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Stephen Gostkowski: Despite recent struggles ‘I’ve always had my confidence’

12.04.16 at 6:52 pm ET
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Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals in the Patriots' win against the Rams. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals in the Patriots’ win against the Rams. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Even though the Patriots only scored two touchdowns in the 26-10 win over the Rams, it meant it was a busy day for kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

After going through some recent struggles, it was a big day for the kicker as he kicked four field goals, including three from 40-plus yards.

Gostkowski entered the game missing four field goals this year, his highest number since 2012.

“It’s a start. It’s one game,” Gostkowski said. “Every week is a different challenge. You just got to battle, keep your head down, stay humble and show up but control your attitude and your effort and make sure both of those are good and have faith in the process that what you’ve been doing is going to continue.”

The kicker is in his 11th season and said he’s been around sports long enough not to get down after a few tough games.

“In athletics, I’ve gone through ups and downs my whole life,” he said. “I’ve always had my confidence when it comes to athletics. It’s sometimes stubborn to a fault. As long as I’m out there and getting a chance to play, I expect to do well. No one is harder on themselves than me when I do bad and I don’t plan on changing any time soon.”

It’s been noted Gostkowski has tweaked his kicking motion a few times over the year, but he said it’s nothing he hasn’t done in past seasons.

“You fine tune every week,” Gostkowski said. “When you play in New England you can have cold weather, hot weather, windy weather, or snow. It’s a daily change out there and it’s not a climate controlled environment so you’re fine-tuning every day. Your body feels different, but you’re going to go through all that during a long season so it’s no different from any other season I’ve had.”

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Alan Branch on overturned 4-game suspension: ‘Kind of crazy the situation I was put in’

12.04.16 at 6:16 pm ET
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Alan Branch reacted to his four-game suspension being overturned. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Alan Branch reacted to his four-game suspension being overturned. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Alan Branch got some good news on Saturday when his four-game suspension was overturned for violating the NFL’s drug use policy following an appeal.

Branch was originally suspended two weeks ago Monday, but was able to play last week against the Jets while the appeal was being heard.

The Patriots defensive tackle maintained he was innocent the entire time.

“I’m happy,” Branch said after Sunday’s game. “It’s kind of crazy just because — I mean I am happy, but I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just kind of crazy the situation I was put in. The team and I were both confident that I was going to win it. It’s kind of just on to the next game after that. I don’t really have a reaction just because I wasn’t supposed to be in there in the first place.”

Added Branch: “It didn’t matter to me either way just because I know I didn’t do anything wrong. One way or the other, if it was early or late, I knew it shouldn’t have came out any other way. It was what it was at that point.”

The 31-year-old admitted it’s been a frustrating past couple of weeks.

“Of course,” he said. “Just having my name out there wasn’t the best of terms, especially my family and everything. I kind of just had to deal with it and move on at this point.”

There have been no specifics revealed as to why Branch was suspended in the first place and Branch said he’s confused as everyone else.

“It’s confusing to me, too,” he said. “I am in the same shoes as you guys are. I don’t know how it got that far. I’m just trying to get past it and keep playing ball.”

Branch had one tackle for a loss in Sunday’s 26-10 win over the Rams.

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Tom Brady deflects praise following career win No. 201: ‘I just feel very grateful’

12.04.16 at 5:55 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Like he has for his entire 17-year playing career, Tom Brady wasn’t going to make Sunday’s 26-10 win over the Rams about him, even though he set the record for most wins by a quarterback in NFL history with 201, passing Peyton Manning.

“I’m grateful for all of my teammates and my coaches and for my family and friends,” Brady said. “There’s been a lot of football over the years, so it’s always been about winning and I’ve been very fortunate to be on a lot of great teams. I just feel very grateful.”

It was fitting the quarterback reached the milestone on the day the 2001 Patriots were honored for the 15-year anniversary of winning Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady attended the function for the team Saturday night, but didn’t stay as he wanted his rest before the game.

“Yeah, I saw some of them last night at the banquet that Mr. Kraft had, but I didn’t stay too long because I wanted to be up early and ready to go today,” Brady said. “It’s – to be fortunate to play over a long period of time with a lot of different players. I think I’ve learned so much from everybody that I’ve played with and I always try to watch everybody and learn from different things that they do.

“Whether it was Drew [Bledsoe], who I saw, or Damon Huard, who I saw – watching Jimmy [Garoppolo] and watching [Jacoby] Brissett, I feel like there’s always something to learn. Like I said, I’ve just been very fortunate to be around a lot of great teammates over the years, a lot of great coaches, and a lot of wins.”

It wasn’t the perfect performance for Brady as he finished the game going 33-for-46 with 269 yards and a touchdown. He completed passes to seven different receivers and six of them had at least three catches.

The Patriots went 4-for-16 on third down, which isn’t what they were looking for.

“I don’t think we were on the same page like we needed to be between myself and some of the skill players,” Brady said. “There were some plays I thought we could execute better, so it is frustrating when you expect a higher level than what we’re getting out there. I think everyone is trying to do the right thing, but we’ve just got to watch the film, try to correct it and see if we can do a better job.”

Brady improved to 62-6 at home in the regular season, which is more wins than five teams have overall in that span — Tampa Bay (60), Oakland (57), Jacksonville (52), Cleveland (47) and Los Angeles (46).

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Mike Petraglia, Chris Price talk Tom Brady, NFL history and Patriots defensive dominance in win

12.04.16 at 5:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady wins his 201st career game and the Patriots and Bill Belichick pay tribute in style to the 2001 Patriots with a win over the Rams. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your recap inside Gillette Stadium.

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Photos: Patriots blow out Rams, Tom Brady breaks wins record

12.04.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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Tom Brady broke the all-time wins record for a quarterback with his 201st career victory as the Patriots beat the Rams, 26-10, Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Check out some photos from the game here.

For a complete recap, click here.

LeGarrette Blount and Tom Brady celebrate a touchdown Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount and Tom Brady celebrate a touchdown Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

3 up, 3 down following Patriots 26-10 win over Rams

12.04.16 at 5:40 pm ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

FOXBORO — At first glance, here are three up and three down in the wake of Sunday’s 26-10 win over the Rams.

3 UP

Quarterback Tom Brady: The veteran set the mark for most quarterback wins of all time on Sunday against the Rams; his 201st, surpassing his old pal Peyton Manning. It wasn’t a performance that’ll go down among his all-time best — 33-for-46, 269 yards, one touchdown, no picks — but it was a landmark win, and should be treated as such. For the third straight game, the contest ended with a Brady kneeldown.

Running back LeGarrette Blount: Blount ran hard all day, and delivered one of the offensive highlights of the afternoon when he blasted through the line and galloped, John Riggins-style, for a 43-yard touchdown to open the scoring. The big back had 18 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon while nearing a career mark for most yards in a season — he’s 50 yards away.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski: The kicker was perfect on the afternoon, with field goals from 28, 48, 45 and 45 yards. He also connected on both extra points.


Punt return unit: Tough to do against a world-class punter like Johnny Hekker, but the Patriots got zero in the return game Sunday — on six returns, they had a grand total of seven yards. Ugh.

Kick returner/cornerback Cyrus Jones: The rookie continued to struggle on special teams, as he started the day as the primary returner, but muffed a first-quarter punt. It was recovered by the Patriots, but it continued a troubling trend for the youngster.

Running back James White: We’re nitpicking here, but at first glance, it looked like he whiffed on a block that got Brady flattened in the first half. He was also at least partially culpable for a penalty as part of an illegal shift in the third quarter.

Read More: Cyrus Jones, James White, LeGarrette Blount, Stephen Gostkowski

Julian Edelman: ‘[Tom Brady] should be the face of this league’

12.04.16 at 5:30 pm ET
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Julian Edelman said it was a honor to be part of Tom Brady's 201st career win. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Julian Edelman said it was a honor to be part of Tom Brady’s 201st career win. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Sunday’s 26-10 win over the Rams belonged to Tom Brady, as it was his 201st career win, which is the most among quarterbacks in NFL history.

Julian Edelman is among the players closest to Brady on the team, so it was a honor for the receiver to be part of the milestone.

“Like I’ve said, I’ve watched him play since I was like in eighth grade and I’ve been here for eight years. That tells you something,” Edelman said. “To get to see him do this, couldn’t happen to a better guy or a better player. Everything he’s done he’s deserved. He should be the face of this league with how his story, how he prepares — he’s a family man. Couldn’t happen to anyone better.”

It was fitting Brady reached the mark on the day the Patriots honored the 2001 Super Bowl winning team, which was Brady’s first year as a starter when he replaced Drew Bledsoe in Week 2. While his teammates were honored at halftime, Brady was in the process of leading the 2016 Patriots to their 10th win of the season.

“Quite frankly, it’s unreal,” Edelman said. “It just shows you that’s what separates himself from the other guys. You go look at the other greats, I mean, when they are at this age, they don’t look like him. Not even close. You can put a stamp on that one.”

For Edelman personally, it was another good game as he finished with a team-leading 101 yards on eight catches. He’s now gone four straight games with at least seven catches and 77 yards receiving.

“I’m feeling a day better than yesterday,” he said. “I don’t feel better than yesterday because we just had a game. Really just trying to stack together weeks and try to do my job and stay within the system. That’s what I am going to try and continue to do.”

Now, Edelman and the Patriots will face the Ravens on Monday Night who are coming off a big win over the red-hot Dolphins.

“You can never look past Baltimore,” he said. “These guys, they are a really good team always. They always play us hard. We know it’s going to go down to the end. We’re just going to have a good week of practice.”

Read More: Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
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