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Patriots release RB Joey Iosefa; Bills claim WR Leonard Hankerson, Chargers claim TE Asante Cleveland 12.28.15 at 5:33 pm ET
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Joey Iosefa

Joey Iosefa

The Joey Iosefa era lasted two weeks in New England as the Patriots released the running back Monday.

Iosefa, 24, was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Dec. 19, and played in the last two games, totaling 15 carries for 51 yards. He originally was signed to the New England practice squad on Oct. 21, 2015. The 6-foot, 245-pounder, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round (231st overall) out of Hawaii in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was released by Tampa Bay on Aug. 30, 2015.

Iosefa made a big impact in his first game, steamrolling Titans defensive back Coty Sensabaugh on a run in the second half of a win against Tennessee. He had a team-high 14 carries for 51 yards. Sunday against the Jets, he played in three snaps and had just one carry for no gain.

However, his biggest impact was a negative one as he fell onto the left leg of left tackle Sebastian Vollmer on the first drive of the game. Vollmer was carted off the field and did not return.

A league source tells WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable that if Iosefa clears waivers, he is expected to be brought back to New England to the practice squad.

Meanwhile, two recently released Patriots did not clear waivers as wide receiver Leonard Hankerson was claimed by the Buffalo Bills Monday and he is eligible to play this Sunday in Buffalo against the Jets. If the Jets win the game, New York clinches a playoff spot. Tight end Asante Cleveland was also claimed off waivers Monday by the San Diego Chargers.

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Read More: Asante Cleveland, Buffalo Bills, Joey Iosefa, Leonard Hankerson
Bill Belichick preps his offensive line for Denver: ‘We’ve got to do a better job’ 11.25.15 at 9:47 am ET
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David Andrews (60) has been by Tom Brady's side for most of his rookie season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

David Andrews (60) has been by Tom Brady‘s side for most of his rookie season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Entering Monday night’s game against Buffalo, no one had played more along the offensive line this season than undrafted rookie center David Andrews.

But midway through the first half Monday, Andrews was pulled in favor of second-year center Bryan Stork.

Listening to Bill Belichick on the conference call on Tuesday, it appears that decision was made more to ramp up Stork’s return to his customary spot at center than it was an indictment of Andrews’ play.

Andrews played had played every offensive snap this season and started every game at center. With Brady getting hit early and often by the aggressive Bills front seven, Belichick made a change. He went with Stork at center and for the first time this season, Andrews watched Brady from the sidelines.

“Well, we played all seven players on the offensive line, all three tackles and all four inside guys,” Belichick said. “Stork is still working his way back from the time he missed in training camp and the early part of the season, so trying to work him back in there some, too, along with David and Shaq [Mason] and Josh [Kline]. At some point Tre’€™ Jackson, whenever that happens, whenever he’€™s ready, we’€™ll see how that goes.”

Andrews played just 23 of 67 offensive snaps Monday night and injury didn’t appear to be a reason for the diminished playing time. Josh Kline and Marcus Cannon were the only offensive linemen to play every offensive snap against the Bills. Only Cameron Fleming (12) played fewer snaps.

But, as Belichick would point out, it’s important to understand that the offensive line wasn’t entirely to blame for the struggles Monday. As Ryan Hannable noted, the Bills did a good job of disrupting Brady’s rhythm at the line of scrimmage, showing multiple looks and formations, as Brady’s snap-to-throw release time was as slow as it has been all season.

“I think the bottom line again, just totally as an offense we’€™ve got to do a better job,” Belichick said. “It definitely starts up front,€“ communication, execution, run blocking, pass blocking, blitz pickup, I mean, you name it, everything we’€™ve got to do a better job than we did [Monday] night and that’€™s everybody. We’€™ll get to work on it.”

The clock is certainly ticking with the Denver Broncos defense up next on the road Sunday night.

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Read More: Bryan Stork, Buffalo Bills, David Andrews, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick on Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung safety play: ‘They saved us a lot of points’ 11.24.15 at 9:44 pm ET
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Devin McCourty (left) prepares to break up a pass in the end zone for LeSean McCoy. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Devin McCourty (left) prepares to break up a pass in the end zone for LeSean McCoy. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

For all the talk this year about Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan in the Patriots secondary, Monday night showed that good pass coverage isn’t limited to corners.

As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, the outcome of the game against the Bills could’ve been vastly different.

Chung and McCourty each made plays in the second quarter that kept the Bills out of the end zone. On Buffalo’s first drive of the second quarter, Chris Hogan got behind Patrick Chung and appeared ready to haul in a touchdown from Tyrod Taylor. But Chung didn’t give up on the play and when Taylor underthrew Hogan, Chung, with his back to the ball, got his hands up without committing pass interference to break up the play at the Patriots 5.

The ball was nearly picked off by Duron Harmon who was coming over from the middle of the field. The Bills had to settle for a field goal.

While Chung’s breakup saved four points, a play just before halftime saved even more and turned the tide of the game. With the Bills marching for a touchdown, Taylor spotted a wide open LeSean McCoy sprinting toward the end zone. As the ball was settling in McCoy’s hands, McCourty came over and got a hand in and pushed the ball out for an incompletion. When Dan Carpenter’s 48-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and clanged away, the Patriots had the ball at their 38. They marched down the field for a go-ahead touchdown that put the Patriots up, 10-3, at the half.

Not only did the two plays save 11 points on the scoreboard, the McCourty play was a 14-point swing in a game that featured precious little offense.

“I thought that Chung made a good play on the ball there when he kind of saw the receiver’€™s hands go up ‘€“ Hogan’€™s hands go up,€“ came up with his arm and got the ball and the hand and all that,” Bill Belichick said in a conference call Tuesday. “It was kind of a bang-bang play, which is what you can do in that situation. You can’€™t obviously grab the guy early, but I thought he played pretty good technique on that showed patience and just raised the receiver’€™s hands when he went up for the ball.

“Devin showed good awareness of kind of the matchup there with McCoy on the linebacker, and he got a good jump on the ball as he usually does, saw the matchup and was able to get over the top on that. So, those were two good plays by those guys and they obviously saved us a lot of points.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
Tom Brady not blaming injuries for struggles: ‘You get limited pretty quickly in the things you can do’ at 3:47 am ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady is not about to use the injury bug as a reason for the relative struggles the last three weeks offensively.

In wins over the Redskins, Giants and Bills, the Patriots have scored 27, 27 and 20 points. Those numbers aren’t bad but to the naked eye, the mounting injuries to offensive weapons might finally be catching up.

Against the Redskins, they lost Dion Lewis for the season to a torn ACL in his left knee. The next week against the Giants, they lost Julian Edelman indefinitely with a broken bone in his foot.

On Monday night, in the 20-13 survival over the Bills at Gillette, it was a daily double of tough news as Aaron Dobson left on a cart in the first half with an ankle injury. Early in the second half, Danny Amendola came up lame with a knee issue.

Brady was hit no fewer than 12 times Monday in the 20-13 win over the Bills but the hits to his receiving corps are having a ripple effect. Rob Gronkowski caught a pass on the opening drive but finished with just two receptions on seven targets as he stayed in often to help with blocking.

Brady was asked if he expected tough sledding with all the changes to his offense.

“Yes. I think we did, but I don’t think that’s an excuse,” Brady said. “I think we can play better, and I think some of the things that we didn’t do well have nothing to do with missing some other guys. We’ve just got to do things better if we want to score more points, and I always talk about just execution, us all being on the same page. And I think there were a lot of plays out there where we didn’t necessarily do our job very well, and if you don’t do it well then no one else can really make up for what you’re trying to do. So there were a lot of critical plays that we left out on the field against a good defense. And I think they do a good job challenging you because they’ve got good players and they’ve got a good scheme, and if you’re not on top of everything then they make you pay. And there were a lot of plays that were just uncontested. We didn’t really have much of a chance.

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Read More: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on how Patriots overcome more injuries, bizarre calls to stay perfect at 2:39 am ET
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FOXBORO — In a game that lasted three hours, 32 minutes, the Patriots got a pair of touchdowns from James White to overcome a controversial inadvertent whistle against them and post a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills Monday night at Gillette Stadium. The win improved the Patriots to 10-0 on the season, joining the Carolina Panthers as the only unbeaten teams in the NFL.

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Read More: Buffalo Bills, Chris Price, Dean Blandino, Gene Steratore
Bill Belichick on Tom Brady: ‘He’s about as tough a guy as they come’ at 2:24 am ET
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Tom Brady was under fire all night Monday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was under fire all night Monday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — There was no doubt Monday night that Bill Belichick and his staff likely took some deep breaths as they saw Tom Brady take as much abuse in the pocket as he ever has in a regular season game.

On night when the wind chill dipped down to 21 degrees, Brady stood in the pocket and took 10 official hits (though ESPN had the figure closer to 15 by game’s end).

Brady finished 20-of-39 for 277 yards, a far cry from the 466 yards he torched the Bills for in Week 2. Rex Ryan wanted his defense to do a better job on Brady this time around. Ryan wanted Brady to pay the price every time he dropped back in the pocket to pass, and for the most part they did.

From the moment that linebacker Nigel Bradham leveled Brady on the opening drive of the game, the Patriots knew that their quarterback would be under fire all night.

“I don’€™t think anybody ever questioned Tom’€™s toughness, mentally or physically,” Belichick said. “He’€™s about as tough a guy as they come.”

Belichick also gave props to his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who lost a pair of receivers in the game, as Aaron Dobson went down in the first half with an ankle injury and Danny Amendola suffered a knee injury in the second half.

“We had to work around it a little bit tonight, yeah,” Belichick said. “I mean, we’€™ll see what it is going forward but tonight we definitely had to work around it. I thought Josh [McDaniels] did a good job managing the game, and we were able to do what we could do. It wasn’€™t necessarily what we wanted it to be, but it was good enough, so he did a good job managing it.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, nfl
Tom Brady calls ‘Rex Ryan’ at line of scrimmage 11.23.15 at 9:26 pm ET
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Tom Brady had 59 pass attempts against the Bills in Week 2. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Tom Brady had 59 pass attempts against the Bills in Week 2. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Peyton Manning has Omaha. Tom Brady has the coach he has pretty much owned over their time in the AFC East.

During the Patriots’ first drive of the game Monday, Brady called out a funny audible at the line of scrimmage.

Brady yelled “Rex Ryan!” at the line.

Brady may have been yelling it in anger also, as he was hit hard five times while attempting to pass during the opening drive that netted a 30-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.

Consider it a way to call out your opponent. Literally.

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Read More: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, nfl, Rex Ryan
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