|Rob Gronkowski, LeGarrette Blount fined $9K for actions vs. Bengals||10.21.16 at 5:24 pm ET|
Vontaze Burfict wasn’t the only player fined by the NFL for his behavior in last Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium.
LeGarrette Blount was docked $9,115 for an unnecessary roughness penalty he received after getting stepped on by Burfict. Blount reacted by shoving Burfict and getting in the face of Bengals defensive tackle Pat Sims. Burfict was fined $75,000 by the league for stomping on Blount’s leg after the all-22 coach’s film clearly showed the Bengals linebacker committing the act.
Rob Gronkowski was also fined $9,115 after being flagged for taunting in the fourth quarter. Gronkowski was flagged came when he caught a pair of passes on a field goal drive and yelled at Burfict. Gronkowski was upset with Burfict diving at the back of the left knee of Martellus Bennett earlier in the drive. Gronkowski was pulled from the game and received a dressing down from Bill Belichick.
Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was also finded $9,115 for grabbing Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s facemask during a tackle in the fourth quarter. Kirkpatrick said Edelman grabbed his facemask first and that he did nothing wrong.
|Bill Belichick defers to NFL on Vontaze Burfict: ‘We’ll let the league talk about that’||10.17.16 at 11:22 am ET|
The Patriots coach said he was more than willing to let the NFL and their disciplinary people handle the review of Burfict’s hit on Martellus Bennett in the fourth quarter Sunday.
With 11:22 left in the fourth, as the Patriots were marching down the field for a field goal, Adam Jones was defending Martellus Bennett over the middle and Tom Brady completed a pass to Danny Amendola.
Well after the ball, which was not intended for Bennett, cleared the receiver’s area, Burfict came in from Bennett’s blindside and took him out in the back of his left leg. Bennett was slow to get up and walked off the field after the hit. Replays showed that Burfict came over as Bennett was walking off and said something. Bennett said after the game that Burfict apologized for going low.
Multiple reports Monday morning indicated the league will review the play and take into account Burfict’s previous track record, which included a three-game suspension to start this season for his hit on Antonio Brown in the playoffs last season.
“We’ll let the league talk about that,” Belichick said. “It’s their decision. It doesn’t really matter what any of us think about it.”
|Brandon LaFell sounds like a guy that misses the Patriots||10.16.16 at 7:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was brought home Sunday to Brandon LaFell just what he was leaving behind when he left after last season and signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Bengals.
After playing two seasons and earning a Super Bowl ring with Tom Brady, the receiver was on the other side Sunday and watched Brady and Rob Gronkowski systematically destroy the Bengals and their secondary in a 35-17 Patriots’ win Sunday.
Brady was 29-of-35 for 375 yards and three touchdowns while Gronk caught seven passes for a career-high 162 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
“I always appreciate Tom. I always appreciate Tom,” LaFell said. “He knows that. Every time I talk about Tom, I let everybody know I appreciate what he did. But what he did today, that’s something I saw every day in practice. That’s something I saw when I was on the team for the last two years and that’s something that’s going to continue to happen because Gronk is special.”
It was turning out to be a special day for LaFell when he caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone in the third quarter. That drive to open the second half gave the Bengals a 14-10 lead. It was also his final catch of the day as he finished with just two catches on five targets for 13 yards.
LaFell knew well enough that when the Bengals got stuffed on fourth-and-goal in the second quarter that it would come back to haunt them. The Bengals also had a chance to make it 25-21 midway through the fourth but had to settle for a 25-yard field goal when the drive stalled at the Patriots 7.
“We left so many plays out there,” LaFell said. “We got into the red zone and we didn’t capitalize. And playing against a team that’s got an offense and is high-powered like those guys, you’ve got to take full advantage and come out with seven every time you get down in the red zone.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about winning. The touchdown was good to continue consecutive games getting into the end zone. But at the end of the day, me and my team wanted this win and for us to come up to get this victory, that would’ve been great.
“We were controlling time of possession, controlling the game. But, at the end of the day, we got to the red zone and weren’t coming away with seven points. That was the difference between us and them.”
|Dre Kirkpatrick thinks 3rd-and-18 call on him was a ‘terrible call’ that changed the game||at 6:46 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Bengals defense had Tom Brady on the ropes.
They had a 7-3 lead with 2:31 left in the second quarter.
Brady was struggling to find any rhythm and faced a 3rd-and-18 at his own 17 after a Vontaze Burfict sack. Then he threw it down the right sideline incomplete for Chris Hogan. But in coverage was Dre Kirkpatrick. The yellow flag came out after it was deemed that Kirkpatrick had his hands on Hogan beyond the five yards allowed.
The penalty was just five yards but came with an automatic first down. Six plays later, Brady found James White over the middle for a pitch-and-catch of 15 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots led, 10-7, at the half.
“That was terrible,” Kirkpatrick complained after the game. “Terrible call. That was a terrible call. I feel like they pick and choose when they want to make calls.
“At the end of the day, you still got to play through the calls, through all the bull[crap] they want to throw at us.”
The Bengals managed to come back and take a 14-10 lead but it was that play that gave the Patriots offense the momentum they desperately needed before the half.
“I felt like I did everything great,” Kirkpatrick said. “I barely touched him. I didn’t throw him off his route or anything like that. I just put my hands on him. At the end of the day, there were a lot of dinky plays, dinky calls that could’ve gone either way, especially the jam [on Hogan]. Oh my God. I was sick because they scored off that play. You’ve got to let us play sometimes.”
That wasn’t the only call that got under Kirkpatrick skin. He was also called for a personal foul face mask when he tackled Julian Edelman in the fourth quarter.
“I felt like on the face mask call [in fourth quarter], he grabbed my face mask first,” Kirkpatrick said. “You see my head plain as day turned to the side. They obviously picked on me and said it was my fault.”
By the end of the game, skirmishes broke out all over the field.
“It’s football,” Kirkpatrick said. “Tempers are going to flare. At the end of the day, they had all the personal fouls. You all need to talk to them about that.”
“I felt like it. But the key today was finishing. You’ve got to finish the game out, no matter what the score was in the first half. You’ve got to finish it out to try to come out with the win.”
“That was terrible. Terrible call. That was a terrible call. I feel like they pick and choose when they want to make calls. I felt like on the face mask call [in fourth quarter], he grabbed my face mask first. You see my head plain as day turned to the side. They obviously picked on me and said it was my fault.
“At the end of the day, you still got to play through the calls, through all the bullshit they want to throw at us.”
“It was. It’s football. Tempers are going to flare. At the end of the day, they had all the personal fouls. You all need to talk to them about that.”
Kirkpatrick did tip his cap to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski at the end of the day after Brady and Gronk burned the Bengals for 250 passing yards in the second half.
“At the end of the day, great quarterback and Gronk is a great tight end,” Kirkpatrick said. “They’re familiar with connecting in that part of the field. He put the ball right where he was supposed to. Man, you look at the replay, the ball was so low. I thought it was incomplete, might have touched the ground. Just credit to a great quarterback.”
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price explain how Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski went beast mode on Bengals||at 5:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It took a while but Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski finally got heated up in the second half and rolled the outclassed Bengals, 35–17, Sunday at Gillette Stadium. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have all the details inside Gillette Stadium.
|Snap Judgments: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, James White overcome sluggish start, beat Bengals||at 4:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO – On a day when Tom Brady made his first home start of the season, it was Dont’a Hightower who gave the Patriots the jumpstart they needed.
With Jamie Collins out with a hip injury and the Patriots trailing 14-10 in the third quarter, Hightower came up with a game-changing safety that sparked the Patriots to a 35-17 win over the Bengals Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
With chants of “Brady, Brady, Brady” all day, the Patriots quarterback finished 29-of-35 for 376 yards and three touchdowns. It was his 73rd career 300-yard game. He now has 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions in seven career games against the Bengals. He is 6-1 in those seven games.
In Brady’s first home game, Rob Gronkowski and James White had huge games. Gronkowski, who missed Friday’s practice with flu-like symptoms, came through big with seven catches on nine targets for a career-high 162 yards and his first touchdown of the season. It was Gronkowski’s 22nd career 100-yard receiving game, tied with Jackie Smith for third-most by a tight end in NFL history.
[For the complete boxscore, click here.]
White caught touchdown passes of 15 and four yards.
With the crowd in a frenzy, the Bengals defense did a good job keeping the Patriots within striking distance in the first quarter.
On the Patriots first drive of the day, Gronkowski had the biggest play, catching a 32-yarder on third-and-9 that set the Patriots up at the Cincinnati 32. But the Patriots could not move it any further and had to settle for a 46-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.
The second quarter belonged to Cincinnati and it could have been worse for the Patriots.
After Dalton hit a wide open Gio Bernard on a wheel route down the right side line to put the Bengals at the Patriots 6. But the Patriots defense stopped Bernard at the 1 on fourth-and-goal to keep the Bengals scoreless. But on the next drive, Cincinnati marched down the field again and Dalton ran it in from two yards on an option to the left to give Cincinnati a 7-3 lead.
The Patriots caught a huge break that changed momentum right before the half. With the Patriots facing third-and-18 at their 17, Bengals corner Dre Kirkpatrick was called for illegal contact with Chris Hogan. The play gave Brady another series of downs and new life.
Brady finished the drive executing the hurry-up perfectly, completing three passes to James White of seven, five and 15 yards, the final one capping the touchdown drive. Hogan also had a big reception of 39 yards.
The score gave the Patriots a 10-7 halftime lead.
But the Bengals responded to open the second half. Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green for 23 yards on third-and-5 at the Cincinnati 40.
Tom Brady is now just 5 wins from passing Peyton Manning as winningest QB in NFL history.
The Bengals forced the Patriots to punt and the Bengals appeared to connect on another big pass but rookie right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was called for holding, negating a 15-yard completion to A.J. Green. On the next play, Hightower broke through the Bengals line and tackled Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety. That made it 14-12 Bengals with 7:05 left in the third.
The Patriots then respond with a 68 yard, five-play drive that ended with a Brady-to-Gronkowski touchdown of four yards and was celebrated with the first Gronk spike of the season. The drive was set up by two big completions to the tight end duo.
|With Tom Brady back, Jonathan Kraft ‘can’t remember’ a bigger regular season home game||at 12:47 pm ET|
And the day is finally here for him and the rest of Patriots Nation.
Tickets for this week’s game against Cincinnati – the 2016 home debut of Tom Brady – were going for more than $500.
Kraft was ssked before the game if he can remember a bigger regular season home game than Brady’s return after the four-game Deflategate suspension.
“I can’t remember one but my memory isn’t what it used to be,” Kraft said on the team’s pregame radio show. “This is a pretty special one. We’ve been, since the middle of the summer and this week, just getting calls, not only from people all over the country but from Patriots fans overseas that said they wanted to be here.
“It’s going to be I think pretty special the first time the offense takes the field today.”
Kraft also pointed out that last week’s Brady return in Cleveland somewhat overshadowed the job Rob Ninkovich did in helping the defense in his first game back from his four-game ban for testing positive for a banned substance.
“I’ll tell you, it’s great to have Rob [Ninkovich] back,” Kraft said. “I think Rob really set the tone in the running game at the start of that game against a team that was the best running team in the National Football League and they made a statement as well, and having Rob back clearly made a difference as well.”
Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns to Martellus Bennett in his return. Can he do it again for the home fans?
“I think all of us in New England have sort of expected a standard of what is exceptional quarterback play [and] the bar has been raised so high because we’ve been watching this guy for so long,” Kraft said. “To say I was surprised wouldn’t be accurate. You knew he would come back and be in a position to play really well. The last couple of times we had played in Cleveland, it hadn’t been good. To watch him come out, he was almost surgical. The numbers he put up, it was really in two and a half quarters. I think if we had been in a game where he was running the offense, it would’ve been [even more impressive].”
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