|Terrell Suggs: ‘Ever since Spygate, [Patriots] haven’t been able to win’||01.21.13 at 1:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — The first thing Terrell Suggs did after leaving the Gillette Stadium field and entering the hallways after the Ravens’ 28-13 beating of the Patriots was shout, all the way to the locker room, “Tell them to have fun in the Pro Bowl! Arrogant f***ers.”
Suggs was overheard taking verbal shots at the Patriots, and was captured by Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel on his Twitter feed, calling them “the most arrogant pricks in the world, starting with [Bill] Belichick on down.”
Wetzel also tweeted that Suggs said, “That’s funny, ever since Spygate they haven’t been able to win.”
Suggs and the Ravens avenged a playoff loss in Foxboro last year with a convincing 28-13 win on Sunday night that included a second-half shutout of the league’s top-ranked offense in points per game. Afterwards, Suggs spoke several times with reporters, and eventually toned down his distaste for New England by paying tribute to the former AFC champs.
“That’s a hell of a team out there. That’s a hell of a ballclub,” Suggs said. “But not to take anything away from the men in this locker room. We went out there and we played a game, and both sides — offense and defense, and special teams — played damn near flawless, and that’s what you have to do to come here and beat a giant. All praise be to God.”
When asked if he was surprised at all by the win over the Patriots, Suggs answered with an emphatic, “Nope.” Read the rest of this entry »
|As it turns out, J.J. Watt did spit on Patriots logo in pregame||01.13.13 at 10:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Before Sunday’s Patriots-Texans divisional-round matchup, Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt was spotted spitting on the Gillette Stadium center logo and wiping his feet off on the Flying Elvis before sitting down to stretch.
Twitter began circulating the news after this original tweet from WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia. It was unclear if Watt meant to disrespect the organization or to fire his team up. Watt confirmed after the game that he did spit on the logo, but he said it isn’t an uncommon routine for him, and he meant no disrespect.
“I do that every game, home or away,” Watt said. “I go out to midfield, I jog out there, spit a little bit, wipe my feet off, and then I go through my stretches. No drama there, that’s 100 percent what I do every game, home or away.”
After the game, Watt said that the Texans entered the locker room at halftime feeling pretty good about scoring 10 unanswered points, but the momentum didn’t carry over to the second half.
“We didn’t play a good game, and they played a very good game,” he said. “They are moving on and we are not. We came in here at halftime feeling pretty good; obviously the long field goal by Shayne [Graham] was a heck of a kick. We came out in the second half and didn’t perform and it is plain and simple. We just didn’t do the things we needed to to do to win.”
Watt finished with four total tackles on the night (one solo), with half a sack, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit.
The inability to get pressure on Tom Brady frustrated the Texans defense, especially Watt, who has a total of eight total tackles against the Patriots this season in two games, and no passes defensed.
“He is a very good football player, and a heck of a quarterback,” he said. “Obviously he is one of the best for a reason. We needed to hit him and we needed to knock some balls down, and we didn’t do that and we lost. Obviously all we can do is move forward.”
Watt and the Texans end their season for the second straight year in the divisional playoff round.
“It is really frustrating, because have been here before and you don’t want to get back to where you have been before,” he said. “You want to move on and you want to get better and move forward, and we didn’t do that. We are going to come into next season extremely strong and we are not going to wait to get back to work.”
|Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin: Patriots ‘will probably do some damage in the playoffs’||12.30.12 at 11:53 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For some of the Dolphins players, it’s getting a little old watching the Patriots dance their way into the playoffs each year, while they sit on the outside looking in.
The Patriots earned the No. 2 overall seed in the AFC with a 28-0 drubbing of the Dolphins in Foxboro on Sunday and a Texans loss to the Colts, which means a first-round bye is upcoming. The next time the Patriots take the field, they will play host to either the Texans, Ravens or Colts on the weekend of Jan. 12-13.
The Dolphins head back to South Florida empty-handed, with a 7-9 overall record and a shutout in the final regular-season game of 2012.
Wide receiver Brian Hartline, when asked how badly he wants a winning record, seemed to sum up the season after Sunday’s beating perfectly.
“Winning record? I want to be in the playoffs. I don’t care what it takes,” he said.
For the Patriots, the road to the Super Bowl becomes a little less busy with a free Wild Card weekend. With the additional week to prepare for one of three teams, they can take time to heal injuries and get some rest.
Rookie Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots make some headway into the playoffs.
“You know, they are a good team,” he said. “That’s the reason they got a first-round bye and will probably do some damage in the playoffs. … They are a talented unit and they were just doing a good job of making plays [today].”
|A look at the 2009 draft: Who the Patriots could have had over Ron Brace||12.30.12 at 12:37 pm ET|
The Patriots waived defensive lineman Ron Brace on Saturday after the Boston College product recorded just four tackles in 10 games played this season. Brace was drafted in 2009 in the second round by the Patriots – part of a New England draft class that, for the most part, didn’t last long with the organization.
In fact, there are only three Patriots players from that 2009 draft class — the Pats made 12 selections — still with the team: Sebastian Vollmer, Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung.
Brace was the Patriots’ second selection in 2009 at 40th overall, just six picks behind Chung.
His numbers with New England peaked during the 2010 season, when he recorded a combined 23 tackles – 15 solo – and two stuffs in 13 games played. His next highest tackle total was eight during his rookie year. Rounding things out, he forced one fumble in 2011, and did not have a sack with the Patriots in any of his four years.
With this latest release of a player by the Patriots from the 2009 draft class, here’s a quick look at some other names New England could have selected over Brace.
Connor Barwin (Round 2, Pick 46) – The Texans took Barwin from Cincinnati six picks after Brace. In Houston, Barwin has excelled as both a linebacker and defensive end, notching 105 career tackles with 18 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and 16 passes deflected.
Paul Kruger (Round 2, Pick 57) – Kruger has had a steady career with the Ravens, recording 68 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, 14.5 sacks, and 12 passes defensed. Kruger was part of a Ravens defense that terrorized the league back in 2009 and 2010.
Michael Johnson (Round 3, Pick 70) – Johnson was a freak athlete on the defensive line coming out of Georgia Tech, and has had a stellar career with the Bengals thus far, with 144 career tackles, 21 sacks, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and 16 passes defensed. Johnson has gotten progressively better each season, with 15.5 of his 21.5 career sacks coming in his last two seasons. Read the rest of this entry »
|Randy Moss returns to New England and has quick impact with touchdown grab||12.17.12 at 2:38 am ET|
FOXBORO — It didn’t take very long for former Patriots receiver Randy Moss to make an impact on Sunday night. Moss, who started in place of the injured Mario Manningham and played opposite Michael Crabtree, drew the coverage of rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.
Moss caught a 12-yard strike from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on San Francisco’s third offensive play from scrimmage, and put the first score on the board three plays later. Moss was able to get behind Dennard down the left sideline, while Kaepernick lofted an easy 24-yard pass over the top of the Patriots defense.
It was Moss’ third touchdown catch of the year, and his first since the 49ers’ Week 8 matchup with the Cardinals on Oct. 29.
Moss’ ability to take the top off an opposing defense has stood out throughout his career, and on Sunday night, against his former team with whom he set records aplenty, Moss contributed in signature form. In doing so, he exposed an issue that has afflicted New England at different points throughout 2012.
Coming off of a game where the Patriots dominated so thoroughly on Monday night, the problems that had plagued this defensive secondary seemed to fall by the wayside until Moss opened up the scoring on the long play.
Moss declined to comment after the game on Sunday night; instead, he left his locker soon after the game had ended. He did tweet out at roughly 1:30 a.m., “The game is over!!i don’t wanna talk bout Tht.”
He was targeted two more times on the night, but did not pull in another pass after the first offensive possession for the 49ers.
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said that as a whole his team wasn’t very surprised by the play of Kaepernick and his ability to make the throws that he did.
“We knew [Kaepernick] could throw the ball from watching film,” Mayo said. “We didn’t know is they were going to throw it or not because it was raining a bit. But they came out and threw the ball, scored on us early. Like you said earlier, we fought back, but it wasn’t enough.”
When Dennard went down late in the second quarter with a knee injury, the Patriots applied a different scheme to cover Moss, with a combination of Kyle Arrington, Aqib Talib and safeties making sure the veteran receiver was accounted for.
Despite not having another catch after the first quarter, Moss was the second-leading San Francisco receiver, with 36 yards total on the night.
|LaMichael James on late kick return: ‘We needed a boost’||12.17.12 at 1:52 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots had completed the near-unthinkable; coming back from a 28-point deficit to tie the 49ers, 31-31, with less than seven minutes left to play on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. The crowd, which had thinned just a bit after San Francisco jumped out to such an astonishing lead, began to electrify the stadium.
After Danny Woodhead scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to tie the score, rookie running back LaMichael James thought to himself, “Don’t flinch.”
James was back to return the Stephen Gostkowski kickoff, and recognized that his team needed a spark. He took the ball down the left sideline, got a few blocks, and sprung a 62-yard return that set the 49ers on the Patriots’ 38-yard line.
One play was all it took for Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick to capitalize, as he hit Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard score that put his team up for good.
After the game, James said that he knew in his mind what his team needed after letting a four-touchdown lead disappear.
“We needed a boost. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking I was going to take it to the house,” James said. “I just kept telling myself that I was going to get down there. I believed in it, and it happened.”
On the very next drive for the Patriots, Tom Brady was sacked twice and Zoltan Mesko was forced to send the ball back to San Francisco. It was the first drive that the Patriots didn’t score on since midway through the third quarter.
James said that they couldn’t let the fact that they had blown a huge lead get to them, because they knew who they were up against, and whose territory they were in.
“They’re a great team. You know, Tom Brady is a great quarterback, and they have great players. You have to keep fighting; nobody said it was going to be easy,” he said.
“Great return by LaMichael,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Sunday night. “… Not where he was supposed to go with the ball, … but he saw what we saw, kicked it out to LaMichael and then LaMichael made a huge play.”
|49ers defense able to disrupt Tom Brady enough for win||12.17.12 at 1:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — The teams that have beaten the Patriots — both this season and dating back to last year’s Super Bowl — have generally done so by applying one commonality: a physical defense.
We saw it in February as the Giants disrupted and collapsed the pocket, which didn’t allow Tom Brady to throw the football. We saw it earlier this season against a Cardinals team in Foxboro. And we saw it Sunday night.
Although Aldon Smith, who is tied for the league lead in sacks, registered just one assisted tackle on Sunday night, it was the play of the 49ers’ front seven as a whole that made some attempts very uncomfortable for Brady and the Patriots offense.
With just over five minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots offense in a dominant stretch, both Ray McDonald and Ricky Jean Francois broke through the Patriots’ offensive line on consecutive plays and brought Brady down for a loss. The Patriots were forced to punt, and would not score again until Stephen Gostkowski’s 41-yard field goal with 43 seconds remaining.
“They just started doing something that they are good at, like throwing the ball out quick, slowing it down and recognizing what we were trying to do,” 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “I mean, [Brady] is a good quarterback and we knew some adversity was going to come, and they were going to make plays sooner or later. We just had to answer the bell and I think we did that.”
The 49ers defense totaled three sacks on the night, along with five tackles for losses, seven quarterback hits, three pass deflections, and two forced fumbles. The 49ers defense also forced Brady to throw two interceptions on the night.
“I wouldn’t say [the Niners’ defensive approach] was a whole lot of different things,” Brady said. “I think they do what they do and they do it very well. We made some mistakes early in the game and they capitalized. We couldn’t stay on the field on third down. [We] turned the ball over. I don’t know what our time of possession was, but I’m sure it wasn’t good.”
The Patriots finished the day 2-for-15 on third-down attempts. San Francisco also held the Patriots, who average 136.7 yards per game, to 95 rushing yards on the night.
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