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Akeem Ayers on recording sack in first game with Patriots: ‘That was a great feeling’

10.26.14 at 7:50 pm ET
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Akeem Ayers recorded a sack in his first game as a Patriot on Sunday (Jim Rogash/Getty Images).

Akeem Ayers recorded a sack in his first game as a Patriot on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It was a crazy week for Patriots linebacker Akeem Ayers.

Last week at this time Ayers was a member of the Titans, but he was officially traded to the Patriots on Wednesday. He was able learn everything he needed in four days and capped off the week by recording a sack in Sunday’s 51-23 blowout of the Bears.

“[There] was a lot going on,” Ayers admitted after the game. “Me having to get situated moving, meeting guys around the building, learning the playbook, meeting teammates, the schedule — everything was difficult early on, but everyone around here made it easy for me and they really worked with me. It made the transition a lot easier.”

The Patriots were leading 24-7 with Chicago having the ball at its own 15-yard line with 1:47 left in the half. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder was able to get through the line on the right side — after lining up in a hybrid defensive end position — and sack Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for a nine-yard loss.

Chicago punted two plays later, and after a great Julian Edelman return, the Patriots scored on their first offensive play — the second touchdown of a three touchdown in 57 second span late in the first half to blow open the game.

“That was a great feeling and was a real momentum builder,” Ayers said of the sack. “Something I can build off of and continue to work.”

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Brandon LaFell just having fun watching Patriots offense reach ‘a whole new level’

10.26.14 at 7:15 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Brandon LaFell looks like a man having a lot of fun. Who could blame him?

After all, not only did the big receiver look like the big-time Tom Brady target the Patriots were looking for when they signed him in March, he has a great view to watch Brady and Rob Gronkowski do their thing.

LaFell had career highs of 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 51-23 destruction of the Bears at Gillette Stadium Sunday.

But LaFell was like a kid in a candy shop Sunday. LaFell is not like some athletes who say they don’t watch games when they’re not playing. He’s exactly the opposite. He loves keeping tabs on other great players. It just so happens that two of them were on the same sideline with him Sunday. Gronkowski had three touchdown catches while Brady was nearly perfect, going 30-of-35 for 354 yards and five touchdowns in the rout.

“It was a lot of fun ‘€“ everybody catching the ball, everybody making plays,” LaFell said. “Sometimes you see Gronk go out there and make a play like he made and you turn into a fan real quick, so it was a lot of fun today.”

LaFell caught 11 passes on 11 targets from Brady and clearly had a good vibe going into the game.

“Yeah, we felt good. We knew they were going to play a lot of zone coverage, and we just go out there, have good spacing, catch the ball [and] protect the ball because those guys ‘€“ I think they lead the NFL since 2010 in takeaways, strip fumbles and stuff like that. We knew what type of game it was. We just had to go out there and execute,” LaFell said.

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Read More: Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

Tom Brady on 5-TD performance: ‘Everything was working’

10.26.14 at 6:52 pm ET
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One of the best days of Tom Brady's career allowed the Patriots to dominate the Bears. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady had his best performance in quite some time in Sunday’s win over the Bears. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady‘€™s stat line read 18-for-21, 203 yards and four touchdowns — not a bad day’s work — in one half.

Those first-half numbers said what kind of day it was for the Patriots quarterback as he led the way in the Patriots’€™ 51-23 rout of the Bears.

Brady finished 30-for-35, throwing for 354 yards and five touchdowns in undoubtedly his best performance of the season. He’€™s now thrown five or more touchdown passes in a game six times in his career.

“We didn’t punt there until the middle of the third quarter, so it felt good at halftime,”€ Brady said. “Everything was working. You come in and you want to make adjustments at halftime, but really we were just sticking with the plan because we did a good job keeping them off balance and when we were throwing it, we had great protection and guys were making a lot of plays in the passing game. It was one of those days where that’€™s what we needed. They have a really good offense and we needed to get ahead of them and make them play from behind and we did that and that’€™s why it turns out the way it does.”

The Patriots’ signal caller threw three touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski and also hit Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright in the end zone to account for the five touchdown passes. Overall, on passes to those three players he was 26-for-26 for 317 yards and five touchdowns.

For the game he finished with an 85.7 completion percentage, the second-highest in team history. Brady holds the record when he went 23-for-26 (88.4 percent) against Jacksonville in 2009.

“I love coaching Tom,” coach Bill Belichick said. “€œ[I’ve] been fortunate to have him [his] whole career since he’€™s been here. We meet at least twice a week, sometimes more. [We] spend a considerable amount of time together. I think that’€™s important to have that relationship between the head coach and the quarterback so at least we’€™re on the same page [with] what we’€™re trying to do.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

Darrelle Revis: Patriots-Broncos will be ‘battle of the AFC’

10.26.14 at 6:07 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis had four tackles, an interception and two passes defensed on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis had four tackles, an interception and two passes defended on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis sounds like a man excited about the prospect of facing Peyton Manning.

In the wake of Sunday’s 51-23 Patriots win over the Bears, the veteran corner was asked about what it will feel like to be a part of another battle between Manning and Tom Brady, as well as the the chance to gain the inside track in the race for the top seed in the AFC.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of back in New York when we played against the Patriots.

“We know what’s at stake. We know Denver is a great team. At the same time, we’re trying to accomplish something like they are too. It’s the battle of the AFC. We understand. We totally understand. It’s two great quarterbacks going against each other. We’re going to have to duke it out.”

In many ways, the offseason pickup of Revis and fellow corner Brandon Browner was geared toward slowing down Manning and the Denver passing game. Revis said he welcomes the challenge.

“These are the games you want to play for. I can speak for everybody who is on this team — we live for games like this for next week. We’re looking forward to it. It should be a great matchup,” he said. “We want this one. We really do. We’re a team on a mission. It’s going to be two great teams out there, and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve been playing consistent,” he added. “We started off slow and we had to focus on certain things — you know, offense, defense and special teams — to tighten it down a little bit. Our technique. But we’re a confident team. We definitely are. Our record speaks for itself — we’re 6-2, and we’re going to continue to play confident because that’s the type of mentality we have as a team.”

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Brandon Marshall on coming out on 4th-and-10 late in game: ‘Wack [question], bro’

10.26.14 at 5:35 pm ET
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Brandon Marshall was held to three catches on 10 targets against the Patriots Sunday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Brandon Marshall was held to three catches on 10 targets against the Patriots on Sunday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — When the doors opened to the Bears locker room following their embarrassing 51-23 loss to the Patriots, many expected a lot of yelling and screaming — especially after last Sunday’s scene following their loss at home to the Dolphins.

Instead it was a much different one — players with their heads down at their lockers, speechless at what just happened, as the Bears fell to 3-5 on the year.

Following last week’s loss, Brandon Marshall called it “unacceptable.” But, he wasn’t going there this week.

“That’s last week, brother,” he said. “That’s last week.”

What about this week?

“We lost. I hope that answers your question, bro. But, that’s last week.”

Marshall kept his cool for the most part this Sunday, but did become agitated towards the end of the interview when asked if it was an injury or fatigue leading to him coming out on a fourth-and-10 in the fourth quarter after running a deep route up the sideline.

“I love football and I want to play, so you can take that,” Marshall said. “I don’t give up, I’m a fighter, I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve fought my whole life. Whatever you’re trying to refer to, it’s wack to me. It’s wack, bro. It’s wack. It’s one play. I probably came out six times this game.

“I will say this you want to be on the field every single play, but it’s almost impossible to do that. You go out there and give it your all, a lot of exertion. Mentally, physically. Bad timing.”

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What we learned: Patriots gear up for Broncos with blowout of Bears

10.26.14 at 4:04 pm ET
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One of the best days of Tom Brady's career allowed the Patriots to dominate the Bears. (Getty Images)

One of the best days of Tom Brady‘s career allowed the Patriots to dominate the Bears. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — One week ahead of their showdown with the high-scoring Broncos, the Patriots served notice they can score with the best of them.

On Sunday against the Bears, New England had little trouble, jumping to a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter and adding three shockingly fast touchdowns in less than two minutes before halftime to put the game away. They sat on the ball for the bulk of the second half on the way to a 51-23 win over Chicago.

Tom Brady had a phenomenal afternoon, going 30-for-35 with 354 yards and five touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski added nine catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns, while Jonas Gray added 16 carries for 80 yards.

On the other side of the ball, Jay Cutler went 20-for-30 for 227 yards, with three touchdowns and a pick. He got most of his help from Matt Forte, who had 19 carries for 114 yards to go along with six catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s what we learned about the Patriots on Sunday:

A healthy Rob Gronkowski changes everything

Gronkowski, who left the game midway through the third quarter with what the team termed as dehydration, finished the afternoon with nine catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns. It was the 14th time in his career he topped the 100-yard receiving mark. His most impressive feat came on the first drive of the second half, where he busted through a series of would-be Chicago tacklers on the way to the end zone, a 46-yard score that brought to mind the broken-field runs he made in 2011. It was a masterful performance for the big tight end, who will likely be packed in bubble wrap for the remainder of the week as the Patriots prepare for their biggest test of the season in the Broncos next week.

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Halftime analysis: Patriots 38, Bears 7

10.26.14 at 2:37 pm ET
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Tom Brady has four touchdown passes at halftime. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady has four touchdown passes at halftime. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots seized command early and added three rapid scores at the end of the second quarter to build a huge lead — 38-7 after two quarters here at Gillette Stadium.

Tom Brady had an incredibly sharp first half, finishing 18-for-21 for 203 yards with four touchdowns. It marked the fifth time in his career he finished with four or more TDs in one half, with the last time coming on Oct. 18, 2009. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler was 7-for-13 for 66 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Here are a few quick notes:

— With the exception of one Chicago drive midway through the second quarter, the Patriots dominated most of the first two quarters on both sides of the ball. On defense, they were able to minimize the damage inflicted by Matt Forte (10 rushes, 59 yards, as well as four catches for 46 yards and a touchdown), while the Bears had no answer for Rob Gronkowski (8 catches for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns), who went over 100 receiving yards for the 14th time in his career. Read the rest of this entry »

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