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Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes takes swipe at Patriots on social media for celebrating win in AFC title game

01.19.15 at 4:11 am ET
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For some reason, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes took an unprovoked swipe at the Patriots Sunday night in the wake of their win in the AFC title game over the Colts. Tynes, who was a part of the 2007 Giants team that knocked off the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, referenced New England’s loss to New York in that contest in Glendale, and appeared to predict a Seattle win in Super Bowl XLIX.

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Lawrence Tynes,

Report: NFL investigating Patriots for deflating game balls

01.19.15 at 2:16 am ET
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The NFL is reportedly looking into whether the Patriots intentionally deflated game balls Sunday. (Getty Images)

The NFL reportedly is looking into whether the Patriots intentionally deflated game balls Sunday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It wouldn’t be a trip to Glendale for the Super Bowl without a controversy following the Patriots.

Sunday night, after the Patriots throttled the Colts, 45-7, in the AFC championship, Bob Kravitz of reported that the Patriots are under investigation for intentionally deflating game balls.

Kravitz, quoting an NFL source, says the league is taking the subject seriously.

“I’m told at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it. Should hear more tomorrow on this subject,” Kravitz tweeted.

Kravitz also suggested the Patriots could lose draft picks if it’s determined they deflated balls used in the game.

Neither the Patriots or Colts addressed the story postgame as it didn’t become a story until several hours after the final gun.

There was a strange delay at the start of the game, as officials appeared to swapping out game balls before Andrew Luck went under center. With rain falling at the start of the game, the initial thought was that the officials were trying to get a dry ball. The report from Kravitz leads to another possibility.

The day started with a report from Adam Schefter that tampering charges were being filed against the Jets and owner Woody Johnson for comments he made about wanting Darrelle Revis back, despite still being under contract with the Patriots.

Read More: AFC Championship, BallGate, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots

Patriots, led by Bill Belichick, set postseason records in win over Colts

01.19.15 at 2:08 am ET
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LeGarrette Blount became the Patriots' all-time postseason touchdown leader with seven. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount became the Patriots’ all-time postseason touchdown leader with seven. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Sunday’s 45-7 blowout win over the Colts in the AFC championship may have seemed like another playoff win for Bill Belichick and the Patriots, but it was a very historic one.

With the win, Belichick now has earned the most wins postseason in NFL history, as he passed Tom Landry with 21. He also tied Don Shula for the most conference titles in NFL history during the Super Bowl era with six. He and quarterback Tom Brady have now combined to win six conference titles together, the most in NFL history — two ahead of Roger Staubach and Tom Landry.

“That was a great win for our football team today,” Belichick said after the game. “It’€™s all about the players. They did a tremendous job in all three phases. We made plays in the kicking game: we had a turnover, we had a couple returns. We scored a lot of points offensively; had some turnovers on defense. The players played great, like they have all year. This is really a good group, it’€™s a hardworking group. They work with each other, they try to help each other get better and I couldn’€™t be happier for this group of guys.

“This has really been a good team to coach and guys deserve the success that they had there tonight. [I] just can’€™t say enough about what they did and how well they did. We needed them to play good and step up and play big tonight and they did. We got it from so many guys. That was really the story of the game in my opinion.”

The 45 points scored tied the franchise record for most in a playoff game, tying their output in the 2011 divisional round against the Tim Tebow led Broncos. The 38-point margin of victory was the most in franchise history. The Patriots finished with 177 yards on the ground, which marked the fifth time in the 45 playoff games in franchise history that they have done so.

LeGarrette Blount totaled 148 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns. The 148 yards are the second-most in franchise playoff history, trailing his own 166 yards that he had in last year’s divisional round game against the Colts and Curtis Martin’s 166 yards against Pittsburgh in 1996. Blount is now the Patriots’ all-time postseason rushing touchdown leader, as he now has seven — with all seven coming in the previous two seasons.

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Bill Belichick,

Vince Wilfork: ‘To be a champ, you’ve got to beat the champ’

01.19.15 at 1:27 am ET
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Vince Wilfork (right) will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Vince Wilfork (right) will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Ric Flair was on the Colts’ side this past week, as Sergio Brown did an impression of him in the locker room following Indianapolis’ divisional round win over the Broncos last week and then he supported the team with a special message offering support later in the week.

Vince Wilfork may or may not have been taking a shot at Flair and the Colts in one of his comments following the Patriots’ 45-7 win over the Colts in the AFC championship when talking about the Seahawks and the Patriots’ upcoming matchup against them in the Super Bowl.

“To play this good in the AFC championship, it gives you some confidence going into the Super Bowl, where we know if we play like this, teams will have problems with us, and we know if we play like this we give yourselves a good shot at winning,” Wilfork said after the game. “So that’€™s what it is. We got the Seahawks. To be a champ, you’ve got to beat the champs, and they’re sitting right there waiting for us. So it’s going to be a good game. They played some great football. They’re champs, they are the champs. They are the defending champs, and they’re coming. They’re going to try and protect that, and our job is to go and try and take it away from them.

“I think you’ve got the best two teams playing in this game. I think from a staff standpoint, you can’t ask for a better game than this. From the NFC, AFC … two good organizations, two good teams being able to slug it out for one champion, and that’s what it’s all about. So we got to get ready to go. It’s going to be tough, but like I said, to be a champ, you got to beat the champ.”

While the Patriots have 45 players with playoff experience, only 17 of them have Super Bowl experience. Most of the experience comes from the 2012 loss to the Giants, with only Tom Brady and Wilfork are the only ones left from the 2005 winning team.

Wilfork says the inexperience of winning the big game and sour taste in their mouths from their last appearance won’t play a role in this year’s game, as it is a new group of players and coaches.

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Vince Wilfork,

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Patriots’ demolition of Andrew Luck, Colts in AFC title game

01.19.15 at 1:14 am ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down how the Patriots dismantled Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, Sunday in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady threw three touchdowns and became the first quarterback in history to reach six Super Bowls while LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. The Patriots advance to Super Bowl XLIX where they will face the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Chris Price, Indianapolis Colts

Brandon Browner gets to meet up ‘with my old boys’ in Super Bowl

01.19.15 at 12:58 am ET
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FOXBORO — Brandon Browner is savoring the chance he didn’t get last year.

The Patriots defensive back was on a Super Bowl team with the Seattle Seahawks but because of his league-imposed suspension, didn’t get to play in the conference championship or Super Bowl in New York.

He signed with the Patriots in March, hoping for the chance to get back to the big game. But not just against any team, his old team.

“It’€™s crazy, man,” Browner said after New England’s 45-7 romp Sunday in the AFC championship. “I really had that vision when I signed here. Hopefully we’€™d meet up with my old boys and it happened to work out that way.”

From the start of the game, the Patriots secondary completely shut down Andrew Luck, giving his receivers precious little room to maneuver. Browner was called for one defensive holding call but that was more than worth the price he had to pay as his physical style bottled up the Colts.

“That goes to the coaching staff and the game plan that they set up for us,” Browner said. “They’€™re confident in their game plan and the players they got. It was up to us to just execute. Run around, wrap-up on tackles, knock balls down. Today we got our hands on a couple balls, too. They say when you win the turnover battle, 90 percent of the time that team wins.”

Indeed, the Patriots came up with two interceptions and the New England secondary, which has been a lynchpin of the team all season, now gets its chance to prove its worth on the biggest stage.

On Dec. 18, 2013, the NFL erroneously reported Browner was facing an indefinite suspension for again violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug rules. The suspension kept him from playing in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Broncos.

The suspension was later changed to reflect a substance abuse issue related to missing drug tests during the time Browner was unsigned by an NFL team and played football in the CFL, prior to the Seahawks contract. On March 4, 2014, he was officially reinstated by the NFL. Ten days later, the Patriots signed him. Now he’s got his chance to actually play in the Super Bowl.

“It means a lot. I missed the one last year and I’€™m fortunate to be back in this thing the following year with a good football team,” Browner said. “And with a bond that I’€™ve built with these guys like the one I built with the guys over there for that last few years, so it’€™s a good feeling.”

Read More: Brandon Browner, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

Nate Solder on touchdown catch: ‘There is no way to know that was coming’

01.19.15 at 12:52 am ET
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Nate Solder's touchdown catch drew the praise of the entire Patriots' offensive line. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Nate Solder‘s touchdown catch drew the praise of the entire Patriots’ offensive line. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots and their trickery were at it again.

On the opening drive of the second half, with the Patriots leading  the Colts, 17-7, it was third-and-1 on the Colts’ 16-yard line and left tackle Nate Solder reported as an eligible receiver.

The Colts expected quarterback Tom Brady to hand it off to LeGarrette Blount with the Patriots running it down their throats on the drive, but Brady faked the hand off and Solder slipped behind the defense and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass, diving into the end zone before he could be brought down.

It was Solder’s first career catch, although he did play some tight end in college at the University of Colorado.

“There is no way to know that was coming,” the humble Solder said after the game. “When the time came I did my best as anyone would’ve.”

Asked how he would rate his route on the catch, Solder couldn’t do anything but laugh.

“Just proficient,” he said. “I made it across the goal line.”

It was the second straight week the Patriots called a “trick play,” as in last week’s divisional round win over the Ravens, Josh McDaniels called a double-pass when Julian Edelman found Danny Amendola for a 51-yard touchdown strike.

“I feel fortunate to be a part of this group,” said Solder. “We have great coaches, great players. To be a part of this group is amazing.”

The touchdown electrified the Patriots’ sideline and was the start of 28 second half points for New England, including 21 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The biggest celebration on the sidelines and on the field was with his fellow offensive linemen.

“Those are my guys, those are my guys,” Solder said. “To be around them, the excitement that they shared with me, it was like we all did it. That was a lot of fun.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Nate Solder, ryan wendell,
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