|10.06.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday, following Sunday’s 43-17 victory over the Bengals. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots were coming off a challenging week — a Monday night blowout loss to the Chiefs followed by days of reports about alleged rifts between players and coaches.
“All that aside — we ignore the noise around here — it was good to go out there and play a tough opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals on prime-time TV and go out and get a win and do some good things on that night,” Edelman said. “We have some stuff to fix. We have to turn it around, we have a quick turnaround for a divisional game with Buffalo, which is going to be a tough one [with] them coming after a win. But it was definitely good to get a win.”
Added Edelman: “We didn’t worry about what everyone else was saying about everything. We kind of just stuck together as a team and focused on the Cincinnati Bengals, because we really didn’t have a choice. It was a short week, they’re a tough opponent, they were 3-0. We had no choice but to just put our hard hats on, bring the lunch pail to work and then go out and grind out a good week of work.”
Jones said the team had a good week of practice leading up to the Bengals game, but he said it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“Honestly, practice is always intense over here with the Patriots,” Jones said. “That’s what I like. Even if we win or if we had lost, no matter what the score is, that’s how I expect it next week, even though we did win this week. Our practice is always going to be intense. That’s how things are here.
“And I want to add to that: I also feel like the players, even in the locker room, we knew what we had to do. Not even down on ourselves because of the loss, but it’s like we knew what we had to do this week, and we went out and did what we had to do.”
|10.06.14 at 12:17 pm ET|
Here are five things you have to know about the Bills, who will be hosting the Patriots this Sunday in upstate New York with first place in the AFC East on the line.
1. They’re feeling pretty good about themselves
Buffalo is 3-2 after five games, and off to their best start since 2011, when they won five of their first seven. There’s every reason for the Bills to be feeling good, from the fact that Sunday’s game against the Patriots will mark the first contest under new ownership, to the recent play of the defense, to the fact that they just went into Detroit and thanks in large part to a late missed field goal, shocked the Lions (and carried off former Detroit coach and new Buffalo DC Jim Schwartz). Expect them to use this contest against the Patriots as a measuring stick game, with the idea that if they are able to come out with a win, they will have truly arrived in the chase for the AFC East title.
2. They have a good defense
The Bills have allowed 89 points through their first five games of the season, and that 17.8 points per game average is fifth in the league. On Sunday against Detroit, Buffalo had six sacks in a road victory for the first time in eight years, with Marcell Dareus coming away with a career-best three sacks while dislodging a fumble. Jerry Hughes added a pair of sacks in the win. The Bills were second in the league last year with 57 sacks, and through five games, they’re tied for the league lead with 17.
3. They are particularly stout against the run
If the numbers hold up, don’t expect New England to run with the same ability it showed in Sunday’s thunderous win over the Bengals. The Bills have the best run defense in the league, having allowed an average of just 71 yards per game over their first five contests. No team has cracked the 100-yard barrier on the ground this season against Buffalo, with Chicago (86), Miami (80), San Diego (83), Houston (37) and Detroit (69) all trying and failing to break through the century mark against the Bills. (Buffalo held Houston’s running backs to 15 yards on 17 carries.) One interesting note: The versatile Matt Forte of the Bears had the best outing of the year against Buffalo with 17 carries for 82 yards. Forte added eight catches for 87 yards in his game, and his stat line makes a pretty good argument that the sort of back who might succeed best against the Bills is a multidimensional threat like Shane Vereen as opposed to a traditional between-the-tackles guy like Stevan Ridley.
4. They are good when it comes to takeaway ratio
Through the first five games of the season, the Bills are at plus-six, tied for best in the league with a handful of teams (including the Patriots) for the top spot in the NFL. Buffalo has 10 takeaways on the season (six interceptions — tied for third in the league — and four fumble recoveries) and four giveaways (four picks). They’re only one of four teams in the league to not have any fumbles to this point in the year. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin leads the team with a pair of picks, while Kyle Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham and Nigel Bradham all have one each.
5. New quarterback Kyle Orton adds a bit of a wild card element to what would otherwise be a fairly familiar divisional matchup
Orton, who took over the Bills on Sunday for the beleaguered EJ Manuel, is a journeyman who came out of semi-retirement to take over the Buffalo offense. In his first start of the year against the Lions, he went an impressive 30-for-43 for 308 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. (He became only the third quarterback to throw for 300 yards in his Bills debut.) The 31-year-old Orton, a 6-foot-4, 226-pounder who has also played for the Bears, Broncos, Chiefs and Cowboys, displayed a nice knack for running the offense in his first start, connecting with 10 different pass catchers and helping the offense pile up 343 net yards in the road victory. One quick note on Orton: The Patriots could have a small measure of familiarity with the quarterback based on his previous working relationship with Josh McDaniels. The two spent the 2009 and most of the 2010 seasons together in Denver before McDaniels was fired as head coach on Dec. 6, 2010. Orton’s one career start against the Patriots came when he was with Denver, and he turned in one of the finest games of his career, going 35-for-48 for 330 yards, two touchdowns and one pick in a 20-17 overtime win over New England on Oct. 11, 2009. The win was the unquestioned high point of McDaniels’ coaching career — it took him to 5-0 on the season. He would be fired just over a year later.
|10.06.14 at 11:37 am ET|
FOXBORO — A lot of the focus on the Patriots offense‘s struggles this season has been centered around the play of the offensive line and their inability to protect quarterback Tom Brady, as going into Sunday he was sacked 10 times.
In the 43-17 win over the Bengals they answered their critics and played their best game of the season, leading the way for the Patriots running backs who ran for 220 yards and also protected Brady, as he was sacked just once against a Bengals defense that came into the game totaling seven sacks in three games.
After starting his first career game last week against Kansas City, rookie Cameron Fleming missed Sunday’s game with a finger injury, so once again the Patriots needed to find a different combination up front.
Here is how the offensive line combinations broke down (from left-to-right, doesn’t include kneel down at the end):
Drive 1: Nate Solder-Dan Connolly-Bryan Stork-Ryan Wendell-Sebastian Vollmer (Touchdown)
Drive 2: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Touchdown)
Drive 3: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Punt)
Drive 4: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Punt)
Drive 5: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Marcus Cannon (Field goal)
Drive 6: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Field goal)
Drive 7: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Punt)
Drive 8: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Touchdown)
Drive 9: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Field goal)
Drive 10: Cannon-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Field goal)
Drive 11: Solder-Connolly-Stork-Wendell-Vollmer (Field goal)
|10.06.14 at 10:54 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday night’s 43-17 rout of the Bengals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots rebounded from last Monday’s humiliating loss to the Chiefs and tuned out all the criticism to put together a bounceback performance against the previously undefeated Bengals.
“There’s a lot of people outside of our locker room that never want to really see the Patriots win or do well. Certainly our opponents in the AFC East,” Brady said. “The more you eliminate distractions and eliminate listening to what people may say or think about you, the more you can focus on what you’re able to do. It was a really tough loss for us last week, we understand that it was one game and we didn’t play well and we can perform a lot better than we did, and we went out there and did it last night, which was really great to see, ’cause we’re a team that has a lot of mental toughness and a lot of heart. I’m glad that we went out and played our best game of the year so far.
“It’s a great step, it’s just a building block, it’s one game in a long season. We’ve got a huge one this week against Buffalo. So we’ve got to bring the same attitude, like we do every week, really an urgency to get better, make improvements, and then go out there and let it rip next Sunday.”
There was an ESPN report that there was “tension” between Brady and the coaches, and the quarterback’s input in game plans had been “significantly diminished.” Brady said that’s not the case.
“I’ve always had input on what we do,” he said. “I think that’s what’s been so great for me being here, is I’ve always had the opportunity to say how I feel and what I think. Those are very personal discussions I have with my coaches. They have so much respect for me, I have so much respect for them. I don’t feel that way, I would never say that way. It’s nice to for me to have an opportunity when you hear from my voice how I really feel. I feel there’s no place I’d rather play. Certainly there’s no coach I’d ever want to play for than coach [Bill] Belichick. My relationship with the offensive coaches is great. I respect them way more than they even know for the work that they put in to try to get us players ready to play.
“I think we’ve had a good thing going for a long time. I can see why people could try to be divisive when things aren’t going well. That’s not what our team’s always been about.The problems we’ve experienced this year have nothing to do with anything that’s been written or said. I try to tell you guys it’s about our execution and what us players need to do.
“Our coaches put us in a great position to win every week. And the way that they prepare, there’s nobody that has more respect for them than me. And certainly, if I ever had an issue with anybody in our organization, then how we deal with it as men is we go talk to each other about it. It’s unfortunate when things get said because I said after the game there’s very personal relationships that I have that you have years and years of trust and support with. And then someone other than myself says something and it gets reported as if it’s a fact. But there’s certainly no truth to it, to the way that I feel. And they know the way that I feel about them. It’s actually a great opportunity for me to say that from my own voice of how much I respect and love the job that they do for us players, because I don’t think there’s a better staff in the league that puts us into to position to win each week as players.”
Added Brady: “Absolutely not [true]. I’ve always had input. There’s not one play that’s ever been called in a game that I’ve said, ‘Look, I don’t want to run that play.’ That’s not the way it works. I think there’s always a great working relationship that I’ve had certainly when Charlie [Weis] was here, when Josh [McDaniels] was here the first time, when Billy [O’Brien] was calling plays, when Josh was calling plays this time. And we talk all the time. I’ve always had the ability to do those things. That’s what makes going to work every day challenging ’cause there’s always so much to learn and to work with people that you trust and respect — and they’re a hell of a lot smarter than me — that usually brings out the best in me. As I said, I’m very lucky to have those guys.”
|10.06.14 at 10:02 am ET|
A week after getting beat badly by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Patriots came back home to win convincingly 43-17. New England piled it on early with 20 points in the first half, and then continued the dominance over Cincinnati in the second half.
Hasselbeck said something went more into this win than just a good plan for the Patriots.
“There’s no doubt that emotion and feeling like you’re up against the wall a little bit and people have counted you out,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s just human nature for people to kind of dial it in. Focus it in during the week, which many times translates to how you play come Sunday. But I think it was a combination of that type of thing, good effort and a nice plan.
“I will say, not to pour water on some of the excitement of it, but part of what I’m working this morning is some these breakdowns, some of the successful plays New England had on offense. And there’s some really, really bad mistakes by a Cincinnati defense that is surprising me by looking at it this morning.”
The Patriots did protect Tom Brady better, which led to almost 300 yards of passing for the quarterback. Still, though, having quality receivers down the field still appears to be an issue for the offense.
“I do think it’s a problem long term,” Hasselbeck said of the receivers. “Nothing’s been solved in terms of somebody really dominating outside the numbers. I think [Brandon] LaFell’s role is kind of what it is for the team right now. And I don’t know how much bigger it can truly get. And [Julian] Edelman, he’s a fine player, but we know what he is. [Rob Gronkowski] looked to come alive a little bit more and Tim Wright’s involvement was fine. But when you look at all of that, that doesn’t solve the fact that you don’t have somebody that can really, really dominate outside. And you don’t even necessarily have to be totally dominant, but you just have to have the ability to win out there.”
|10.06.14 at 7:27 am ET|
Join WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia in breaking down the Patriots’ Sunday night win — along with any other Boston sports issue — Monday morning at 10:15 a.m. Trags is the man who covers more sporting events in this city than any other reporter, so take advantage of his expertise. Get your questions in now …
|10.06.14 at 4:48 am ET|
FOXBORO — On Thursday, Darrelle Revis referenced the fact that he had asked for individual defensive assignments in year’s past, and added he would feel comfortable going to coach Bill Belichick to make a similar request while a member of the Patriots.
But after Sunday’s win over Cincinnati, the cornerback said there was no such conversation this week as the Patriots prepared to play the Bengals. Instead, it was just a matter of game-planning that saw him spend most of the game matched up in man coverage against Cincy’s top receiver, A.J. Green.
“I’m used to it — to compete and take out the number one guy,” said Revis, who finished with four tackles and a forced fumble, “but whatever the game plan is it is. It’s a different game plan week-by-week, and you got to play what the coaches call.”
After a four-game stretch where the Patriots have utilized Revis in zone, as well as some man and off-the-line coverage, it appeared he was mostly in man coverage Sunday against Green. Revis went down briefly in the third quarter with what the team called a hamstring issue. (For what it’s worth, he didn’t appear hobbled after the game.) It wasn’t coincidental that the Bengals went right after his replacement, second-year man Logan Ryan. Revis later returned without incident and helped the Patriots clamp down on the Cincinnati offense in the 43-17 win.
“It was awesome, man. It was very awesome,” Revis said of the victory. “It showed a lot of heart that this team has, and we knew we needed this win. It was against a great football team. They were undefeated, and we just wanted to get this one at home and secure this win.”
In all, Green finished with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. When he was working against Revis, it was four receptions for 64 with no TDs. The Bengals took one shot at the end zone when Revis was in Green — that came in the first quarter, and while Revis appeared to come away with a pick, but the play was called back because of offsetting penalties. (Revis was flagged for illegal contact.) Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton found Green for a 19-yard reception in the second quarter, but Revis was able to knock the ball out, and teammate Jamie Collins recovered to set up a Patriots field goal.
“Our thing was just be aggressive with him as much as we can the whole game, and try to frustrate him as much as we could,” Revis said of Green. “We’re going to play aggressive. That’s going to be our style.”
Dalton wasn’t shocked to see Revis shadowing Green.
“There had been times when Revis stayed on one side and there have been times when he’s flipped,” said Dalton. “But just because he was on A.J. didn’t mean we weren’t going to try to throw to A.J., because A.J is really good. I didn’t feel like A.J. matched up with anybody, and so we got a lot of looks there that we thought we were going to get. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
“[Revis] made some plays but I also got open. He played a heck of a game,” Green said. “They were not giving up big plays.”
Revis, who was going against Green for the first time at the NFL level, had nothing but good things to say about him after the contest.
“I talked to him after the game as well and I just told him I’d probably see him down the road in the future,” Revis said of Green. “It was great, a great matchup. He’s a great competitor and a great receiver. One of the top guys, so I did talk to him after the game and said, ‘Hey man, just keep up the great work that you’re doing and it was good playing against you.'”
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