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Boomer Esiason on D&C: ‘I really scratch my head’ regarding Wes Welker punishment

01.17.11 at 8:53 am ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Patriots’ 28-21 loss to the Jets on Sunday in the AFC playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Esiason said Tom Brady‘s inability to match his play of the second half of the regular season was the thing that stood out to him. “Tom Brady was off,” Esiason said. “I don’t know what was wrong with him yesterday. I don’t know if he had the flu, he had the cold, or whatever it was. He just didn’t look like the player that we have seen in the last eight weeks at any point in that game.”

Added Esiason: “He just wasn’t right. There was something ‘€” I don’t know if he wasn’t feeling right or wasn’t comfortable, or if it had anything to do with the Wes Welker [punishment]. I don’t know.”

Esiason did not support Bill Belichick‘s decision to hold out Welker on the offense’s opening series due to remarks Welker made last week poking fun at Jets coach Rex Ryan, the analyst saying that it “sends a negative connotation throughout the locker room.” Said Esiason: “I didn’t like the fact that he was being made an example of in the biggest game against your heated rival against all the things that went on last week.”

Added Esiason: “With this one I really scratch my head. You’re making an example out of somebody who you’re counting on, and somebody who is really, in my estimation, giving you everything that he possibly could, coming off of a knee injury, coming back, ready to start the season, sacrificing, making all those tough catches over the middle, getting his brains beat in, all of that stuff. And all he does is 30 seconds of what I considered a very witty press conference ‘€” funny, humorous, kind of cutting through all the crap ‘€” and it was great.  And then not to start him, that would be pretty tough for me if I were Wes Welker.”

Esiason also lamented the Patriots’ lack of urgency on offense in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. “That, to me, has got to be answered,” he said. “That’s the question that should be on the tips of everybody’s tongue: Why was that offense so methodical?”

Patrick Chung‘s botched fake punt toward the end of the first half was perhaps the game’s key play, Esiason said. The former NFL quarterback wondered if Chung deserves the right to call that play in just his second season. “I don’t know if I would allow somebody to do that in such a big situation,” he said. “That’s not Lawyer Milloy, that’s not Asante Samuel, that’s not Rodney Harrison ‘€” guys who have had six, seven years underneath their belt and have been around for such a long time.

Read More: Bill Belichick, boomer esiason, Tom Brady, Wes Welker

Video: Patriots appeared to try sideline trip vs. Jets in Week 2

01.17.11 at 6:50 am ET
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Fox Sports broadcast video Sunday during the NFC championship game showing that the Patriots engaged in similar behavior on the sideline during a punt that earned the Jets a fine from the league. The video, from the Patriots’ Week 2 loss to the Jets, shows several Patriots players standing on the inside border of the sideline ‘€” although not in a tight formation as the Jets were ‘€” and one player sticking out his leg as the Jets gunner runs by. CBS also had video of the incident and identified the Patriots player as Ryan Wendell.

The Jets came under fire when strength coach Sal Alosi stuck out his knee and tripped Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll during a game Dec. 12. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff denied being aware of the behavior but noted that the Patriots, among other teams, also engaged in the practice. New York was hit with a $100,000 fine for the trip and the comments.

Here’s the video of the Patriots sideline.

Read More: Mike Westhoff, ryan wendell, Sal Alosi,

Report: Pat Chung was the one who called for the fake punt, says Zoltan Mesko

01.17.11 at 3:16 am ET
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Patrick Chung was the one who called for the fake punt late in the second quarter of Sunday’s playoff loss to the Jets, according to punter Zoltan Mesko. Mesko told NESN.com that Chung, who was working as the up-man on the play, made the call. “We trust the decision Patrick makes,” Mesko said. “It just didn’€™t work out in that particular occasion. That’€™s why the coaches trust him to run it, and that’s why they give him the green light, if he has it.” Chung appeared to bobble the snap and lost a yard, giving the Jets great field position as the Patriots turned it over on downs. New York cashed in four plays later when Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards on a 15-yard pass play to give the Jets a 14-3 lead shortly before the end of the half.

Read More: Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez, Patrick Chung, Zoltan Mesko

Postgame Notes: Jets 28, Patriots 21

01.17.11 at 3:07 am ET
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Courtesy of the Patriots’ PR staff, here are some postgame notes from Sunday’s divisional playoff contest:

BRADY MOVES UP ON THE POSTSEASON TOUCHDOWN LIST
Tom Brady‘€™s two touchdown passes today raised his career playoff total to 30 touchdown passes, moving him into a tie with Terry Bradshaw for fifth on the NFL’€™s all-time playoff touchdown pass list. Brady ranks sixth on the NFL’€™s all-time postseason passing yardage list with 4,407 career passing yards.

CRUMPLER HAS LONGEST RECEPTION AS A PATRIOT
Alge Crumpler had a 28-yard catch on the Patriots’€™ first-quarter field goal drive, giving the Patriots a first-and-10 at the Jets’€™ 12-yard line. The catch was Crumpler’€™s longest as a Patriot, topping his 27-yard grab at Detroit on Nov. 25, 2010. The grab was the second longest of Crumpler’€™s six-game playoff career, topped only by a 31-yard catch for Atlanta in the 2004 NFC Championship Game at Philadelphia on Jan. 23, 2005.

CRUMPLER SCORES IN THIRD STRAIGHT GAME
Alge Crumpler caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the third quarter. Crumpler has scored a touchdown in three straight games after scoring a touchdown in the final two regular-season games. It was Crumpler’€™s second postseason touchdown. He caught an 18-yard touchdown in a divisional playoff game vs. St. Louis (1-15-05) while with Atlanta.

BRANCH CONTINUES POSTSEASON PRODUCTIVITY
Deion Branch had five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. Branch’€™s touchdown was his fourth career playoff touchdown for the Patriots (three receiving, one rushing), tying him with Corey Dillon (four rushing touchdowns) for third on the Patriots’€™ all-time playoff scoring list. David Givens is the Patriots’€™ all-time playoff leader with seven postseason touchdowns.
‘€¢    With 59 receiving yards today, Branch raised his career playoff total with the Patriots to 688 receiving yards, good for second on the team’€™s all-time playoff receiving yards list. Troy Brown is the Patriots’€™ all-time playoff leader with 694 career receiving yards.
‘€¢    With five receptions today, Branch upped his career playoff total with the Patriots to 46 receptions in nine games, with his total of 46 catches ranking third on the team’€™s all-time playoff receiving list (Troy Brown 58, Kevin Faulk 51).

BRADY THROWS A TOUCDOWN PASS IN 17th STRAIGHT PLAYOFF GAME
Tom Brady’€™s 2-yard touchdown pass to TE Alge Crumpler in the third quarter gives him 17 straight postseason games with at least one touchdown. That streak is second in the NFL to the league record of 20 by Brett Favre. Brady was held without a touchdown pass in the first two playoff games of his career, but has had at least one scoring toss in 17 straight games since, beginning with Super Bowl XXXVI.
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Read More: Jets, Patriots, playoffs,

Bart Scott: We’ve got better players than the Patriots ‘all across the field’

01.17.11 at 12:32 am ET
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FOXBORO — Maybe now people will start respecting linebacker Bart Scott and the Jets. At least, he hopes so.

Scott lashed out at the media following his team’s 28-21 win over the Patriots, claiming the media was all about praising Tom Brady and the Patriots suddenly-hot defense.

Scott feels they overlooked one key thing – playoff experience and execution.

“We were just ready to play against a quarterback that couldn’t get touched and you guys talked about how great he was playing,” Scott said. “But what Rex pulled out for us was his last three playoff games, what his record was and what his rating was. He had a 66 quarterback rating for the last four or five playoff games, and you guys didn’t look deep enough into the notes, and that’s what we leaned on.

“We knew we had more playoff experience than that team. And we knew that when the pressure was on, our guys would perform at a high level and we’ve been there and done that. We just let you guys build them up, let them read things and now watch them go kick rocks.”

Scott had lectured the media earlier in the week about the difference between the regular season and the playoffs, and he hammered that point again Sunday night in the locker room.

“If you go down, look at our roster, look at their roster, we’ve got better players all across the field,” Scott said. “You guys talk about how great this defense is playing. Last time I checked, they’re ranked 25th in the league and we were third and we were the ones who get disrespected for not being able to put pressure on the quarterback. That why perception isn’t reality all the time. You perceive they’re playing so well and we’re playing so bad. Guess the cream rises to the top.

“We were given virtually no chance, but we knew that his [Brady] TD/INT ratio was high in the last four, five playoff games. Some of the guys that came in last year were part of an ass-kicking by the Baltimore Ravens. We knew that we could perform and not be over-hyped. We can handle the emotion.”

Brady was sacked a season-high five times and intercepted once in losing his third straight playoff game.

But Scott did praise Brady in one very distinct sense. Without Brady, Scott said, Bill Belichick wouldn’t be who he is now, which is three Super Bowl titles better than Rex Ryan. Still, Scott said he’d take his coach over anyone, including Belichick.

“Why not better? Belichick is one Mo Lewis hit from being fired,” Scott said. “[Brady] don’t come in we might be talking about him on the unemployment line.”

Read More: Bart Scott, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl

Antonio Cromartie: My feelings for Tom Brady ‘haven’t changed’

01.16.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Antonio Cromartie stood at the podium in a plain white t-shirt. He was triumphant but reserved in his comments. There were no “I told you so’s” coming out of out his mouth after his Jets eliminated the Patriots, 28-21, before a stunned Gillette Stadium crowd. For once, he just let his actions speak on the field.

And did they ever. He shadowed Deion Branch for most of the game, making a key 4th down stop on 4th and 13 at the Jets 34 as Tom Brady looked for Branch on the left sideline. Branch was targeted 10 times but caught just five balls for 59 yards and nothing deep.

“Our whole thing was just going out and doing the things that we needed to do,” Cromartie said in a very calm, relaxed tone. “I think we had success this game and got Brady all frustrated. [We] got him moving outside the pocket. We felt like once he moved outside the pocket that he wasn’€™t as accurate as a passer. We just did the things that we needed to do, and we went out and scored points. We caused turnovers and things like that, and that’€™s what you have to do.”

What Cromartie and the Jets caused Sunday was chaos, sacking Brady five times, knocking into him several other times and picking him off for the first time since mid-October.

Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards but was hardly comfortable all game. As a matter of fact, it was the collective effort of Cromartie and Darrelle Revis on Branch and Wes Welker that gave Brady no open receivers for most of the afternoon.

Before the last game, the Jets were hit by the loss of safety Jim Leonhard. Cromartie said that hurt them then but not on Sunday.

“We were flat,” Cromartie said. “That week there are really no excuses, but when you lose a guy like Jim Leonhard during an important weekend like that, it takes a toll on guys because the communication wasn’€™t there [and] we had to put guys in to fill his spot. And coming into this weekend, we had guys to the point that we could go out and communicate. We have five weeks with those guys, and we’€™re all playing on a very high level. We had a great game plan. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff put a great game plan together.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: antonio cromartie, Bart Scott, Ben Roethlisberger, New England Patriots

Scott: Brady was ‘fidgeting’ in pocket

01.16.11 at 9:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jets linebacker Bart Scott met with the media following his team’s 28-21 win over the Patriots. Scott was asked when he knew that the Jets were in the head of Tom Brady on Sunday.

“When he started looking for the rush when there was no rush,” said Scott. “When he thought after a certain amount of time, he was fidgeting. I give Ben Roethlisberger a lot of credit, he’s man enough to stay in the pocket, look in the barrel of the gun and take the hit. Most quarterbacks don’t like getting hit. When they get hit, they turn into a totally different person.”

Scott had lectured the media earlier in the week about the difference between the regular season and the playoffs, and he hammered that point again Sunday night in the locker room.

“We were given virtually no chance, but we knew that his [Brady] TD/INT ratio was high in the last four, five playoff games,” said Scott. “Some of the guys that came in last year were part of an ass-kicking by the Baltimore Ravens. We knew that we could perform and not be over-hyped. We can handle the emotion.

“They aren’t a vertical offense. We didn’t fear any of them deep, we knew they couldn’t get deep. We knew that they are small guys. People talk about how that’s a disadvantage to us, how about being a big, physical defense being an advantage for us? Those guys started wearing down on defense and offense.”

Scott was asked if this win meant that Rex Ryan could now be looked at as an equal of Bill Belichick’s as a coach.

“Why not better? Belichick is one Mo Lewis hit from being fired,” Scott said. “[Brady] don’t come in we might be talking about him on the unemployment line.”

Read More: Bart Scott, Jets, Patriots, Tom Brady
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