|10.06.14 at 2:30 am ET|
FOXBORO — This time when Tom Brady came out of the game for Jimmy Garoppolo, he was feeling nothing but pure satisfaction as the back-up took a knee to end New England’s 43-17 thrashing of the not-ready-for-primetime Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
How things can change in just six days.
Brady was 23-of-35 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and a season-best QB rating of 110.7. From the moment he came onto the field to his “PSA” anthem from Jay-Z, Brady was yelling and fired up. And it translated into the most dominating performance at a time when the Patriots needed it the most.
The Patriots were fired up during and after the game, celebrating a sense of relief in the locker room after the most significant regular season win in recent memory.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our team,” Brady said. “We try not to get caught up in that stuff and I think you just focus on the things you can control. To ride the ups and downs of, ‘You’re great. You suck. You’re great. You suck,’ it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting enough when you’re winning to have to deal with those things and when you lose, it sucks for everybody. We don’t play this game to go out there and not play well. Guys take it to heart. I think guys worked really hard this week to get prepared for tonight. Like I said, it was a great opportunity for us to come out and show what we’re made of.
“You know, we get paid to play football. We get paid to play it well, actually. So, we should go out there and play really well. We work really hard all year round for these moments and what we experience in the locker room after that win, you can’t put a price tag on that.”
|10.06.14 at 2:12 am ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots’ 43-17 dismantling of the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady passed the 50,000-yard passing milestone, and the Patriots put together their best all-around effort of the season.
|10.06.14 at 2:10 am ET|
FOXBORO — If there was a quick fix to correct the Patriots’ problems on offense so far this season, it could be one thing — getting off to a fast start.
Through the first four games of the season the Patriots offense went three-and-out on its first drive in every game. Tom Brady was just 3-for-8 passing for 12 yards on opening drives and as a team the Pats had three rushes for only four yards. In addition, New England’s opponent scored first in every game.
Sunday night was a different story as the Patriots came out with plenty of emotion, receiving the opening kickoff and going 80 yards in 10 plays, capped off by a Stevan Ridley 1-yard touchdown run giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead over the visiting Bengals before the fans could even settle into their seats. Brady was 2-for-2 for 50 yards on the drive.
“We got off to a great start,” Brady said. “I think we talked about that all week. It was a long week for everybody, so we wanted to start fast and we got ahead. We played from ahead for once. We ran the ball great, got some turnovers on defense. It was a great win.”
It was the first time the Patriots scored an opening drive touchdown on the first overall drive of the game since Week 2 of last season against the Jets.
Scoring first generally leads to success for the Patriots as the team now is 27-4 since 2010 when scoring first and a remarkable 111-25 since 2000. The Patriots also now have won 69 straight home games when leading at halftime.
The Patriots didn’t stop after the first drive as after getting good field position following a Mike Nugent 52-yard missed field goal attempt, the offense went 58 yards in six plays, with this time tight end Tim Wright scoring his first touchdown as a member of the Patriots on a 17-yard hook up from Brady to give the home team a quick 14-0 lead, just over 13 minutes into the game.
|10.06.14 at 2:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has a way with words, and Sunday night, after his team demolished the previously unbeaten Bengals, 43-17, his words spoke volumes about how good it felt to come out and play a complete game.
“Well, that was obviously a satisfying night tonight,” Belichick said. “I thought our coaching staff really did a good job this week on the short week. You know, really worked hard to get our team ready and I thought the players really went out and played hard tonight.”
The Patriots put up over 500 yards of offense against a defense considered to be of Super Bowl quality. His quarterback looked like the Hall of Famer he certainly will become after he retires, throwing two touchdowns and firing up his team from the get-go.
And the special teams produced a touchdown when Brandon Bolden drilled Brandon Tate and Kyle Arrington scooped it up for the touchdown that put the Patriots up 34-10. Of course, there were 12 penalties for 114 yards.
“It wasn’t perfect — certainly [there are] a lot of things we need to do better, but we played hard; we made a lot of plays against a good football team,” Belichick said. “Cincinnati has a good — that’s a good club. Marvin [Lewis] does a good job with that group. Tonight was just kind of our night. A lot of things went in our favor. We made a few things happen and that was good. We just have to really give all the credit to the players for the way they played. They’re resilient, they’re tough and they worked hard this week and they played hard tonight. I’m proud of them for that.”
|10.06.14 at 1:16 am ET|
FOXBORO — Although the Patriots may not openly say it — Sunday night’s win was for Tom Brady.
After all the reports throughout the week of his play declining and him being unhappy with some things in New England it was clear that was on the team’s minds going into Sunday night’s 43-17 blowout win over the Bengals on Sunday night football.
“Before we came to the game I go, ‘I’m going to make 12 look like Tom Brady again’ and I went out there with my teammates and we made Tom Brady look like Tom Brady after you guys were criticizing him all week,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “The fans — everything it feels so good — he’s such a leader and he went over 50,000 yards [passing] today. He’s an unbelievable player and I am so glad to play with him.”
Brady played his best game of the season going 23-for-35 passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. It was the most passing yards he’s had in a game this season. In the process he became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 50,000 yards.
“It’s an honor — I am humbled about it,” Gronkowski said of catching the pass for Brady to eclipse the mark. “It’s great to even play with him. He’s such a leader and he helps me make me the player I am. Coaching me and throwing the ball to me, he deserves every honor he gets. I’m proud to be out there playing with him.”
Although Gronkowski said he didn’t hear exactly what was being said in the media about his quarterback — he did have one message for Brady’s critics.
“If they were saying he was old, that’s BS because he’s a young buck in my book. I feel like he’s my age,” said Gronkowski.
|10.05.14 at 11:43 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots answered their critics in resounding fashion Sunday night, crushing the Bengals, 43-17. New England jumped to a quick lead, scoring two touchdowns on its first two possessions, and never looked back to up its record to 3-2 on the season. Meanwhile, the Bengals never recovered from the early attack, and while they cut the lead to 10 at one point in the second half, could get no closer.
Tom Brady finished 23-for-35 for 292 yards with two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Stevan Ridley had 27 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown, while Rob Gronkowski had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Tim Wright added five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Andy Dalton was 15-for-24 for 204 yards with two touchdowns. A.J. Green had five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Here are 10 things we learned about the Patriots on Sunday.
The Patriots can score early
New England came into this one with a record of poor starts over the course of the first four games. Coming into Sunday night, the Patriots had gone three-and-out on all four of their first possessions and had allowed their opponent to score first in each of the four games. Offensively on first drives the Patriots had run three running plays totaling four yards, and Brady was 3-for-8 with 12 yards passing. Defensively, the Pats had allowed 152 yards and two touchdowns on first drives — an average of 38 yards per drive, compared to just four yards per drive on offense.
On Sunday, the Patriots came out strong early, scoring on their first two opportunities (one on a 10-play drive and another on a six-play drive), and took the fight to Cincy. The quick start left the Bengals on their toes, and they never recovered.
It was a nice bounceback game for the defense
The Patriots had the first sack of the year against Cincy when Chris Jones busted up the gut in the second half and brought down Dalton. Overall, the defense wasn’t terrific, but in the wake of what happened last week, it was a nice effort. The Patriots forced a pair of fumbles (they added another one on special teams) and limited the Bengals to zero touchdowns in the first half. While Darrelle Revis wasn’t an overwhelming presence, he limited A.J. Green to four catches over the first three quarters. In addition, the Bengals were 0-for-7 on third down.
|10.05.14 at 10:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — After two quarters, the Patriots hold a 20-3 lead on the Bengals at Gillette Stadium.
Over the first two quarters, Tom Brady was very impressive, going 11-for-19 for 153 yards and one touchdown. He had completions of 20, 27, 17 and 30 yards in the first half, and appeared to be clicking nicely with a variety of receivers. Up front, he’s been given time to throw by an offensive line of (from left to right) Nate Solder-Dan Connolly-Bryan Stork-Ryan Wendell-Sebastian Vollmer. (Marcus Cannon replaced Vollmer on the second-to-last drive of the half, but Vollmer returned for the last)
The Patriots have also gotten excellent work from their running game, with Stevan Ridley (11 carries, 49 yards, one touchdown) and Shane Vereen (six carries for 48 yards) consistently moving the chains. The Patriots also got four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown from tight end Tim Wright. On the other side of the ball, Cincy’s Andy Dalton was 6-for-11 for 63 yards.
Here are a few quick notes:
— The Patriots made their most definitive statement of the season on their opening drive, going 80 yards in 10 plays — with eight runs to take a 7-0 lead. Ridley put the capper on the series with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone at roughly the 10-minute mark. The New England defense responded nicely on the Bengals’ next sequence, and the Gillette Stadium crowd responded with appropriate fervor when Cincy kicker Mike Nugent missed a 52-yard field goal attempt. The Patriots then started piling on with another impressive sequence, a six-play, 58-yard sequence that took 2:33 and ended with a 17-yard laser strike to Tim Wright down the seam — a play made famous by Rob Gronkowski — to make it 14-0.
— Two defensive wrinkles that caught our eye in the early going: one, the Patriots appeared to mostly utilize cornerback Darrelle Revis in man coverage against A.J. Green. He was thrown at twice, and there were no completions. (One pick from Revis was called back for offsetting penalties.) And two, New England shuffled things up at the defensive end spot, rotating Chandler Jones in and out, moving rookie Dominique Easley into his spot. (From this viewpoint, there are two things at play here: one, the Patriots are worried about the Bengals running on Jones, who hasn’t stood up well at the point of attack over the first four weeks against the run. And two, they appear to be managing his shoulder — he showed up on the injury report this week with a shoulder issue.)
— The Bengals answered with a flag-happy drive where 25 of the 57 yards of their sequence came via penalties. In the end, it was a 10-play, 57-yard drive that concluded with a 23-yard field goal from Nugent to make it 14-3.
— On their next drive, the Patriots offense stalled a bit, thanks in part to a couple of off target throws from Brady to Gronkowski. However, they were able to get close enough to get a 48-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to make it 17-3. A quick fumble from Cincy’s A.J. Green on the ensuing drive allowed the Patriots to punch in their final score of the half, a 19-yarder from Gostkowski to make it 20-3 with nine seconds left.
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