|Kyle Arrington on M&M: Wes Welker ‘one of the most talented guys I’ve matched up against’||11.25.13 at 1:32 pm ET|
Patriots defensive back Kyle Arrington joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss his team’s 34-31 comeback win in overtime against the Broncos on Sunday night.
After trailing 24-0 at halftime, Arrington and New England’s defense stymied Denver in the second half and paved the way for a Tom Brady-led comeback.
“We just rallied behind each other, played for each other and had confidence not only in ourselves but in our teammates,” Arrington said. “We were just battle-tested, and we’re going to fight to the very end.”
The Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to start the second half, then eventually won on a Stephen Gostkowski 31-yard field goal in overtime.
“It’s hard to play a complete 60-minute football game, but just credit our guys who just kept battling and fighting,” Arrington said. “As long as there’s time left on that clock, we’re going to battle.”
The New England offense lost three fumbles in the first quarter, putting the defense in a number of inauspicious positions.
“[There was] naturally a little frustration, because we dug ourselves quite a hole, but to come back and win it in that fashion, it’s very rewarding,” Arrington said. “To be in a hole like that, and just crawl our way out of it slowly but surely, it’s a testament to the character of the guys in our locker room.”
|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘We were a pretty mentally tough team, and that’s what it took’ to beat Broncos||at 10:37 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday night’s 34-31 overtime victory over the Broncos.
The Patriots trailed 24-0 at the midway point but rallied in the second half, then capitalized on a Broncos turnover late in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
“It was a great win,” Brady said. “Anyone couldn’t really have expected the way that one would go. It was pretty sweet.
“We really got off to such a poor start and then stormed back, and then kind of played a little bit of defensive football there in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and got a good break there at the end. It was a great team win, everybody contributed. We were a pretty mentally tough team, and that’s what it took last night. We’ll enjoy it, then we’ve got to get back to work, ’cause that’s the way it is in the NFL.”
While the Patriots were being dominated on the scoreboard in the first half, Brady said the team didn’t lose confidence, because Denver’s points were the result of Patriots mistakes.
“We had 200 yards of offense at halftime. So it wasn’t like we had 70 yards of offense and we weren’t doing anything,” Brady said. “You make those critical errors like fumbling the ball and putting the ball on the ground like we did, and we’re not going to score a lot of points. We knew if we took better care of the ball that we’d have a better chance.
“Weather played a factor. We punted to them before halftime and it ended up being a turnover; we got it, we didn’t do anything anything with it. Then late there in the game, just tough to field some of those plays and we got a few bounces. That was really a great way to win the game.
“It was a tough battle, it was two good football teams. It obviously could have gone either way, but I’m glad it went our way.”
Brady said the team did not overreact at halftime, nor were there a lot of tweaks that had to be made to the game plan.
“I think we always take our cue from coach [Bill] Belichick as a team,” Brady said. “There wasn’t much to be said, truthfully, because we had done nothing. It wasn’t like there was a bunch of adjustments. We kind of thought the game — they played the game the way that we thought they would play it, and we just weren’t doing anything to execute.
“We just talked about making some good plays and seeing if that could turn into something. It turned into one touchdown, then it tuned into two touchdowns, then in turned into a field goal, it was another touchdown. We got the ball rolling, and that’s what we needed at that point.”
FOXBORO – After 72 minutes and 62 points in another instant classic between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, it appeared the Patriots and Broncos were going to play to the dreaded tie.
Following both teams not doing anything with their first two possessions in the overtime period, with just over three minutes left, Patriots punter Ryan Allen booted one inside the Patriots 20-yard line towards Broncos return man Wes Welker. Of the 170 total plays ran in the game, this particular one, thought as of the simplest ones became the play that ultimately decided the final outcome.
Instead of coming up and making the catch, Welker did not, which allowed the ball to bounce in front of him. On most occasions the ball would seemingly bounce harmlessly dead, but on this particular one it skipped into Broncos cornerback Tony Carter’s leg and Patriots backup safety Nate Ebner pounced on the loose ball, recovering it for the Patriots, which set up Stephen Gostkowski’s game-winning, 31-yard field goal in the Patriots’ 34-31 win over the Broncos.
“I felt like there was a lot of traffic, high ball, and basically I didn’t want to get into a situation where someone is running into me or anything else and we ended up with a situation that I didn’t want to happen in the first place,” Welker said. “I have to do a better job of getting up there and getting those guys out of the way and making sure it doesn’t hit them.”
Welker noted the call to alert his teammates to get out of the way of the ball, as they cannot see the punt since they are blocking and setting up a potential return, is “Peter, Peter” and acknowledged he may have been a bit indecisive when making the call, leading to the ball hitting Carter.
“I have to get to him earlier and tell him,” Welker said. “I need to get those guys out of the way if I am not going to make the catch. I was a bit in between and you can’t be that way.”
For Carter, who is in his fifth season and evidently played for the Patriots in 2010, he heard the call but everything happened so fast there wasn’t much he could do.
FOXBORO — A disheartened Wes Welker spoke to the media about his return to New England following the Patriots’ 34-31 comeback victory over the Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
“It was a little different for sure,” said Welker. “It was great seeing Mr. Kraft. I got a lot of respect for him as a man, as an owner of a team and everything else.”
The former Patriots receiver caught four balls for 31 yards in his first return to Gillette Stadium since signing with Denver this off-season. Before the game, a video tribute highlighting the great moments of Welker’s career in New England was played inside the stadium on the video board.
“It was very classy of them to do something like that and I appreciate it very much,” the wide receiver said.
One of the big storylines coming into the game was the relationship between he and Bill Belichick. In a pregame interview conducted by Tedy Bruschi on ESPN, the 32-year-old receiver said, “I think so” when asked if he still had a good relationship with Belichick. Welker went on to say he was anticipating, “the most awkward situation that could possibly happen” if he and his former head coach were to interact.
After the game, Welker talked about that interaction which took place on the field following the game where Belichick sought out his former receiver.
“It wasn’t awkward at all,” Welker said. “It was good to see him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a coach. He came over and was like ‘good job; we’ll see you all again I’m sure.’”
For Welker, a 10-year veteran, he acknowledged he tried to make this just another game, but it wasn’t easy.
“I tried to. You try to make it just a regular game, but it’s hard at times,” he said. “You try and go out there and focus and do your job. I’m sure there were more emotions and things like that going into it for sure.”
In his first time back at Gillette Stadium the game could have marked closure on his time in New England, but ultimately it didn’t go as he would have liked and now it’s time for Welker to put the game behind him and move on to another big game against division rival Kansas City next Sunday.
“It would have been a lot better closer if we would’ve won, but I had a lot of good years here and things like that,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had closure before and I’ve kind of moved on. We have another big game this week against Kansas City and we have to move on to that.”
Ryan Hannable contributed to this article.
|Wes Welker ‘probable’ for return to New England Sunday night||11.22.13 at 3:49 pm ET|
Wes Welker is on track to make his return to Foxboro Sunday night.
There had been serious doubt at the beginning of the week as to whether Welker would be able to play Sunday night against the Patriots when he suffered a head/neck injury while catching a pass in the fourth quarter last Sunday night against Kansas City.
Welker missed practice on Wednesday but returned Thursday and was again at practice on Friday. After attending practice Friday, Welker was officially listed as probable on the final injury report of the week.
Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said that Welker has passed all the concussion baseline tests from independent neurologists necessary for him to be listed as probable.
Meanwhile, tight end Julius Thomas was listed as questionable after a second straight limited practice with a knee injury. Even if Thomas is able to play, Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme figure to see more playing time at tight end in multiple packages.
Cornerback Champ Bailey is also questionable with a foot injury but is expected to play.
|Bill Belichick on Peyton Manning: ‘If you tell them what you’re in, you’re probably not going to like the way it’s going to end up’||at 10:44 am ET|
FOXBORO — The real chess match to watch Sunday night is not between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It’s not even Bill Belichick against Wes Welker.
The most fascinating match-up to watch is how Belichick’s defense adjusts to Manning’s always-changing tempo at the line of scrimmage and how Belichick’s troops attempt to disguise their defense.
Belichick gave some very interesting insight Friday morning on whether he still intends to disguise his defense to a high degree.
“You have to,” Belichick said.
Why not just try to execute your defense against Manning and hope your execution is better?
“Well, you can do that,” Belichick said. “It’s just a question on whether you can hold up in it or not. But I’d say the odds of that aren’t great, to be honest with you.
“Usually, when he sees what it is, he gets to the play he wants to get to and I would say they’ve hit a lot of big plays on plays like that. He sees a blitz, calls a tear screen to Demaryius Thomas and it goes 75 yards for a touchdown. You can be in whatever you want to be in but if they have a play to beat it and it’s well-executed, which it frequently is with Denver, you’re just playing right into their hands.
“They’ve waiting all day to run the play against that situation. You tell them, ‘Here we are, we’re going to be in Cover-2 zone, go ahead run your best play.’ Well, they will. We’re going to be in “man-free” or we’re going to be in blitz or we’re going to be in “man-under 2-deep,” what are you going to do about it? Well, they can usually do something about it. I don’t really think anybody has had a lot of success playing that way.”
The Broncos have scored 398 points in their 10 games, averaging nearly 40 points per contest. They are on pace for 637 points in 16 games, which would shatter New England’s mark of 589 in 2007, a season in which the Patriots averaged 36.8 points per game.
“Now, if you just out-personnel them at every position across the board and say, ‘OK, we’re all just going to lock up on one guy. We’re going to take everybody. We don’t care that they know where we are because we’re that good.’ I just don’t anybody has been able to do that [successfully]. They’ve scored more points than anybody in football. It’s hard to do. Somewhere along the line they have a good matchup if they know exactly what you’re in. I don’t think anybody has played them that way very effectively in whatever it is they’ve tried to play, man, zone, blitz, man-free, 2-deep man, 2-deep zone, 3-deep zone, 3-man rush. If you tell them what you’re in, you’re probably not going to like the way it’s going to end up. Sometimes, it’s situational and sometimes you have to live with that but I don’t think down after down, anybody’s really had much success doing that.”
|Jonathan Kraft on D&C: ‘I’ve never heard Bill [Belichick] say a bad word about Wes [Welker]‘||at 9:54 am ET|
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Sunday night’s showdown with the AFC-leading Broncos and other Patriots news.
The game marks the return of former Patriot Wes Welker, who is expected to play after suffering a concussion in Denver’s last game. Kraft said he has a special place in his heart for Welker, who played six incredibly productive seasons in Foxboro.
“How do you not, as a football fan, forget just being a Patriots fan, how do you not have huge admiration for Wes?” Kraft said. “The thing I always say about him, aside from the fact he’s a wonderful guy that I’ve had the privilege of knowing, when I stand next to him — and I’m no physical specimen — there’s really not a lot of difference in terms of what you look at when the two of us are standing next to each other. And then you watch him step on a football field and do what he does, it’s indescribable. If you love the game and you appreciate what the game is, and then you look at him and you look at what he was given in terms of just the basic physical attributes, and then you watch what he does, you have to be in awe of him. And I am in awe of him.
“Unfortunately, I watch him in a different color uniform and I’m still in awe of him and what he does on the football field. It’s exceptional and amazing.”
Welker departed the Patriots under mysterious circumstances, as New England did not appear to try its hardest to sign Tom Brady‘s favorite receiver. Kraft said he has no reason to believe it was anything personal between Welker and Bill Belichick.
“I don’t believe that’s the case,” Kraft said. “I’ve seen no sign of that from Bill. … Bill, when he’s building a team, leave emotion out of it completely. He truly does what he feels is in the best interest of the team. And he has a dollar value in mind and structures that can work for different people. And regardless of how he feels about you personally, not as a football player, because I know as a football player he has the utmost for Wes, a huge amount of respect, not just for physical toughness that he has, but Wes gets the game of football. He’s incredibly intelligent. You saw him walk in here in 2007 and instantly get our offense and get on the same wavelength with Tommy. And I think Bill values those things highly.
“I’ve never heard Bill say a bad word about Wes. And even if he did have emotions about him as a person — and I have no reason to believe that he does — that are the way [the WEEI hosts] are describing, I don’t believe he would let that impact a decision that was good for the football team.”
Belichick famously held Welker out of the starting lineup in the Patriots’ playoff loss to the Jets in January 2011 after Welker tweaked New York coach Rex Ryan in a press conference leading up to the game. Kraft said he does not question Belichick’s decisions on matters such as that — at least not professionally.
“You’ve got to have confidence in your head coach, and you have to let him do what he thinks is right. Bill has the ability to do that,” Kraft said. “As a fan, you can sit back and question anything. That’s why all of sports are fun to watch, but I don’t think anything is more fun to watch and follow than football, because there’s so much to discuss. There are more players, there are more situations, each play is scripted.
“You have those discussions, and I understand the question, but I would never question Bill’s ability to make the right decision. Is every decision he makes right? Obviously not. No one’s perfect. But to sit back and question what he’s doing isn’t something that I do, isn’t something that anyone up here does. His track record speaks for itself. That doesn’t mean that as a fan you don’t sit there and say things, but he know what he’s doing.”
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