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Tom Brady: ‘Just a poor performance all around’

10.06.13 at 5:42 pm ET
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CINCINNATI — Tom Brady wasn’t concerned about his streak of touchdown passes coming to an end at 52 games in a 13-6 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. He was more concerned with why it happened.

Brady was just 18-of-38 for 197 yards, with one interception and no touchdowns for the first time since 2010. There was good reason for Brady’s day of misery. He was sacked four times, hit eight times and hurried constantly all day. Brady couldn’t find the end zone with a pass or a run for the first time since a 16-9 loss to the Jets in Sept. 2009. His quarterback rating of 52.2 is unofficially the seventh-lowest of his career.

“It wasn’t our best day of execution today,” Brady said. “We certainly let some opportunities get away in the first half. We had too many times where we had negative plays and it took us out of field position. It wasn’t very good execution. I give them a lot of credit. They have a great defense that puts a lot of pressure on you in many areas. Our execution needed to be good today, and it wasn’t.”

As for the streak?

“I’m bummed we lost,” Brady said. “That’s all that really matters.”

All that really seemed to matter for Cincinnati was their championship caliber defensive line, led by Geno Atkins.

“We did a good job applying pressure on him,” Atkins said. “We made sure he couldn’t step up [in the pocket]. As a whole, we did a great job pushing the pocket.”

Brady felt badly for his own defense, that held Cincinnati to just one touchdown and took away Andy Dalton’s weapons all day.

“They have been playing great all year,” Brady said. “You can’t expect to kick two field goals and win many games in the NFL. We can do a better job than that, and we are going to have to if we want to win these games. We had too many silly execution errors and mental mistakes. It is hard to drive the ball down the field if you keep making those mistakes.”

Brady seemed to struggle with communication all day, including when the Patriots got to the Bengals 1 in the fourth quarter, trailing, 13-3. Julian Edelman went in motion just as the Bengals were calling timeout on defense. Brady clapped his hands together in anger and frustration as Cincinnati got a chance to regroup.

“That is always something that we are trying to handle on the road,” Brady said. “They do a pretty good job of disguising blitzes and so forth. They got us several times today, especially in the fourth quarter. We had plenty of opportunities and chances in the red zone to get it in today and we just didn’t. It was just a poor performance all around.”

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, Geno Atkins, New England Patriots, nfl

Snap Judgments: Bengals outlast Patriots, 13-6

10.06.13 at 4:06 pm ET
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The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season Sunday against the Bengals, falling 13-6. In one of the uglier losses for the New England offense over the last several years, the Patriots’ last-ditch attempt to tie the game came up short with less than a minute to go when quarterback Tom Brady floated a pass toward the end zone that was picked off by Adam Jones.

On offense, Brady finished 18-for-38 for 197 yards and an interception. He saw his streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass come to an end. LeGarrette Blount had 12 carries for 51 yards, while Brandon Bolden had six catches for 49 yards for New England. In his first action since a Week 1 injury, receiver Danny Amendola had four catches for 55 yards. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton was 20-for-27 for 212 yards and one pick, while former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 19 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Here are a few quick notes from the afternoon:


‘€¢ The Patriots defense was in lockdown mode for most of the game, holding the Cincinnati offense — one that has more than its fair share of talented options — to six points for the first three-plus quarters, giving up the only touchdown of the game when Green-Ellis plunged in from a yard out in the fourth quarter. At first glance, New England was able to get a superlative defensive effort out of several players, including linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo. Spikes had his first interception of the year in the first half, and added a nice tackle for loss. Meanwhile, Mayo (who came away with a sack of his own) also had an impressive afternoon, scooping up a fumble that was forced by Devin McCourty late in the fourth quarter. Some of the success the Patriots had was due in part to offensive struggles from Cincy, but it was one of the better defensive performances of the last year-plus for New England.

‘€¢ The Patriots special teamers had a good afternoon all the way around. Punter Ryan Allen had a stretch of three consecutive punts dropped inside the 10-yard line. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 42-yarder at the end of the first half, added a 19-yarder in the fourth and knocked the majority of his kickoffs into the end zone. Punt returner Julian Edelman was impressive, and pressed into service as kick returner after Leon Washington went down with an ankle injury, Devin McCourty provided relatively good field position.


‘€¢ There was a lot of offensive inconsistency for the Patriots, who weren’t able to get much of anything going for large portions of the afternoon. New England was 1-for-12 on third down, turned the ball over twice and couldn’t get into the end zone. While there was a lot to like about the work of Blount, he also lost his first fumble of the year when he couldn’t keep control of the ball on a first-half drive that looked like it could have ended in a New England score. Fellow running back Brandon Bolden also lost the handle on a screen pass that ultimately forced the Patriots to punt on a first half drive. And Brady was under fire most of the afternoon against one of the better young defensive lines in football — the quarterback was sacked four times.

‘€¢ Veteran running back Leon Washington went down in the first half with an ankle injury. The team announced that he was questionable to return, but he didm’t return for the second half. The Patriots also lost defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in the fourth quarter — while he returned a few plays later, he later went off, and his absence was felt immediately, as the Bengals punched it on on 4th and goal from inside the 1-yard line. Cincinnati was able to get a good push up front and knock back youngster Joe Vellano and the rest of New England’s defensive front. If the Patriots are without both Vince Wilfork and Kelly for an extended stretch up front, it will be difficult to fill their shoes. The team announced in the fourth quarter than Kelly had a knee injury and his return was questionable.

Halftime analysis: Bengals 3, Patriots 3

10.06.13 at 2:21 pm ET
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The Bengals and Patriots are tied at three after two quarters in Cincinnati. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢ The Bengals were clearly interested in testing the Patriots defensive front without Vince Wilfork, as they went run-heavy right out of the gate. New England, which opened in a 4-3 base, utilized Joe Vellano in the middle (in Wilfork’s old spot) and Brandon Spikes down in the box). Cincinnati was unable to get much of anything going over the first two series, but on its third series, they put together an impressive sequence with a good run-pass mix that got them all the way to the New England 9. That’s where Brandon Spikes stepped in front of an Andy Dalton pass for Tyler Eifert at the 8-yard line. Nice read and react play by Spikes, who also had an impressive tackle for loss later in the half. (It was the first red-zone pick of Dalton’s career.)

‘€¢ The Bengals were able to get good pressure on Tom Brady (11-for-20, 90 yards) early, as the first two New England drives came to an end with punts following sacks of the quarterback — one by Geno Atkins and another by Wallace Gilberry, both on plays where the rushers were unblocked. But it was clear that the Patriots were looking to use Cincy’s aggressiveness against them with screens and play-action. (Brandon Bolden had a rough drop on a screen that ultimately led to a punt.) While it was clear that LeGarrette Blount (9 rushes, 42 yards) was the lead back — and ran well when given the chance — New England wasn’t able to get much offensive consistency in the first and into the second quarter. The Patriots had their first real scoring chance in the second quarter when New England crossed into Cincy territory for the first time, but Bengals linebacker Carlos Dunlap stripped Blount, forcing the fumble.

‘€¢ After the fumble, the Bengals were able to put together their best drive of the first half when Dalton led the Bengals on a 10-play, 49-yard drive that took 4:42, and ended when Mike Nugent connected on a 39-yarder to make it 3-0 with 3:17 left in the first half.

‘€¢ The Patriots had a shot to score at the end of the half, but a Brady pass for Kenbrell Thompkins that would have allowed New England to pick up a key first down was overturned, forcing New England to punt with less than a minute to go in the second quarter. The Patriots got the ball back with less than a minute to go after the Bengals decided to punt it away, and New England got a 42-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to knot the game at three as the half came to a close.

‘€¢ Veteran running back Leon Washington went down with an ankle injury midway through the second quarter — the team announced that his return was questionable.

Inactive analysis: Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson active for Sunday’s game

10.06.13 at 11:38 am ET
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CINCINNATI — Danny Amendola will finally make his return for the Patriots on Sunday as he has been cleared to play and is active for the game against the Bengals. Amendola has missed the last three games with a groin injury suffered in the season opener in Buffalo.

The following players were ruled out by the Patriots for Sunday’s game against the Bengals: special teamer Matthew Slater, running back Stevan Ridley, wide receiver Austin Collie, tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive lineman Chris Barker, linebacker Steve Beauharnais and safety Tavon Wilson.

No surprises with the four who were downgraded to out before Sunday morning: Gronkowski, Ridley, Wilson and Slater. With Gronkowski being out, this Michael Hoomanawanui, Matt Mulligan and fullback James Develin should get extensive work at that tight end/fullback spot, as they have done for most of the year to this point. And with no Ridley, expect more on the plate of LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden. (Bolden will likely see more snaps on special teams in Slater’s spot.) Leon Washington could also see significant snaps, especially on third down.

Barker and Beauharnais are two healthy scratches, victims of a numbers game. And Collie, who was just signed this week, likely needs more time in the system before he’s game ready.

There are three intriguing names who weren’t part of the injury list: Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Leon Washington, all of whom have been dogged by injury, are active for the game. Look for Dobson and Amendola to work extensively in the passing game, and Washington to offer some depth at running back and returner.

For Cincinnati, they are without two key starters on defense as pass rushing specialist and defensive end Michael Johnson (concussion) and cornerback Leon Hall (hamstring) are inactive. Wallace Gilberry takes Johnson’s spot while Adam “Pacman” Jones is likely to take the spot of Hall. The Bengals could also feature more of defensive end Margus Hunt, the rookie out of SMU and one of the stars of “Hard Knocks” this summer.

Mike Petraglia contributed to this report from Cincinnati.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Cincinnati Bengals, Danny Amendola, New England Patriots

Fantasy Football Live Chat, 11 a.m.: Set your lineups for Week 5

10.06.13 at 10:38 am ET
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Setting the scene: Patriots take on Bengals in the rain

10.06.13 at 10:35 am ET
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CINCINNATI — The Patriots ball security figures to be tested as they take on the Bengals in the fifth game of the season here at Paul Brown Stadium.

Steady rain, with a chance of thunderstorms, is in the forecast, with temperatures expected in the low 70s for the 1 p.m. kickoff on the banks of the Ohio River.

The Patriots will again enter the game without the services of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was ruled out Saturday night for the fifth straight week. He is still recovering from offseason back and forearm surgeries. He could make a return to action in Week 6 against the Saints.

Sunday against the Bengals could mark the return of wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, suffered in the first half against the Bills. He was listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report. Amendola, wearing game pants, sprinted out to the field at about 11:15, ran around the outside of the field and joined a group of Patriots in early stretching.

Sunday will not be the debut of wide receiver Austin Collie, who was signed on Thursday. He was designated as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff. The Patriots listed four receivers on their injury report on Friday, including Aaron Dobson, who was questionable with a neck injury despite practicing this week.

The Patriots lead the all-time series, 14-8, including wins in the last four meetings and seven of the last eight. The last Cincinnati win in the series was the season opener in 2001 when Corey Dillon led the Bengals to a 23-17 win over Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium. That is also the only time Belichick’s Patriots have lost to the Bengals.

Marvin Lewis is 0-4 all-time against Belichick and Tom Brady has put up at least 34 points in each of New England’s last four games against Cincinnati.

This is a homecoming for Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who attended the University of Cincinnati in 2011 and 2012.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, austin collie, Cincinnati Bengals, Danny Amendola

Unlucky Seven: Who will be Patriots inactives for Sunday’s game against Bengals?

10.05.13 at 10:20 pm ET
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As is the case each week with each team, the Patriots announce their inactive list 90 minutes before the game. Based now hat we’ve seen this week — and with the understanding that you don’t add bodies to the active roster on Saturday if you’re going to leave them inactive on Sunday — here’s our guess as to who will be the unlucky seven Sunday for New England.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski expressed optimism this week that he was improving, but added that he was still “day-by-day” at this point. The team downgraded him to out on Saturday. With the release of rookie Zach Sudfeld, Michael Hoomanawanui, Matt Mulligan and fullback James Develin should get extensive work at that tight end/fullback spot, as they have done for most of the year to this point.

Safety Tavon Wilson: Wilson has made his mark on special teams this season, as well as occasionally offering depth at the safety spot. However, a hamstring issue leaves him sidelined — he was one of two guys downgraded on Saturday by the team.

Running back Stevan Ridley: The Patriots’ leading rusher was downgraded on Friday because of a knee issue. Expect lots of carries for LeGarrette Blount in his place.

Special teamer Matthew Slater: The veteran has been sidelined the last few weeks with a wrist injury he suffered earlier in the season. He was back at practice on Friday, a sign he could be back next week, but it’s probably too early at this point considering he was only out there for one day this week. Running back Brandon Bolden — who has also been hampered with a knee injury — should take many of his snaps on special teams if he’s ready to go. (It wouldn’t be a shocker to see newly-activated Kanorris Davis and/or Ja’Gared Davis get more special teams snaps as well.)

Wide receiver Aaron Dobson: The rookie receiver suffered a scary looking neck injury last Sunday against the Falcons, and was limited in practice this week as a result. They don’t play the same receiver spot, but newcomer Austin Collie does have some positional versatility in that he’s played inside and outside, and could take some snaps in place of Dobson.

Linebacker Steve Beauharnais: The linebacker has been a healthy scratch for the last three games, a victim of personnel decisions.

Defensive end Jake Bequette: The second-year lineman out of Arkansas has been passed on the depth chart by rookie Michael Buchanan, and figures to be a healthy scratch.

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