|Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable recap Christmas Eve magic for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Malcolm Butler||12.24.16 at 5:08 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots celebrate Christmas Eve with a rout of the New York Jets. Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable have your recap inside Gillette Stadium as Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount and Malcolm Butler spark 41-3 rout of the Jets in Bill Belichick’s 200th regular season win with the Patriots.
|Snap Judgments: Tom Brady (3 TDs), LeGarrette Blount (2 TDs), Malcolm Butler (2 INTs) give Bill Belichick win No. 200 with Patriots||at 3:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots gave their head coach the best kind of gift for Christmas.
Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and 214 yards on 17-of-27 passing in three quarter of action while the defense forced four turnovers in a 41-3 thrashing of the hapless Jets on Christmas Eve at Gillette Stadium.
In a game that began in a pouring rainstorm and ended in sunshine, Bill Belichick earned his 200th regular season win as the team’s head coach. Belichick is now 200-71-0 in 18 seasons in Foxboro since deciding to leave the Jets in 2000.
LeGarrette Blount added two second-half touchdown runs, giving him 17 for the season, extending his franchise record.
Malcolm Butler had two interceptions and a fumble recovery to lead a defense that nearly registered its second shutout of the season. New England won its sixth straight and has allowed just six points in the last two weeks.
Michael Floyd played his first snaps with the Patriots, catching a six-yard in-cut from Jimmy Garoppolo with five minutes left in the game. Floyd finished with one catch on two targets.
With one game left, the Patriots also improved to 13-2 on the season, their first 13-win regular season after four consecutive 12-4 finishes.
On the other side, Todd Bowles did coach the game for the Jets (4-11), less than a day after being hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. Bowles did not travel with the team on Friday but did make it to Foxboro on Saturday, joining the team in time for the 1 p.m. kickoff. The way his team played, he couldn’t be blamed for wondering why he bothered.
After the Patriots defense forced Bryce Petty and the Jets to a 3-and-out to start the game, Brady got to work on his first scoring drive of the day. He connected with Malcolm Mitchell over the middle for 16 yards and Martellus Bennett for 14 yards. The Patriots drive stalled when Brady missed an open Julian Edelman in the left corner of the end zone. The Patriots also suffered a bit of a scare when several players landed on starting left tackle Nate Solder. He missed one series before returning.
Malcolm Butler picked up his third interception of the season when he picked off a telegraphed Petty pass down the right sideline intended for Robby Anderson. Butler tipped it up in the air to himself and hauled it down at the Jets 47.
On the first play after the pick, Floyd saw his first action as Brady threw a “go” route to him down the left sideline. Floyd caught the ball but out of bounds. Floyd received a few cheers from the crowd when his name was announced as the intended receiver.
The second drive concluded on a 5-yard touch pass lofted over the middle to Martellus Bennett, who caught the ball and toe-tapped both feet in bounds at the back of the end zone. It was Brady’s 23rd touchdown pass of the season versus only two interceptions.
Despite the heavy rain, the passing game was much more effective for the Patriots at the start than the run game. Brady was 6-for-8 for 70 yards and a touchdown on the first two drives while LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis combined for eight carries and 19 yards.
After a Khiry Robinson early second-quarter fumble forced by Elandon Roberts and recovered by Butler, the Patriots appeared to be on the verge of blowing the Jets out of the building. But following a first down pass to Edelman and a 12-yard Blount run up the middle for first-and-goal at the 4, Brady threw three straight incomplete passes and the Patriots had to settle for a 22-yard Gostkowski field goal, making it 13-0 with just over 11 minutes left in the first half.
[For a full box score and stats, click here.]
FOXBORO — The Patriots will try to make the most of the festive spirit when they host the Jets at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots will take on their arch-rivals to the south in less-than-ideal conditions as steady rain and temperatures in the low-to-mid 40s are expected for the 1 p.m. Christmas Eve kickoff. There will also be a brisk breeze of 8 MPH, making it feel raw and cold.
The game is a critical one for the Patriots and their hopes of locking up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. If they beat the 4-10 Jets and the Colts beat the Raiders in Oakland, the top seed will be theirs before they even think about the Dolphins in another season finale in South Florida.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Michael Floyd will be active and make his debut for the Patriots as the No. 4 wide receiver behind Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell.
He’s not expected to play much at the start but if the Patriots begin to pull away, Floyd’s reps could increase as the team tries to gauge how much the 27-year-old receiver might be able to help come playoff time.
For the Jets, it appeared Friday afternoon that head coach Todd Bowles would not be coaching in the game as he was hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. He did not travel with the team to New England. But after getting medical clearance, the coach did make the trip to Foxboro and is expected to be on the sidelines coaching in the game.
|Bill Belichick doing his sales job on the 4-10 Jets: ‘Quite a few changes in this past month’||12.22.16 at 11:12 am ET|
FOXBORO — As he always does, Bill Belichick is cautioning his team about the next woebegone team his team is taking on in the holiday season.
Like the 5-10 Dolphins of a year ago, the 4-10 Jets can’t wait for the end of the season. And they played like it in a 34-13 no-show last Saturday at home against Miami.
Forget all of the talk about the talent and fear factor with the Jets defense. This team under Todd Bowles is simply looking ahead to next year and starting to play some of their prospects for the future, prospects like wide receivers Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall and Bryce Petty on the offense side and linebackers Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins and corners Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts on the defensive side.
Sure there are still names like Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and David Harris in the middle of the defense but this is a unit that was shredded by Matt Moore in the third quarter last week.
But that didn’t stop Belichick from putting on his best sales pitch, which started with the memories of a 22-17 scare on Nov. 27 at MetLife Stadium. In that game, Malcolm Butler gave up touchdowns to Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa, with the latter coming on an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone on Enunwa’s rear. Enunway finished with five catches on five targets and 109 yards. Marshall had six catches and 67 yards and the speedy Anderson had two catches and 34 yards.
The Patriots coach did acknowledge that things have changed in terms of the Jets personnel, and that’s where the challenge begins.
“I know we played the Jets a few weeks ago but really this is I think quite a few changes in this past month,” Belichick said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do relative to preparing for this game on another short week. Offensively, a team that was very explosive and it’s become even more explosive with kind of the emergence of [Robby] Anderson, [Bilal] Powell, plus [Quincy] Enunwa, [Brandon] Marshall and [Matt] Forte group that we already spent a lot of time talking about. But these guys, Powell and Anderson in particular, have been extremely productive and explosive the last few weeks. I’d say [Bryce] Petty has a lot of confidence in those guys. Their production has been very impressive.
|Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater say Bill Belichick is using last year’s finish as big motivation||12.21.16 at 2:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No one needs to remind the veterans of what happened at the end of the 2015 season.
The Patriots were 12-2 and in perfect to lock up the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
They lost in New York to a Jets team that was inspired for a playoff run (that ended the next week in Buffalo) and a Dolphins team that made wholesale changes in their front office the night before their finale with the Patriots.
The Patriots lost both games and finished as the No. 2 seed and wound up traveling to Denver for an AFC title game against the Broncos.
This year, it’s the Jets who are mailing in their season at 4-10 and the Dolphins who are fighting for a playoff spot at 9-5. The Patriots are again 12-2 and determined not to repeat last year’s mistakes.
“Huge sense of urgency,” Devin McCourty said Wednesday. “It’s kind of like we were in the same position last year, same opponents last two weeks of the season. Obviously, the same goals. Last year, whatever we thought of how good a position we were in and blah, blah, blah, the season didn’t end the way we wanted to.
“I think the biggest thing we always talk about is past games [like] last year, the biggest thing is learning from those experiences. Obviously, those games have no bearing on this year’s games but just learning [and asking], ‘What did you do during that week? Did you go the extra step to try to prepare? Did you go the extra mile at the toughest part of the season? Two games left, Christmas, New Year’s, holidays. Just trying to put in a little extra.
“Obviously, Coach Belichick reminded us of that and guys were here last year, we’ve got to urge the team to have that sense of urgency, lead by example out there. Short week. Tried to get ahead [Tuesday]. And then now trying to put it on the practice field and get ready for Saturday.”
“We all have an understanding that we need to do more,” Matthew Slater added. “One of our goals, yes, is to win the division. That’s not all we came here to do, and I don’t think that really needs to be said because the culture’s already in place. Coach and his staff have done that. We understand that. We have a lot of work to continue to do and hopefully get to where we want to be. Nobody’s complacent. Nobody’s popping the champagne bottles or anything like that. We’re just going to continue to improve ourselves so we can compete at a high level.
“It’s very important. As professionals, we have to understand we have a job to do. We have to prepare ourselves, regardless of the circumstances. It just so happens to be Christmas week. We have to prepare ourselves to do our job. We can’t cut any corners.”
|Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable talk Bill Belichick, Christmas carols, Michael Floyd and the Jets||at 11:38 am ET|
FOXBORO — How did Bill Belichick react to the latest Michael Floyd TMZ video? And what does he think about caroling and his Pro Bowlers? Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable preview Patriots-Jets inside Gillette Stadium.
|Bill Belichick on double-pass trickeration: ‘You better find a way to win some games’||11.28.16 at 12:49 pm ET|
One of the key plays of the Patriots’ run to the Super Bowl title in 2014 was the double-pass touchdown from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola against the Ravens in the AFC divisional round when the Patriots were down 28-14.
The Patriots rallied to win, 35-31, at Gillette Stadium and that play was pointed to as a turning point in the postseason.
During the NFL Films feature “Do Your Job,” receivers coach Chad O’Shea noted how the Patriots showed that play earlier in the season against the Chiefs in their Monday night loss. But because Amendola stopped his route short on the edge, it hid it enough for the Patriots to feel comfortable using it down the road.
On Sunday, there was no hiding the double-pass. Tom Brady, getting beaten around by the Jets and trailing 10-0, quickly threw backwards to Chris Hogan, who then threw deep to Malcolm Mitchell at the Jets 8. The Hogan lefty pass wasn’t completed completed but pass interference was called on former Patriot Darryl Roberts. That led to the Patriots’ first score, a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
Belichick was asked Monday what goes into the decision to use the double-pass at this point of the season as opposed to perhaps saving it like he did back in the 2014 divisional playoff game.
“I think you’re always looking for plays that complement other plays,” Belichick said. “So, if you do something in this league you can’t just keep doing it all the time. I mean, other teams are too good and they’re too well-coached. You’ve got to have something that comes off of it. I think there’s an element to that in most of the plays that we run.
“Whatever we run there is a complimentary play somewhere that’s either a different run from the same formation or a different pass from the same formation or plays that kind of look alike but they’re really trying to attack different parts of the defense. I think that’s a very important part of an offensive or a defensive system, or special teams system for that matter to have those complementary plays.”
Belichick clearly doesn’t think much of the thought of saving a play for later in the season or the playoffs.
“As far as saving it, I’m not really sure what that means,” he added. “We’re trying to go out there and win a game. If you don’t win any games then what are you saving it for? You better find a way to win some games or you’d just be saving it for some other organization that you’re coaching for.”
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