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Tom Brady Hits Milestones During Sunday’s Win Over Detroit

Tom Brady’s assault on the NFL record books continued on Sunday against Detroit.

During Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady managed to hit a couple of additional milestones as he continues his assault on the NFL record books.

The veteran quarterback did a couple of things that should be a reminder of the fact each pass moves him closer to passing some pretty impressive names in league history, and against Detroit, he did a couple things in the second half that should be noted.

Facing a 3rd-and-9 in the 3rd quarter, Brady completed a 6-yard pass to Brandon LaFell, giving him 305-yards on the afternoon and it set up a 43-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowksi.  However, it was the 63rd time in his career he’s gone over 300-yards passing, tying him with Dan Marino for 3rd most all-time.

Later in the fourth quarter with 9:49 to go in the game and facing a 3rd-and-7, Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 10-yard pass which was his 7000th pass attempt, making him just the 6th player in NFL history to achieve that milestone.

Brady’s now gone over three hundred yards passing four times this season, including against Buffalo, Chicago, Denver and the now the Lions.

Sunday also marked a significant day in Brady’s history, as he made his NFL debut 14 years ago today against, oddly enough, the Lions.

It didn’t take much time for LeGarrette Blount to settle back in with the offense. (USA TODAY Images)

Well that didn’t take long.

After joining the team this week following his release by the Pittsburgh Steelers, LeGarrette Blount suited up and got the “lions share” of the carries against Detroit in his first game back in New England.

Blount was a strong contributor during his first game back with the Patriots.
(USA TODAY Images)

The veteran carried 12 times for 78-yards along with two touchdowns in the victory over the Lions, settling right back into the same offense that helped him resurrect his career last season.

Blount and teammate Shane Vereen were the only two players to carry the football Sunday, with Vereen racking up 8 carries for 12 yards.  However, the majority of Blount’s carries came during the Patriots final drive after he carried eight of his twelve times in their final possession, helping New England close the game out.

Prior to that it was the Patriots’ passing game that did the majority of the damage, with Brady finishing 38-of-53 for 349 yards and two touchdowns.  On the other side New England’s defense dominated a talented Lions offense that failed to register an offensive touchdown, managing just three field goals on the afternoon.

But when he did carry the ball he played well, including a 33-yard run to start their final drive that ended up being the second-longest run of the year by the Patriots offense.  His presence definitely helps a Patriots team that saw the emergence of Jonas Gray last week against Indianapolis, although Gray’s oversleeping mishap made him a spectator and likely was what paved the way for more playing time for Blount.

Blount also had another big run to go with his previous 33-yard gain, which was a 23-yard run in the 3rd quarter that helped set up a field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

Thanks to his return the Patriots now have a lot of depth in their backfield, with Shane Vereen, Blount, Gray and Brandon Bolden, helping at least soften the blow the team dealt with when they lost Stevan Ridley earlier in the season.

Belichick seemed pleased with the veteran’s performance during his press conference.

“I thought LG ran good,” Belichick said after the game, referring to Blount. “He had a good week, worked hard to get ready this week. I thought he did a good job for us.

Last week he scored four times, on Sunday, Jonas Gray didn’t register a carry. (USA TODAY Images)

Jonas Gray picked a bad week to oversleep, and as a result he spent Sunday’s win over Detroit on the sidelines while newly-signed LeGarrette blount settled back into the offense.

Gray, who finished last week’s game against Indianapolis with 37 carries for 201 yards and four touchdowns, didn’t carry the football once on Sunday, with Blount and Shane Vereen seeing the majority of the action carrying the football.  Blount finished with 12 carries for 78-yards and two touchdowns, while Vereen carried 8 times for 12 yards.

As a result, Gray wasn’t able to follow-up his big performance.

“I thought LG ran good,” Belichick said after the game, referring to Blount.  “He had a good week, worked hard to get ready this week.  I thought he did a good job for us.”

Eight of Blount’s twelve carries came in the fourth quarter, all of which were on New England’s final drive of the game.  Blount started the drive with a 33-yard rush, which was the second longest carry of the year by a Patriots running back.  New England’s offense was able to frustrate a gassed Detroit team who watched them run the clock down from 6:23 to 1:57, which was exactly what Belichick’s team needed to do to close out the game.

It’s exactly what Gray had done after the Patriots took over the ball with 4:17 to go in the game last week against Indianapolis and Gray was able to run out the clock and help his team get the win.

Instead his error made him a spectator, and after making the cover of Sports Illustrated and having a lot of momentum, the experience likely brought him back to earth.

“We do what we think is best,” said Belichick when asked if Gray’s lack of playing time was discipline related.  “That’s what we did today.”

One would have to believe Gray got the point, but with Blount back in the mix he and Gray will hopefully be a solid tandem heading into the final stretch of the season.

Patriots Reportedly Expected to Re-Sign RB LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount is reportedly set to rejoin his former team.. (USA TODAY Images)

During the offseason LeGarrette Blount opted to take his talents to Pittsburgh after signing a 2-year deal with the Steelers back in March, but now it appears that he’s on the verge of returning to New England.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Blount, who was released by Pittsburgh this week, is reportedly in Foxboro and is expected to re-sign with the Patriots today.

Blount’s time with the Steelers likely didn’t go quite as he hoped after his playing time diminished behind Le’Veon Bell, who has emerged as Pittsburgh’s primary running back.  That lead to him leaving early during his now-former team’s win over the Titans Monday night, which upset many of the players in the locker room.

The addition of Blount will add some veteran depth to a group that is still trying to establish some stability in the back field.  The emergence of Jonas Gray has been a bright spot for the team since losing Stevan Ridley, and adding Blount will now give them an additional weapon as well as some flexibility in the backfield, with Gray, Shane Vereen, and now Blount in the mix.

Stat Change: Jonas Gray Goes Over 200yd Mark

A stat change has pushed Jonas Gray over 200-yards on the night Sunday. (USA TODAY Images)

Occasionally the NFL makes a stat change following a game, and Jonas Gray is finding himself the beneficiary of one following his performance on Sunday night.

The league erased a 2-yard loss he encountered at the 10:31 mark of the fourth quarter, which incurred a face mask penalty on the same play by Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman.  The play resulted in a first down thanks to the penalty, but the league changed the penalty to a “no play” penalty, erasing the play along with the loss of yardage, moving Gray’s final total from 199-yards to 201 on the night.

That play had been Gray’s only negative rush of the game.  He had only two other carries for no gain, while the rest went for positive yardage.

Here’s how his rushes broke down by distance gained:

No Gain: 2
1-5 yards: 22
6-10 yards: 9
Over 10-20 yards: 4

As noted by the team’s official Twitter feed, this change makes Gray just the 3rd 200+ yard rusher in Patriots history.

Jonas Gray Makes a Little NFL History With His Performance Sunday Night

Jonas Gray accomplished a rare feat during the Patriots win over Indy. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots running back Jonas Gray obviously made quite a bit of noise on Sunday night following his 4-touchdown performance against the Indianapolis Colts, but he also managed to put himself into the NFL record books.

According to Chris Wesseling of, Gray now stands as the first player since at least 1940 to rush for as many touchdowns as the rest of the NFL’s rushers combined in a given week.

Wesseling points out that only Kansas City running backs Jamaal Charles (2) and Knile Davis (1), along with Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy (1) scored rushing touchdowns on Sunday, with that combined total matching Gray’s.  That could change Monday night should someone from the Pittsburgh Steelers or Tennessee Titans rush for a score, but either way it shouldn’t diminish his accomplishment.

Another stat highlighted was the fact that Gray’s four-touchdown outing was the first by a player without a previous NFL touchdown since 1921.

Gray carried 38 times for 199 yards during Sunday night’s win, which included the team converting 9-of-12 (75%) 3rd downs along with 33 first downs total, 17 of which were via the rush.  Gray accounted for 15 of them.

He also scored each of his touchdowns through four different gaps, scoring over Right Guard (1st) , up the Middle (2nd), over Right Tackle (3rd) and over Left Tackle: (4th).

Sunday night’s win over Indianapolis wasn’t his best performance, but credit Tom Brady for bouncing back with a second half that allowed the Patriots to pull away after their 42-20 rout over the Colts.

Brady didn’t play well in the first half, completing 10-of-19 (53%) for 84 yards and two interceptions, including one before the half where he came off a play-action pass and made an ill-advised downfield throw to Rob Gronkowski that was badly underthrown and was picked off, giving the Colts the football at the Patriots’ 23-yard line.

Tom Brady bounced back after a rough first half against the Colts on Sunday night.
(USA TODAY Images)

Three plays later the Colts scored, taking away what had been a 14-3 lead as the Colts had pulled to within four at the half.

But in the second half Brady was razor sharp, completing 9-of-11 for 173-yards and two touchdowns as the team pulled away from Indianapolis and left him as a spectator by the time it was over.  With just over four minutes to go and leading by 22 Brady watched Jimmy Garoppolo hand the football off five straight times while Jonas Gray finished up a stellar four touchdown, 199-yard night, before the rookie quarterback knelt down to kill the clock and close out the game.

After it was over, Brady admitted the turnover before the half was a “dumb” throw.

“It was just a bad play,” said Brady. “It was a no-look throw, which those don’t ever end up very good. I thought I had a good look pre-snap and (Rob) Gronkowski got through there but I just put too much air on the ball and ended up lobbing it right to Mike (Adams). Hopefully there is no more of those this year.”

“You hate to let them back in there like that. It’s kind of a momentum play, and it was just not a good one. That doesn’t happen very often, so I’m not overly concerned about it. It was just a dumb play.”

With the team running the football well, Brady credited the offensive line, which opened up holes for Gray all night and helped keep Indianapolis off balance.  They did a good job moving the football offensively and kept themselves in manageable situations, having faced just two plays of beyond six yards on third down all night.  As a result they finished 9-of-12 (75%), which was a big key to their success.

Brady admitted that was exactly what they needed, and that things are always easier when they’re controlling what they want to do and he’s pleased with how they performed as they improved to 8-2.

“We’re playing well, playing on our terms,” said Brady. “We did a much better job protecting the ball there in the second half. We made a lot of big time third downs, some big time run after catches. The defense stepped up. It was great to see the defense play like that especially when they kind of backed them up against the wall and kind of closed it out, finished strong. It was exactly what we needed.”

Jonas Gray came up big during the Patriots win over the Colts Sunday night. (USA TODAY Images)

Ever since Stevan Ridley went down with a knee injury back in week six against the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots have been in need of someone stepping up in the ground game.

They’ve gotten limited production from that standpoint, relying primarily on a rotation that has included Jonas Gray, Shane Vereen and James White, none of which had provided much of an impact to this point heading into their match-up against the Colts Sunday night.

That all changed against Indianapolis after a massive performance by Gray during the team’s 42-20 road win.

Gray scored twice in the first half, and twice during the second half during the Patriots 42-20 win over Indianapolis.
(USA TODAY Images)

In the game Gray came out focused and while racking up 100-yards in the first half on 14 carries, including reaching the end zone twice while the team fought through a mistake-ridden opening two quarters that had them up by just four at 14-10 at the intermission.

When they hit the field in the second half, it was a completely different story.  Gray picked up right where he left off and it had the Colts completely off balance, allowing Tom Brady to bounce back from throwing two interceptions in the first half.  With Indianapolis looking at Gray things opened up for New England’s offense, allowing Brady to pick them apart and missing just two throws in a second half where he was 9-of-11 for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

Gray, meanwhile, kept chugging along, piling up 99-yards while reaching the end zone twice.  However, Bill Belichick said after last week’s game that, “It’s not about a bunch of stats and stats this and stats that,” pointing out he didn’t care about any one individual player’s stats.  After carrying five straight times to close out the game, the team had Jimmy Garoppolo kneel and kill the clock, leaving Gray one yard shy of the 200-yard mark.

After the game Belichick wasn’t surprised by what he had seen from Gray, noting that the running back has been working hard.

“He did that for us in preseason,” said Belichick. “He does it for us every day out there on the practice field and works hard. I thought he ran hard tonight, real hard.”

Gray’s 38 carries were obviously the most he’s seen to this point, having had just 11 offensive snaps against the Jets, 28 against the Bears, and 22 during their win over Denver.  During that span he carried the football 32 times for 131 yards but had yet to really establish himself as the team’s lead back.  That obviously changed against the Colts, but Belichick noted that part of the reason for Gray’s success has simply been his steady approach, which is what we saw from him for four quarters Sunday night.

“He’s just a smart, hard-working kid,” said Belichick. “He’s got good power. He runs hard. His game is what we saw tonight. That’s what it was in college, and we talked to Coach Kelly and some of the other players at Notre Dame that we had on our team or that were familiar with Jonas and they all kind of said the same thing. That’s just what we saw.

“But he works hard every day. It’s not any one thing or one great epiphany. It’s just something that he comes to work every day, does his thing and gets better. Things he needs to work on, things the coach thinks he needs to improve on, splits his pickoff, his assignments in the passing game, his reads in the running game, and he’s gotten a lot better at those.”

And as a result, heading into their final six games, the Patriots now potentially seem to have a real threat out of the backfield.

Patriots Social Media Snafu Should Put Focus on the Bigger Issue With Twitter

Patriots owner Robert Kraft should be more upset that Twitter allows racist accounts to exist than the fact a username slipped through their filter thanking fans for helping them reach the 1-million mark on the platform Thursday. (USA TODAY Images)

There are quite a few media outlets jumping on the Patriots following a mistake like the one they made Thursday night when the team inadvertently allowed a racist Twitter username to sneak through their filter as they attempted to thank fans who helped them achieve the 1-million mark on Twitter, which was a first for an NFL team.

The team created digital jerseys that superimposed the usernames of fans’ Twitter handles like the one shown below which features the one for (@PatsFans):

A cool concept for a team that was trying to make their fans feel special and it was certainly a good idea on their part.

The only problem was, since Twitter, a billion dollar publicly traded company, doesn’t monitor the usernames it allows people to register, a racist account existed. The automated script creating the “thank you” posts for the team then didn’t catch it before it slipped through and as a result they posted it.  Now they’re feeling the heat, which as much as they’re partly to blame, it’s hard to imagine that the next step might be alerting Twitter of a problem that needs to be fixed.

Upon searching after the fact there are thousands of racist and negative usernames registered and permitted by this massive company, who has made their money and fame with a platform allowing those users a place for their 140-character posts.  The fact that Twitter has turned a blind eye and allowed this kind of nonsense, as well as thousands of inappropriate accounts that promote pornography and hate, completely boggles the mind.  The Patriots may take the heat for letting that one account slip through, but the bigger problem is the fact it shouldn’t have been there to begin with.

One would hope that an incident like this helps a team with the type of influence the Patriots have to at least get Twitter to start thinking about doing something about it.  Facebook doesn’t allow it and as Twitter tries to be a bigger competitor in the social media world they need to at least consider how they’re going to conduct things moving forward.  It’s one thing to control free speech and what people post, they should at least be able to control the usernames they’re allowing.

The Patriots have been known for bringing about change in other areas and are a leader in social media.  Hopefully the lesson learned becomes one that Twitter shows some accountability for.  Google, one of the largest leaders in internet advertising, won’t allow ads on sites that “promote hate or racism”.  Since Twitter is powered by ads, you have to wonder how long it will take before policies like that come into play to eliminate these types of accounts from even existing.

Imagine the NFL electing to have all 32 teams pull away from Twitter. With the NFL already focused on improving its image, maybe they won’t want to be associated with a platform that allows this to exist. It sounds crazy to say, but in this day and age nothing should be a surprise when it comes to trying to bring about a change as big as what it would take for a company like Twitter to be forced to take notice.

Either way something needs to be done and blaming the Patriots for Twitter’s blatant oversight, as convenient as it is for the media and fans who dislike this football team, simply isn’t the answer and it needs to happen sooner than later.

Stat Check: Jamie Collins Now In the Lead on Defense

Jamie Collins has stepped up since Jerod Mayo went down. (USA TODAY Images)

When Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo went down in Week 6 with a season-ending knee injury, New England was in need of another player to step up on the defense after losing one of their most productive players.

So far, Jamie Collins has been the guy who has done just that.

Following their win over Denver where Collins finished with a team leading 11 total tackles, Collins has moved ahead of Mayo (who had a combined 53 tackles) with a team-best 61 combined tackles on the season.  The next closest active player is Dont’a Hightower, who has 49 total tackles through nine weeks.

Collins also has 1 tackle for a loss, 2 quarterback hits, an INT, 2 passes defensed, as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

Here’s a closer look by down:

1st Down: 22 tackles, 10 assisted, 32 combined, 1 QB hit, 1 INT, 2 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery.
2nd Down: 14 tackles, 7 asssisted, 21 combined, 1 tackle for a loss
3rd Down: 5 tackles, 3 assisted, 8 combined, 1 quarterback hit

Bill Belichick talked this week about how both Collins and Hightower have stepped up since Mayo went down.

“I think Jamie and (Dont’a Hightower) both have taken on additional responsibilities in a lot of areas since Jerod was injured in the Buffalo game,” said Belichick via the Boston Herald. “That varies from situation, what defense we’re in, what group we have on the field and so forth. His responsibilities have increased, as have High’s, in terms of setting the front, making coverage adjustments, sometimes changing pass rush adjustments or rush lanes. We’re not always in the same things, so it varies depending on what we’re in, what group we have on the field and what we have called.”

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