|Gisele Bundchen says Tom Brady is ‘very focused’ on football at home||01.14.14 at 1:16 pm ET|
Patriots fans need not worry about the focus of Tom Brady at home, so says his supermodel wife.
Gisele Bundchen spoke recently in New York about the atmosphere in their Boston household as he prepares to make another run at the Super Bowl.
Bundchen says her husband knows how to zero in on the playoffs.
“He’s very focused,” the 33-year-old Bundchen said of her 36-year-old quarterback husband. “We are both very supportive of one another in what we do. … Of course nobody likes to lose. Those aren’t the best days.”
This, of course, was most evident in the moments after Super Bowl XLVI when Wes Welker dropped a key pass in the fourth quarter that would’ve kept a drive going and likely ended any chances of a last-minute touchdown that won the game for the Giants. Bundchen was very defensive of her husband and most famously said, “You [need] to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot [expletive] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”
Ironic that her husband will be going up against the very player this weekend who caused her so much grief in Indianapolis.
“He knows he does his best. He works extremely hard,” Bundchen said.
The Brazilian model says the couple winds down differently at night.
“At night if my husband is watching TV and watching football, I have my little book and I put something in my ears so I don’t hear it and I put my light [on] and have my book and I’m like, ‘Ohhh.’ He’s feeding his soul and that’s important to him to watch football. I only want to watch if I’m watching him,” she joked in an excerpt from The Associated Press.
Bundchen reiterated that family is the top priority above all. Brady has a 6-year-old son, John, whose mother is actress Bridget Moynahan. Bundchen and Brady have a 4-year-old son, Ben, and a 1-year-old daughter, Vivian.
“He’s very loving and it’s a wonderful thing,” Bundchen said. “In our house we are very affectionate. I think it’s very important for the boys to know that it’s OK to hug and to kiss and you’re not less than a man.”
|LeGarrette Blount: ‘We feel like we’re the most physical team no matter who we play’||01.12.14 at 2:13 am ET|
FOXBORO — LeGarrette Blount isn’t going to question what’s working.
On Saturday night, he continued his red-hot running that he showed in the final five weeks of the regular season, when he rushed for nearly 600 yards and nine touchdowns in the final month.
On Saturday night, he nearly matched half that touchdown total in his first career playoff game. Blount ran it into the end zone four times, surpassing Curtis Martin‘s three touchdowns of Jan. 1997 against the Steelers, and just one shy of the NFL record set by Ricky Watters for the 49ers on Jan. 15, 1994 against the Giants.
Blount led a team effort that totaled six rushing touchdowns, with the other two coming from Stevan Ridley. The six rushing touchdowns was just one shy of the seven by the Bears against the Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship, won by Chicago, 73-0.
‘That’s what we go into the game thinking,” Blount said. “We feel like we’re the most physical team no matter who we play, and that’s how we practice, that’s how we play, and that’s our mindset.
‘We didn’t know that we [were] going to be able to dominate, but we came in, our game plan was to play tough and play physical and go out there and get a win by any means necessary, and if we weren’t able to run the ball, we always got No. 12 that’s going to put the team on his back and do great things like he’s always done in his whole career,” Blount said.
That No. 12 happens to be Tom Brady, who didn’t throw a single touchdown pass for just the fourth time in his NFL postseason career. The Patriots have won all four.
‘If you would have told me before the game, I would not have believed it at all,” Blount said.
Blount sealed the win with a 73-yard breakaway early in the fourth quarter that put the Patriots up, 36-22. He was looking at the video board while Logan Mankins raised his right hand immediately in triumph as soon as Blount broke free in the secondary.
‘I didn’t look at the big screen until I got free,” Blount said. “I looked at it to see if anybody was close to catching me, and they weren’t, and the rest is history.’
|Setting the scene: Patriots take on Colts in AFC divisional playoff at soggy Gillette Stadium||01.11.14 at 6:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have played playoff games in bitter cold, fog and snow before in Foxboro.
Saturday night, they’ll be playing the Colts in something a little different. Steady rain and gusty winds are expected throughout the game that will send the winner to the AFC championship next Sunday.
While the temperature shouldn’t be an issue (53 degrees forecasted for 8:15 p.m. kickoff), the wind could be a huge factor in the passing and kicking games.
Rain is expected from the start of the game through 11 p.m. with wind gusts of up to 45 miles an hour in the forecast. The wind is expected to be a steady 20 MPH out of the south, meaning the team moving toward the closed (south) end of the stadium will be moving into the wind and the team moving into the open (north) end will have the wind, at least at the start of the game.
Several tarps covered the field until shortly before 6 p.m. when they were taken off to allow both teams to warm up on the wet turf. Puddles – like those that developed in the second half of the Bills game on Dec. 29 – were spotted all over the field.
Memorable weather games played at Foxboro include the heavy rain of Dec. 31, 1978 when the Oilers beat the Patriots, 31-14, in the divisional round, the fog of Jan. 5, 1997 when the Patriots beat the Steelers and the coldest Patriots home game ever (-4 F) of Jan. 10, 2004 when they beat Tennessee to advance to the AFC championship. The Patriots beat Peyton Manning and the Colts, 24-14, the next week in the snow to advance to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Of course, the most famous playoff game ever played in Foxboro was the “Snow Bowl” on Jan. 19, 2002 when Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Raiders, 16-13, in overtime to advance to the AFC championship.
FOXBORO — As the Patriots take the field against the Colts to open a hopeful playoff push to Super Bowl XLVIII, they will be doing so without a teenager who brought them together in the opening month of the season.
Sam Berns, a 17-year-old who battled the disease Progeria, died Friday night. Berns was to have been the Patriots honorary game captain for their playoff contest against the Colts. The team will hold a moment of silence before the game.
‘I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him,” Kraft said. “He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with him and to get to know his incredible family. Together, they positively impacted the lives of people around the world in their quest to find a cure for Progeria.
“The HBO documentary, ‘Life According to Sam’ shared his incredible story with a national audience. It was so beautifully done. It made you laugh. It also made you cry. Today, it’s the latter for all who knew Sam or learned of his story through that documentary. Earlier this week, I had extended an invitation for Sam to be the Patriots’ honorary captain for tonight’s playoff game. I was looking forward to spending more time with Sam and his family.
“News of his passing came as a complete surprise. It is another reminder that we can’t take anything for granted. Be sure to give your loved ones hugs and kisses and tell them how much you love them. My heart aches for his parents, Scott and Leslie, his aunt Audrey and the rest of Sam’s extended family. Words cannot express the sadness or the depth of sympathy I feel for them today.”
Progeria is a rare syndrome in children and adolescents characterized by physical signs and symptoms of premature old age. Most diagnosed with the disease do not live past the age of 20 and there is no known cure for the disease.
FOXBORO — On the morning of their divisional playoff game against the Colts, there is word that the latest starter on defense to end his season on injured reserve didn’t land there because of injury alone.
Brandon Spikes, who told the Boston Globe about playing through the pain of a knee injury this season, was placed on season-ending injured reserve last Monday because he showed up late to a team meeting during the playoff bye week, according to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The team had practices and meetings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the team’s bye week, including the morning of the major snow storm “Hercules” that hit New England on Jan. 3. It was being late to that Friday meeting that Mortensen reported was the “final straw” for Bill Belichick.
The Globe’s Shalise Manza Young reported before the regular season finale that Spikes’ knee issues would require surgery as soon as the season was over.
Spikes played in all 16 games of the regular season for the first time in his four-year career, finished third in team tackles as the team’s best run-stopping linebacker. The news of Spikes being disciplined in this way is an ominous sign for his return to New England in 2014 as he is a free agent after the season.
Brandon Spikes hobbled with knee but being late to Friday's bye week practice was final straw for Belichick. Mutually, to IR, per sources
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 11, 2014
|Patriots Friday injury report: Aaron Dobson (foot) ruled out Saturday, Alfonzo Dennard, Kenbrell Thompkins questionable||01.10.14 at 3:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots officially ruled out deep threat Aaron Dobson for Saturday night’s AFC divisional game against the Colts at Gillette Stadium. Dobson re-injured his left foot in the season finale against the Bills.
Another receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins is one of two Patriots listed as questionable for the game. Thompkins has been battling a sore hip. Also questionable is cornerback Alfonzo Dennard with a sore knee and shoulder.
Logan Mankins was one of nine players officially “probable” for the game. Mankins injured his left ankle in the season finale against the Bills and returned to practice this week, but was limited in the full practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Patriots only conducted a walkthrough on Friday at Gillette Stadium, customary for the day before a game.
Aqib Talib (hip), Marcus Cannon (ankle), Rob Ninkovich (ankle) Josh Boyce (ankle) and Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) were not on the injury report at all during the week after appearing on the last injury report before the game against the Bills.
Devin McCourty is still listed as limited with a concussion but is officially probable for the game. McCourty missed the season finale after sustaining a concussion in the win over the Ravens on Dec. 22.
For the Colts, receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) has been ruled out. With Reggie Wayne also out on injured reserve recovering from a torn ACL, Andrew Luck will be forced to find different ways to get the ball to receiver T.Y. Hilton among others in the passing game, including former Patriots receiver Deion Branch, who was signed on Monday by the Colts.
Here is Friday’s complete report:
Did Not Practice
WR Aaron Dobson (foot) OUT
WR Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) QUESTIONABLE
CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee/shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
CB Kyle Arrington (groin) PROBABLE
S Devin McCourty (concussion) PROBABLE
LB Dane Fletcher (groin) PROBABLE
S Steve Gregory (finger/knee) PROBABLE
OL Logan Mankins (ankle) PROBABLE
OT Will Svitek (ankle) PROBABLE
RB Shane Vereen (groin) PROBABLE
|Stephen Gostkowski is still waiting for that special Adam Vinatieri playoff ‘moment’||01.09.14 at 6:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s no secret that kickers live in their own little world and usually only show themselves when the pressure is on.
Stephen Gostkowski gave a little insight to his world and what he might be thinking should Saturday night’s playoff game against the Colts come down to his right foot.
“I just go into a game trying to make a kick,” Gostkowski said. “The times that I’ve gotten into situations where it’s in the fourth quarter, it’s a kick that you know if you don’t make it, you’re not going to necessarily get another opportunity, I try to just treat it like any other kick. I’ve made kicks, I’ve missed kicks and I’m still here. I just try to take each kick one kick at a time.
“There could be a kick that I make in the first quarter and we could end up winning by three. So me just sitting there and worrying about a kick at the end of the game I feel like would do a disservice to the other kicks. Each game is different and each mentality is different. I remember my first couple years, you’re just waiting and waiting and waiting for that moment. But you have no control over it. All you can do I prepare yourself to be ready for that moment. We’ve had a lot of them this year and hopefully we can take the same approach and have the same success we’ve had if we get into that situation.
TV crews love to show kickers on the sidelines late in close games. What is thinking when the camera is on him and does he visualize the mental aspect of every kick while getting ready?
“Yeah, you do little things like I’ll watch a five minute cut-up of some big kicks that I’ve made to a song that I like,” he said. “Just like little visual things and then when I’m on the sideline I’ll sing that song and then in my head I see the ball going through the uprights.
“Sometimes there are days you don’t feel good or things haven’t been going well and you might have in your mind, ‘Don’t miss this kick.’ But then when it’s going good, you go out there, ‘I’m going to make it.’ It’s just that difference between confidence and cockiness, just going out there to make the kick instead of to not miss. Mentally to me that’s a big difference. I always just try to visualize myself doing well and not getting overexcited or too hyped up in the moment.
“Most of those guys are banging heads. I’m trying to like listen to Enya before the game to calm myself down. All I do is just try to ‘ the worst thing you can do in situations where, for me personally, where the situation gets bigger is get too excited. You have to try to slow your heart rate down, turn that nervousness and tightness into focus and if you just try to do that and do what you do on every other kick then most of the time you’ll be successful. That’s just the approach that I take.”
Gostkowski, who later clarified that he does not listen to nor sing Enya songs on the sideline – is yet to have that definitive moment that Adam Vinatieri enjoyed three times in the 2001 playoffs, including the game-winner in Super Bowl XXXVI. Vinatieri also won Super Bowl XXXVIII with a last-second field goal.
He will, of course, be going against Vinatieri on Saturday night in a matter of speaking as the Colts come calling to Gillette Stadium.
“Most kickers and punters and snappers are pretty cordial with each other throughout the year,” Gostkowski said Thursday when asked about his predecessor. “You kind of pull for each other when you’re not playing [against] each other kind of thing. Most guys have respect for each other because some guy who is knocking heads every play is not going to have as much respect for what we do as other guys that go through what we do on a day-to-day basis.
“You always have a fond respect for a guy that there’s only 31 other in the league. He’s the best of the best. As far as does it matter that he’s playing? It doesn’t matter. Unless he’s trying to come block the kick or he’s going to be back there returning it, it’s just another game.”
Does Gostkowski see himself lasting till he’s 41, like Vinatieri?
“I don’t know, man. I’m just trying to make it to the next game,” Gostkowski said. “Whatever I do is bonus. I had no idea I would even be in the NFL, let alone play eight years. A short-term goal is 10 [years]. This is all bonus. Here we focus on a day-to-day kind of thing. If I were to get the chance to do that, that would be great.
“The guys that have been good, like Gary Anderson, Morten Andersen, a lot of guys that kicked well into their later careers, John Carney. You hear stories about, I remember Junior Seau told me John Carney was the most in-shape guy he’s ever been around. I was like, ‘No, get out of here.’ This is Junior Seau, one of the best linebackers of all-time, he said he’s a good buddy. You hear stories about Adam working out and being in shape,” Gostkowski said. “As long as he’s out there producing, there’s no reason. Age is just a number. If he feels good and it looks like he’s doing good then more power to him.”
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