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What pundits were saying about Patriots on Sunday: ‘This defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl’

12.08.14 at 1:31 pm ET
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Deion Sanders had some nice things to say about Bill Belichick and the Patriots on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Deion Sanders had some nice things to say about Bill Belichick and the Patriots on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Here’s a quick rundown of what some NFL analysts were saying about the Patriots after Sunday’s win over the Chargers:

Deion Sanders on NFL Network after the game: “I wish I could have played for [Bill Belichick].”

Sanders on NFL Network after the game: “The secondary is playing physical, they’re getting to the ball, [and] they’re making things happen. It seems as though they come up and make a play week in and week out. This is a whole collection of players on defense that have bought in to the Bill Belichick way and they are exuding with confidence.”

Willie McGinest on NFL Network after the game: “This defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl. “They’re good against the run, they can cover. Bringing in [Brandon] Browner, bringing in [Darrelle] Revis, now they can match up with those high-powered offenses.”

Michael Irvin on NFL Network after the game: “I just love what [Julian Edelman] has become in the National Football League. He’s earned it the old fashioned way. He has worked his way to become of the best receivers in this league right now.”

Irvin on NFL Network before the game: “[Rob Gronkowski] is my man. I want my son to play like Gronk.”

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Darrelle Revis gets thumbs up from Bill Belichick for his work against Keenan Allen

12.08.14 at 12:54 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis helped shut down Keenan Allen Sunday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis helped shut down Keenan Allen Sunday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In their win Sunday night over the Chargers, cornerback Darrelle Revis effectively contained San Diego receiver Keenan Allen. Allen, who entered the game with a team-high 72 catches, was blanketed by Revis for the bulk of the game, and he finished with just two catches for three yards.

In a conference call with the media on Monday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised the work of Revis in helping hold Allen to a season-low in receiving yardage.

“I thought Revis played good,” Belichick said. “I think we really competed well against their receivers. We had pressure at times on the quarterback and that eliminated some downfield options. Overall, I thought he did a real good job. [Keenan Allen] wasn’€™t targeted a lot, but Revis was on him and they moved Allen around a little bit. He was usually outside, but played on both sides, played in the slot a little bit.

“[Allen is] a very good catch-and-run player. [When] he caught that under-route, Darrelle was right there to make the tackle on him for a pretty short gain,” added Belichick. “It’€™s not just covering him, but also tackling him. That was a good finish on that play. Yeah, no, he did a good job — a good job against a real good receiver. That guy is tough to cover and like I said, tough to tackle.”

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Bill Belichick on Brandon Browner’s hit: ‘We coach it exactly the way that’s written in the rulebook’

12.08.14 at 12:34 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

Bill Belichick spoke Monday morning about the disputed penalty call against Brandon Browner that saw the cornerback penalized 15 yards for what appeared to be a blow to the head of Chargers tight end Ladarius Green.

On the replay, it appeared Browner caught Green’s shoulder and not his head. The call negated a New England interception.

“The Browner play, we coach it exactly the way that’€™s written in the rulebook,” he told reporters on a conference call. “What we’€™re allowed to do and what we’€™re not allowed to do, and that’€™s exactly the way we coach it. It was a close play. You should probably talk to the crew that called it.

“We coach whatever the rules are; we coach within the rules. That’€™s how we coach it. [You] can’€™t lead with your head, can’€™t him them above the shoulders. We coach it the way it’€™s … we coach what you’€™re allowed to do, what you’€™re not allowed to do. I think that’€™s the way the players play it. Sometimes it doesn’t always turn out that way, but that’€™s what we try to do.”

After the game, Browner told reporters that the reaction of the officials was simply part of the game as it exists today.

“€œIt’€™€™s just part of the game nowadays. If you make a big hit nowadays, they tend to call a penalty,”€ Browner said. “œI felt it was pretty clean. I hit him with my shoulder to his chest. You know, that’€™€™s just the nature of the game.

“€œAt the moment it was tough, but I think that set the tone right there,”€ Browner added. “You win some, you lose some. Good thing that didn’t bite us in the butt. I’€™€™m really happy we won the game.”

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Bill Belichick says Patriots fans in San Diego were ‘loud, vocal,’ atmosphere ‘almost like a college game’

12.08.14 at 12:19 pm ET
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Patriots fans were out in full force in San Diego Sunday night. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Patriots fans were out in full force in San Diego Sunday night. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Sunday night’s Chargers-Patriots game was played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, but by looking and hearing the crowd, it seemed more like Gillette Stadium, even though it is almost 3,000 miles away on the opposite coast.

Many Patriots fans made the trip across the country to support their team, something many players appreciated on the field during and after the game, as they saw their team come-from-behind in a 23-14 win over the Chargers on Sunday Night Football to improve to 10-3 on the season and stay atop the AFC standings.

“Thought there was a lot of energy in the stadium,” Belichick said on a conference call Monday. “Night game. Chargers in their powder blues. Definitely a lot of energy in the stadium, and there was a sea of Patriots fans behind our bench. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. They were all kind of in the same spot. It was almost like a college game — a game at a neutral site, where one side of the field is one team and the other side of the field is the other team. It wasn’t quite like that, but we had all those fans right behind us. They were loud, vocal.”

Belichick wasn’t the only one who acknowledged the support, as many players took to Twitter following the game sending out appreciative tweets.

“Foxboro faithful was there,”€ Edelman told reporters following the game. “That’€™s always awesome to see — our fans come to other stadiums. I’€™ve never really seen anything like that. It was impressive. Our defensive chants sounded just as loud as Chargers chants. You expect nothing less from our fans. We like to have them in our corner.”
The Patriots improved to 4-3 on the road this season with the win, and 26-13 since 2010. They’ve been dominant on the road in the month of December as since 2002 they are 25-5.

New England will now return home for two of its final three games this season, a place they have been even more dominant — winning 15 straight home games, and are 56-12 at home after Halloween, the best winning percentage in the NFL over that span.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman, San Diego Chargers,

Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: ‘I would much prefer my quarterback show emotion and care’

12.08.14 at 11:01 am ET
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ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ win over the Chargers. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The New England defense stepped up in a game in which Tom Brady and the offense didn’t kick it into gear until the second half. Led by Darrelle Revis‘ play in the secondary, the Patriots held Philip Rivers to 189 passing yards for the night.

Hasselbeck said getting this defensive effort shows just how complete a football team the Patriots are.

“I always think it’s good and very encouraging when you win games and you look at it and you say, ‘Well, we didn’t play our best football.’ I think those are generally marks of good teams,” Hasselbeck said. “And then I think for the most part, too, you can look at quarterbacks that have the ability to not play a great game but then in certain moments do enough to help you win a game down the stretch. Those are good qualities to have. And I think that part of being a team and playing complementary football. They ran the ball pretty well in the first half, they were able to run it in a four-minute drive scenario when they get the ball back at the end of the game there with San Diego down two scores.

“And then you just look at them defensively. They obviously had a plan to put some pressure on the new center for the San Diego Chargers. They were able to execute that plan. I thought defensively it was a very good showing against an offense that has put up some big numbers against certain teams and a quarterback that’s had a decent amount of success this year. I thought that the plan was very good that New England had coming in defensively.”

Brady has been questioned for his language on the field, especially after an outburst in Green Bay. Again in San Diego, TV cameras caught Brady during an angry moment.

“I there’s part of being a leader, there’s certain players that are motivated or you deal with them in different ways,” Hasselbeck said. “I think if you, and I wasn’t aware that people were being critical of [Brady] in terms of I guess getting in guys’ faces about maybe frustration and at times probably frustration directed at himself in terms of something he’s done. I don’t think there’s any problem with that. I think you also have to adapt and being able to not be a roller coaster in terms of your emotions. But I don’t I think that would ever be the case for Tom. I think that he’s always got pretty good command of where he is. Just look at the other side of last night’s game. Philip Rivers was really frustrated with his center. The first sack or first hit on Rivers, the center has a blown assignment, and then he yells at him again when he actually was trying to do the right thing and then just gets beat by Jamie Collins. But he was just beat so quickly that I think that Philip thought that the guy had a mental screwup again. And Philip’s in his face about it. … I would have no issue and I would much prefer my quarterback show emotion and care, be a leader because I think people rally around that.”

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Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Blame CBS and NBC for putting [cursing] on TV. Don’t blame me’

12.08.14 at 8:29 am ET
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Tom Brady continues to play with emotion and lead the Patriots to wins. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Tom Brady continues to play with emotion and lead the Patriots to wins. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan minutes after the team arrived home Monday morning, following Sunday night’s 23-14 victory over the Chargers in San Diego, and talked about the defense’s big game, his emotional outbursts on the field, and the fan support in California. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady didn’t have his best game, but the Patriots defense stifled the Chargers, holding them to one offensive touchdown.

“[The defense] played phenomenal,” Brady said. “It wasn’t easy by any stretch. I thought we played a defense that really, that made it hard on us in a lot of ways. They really challenged us.

“Anytime you win on the road in the NFL it’s a great win. I was ecstatic. We had such a tough loss against Green Bay, and then to follow it up with a great win, a great team win where everybody really contributed. A lot of guys made huge plays — the blocked punt, the interception, Julian [Edelman]’s play, the way the defense played all night, [Rob Gronkowski] had some big plays, LeGarrette [Blount] had some big runs. It was a great win.”

Added Brady: “[The defense] kept us in it the whole night. We were struggling. We just couldn’t find our rhythm offensively. Defensively they just kept shutting them down. They just didn’t give them any room to breathe. We finally — Jules really made a big play there in the fourth quarter to get us ahead by two scores. And then the defense once again — even just the last drive for the Chargers, they’ve got to go down the field in two minutes and score, and we don’t even let them get a first down. It was just pretty cool to see.”

Brady continues to be emotional on the field, and the cameras always find him when he starts spouting expletives. Brady laughed when asked if his mother or wife have ever asked him to calm down on the field, joking, “It’s the only place I get a chance to do it.”

“It’s such an emotional game,” he said. “You’ve got to bring it every week. That’s what you’ve got to do. Especially when you’re making good plays like our guys were making last night, it makes it pretty easy to get excited about it. You’re always trying to level everybody’s level of awareness, raise their level of play so that you can go out there and be as excited as you possibly can. I’ve always played that way, and I probably will until the day I hang these cleats up.”

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Julian Edelman loves playing with Rob Gronkowski: ‘Gronk is a man-child’

12.08.14 at 4:08 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski catches his 10th touchdown of the season Sunday night. (Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski catches his 10th touchdown of the season Sunday night. (Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Long before his 69-yard leaping grab over the middle that resulted in a game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter, Julian Edelman watched another Patriots pass catcher make some great history.

When Rob Gronkowski caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter Sunday, he became the first tight end in NFL history with four seasons of at least 10 touchdowns.

“Gronk is a man-child,” Edelman said in sincere awe. “Playing with a guy like him is truly fun because he goes out there and plays the game the way it is supposed to be played. Whether he is getting the ball or blocking, he is a true team player.He comes in and practices hard.”

But Edelman admits to seeing that other side, too, which is really what makes him Gronk.

“He is a goofball, but he’s a gentle giant to us,” Edelman added. “It’s unbelievable watching that man play. I’m glad we have him on our team.”

Edelman and Gronkowski each finished with a touchdown catch. Edelman had 141 yards on eight catches and 12 targets. Gronkowski also had eight catches, finished with 87 yards on 11 targets.

Gronk was pretty much as expected after the game, deferring all credit to the defense, which kept the Patriots in the game while Tom Brady, Gronk and Edelman were finding their way through a very physical Chargers defense.

“No doubt, our defense played unbelievable,” Gronkowski said. “They were stopping them left and right, on third downs and with interceptions.You have to give huge props to our defense. Unbelievable outcome from them. They are very good and very talented. It was a great team win overall.

“It’s great. We won. It was a great team win. It was awesome.”

Read More: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, San Diego Chargers
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