,” he said.

Read More: New England Patriots, offensive line, Tom Brady,

Vince Wilfork: ‘We thought we had a good game plan… and obviously we didn’t’

09.07.14 at 7:20 pm ET
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — No excuses. It’s true that it was 89 degrees at game time with a heat index approaching 100. It’s true that the Patriots were on the wrong end of nine penalties totaling 100 yards. And it’s true that the Patriots’ offensive line couldn’t block anyone in the second half, eliminating any chance for the Patriots defense to get a breather on the sideline.

But to Vince Wilfork, a captain and leader of the defense, there was no excuse for Knowshon Moreno and the Dolphins manhandling the Patriots defense in the second half in a 33-20 season-opening loss.

“We just didn’€™t play well enough,” Wilfork said. “First half we went out we created plays, we made plays, we played together good football. But second half we just didn’€™t make enough plays. They made a lot. They capitalized on our mistakes. That was the ball game. We have to do better. We can’€™t hold our heads down. It is a long season. But we definitely have to get better. And we will get better.”

To Wilfork’s point, the Patriots forced three turnovers on three consecutive Miami drives in the first half and the Patriots converted them into 10 points and a 20-10 halftime lead. But then the Dolphins came out and began a disturbing trend, shoving it down the throats of the Patriots defensive line. Eight plays 66 yards leading to a field goal followed by three runs by Moreno on the second drive (which came after the first of two Tom Brady strip sacks allowed) and a Ryan Tannehill touchdown pass. In the blink of an eye, the 10-point lead was gone. The Dolphins ran the ball 24 times for 126 yards in the second half, exerting their will.

“Everything they did we knew,” Wilfork said of Miami’s attack with an offensive line that featured five new starters. “We thought we had a good game plan for it and obviously we didn’€™t. But anytime somebody [Moreno] comes out and has a ball game like that is not good. We have to get back to the drawing board.

“It’€™s what it’€™s all about. Going back to the drawing board, look at the film; look at the corrections, being better in situational football. And go from there. But it is a long season. It’€™s tough; it’€™s always tough to go on the road in the division. Especially down here. They always play us tough. First game of the season. No excuses though. They played their tails off, they rallied, and it showed.”

Wilfork insisted the heat had nothing to do with the second half meltdown. 

“€œNo, not at all,” Wilfork insisted. “There wasn’€™t an issue with the heat. There were hotter days in Boston than this. No excuses. They beat us fair and square. They didn’€™t do anything, they didn’€™t trick us, and they didn’€™t do anything that we didn’€™t think they were going to do. They just capitalized on opportunities. We didn’€™t play well enough for the second half and that is what really cost us.”

Mike Petraglia on Dolphins outmuscling Tom Brady, Patriots in season opener

09.07.14 at 6:49 pm ET
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. —’s Mike Petraglia details how the Patriots were manhandled in the second half and lost their season opener for the first time since 2003, 33-20, to the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. Tom Brady was sacked four times, including two strip sacks, while his offensive line gave up six hits on the quarterback in the game that saw the Patriots blow a 20-10 halftime lead.

Read More: Miami Dolphins, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, Tom Brady

Rob Gronkowski: ‘It was good getting acclimated out there’

09.07.14 at 6:11 pm ET
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When Rob Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Tom Brady just 47 seconds into the second quarter, he unleashed his trademark spike and the Patriots went up 17-7.

Everything was going according to plan. He was getting his red zone opportunities in his first game back from his right ACL tear and the Patriots were dictating the pace of the game.

Then the wheels fell off in the second half. He appeared in just one of 13 snaps in the third quarter as the Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half, losing 33-20 Sunday in Miami.

“€œI mean it feels good to play football again, to be out there with the team,” Gronkowski said of his first action of any kin since last Dec. 8. “Being out there with your teammates, you win as a team, lose as a team. I just got to keep on improving every single week. I got a lot of things to work on. I got to keep working hard out there in practice.’€

And the knee?

“€œEverything feels good,” Gronkowski said. “I mean I feel good, so we’€™ll just keep on playing and have a good practice week, this week, and just got to keep working hard to get better. Definitely can improve in a lot of areas.’€

Gronkowski finished with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown as Brady targeted him 11 times on the day, including in the second quarter when he broke free of Brent Grimes in the end zone, a classic case of Gronk using his size to separate and get open for a six-yard score.

“It always it feels good to get the first one,” Gronkowski said. “Just literally a little slant and [QB] Tom [Brady] scrambled and he scrambled and saw me going across the end zone and he hit me on the pass. I just got to keep on improving, keep on making plays like that. We got to make more plays, as a team and got to keep on improving.’€

As for playing just one snap in the third quarter, Gronkowski said it had nothing to do with his conditioning in the heat and humidity.

“We’ve been practicing in the heat a lot so that’s not it. They were just the better team out there today and got to give them credit. Whatever the coaches had. When they called the plays, that’s when I went in. I thought it was good, getting me acclimated out there and feel good. Just have to keep working hard this week.”

Gronkowski said the timing with Brady, as is the case with everybody else in a Patriots uniform, can improve.

“It was fine,” Gronkowski said. “I definitely can improve. That’s what practice is for and that’s what playing the game is for. I know we haven’t played in a game in a while but you can always improve in every area.”

“They just played better. They have a good team, they’ve got a good defense and we just have to go out there and play as a team better, make more plays definitely, including myself. They’re just a good team overall and we have to go out there and execute better.”

Read More: Gronk, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski

Tom Brady: Dolphins ‘took away everyone in the second half’

09.07.14 at 5:26 pm ET
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After Sunday’s shocking 33-20 loss to the Dolphins, Tom Brady gave credit to Miami, acknowledging that, despite the fact that the Dolphins suffered some serious personnel losses in the first two quarters, they were able to hang in and dominate the Patriots in the second half.

“They have a good team and they always play pretty well down here, especially against us,” Brady said of the Miami defense, which held the Patriots scoreless in the second half and limited the quarterback to 6-for-20 for 31 yards in the fourth quarter.

“I give them a lot of credit. They dealt with a lot of injuries, and they’re pretty mentally tough.

Indeed, for Brady and the New England offense, it was a tale of two halves. In the first 30 minutes, Brady was 19-for-29 for 187 yards and a touchdown. But it was a sad and sorrowful performance down the stretch, as the New England offense couldn’t string together any consistency in the third and fourth quarters.

“They took away everyone in the second half,” said Brady, who finished 29-for-56 for 249 yards with one touchdown.

“We played a good football team at home. We had a decent first half, but you have to play a good 60 minutes to beat them,” he added. “Our execution was just terrible. … We couldn’t run it. We couldn’t throw it. It was just a bad day.”

Brady was asked about the struggles of the offensive line — he was sacked four times and under pressure for much of the afternoon — but didn’t seem inclined to call them out.

“The guys in the blue jerseys today, I don’t think any of us played that well,” he said. “We just couldn’t sustain anything.”

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