|Setting the scene: Patriots look to extend win streak to 7 against Lions||11.23.14 at 9:47 am ET|
FOXBORO — A chilly morning will give way to a seasonably comfortable day as the Patriots look to improve their top position in the AFC with an early afternoon game against the Lions at Gillette Stadium.
Temperatures are expected in the low 50s with a chance of rain. Wind is likely going to be the biggest factor on the day, coming out of the southwest at 10 MPH but gusting to as high as 16 MPH.
The Patriots are playing their first home game since beating Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Nov. 2. They are paying tribute to America’s service men and women with several activities planned. There will be a pregame flyover by two F-15Cs from the 104th Fighter Wing, 131st Squadron from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass. The F-15C is an Air Dominance aircraft. The men and women of the 104th provide around-the-clock Homeland Defense of the Northeast Region as well as providing air power around the world.
The national anthem will be performed by the Massachusetts Army National Guard “Voices of Freedom” and the color guard will be provided by the U.S. Marine Corps out of Devens, Mass.
Once the game begins, the Patriots will look for their seventh straight win, which would give them their 14th straight winning season. That streak would match the Green Bay Packers of 1934-47 for the fifth longest in NFL history. Dallas holds the all-time record of 20 from 1966-85. The 14 straight winning seasons would be the third-longest in the NFL since the 1970 merger.
The Patriots will be without pass rusher Chandler Jones for a fourth straight game with a hip injury while Cameron Fleming is out with a ankle injury. Fleming had just returned last week from a five-game absence with a finger injury.
For the Lions, they will likely be without running back Reggie Bush for a second straight week as he rehabs his ankle after re-injuring it against the Dolphins on Nov. 9. It would be the fourth time in the last six games Bush has been inactive since initially suffering the injury in a Week 5 loss to the Bills. The Lions are also without defensive lineman Nick Fairley and offensive lineman Larry Warford, both out with knee issues.
Hearing Reggie Bush is a no-go for the Lions big game in New England Sunday. Not ready to go yet. Still working to get back
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 22, 2014
|Tom Brady trying to be as good as Aaron Rodgers – throwing back shoulder passes||11.19.14 at 2:59 pm ET|
One of Brady’s most productive throws during his six-game winning streak is the back shoulder pass to wide receiver Brandon LaFell. He completed two of them on Sunday night alone, part of LaFell’s three catches on four targets for 62 yards. One of them came on a key third-down conversion to keep a touchdown drive alive.
Brady was asked about the level of trust it takes to let go of the ball before a receiver is turned around on back-shoulder throws.
“We’ve been working pretty hard at it for a while, Brandon and I,” Brady said. “I think it’s a big trust thing. You’ve got to trust that when the ball is in the air that they’re not going to make the play on it. And when you’re in those one-on-one situations, as a quarterback, you can only really control it until it leaves your hand. Even though the outcome may not be good, sometimes you may make the right decision. But as a quarterback, when you’re decisive and you trust that someone is going to make a positive play, it’s much easier to just let it rip. He’s really allowed me to do that. He’s been such a fun player and a fun teammate to have. He’s my locker mate, so we’ve got a great relationship. It’s been a lot of fun.”
It’s the kind of relationship Brady will see up close and personal next week when the Patriots travel to Green Bay.
“It’s all those things that amount to a good passing game. When you see certain quarterbacks play with certain receivers, like I see Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson ‘ they are probably the best at it,” Brady said. “It’s the timing of when to throw, how hard to throw. It’s when to look. If you look too early, if you slow down as a receiver, it’s a low percentage play. If you throw it too hard or too high, it’s a low percentage throw.
“It’s just a big trust throw, and both people really have to be on the same page. We’ll just keep working at it. Those are big plays. You have to throw to the perimeter of the field. And it’s 25 yards down the field and [when] you make plays like that where you can gain a quarter of the field in one throw, it’s a big momentum play. That probably got me most excited. But we need more of those. Hopefully we can make a few of those this week.”
When the Patriots signed the 6-foot-3 LaFell in March as a free agent, Brady was pumped up because he was getting a big receiver that could go up and fight for the ball on that play.
“That’s the advantage of having a big player like that, too, where you’re physically bigger than the opposing player that you’re going against, and you can use your body and your size to protect the ball,” Brady said. “I think that’s one of Brandon’s great strengths. For those to come up, it’s not a big surprise. He’s a big guy. When guys get tangled up with Brandon, they usually get the brunt of it.
“The closer you are to him, sometimes I don’t think that’s the best thing because he’s such a big presence, and he’s got really long arms and he’s got big hands to be able to make those types of plays. Those are good plays for us to make. Like I said, we’re going to need to keep making them, and as the season keeps going on and the games get bigger, we need to have those plays in our back pocket and know that we have confidence that we can go out there and hit them.”
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|Tom Brady says Peyton Manning has ‘always been someone I’ve really looked up to’||10.29.14 at 12:58 pm ET|
But as is usually the case, there’s a lot of truth in humor. Brady is 37 and Manning is 38. Brady came into the NFL in 2000 while Peyton Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. Brady holds a 10-5 advantage in the series, including 2-2 in the playoffs.
Brady was asked about what it is about the rivalry that gets him fired up every year.
“I’m pretty self-motivated,” Brady said. “He’s always been someone I’ve really looked up to, studied and admired. He is older than me. Maybe when I’m his age I’ll be playing as well as that.”
Brady then turned very serious and complimentary, detailing exactly why it is he respects Manning so much.
“Every week it’s so consistent, you can just count on a great performance,” Brady said. ‘A lot of people who have played don’t do it on a consistent basis. When you see someone who does it at a high level, I have a lot of appreciation for that. I understand what it takes. It’s not just a daily commitment, it’s a life commitment.
“Every decision you make is a conscious decision to try and help your team win, whether that’s in March, whether that’s in September, November. You just can’t flip the switch when it matters. You’ve gotta communicate that to all your teammates. The competition is always on. It never goes away. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. I’ve always respected him because he’s someone who’s chosen to get better.”
What was very apparent Wednesday is Brady’s understanding of his margin of error when Manning is running the offense on the other side.
“You just know you’re gonna get one of the best offenses in the league, so what that means to me is our offense has to be at our best,” Brady said. ‘You can’t think you’re gonna go out and score 10 points and win the game. I don’t think any of our games have really come down to that. It’s really an important week for our team and all of us on offense have to play our best because we know we’re playing against one of the best offenses in the league.”
Does Brady ever get tired of the hype year after year when they meet?
“You wait a year to play this game,” Brady said. “You got one of the best teams in the league against us and we feel we’re a pretty good team. It’s why you play the game. Doesn’t get any better than this.”
|Brian Tyms on Tom Brady: ‘He’s not what everybody thinks he is’||10.13.14 at 10:14 am ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Brian Tyms has heard the comments and innuendo that Tom Brady is a tough guy to impress. He’s heard the chatter that it’s very hard for rookie receivers or receivers new to the Patriots’ offense to get in sync with the quarterback.
He’s says that’s just not fair, nor true. Tyms, who made a spectacular diving catch for a touchdown Sunday, says Brady could not have been more welcoming to him as he was trying to assimilate the system in camp and get back up to speed after his four-game suspension.
“Just being around him gives you confidence,” Tyms said. “He’s not what everybody thinks he is; he is a really good guy. He’s down to earth. He will work with you. He treats everyone the same. It’s not just a select few people. Just that in itself gives me a lot of confidence. Whether I get one play or 10, I could care less. I just go out there and give full effort.”
WEEI.com’s Chris Price detailed Tyms’ battle for a roster spot with the Patriots in training camp. Part of the growth for the 25-year-old free agent out of Florida A&M is learning not to be in awe around Brady. Now in his third NFL season, with his fourth NFL team, Tyms says he’s comfortable.
“You have to get used to it,” Tyms said. “You can’t sit there in awe the whole time when there are 100,000 fans out there screaming. After a while I just got accustomed to it. He’s great so you have to match that intensity. I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like I have to make the play because he’s done so much. Everyone on this team has done so much and I just came here so I feel like I owe that to them.”
|Tom Brady ‘can’t put a price tag’ on satisfaction after Patriots’ blowout win||10.06.14 at 2:30 am ET|
FOXBORO — This time when Tom Brady came out of the game for Jimmy Garoppolo, he was feeling nothing but pure satisfaction as the back-up took a knee to end New England’s 43-17 thrashing of the not-ready-for-primetime Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
How things can change in just six days.
Brady was 23-of-35 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and a season-best QB rating of 110.7. From the moment he came onto the field to his “PSA” anthem from Jay-Z, Brady was yelling and fired up. And it translated into the most dominating performance at a time when the Patriots needed it the most.
The Patriots were fired up during and after the game, celebrating a sense of relief in the locker room after the most significant regular season win in recent memory.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our team,” Brady said. “We try not to get caught up in that stuff and I think you just focus on the things you can control. To ride the ups and downs of, ‘You’re great. You suck. You’re great. You suck,’ it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting enough when you’re winning to have to deal with those things and when you lose, it sucks for everybody. We don’t play this game to go out there and not play well. Guys take it to heart. I think guys worked really hard this week to get prepared for tonight. Like I said, it was a great opportunity for us to come out and show what we’re made of.
“You know, we get paid to play football. We get paid to play it well, actually. So, we should go out there and play really well. We work really hard all year round for these moments and what we experience in the locker room after that win, you can’t put a price tag on that.”
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots’ 43-17 dismantling of the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady passed the 50,000-yard passing milestone, and the Patriots put together their best all-around effort of the season.
|NFL says Chiefs DB Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized after TD||09.30.14 at 10:50 am ET|
The NFL says it was wrong to penalize Husain Abdullah after his slid into a Muslim prayer following his pick-six of Tom Brady Monday night.
In the fourth quarter, Abdullah picked off Brady, raced 39 yards for the touchdown and then slid into sajdah, a common Muslim prayer. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was making good on a promise that if he ever scored a touchdown, he would “prostrate before God” in the end zone.
The officials assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for the slide, which is not permitted as part of any celebration.
Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states: Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.
But on Tuesday morning, NFL spokesman Michael Signora clarified the interpretation of the rule.
“However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play,” Signora told ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Abdullah was very understanding after the game and apparently not upset.
“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah told reporters. “I think it was for the slide.”
Abdullah said that Chiefs coach Andy Reid told him the penalty was not for the prayer but his slide.
“He said, ‘You can’t slide,’ ” Abdullah said.
Abdullah played for the Vikings from 2008-11, then took a year off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The 29-year-old veteran safety took to Twitter on Tuesday morning with a Muslim prayer of thankfulness.
“Subhana Rabbial-‘Ala” (Glory be to my Lord The Most High) http://t.co/RdKz3UfEjk
‘ Husain Abdullah (@HAbdullah39) September 30, 2014