|09.14.14 at 7:07 pm ET|
Bill Belichick’s first coaching win came on Sept. 8, 1991 in Foxboro against the Patriots in a 20-0 shutout in his second game with the Cleveland Browns.
Twenty-three years and six days later, Belichick became just the sixth coach in NFL history to coach his 200th win in the regular season.
Sunday’s win was much like many of his previous 199 over the years. His team gave up an early touchdown, rallied to take control through winning the turnover and special teams battles before cruising to a victory that featured sound fundamentals all around.
When the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday in Minnesota and Belichick walked across the field to congratulate his counterpart Mike Zimmer after a 30-7 Patriots’ win, Belichick improved his all-time regular season record to 200-106. Belichick joins Don Shula (328), George Halas (318), Tom Landry (250), Curly Lambeau (226) and Marty Schottenheimer (200) as coaches to reach the 200-win milestone.
What does it mean to the man wearing his traditional hoodie Sunday?
“It means a lot,” Belichick said. “What it really means is that I’ve coached a lot of good football players. Those are the guys that win the game. Players win games in this league. I’ve been fortunate to coach a lot of great players. That’s really about them winning the games. But it’s certainly it’s an honor to have my name thrown in there with some of those guys, I’d say really all of whom, maybe other than Curly, that I looked up to as a kid and admired and maybe borderline worshipped as an NFL coach.
“I certainly never got into coaching expecting that to ever happen so it’s very gratifying to reach that milestone but what it really says is that I’ve had a lot of good players, that’s really what it says.”
Belichick can pass Schottenheimer with a win over the lowly Raiders next week in New England’s home opener at Gillette. But for now, Belichick just wants to savor one more win in the record books.
“Felt good. Every win feels good. It felt good, felt real good. Just proud of the way our team played today. We had a lot of good players. Our team played hard today.”
|09.14.14 at 6:39 pm ET|
Bill Belichick knows both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice personally. The Patriots coach also loves the NFL and knows how bad of a week it’s been for the league, those two star players and the people affected by their actions.
After his team dispatched the Vikings, 30-7, Sunday in Minnesota, Belichick was asked if there were anything he or the Patriots could do to help the league through its worst week in recent memory.
Often times, Belichick will dismiss the question out of hand. But on Sunday he offered some perspective that showed sensitivity to legal matters at hand with both star players.
“It’s certainly unfortunate,” Belichick said. “I’ve had a lot of personal respect for Adrian and Ray, and the whole situation is really unfortunate for the events of what happened, but we all know that it so it’s an unfortunate situation.
“Well, I think we need to do what we always do, and that’s take care of our job and do our job and try to do it well. And that’s what we’ll focus on and continue to focus on. We really can’t control anything outside of what we do and we just have to do the best we can and leave all those other things to the process and so forth.”
The process with regard to Peterson, who sat out Sunday’s game after being deactivated on Friday by the Vikings, is waiting to see what further action the team and league will take after he turned himself in early Saturday morning and posted $15,000 bond after a charge of child injury was handed down by a Montgomery County, Texas grand jury.
As for Rice, the Ravens back has been suspended indefinitely after the NFL said it wasn’t aware of a video released last week that showed him punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and knocking her out in a casino elevator in New Jersey.
|09.14.14 at 6:22 pm ET|
When Bill Belichick brought the troops together after the season-opening loss in Miami, he looked directly to the veterans and leaders in his locker room to send a message. Losing two straight to open a season doesn’t happen in New England.
Apparently the captains did their job and got the message across. Certainly, the Patriots coach felt that way after Sunday’s 30-7 rout of the Vikings on the road.
“[That] felt good,” Belichick said. “Every win feels good. It felt good, felt real good. Just proud of the way our team played today. We had a lot of good players. I thought our captains did a real good job this week coming off last week’s disappointing game in Miami. We got great leadership from our veterans and our captains. Our team played hard today.”
Certainly, it didn’t start out well. The Vikings went 80 yards on the game’s opening drive, marching down the field for a touchdown as the Patriots linebackers were caught out of position. But those would be the only points of the game as he, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Patriots veterans made adjustments. Those adjustments produced four interceptions of Matt Cassel and six quarterback sacks, two apiece by Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower.
“Chandler has played well for us and is a good player,” Belichick said. “Again, anytime you can get that kind of a lead like we did and you saw the reverse of that last week, it becomes a one-dimensional game and those guys can just do their thing, tee off on the quarterback and all that. That’s a defensive lineman’s dream. We were able to capitalize on it and get some pressure on the quarterback. Our ability to make plays, to get ahead to create that situation really had a lot to do with it, too. But he did a good job, got good pass rush from all those guys, Rob, Chandler, Hightower, Easley, Vince, a bunch of guys got to the quarterback.
“The turnovers were huge. Most of those plays were on balls down the field. They got us early in the game on some misdirection plays, a crossing route to Rudolph, a crossing route back to the tight end off the play-action and a cross-boot for a touchdown. We need to do a better job on staying at home, defending our areas, not over-pursuing. We kind of got caught on that in the first drive. They had a good group of plays and were definitely able to execute them well. That was a good drive.”
Offensively, the Patriots ran the ball effectively, taking the pressure of Tom Brady, who was happy with the win but not the execution.
|09.14.14 at 5:09 pm ET|
From the moment Tom Brady took the podium after his first win of the 2014 season, it was apparent he wasn’t in a particularly good mood.
Brady completed 15-of-22 passes for 149 yards and nine-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. His quarterback rating was 102.3, the first time over 100 since last December against the Texans. He didn’t throw an interception and was sacked just once.
Still, Brady seemed upset with the lack of rhythm in the offense, partly reflected in a conversion rate of just 5-for-14 on third down.
“I’m happy we won,” Brady said. “I just wish we’d go out there and play like we’re capable. That’s just the way it is. I’m glad we won, great team win, a lot of guys contributed, a lot of great plays were made. Hopefully, offensively, we can do a better job next week.
“I think we have a lot of work to do. It’s good to win. We’ll get back to work [Monday].”
Brady gave props to the offensive line that did a much better job in pass protection and opened holes for Stevan Ridley to rush for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
“Some great running, great blocking up front,” Brady said. “He always runs really hard. We were really close on some runs to breaking some longer ones but that was really important for us to run the ball like that. We’re going to need that all season.
|09.14.14 at 4:12 pm ET|
After a shocking loss to the Dolphins in Miami in the season-opener, the Patriots bounced back nicely Sunday against the Vikings, coming away with a 30-7 win.
Tom Brady finished 15-for-22 for 149 yards and one touchdown. Julian Edelman had six catches for 81 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, Stevan Ridley had 25 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown and Shane Vereen added six rushes for 40 yards.
In addition, Chandler Jones had a pair of sacks to go along with a blocked field goal and return for a touchdown (58 yards) just before the end of the first half.
On the other side of the ball, Matt Cassel was 19-for-35 for 202 yards with one touchdown and four picks. He was sacked six times. In addition, Matt Asiata had 13 carries for 36 yards and five catches for 48 yards.
Here are 10 things we learned about the Patriots on Sunday:
It was a much better week for Tom Brady and the offense, particularly down the stretch.
The Patriots were a team of two halves in the opener last week against the Dolphins, with an impressive start and a lousy finish. But on Sunday against the Vikings, New England was able to put together an impressive 60-minute performance, dominating in all areas. That included the work of the quarterback, who was in command throughout, getting more than enough time to throw (we’ll get into more of the reasons why shortly) and making impressive hookups with Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
Chandler Jones had a really impressive bounceback game.
It wasn’t just the blocked field goal and touchdown on the return shortly before the end of the first half. The defensive end was able to get good pressure throughout the afternoon on Cassel, helping cave in the pocket and making life difficult for the Minnesota passing game for much of the day. Jones had two sacks (Dont’a Hightower added two, while Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Arrington added one each) and was able to display the sort of consistency the Patriots are craving from his spot going forward.
The Patriots coach and Turner go back almost 20 years, but one thing that’s been pretty constant over the seasons is the fact that more often than not, Belichick knows how to beat a Turner-led offense. Belichick improved his personal mark against Turner to 11-2 (that’s since he took over the Patriots prior to the 2000 season). The last time Turner got the better if Belichick was October 2008 when Turner was the head coach of the Chargers and Cassel was quarterbacking New England. (Overall, it’s a three-game winning streak for Belichick.)
Darrelle Revis helped shut things down.
The cornerback had his first pick in a New England uniform, coming away with a second-quarter ball on a Cassel attempt for Greg Jennings. (For what it’s worth, Revis apparently told the TV broadcast crew on Saturday night that he was going to be with Jennings all day. We’ll need to take a closer look at the all-22 film when it is released, but that appeared to be the case.) An extremely unscientific look at his afternoon revealed three passes in his direction, with one interception and no completions. Over the course of his career, when Revis comes away with an interception, his teams are 19-3.
Read the rest of this entry »
|09.14.14 at 2:34 pm ET|
The Patriots and Vikings have played two quarters out in the Twin Cities, and New England holds a 24-7 lead.
The Patriots turned a pair of interceptions from Matt Cassel into touchdowns and got a blocked field goal (and defensive touchdown) from Chandler Jones to help with the lead. Tom Brady is 9-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown, while Julian Edelman has five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Matt Cassel is 12-for-20 for 144 yards with one touchdown and two picks, and Cordarrelle Patterson added three catches for 39 yards.
Here are a few quick notes:
The Vikings got started in style with a 7-play, 80-yard drive, one that took 4:06 and ended with a really impressive pass play from Cassel to Matt Asiata. Over the course of the first drive, it was clear the defensive focus was on Patterson — New England bit hard on a couple of play fakes, allowing Cassel to hit on some impressive connections with Asiata and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
That momentum started to change a few minutes later when Devin McCourty provided a spark for the New England defense, picking off a deep ball from Cassel (on a pass play intended for Jarius Wright) and returning it to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Stevan Ridley punched it in for his first rushing touchdown of the season to tie the game at seven midway through the first quarter.
New England then followed that up with another good defensive stand, forcing the Vikes into a 3-and-out with some good play in first and second down. The Patriots couldn’t punch it into the end zone, but ended up posting three more points when Stephen Gostkowski knocked home a 48-yard field goal (after a 10-play, 40-yard drive) to make it 10-7 just before the end of the first quarter.
After Darrelle Revis picked off his first pass of the season, the Patriots turned it around with a 7-play, 61-yard drive that included 59 receiving yards from Edelman and was capped off by a 9-yard pass from Brady to Edelman to make it 17-7 midway through the second quarter.
The Patriots then put the capper on the second quarter with a blocked field goal attempt from Jones — then, the big defensive end scooped it up and ran it all the way back for a touchdown to finish the scoring just before the end of the half.
|09.14.14 at 12:03 pm ET|
A logjam at wide receiver combined with the healthy return of Aaron Dobson has landed Kenbrell Thompkins on the inactive list for the Patriots’ Week 2 contest against the Vikings.
Also inactive for the Patriots Sunday are cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Michael Buchanan, Jamie Collins, Zach Moore, Ryan Wendell and running back James White.
Buchanan (ankle), Collins (thigh) and Wendell (knee) were all ruled out Saturday night for various injuries.
Trainers were spotted looking at Dennard’s shoulder pregame Sunday in Minnesota, and that combined with the fact that he was having trouble finishing tackles in the second half against Miami is an indication of a possible injury issue, though Dennard was not listed on the Patriots’ injury report this week.
Dennard recorded his first interception of the season last week in the first half of the season opener against the Dolphins.
Sunday’s inactives mean defensive lineman Chris Jones, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and offensive lineman Bryan Stork are in line to make their season debuts.
As for the Vikings, running back Adrian Peterson is inactive after turning himself in after his arrest on child injury chargers on Friday. Quarterback Christian Ponder is also inactive, meaning rookie Teddy Bridgewater is the backup behind Matt Cassel. Also inactive are linebackers Michael Mauti and Brandon Watts, center David Yankey, wide receiver Rodney Smith and defensive end Scott Crichton.
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