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Martellus Bennett catches a ride from Jacoby Brissett to work, then catches his first NFL completion 09.18.16 at 7:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — One thing is for sure, Martellus Bennett isn’t going to be an emergency quarterback.

The tight end was asked, with the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, if he might be able to serve as an emergency quarterback. He quickly assured everyone that he will stick to blocking and catching the ball as a tight end.

Good thing for the Patriots. Bennett caught five passes for 114 yards and his first touchdown with the Patriots in a 31-24 win over the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

Bennett was also on the receiving end for Jacoby Brissett’s first career completion, a pitch-and-catch on a blown coverage in the third quarter that resulted in a 37-yard ramble and an epic face-wash stiff-arm of Byron Maxwell.

“I talk to Jacoby a lot, you know? I actually rode here with him today,” Bennett said. “I was just trying to make plays, really. I feel like one of the best things I do when I get the ball in my hands is making things happen. We ran it earlier; we took a shot down the field and kind of got the same result. We came back to it later on in the game and it was still open again and that one we were able to complete and get moving down the field.”

As for his 20-yard seam route in the first quarter that resulted in his first touchdown as a Patriot, Bennett said he was just doing his thing.

“I’m a blue collar football player,” Bennett said. “Whether it’s a 5-yard pass and you break two tackles and get 8 yards, whatever it is, that’s what I do so. Man, I’m just here to play football and have fun. I’m just having a lot of fun right now with these guys. I love my teammates. I love the coaches. I love this environment and these fans and, for me that’s all it’s really about, just going out there and doing the things I love to do, and have fun doing it. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time in the NFL and I think it’s making a big difference for me. Because when it’s fun, it’s much easier to go out there and play.

“One of the things they say is the more you can do, the more they’ll use you on the field. So I just tried to show them that I could do everything whether it’s pass, block, pick up blitzes, you know, catch the ball, outside inside. Whatever it is, I just try to show them that I’m able to do every single thing that I can possibly do to so that way I could be on the field.”

Read More: Martellus Bennett, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots,
A well-prepared Jacoby Brissett hangs on, walks off a winner against Dolphins at 6:33 pm ET
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Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) escapes the grasp of Miami Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams (94) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium.  The New England Patriots won 31-24.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Brissett escapes the grasp of Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The situation certainly was not ideal for Jacoby Brissett.

The rookie quarterback out of North Carolina State came into the game with five minutes left in the second quarter to replace the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. At the moment Kiko Alonso drove Garoppolo’s right shoulder into the turf, Garoppolo was red hot, having thrown for 234 yards and three touchdowns through the first 25 minutes.

But Brissett knew he was not going to be asked to do the same things. As conservative he might have been on the field in a 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins Sunday, he was more so after.

“Just preparing since I got here, when I got drafted, and just taking one day at a time,” Brissett said.

As the team usually does with first-year players, there was a watchful eye on every word Brissett said. The rookie from North Carolina State completed 6-of-9 passes for 92 yards and handed off to LeGarrette Blount for what proved to be the game-clinching touchdown.

“I felt prepared and did enough for us to secure the win,” Brissett said. “[We] did enough to get the win and obviously, get better but enough to get [the win].”

With the Patriots up, 31-17, Brissett ran for seven yards to the Miami 28 in the fourth quarter. But the run was wiped out by a Joe Thuney holding call. He was sacked and lost the ball on the next play. The Patriots had to punt the Dolphins made it a one-score game. Still, Brissett finished with 12 yards on four scrambles to contribute with his legs.

Julian Edelman was one of many in the Patriots locker room who gave Brissett credit for keeping his cool.

Brissett had little time to react emotionally to the Garoppolo injury.

“He’s a great guy and I hope he’s well but you’ve just go to [play]. When it’s time to go, you’ve just got to make sure you’re ready to go and hopefully [we’ll] get him back.”

Now, Brissett figures to make his third NFL start on Thursday against the Texans.

“Just got to go and prepare and go out there and do my job.”

Read More: Jacoby Brissett, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots,
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on how Patriots escape Miami, how to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo injury at 5:51 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots survive Miami in their home opener but lose Jimmy Garoppolo. What’s up next for the Patriots and how did they respond in the locker room afterward? WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your recap of the Patriots win at Gillette Stadium.

Read More: Chris Price, Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Miami Dolphins
Snap Judgments: Patriots outlast Dolphins, Jimmy Garoppolo leaves with injured shoulder at 4:10 pm ET
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Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) makes a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett makes a touchdown against the Dolphins in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium Sunday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO – Without Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots had just enough in LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett to hold on.

Blount finished with 123 yards on 29 carries while Bennett had five catches for 114 yards to help the Patriots hold on for a 31-24 win in the home opener at Gillette Stadium.

Before getting knocked out of the game with a right shoulder injury, Garoppolo completed 18-of-27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns and the Patriots took advantage of a sloppy Miami team in the first 25 minutes.

The Patriots built a 31-3 lead and withstood a late Miami charge for their second win to open the season.

Stephen Gostkowski had a chance to ice the game but pushed a 39-yard field goal wide right with 64 seconds left. The Dolphins made it down to the Patriots 29 but Ryan Tannehill’s pass on 4th-and-5 to the end zone was intercepted by Duron Harmon with two seconds left.

Danny Amendola caught a pair of touchdown passes in the first half from Garoppolo and Bennett caught his first touchdown in a Patriots uniform as the Patriots improved to 2-0 on the season, keeping a one-game lead on the Jets in the AFC East. The Dolphins are 0-2, tied with the Bills in the AFC East cellar.

The Patriots had 204 yards in the first quarter while holding Miami to just 12.

With the Patriots already up, 21-0 with five minutes left in the second quarter, Garoppolo rolled out to his right at the Miami 36. He found rookie Malcolm Mitchell but as he let go of the ball, Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso drove the Patriots quarterback into the turf. Garoppolo landed hard on his right shoulder.

He got up, attempted to make it back to the huddle but had to take a knee as medical staff rushed onto the field to tend to him.

Garoppolo winced in obvious pain as medical staff examined his right shoulder, and then led him off the field and into the locker room for further evaluation. The Patriots opened the second half with an announcement that he would not return.

Jacoby Brissett made his NFL debut and finished the game for the Patriots, completing 6-of-9 passes for 92 yards. After Brissett entered, the Patriots settled for a Stephen Gostkowski 34-yard field goal that made it 24-0. The Patriots would head into the locker room with a 24-3 halftime lead.

Brissett threw another incompletion to Edelman before completing his first pass, a 37-yard connection to Bennett on the first drive of the second half. Bennett stiff-armed Byron Maxwell and rambled down the field. The drive, which began after a Jay Ajayi fumble at the Patriots 32, ended on a 9-yard Blount touchdown run, putting the Patriots up, 31-3.

The Dolphins scored the next two touchdowns on Tannehill passes, one to Kenny Stills for 24 yards and another to Jordan Cameron that made it, 31-17, nine seconds into the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Blount made a spectacular hurdle of Byron Maxwell in front of the Patriots bench, rambling 26 yards to get the Patriots out to midfield. The Patriots were making progress again before Joe Thuney was called for holding on a Brissett scramble for a first down. Brissett was sacked and fumbled on the next play and then the Patriots were forced to punt with 10:49 left.

Kenyan Drake ran off right tackle for seven yards and a Miami touchdown with 6:06 left in the fourth to make it, 31-24.

Blount was huge on the next drive, carrying the ball on the first two carries for 18 yards and a first down.

 

 

 

Closing Time note

The Patriots improved to 14-1 in home openers at Gillette Stadium.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots,
Jimmy Garoppolo leaves with right shoulder injury, will not return at 2:24 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

FOXBORO — The only thing that could slow down Jimmy Garoppolo was injury. And unfortunately for the Patriots, that’s exactly what happened late in the second quarter.

On a rollout and completion to Malcolm Mitchell, Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso drove the Patriots quarterback into the turf. Garoppolo landed hard on his right shoulder.

He got up, attempted to make it back to the huddle but had to take a knee as medical staff rushed onto the field to tend to him.

Garoppolo winced in obvious pain as medical staff examined his right shoulder, and then led him off the field and into the locker room for further evaluation. The Patriots opened the second half with an announcement that he would not return.

Before the injury, Garoppolo was 18-of-27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns, two to Danny Amendola and one to Martellus Bennett. On the drive he was injured, Jacoby Brissett came on and made his NFL debut. He fired a pass that was incomplete on third down, leading to a 34-yard field goal that put the Patriots up 24-0.

The team announced moments later that he was questionable to return with a shoulder injury.

Read More: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kiko Alonso, Miami Dolphins
Scene-setting from Foxboro: Rob Gronkowski to miss home opener with rain in forecast at 9:52 am ET
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FOXBORO — With Rob Gronkowski out again with a hamstring injury and Dont’a Hightower not expected to play with a right knee injury, the Patriots look to improve to 14-1 in home openers against the Dolphins.

The only home opener the Patriots have lost in the previous 14 years of Gillette Stadium came in 2012 when Stephen Gostkowski missed a last-second field goal against the Cardinals, giving Arizona a 20-18 win in Foxboro on Sept. 16, 2012.

Gronkowski will miss his second straight game with a sore hamstring, tweaked initially on Aug. 15 in joint practices with the Bears and then, reportedly, a week later during individual work on the side.

Without Gronk last week, Jimmy Garoppolo, making his first career home start, found Julian Edelman on all seven targets, James White for five catches on seven targets and connected with Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola for three catches apiece. Martellus Bennett had just three catches on five targets on 15 yards.

Hightower has not been formally ruled out for the game, as he was officially listed as doubtful in Friday’s injury report. Hightower, who tweaked his right knee in last Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, did not practice all week. It’s highly unusual for a player not to practice all week and then play on Sunday.

The forecast is calling for humid conditions with a chance of mid-afternoon showers, with temperatures in the upper 70s or lower 80s. Relative humidity is expected to be around 65 percent for kickoff.

The Dolphins are trying to snap a seven-game losing streak in Foxboro, with their last win coming in the “Wildcat” game of 2008, when they stunned the Patriots in a 38-13 win.

Chris Price has the scout’s take of the keys to the game while Ryan Hannable has 10 fun facts to know heading into the contest.

A win would keep the Patriots in sole possession of first place in the AFC East at 2-0. The Jets are 1-1 while the Bills are already 0-2.

At halftime, Kevin Faulk will be honored as the latest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. On Friday, Bill Belichick recalled what it meant to have Faulk on the roster early in his tenure in Foxboro and why his unselfishness helped establish the Patriot Way.

Read More: Mario Williams, Martellus Bennett, Miami Dolphins, Mike Petraglia
Dont’a Hightower (knee) doubtful, Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) among 9 questionable 09.16.16 at 4:59 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

While Dont’a Hightower (knee) did not practice all week, the Patriots are leaving the door open just slightly that he might play Sunday against the Dolphins.

The Patriots linebacker suffered the right knee injury Sunday night in the first half of the win over the Cardinals.

Things are a bit more promising for Rob Gronkowski. The tight end, who tweaked his hamstring twice in the preseason, practiced all week after missing the opener Sunday night. He is listed officially as questionable after being limited again on Friday.

Gronkowski is one of nine Patriots listed as questionable, including receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder). Hogan was listed as full participating all week and played without any noticeable limitations last Sunday.

The only player formally ruled out is new cornerback Eric Rowe, who turned up on the Patriots injury report on Thursday with an ankle injury. He and Hightower were the only players not participating in practice Friday.

For the Dolphins, center Mike Pouncey has been ruled out with a hip injury. Tight end Jordan Cameron (thigh), running back Arian Foster (hamstring), receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (ankle) and Mario Williams (concussion) are among the eight Miami players questionable for Sunday at Gillette.

Here’s Friday’s complete report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) DOUBTFUL
CB Eric Rowe (ankle) OUT

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Malcolm Butler (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
OL Marcus Cannon (knee) QUESTIONABLE
OL Jonathan Cooper (foot) QUESTIONABLE
DE Trey Flowers (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
OL Shaq Mason (hand) QUESTIONABLE
LB Shea McClellin (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
OL Nate Solder (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE

FULL PARTICIPATION
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Dont'a Hightower, Gronk, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots
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