Author Archives: Ian Logue

Ian Logue

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.

Are You Someone Who Is Ready to Move on From Tom Brady? If So, You Need to Stop It

Ian Logue
March 17, 2020 at 6:00 am ET

Things with Tom Brady appear to be reaching a breaking point as the team closes in on the start of free agency and signs are beginning to point to the very real possibility of the future Hall of Fame quarterback not being under center for the Patriots in 2020.

Oddly enough, as we creep closer to this bizarre potential reality, there even appear to be people who after an offseason of relentless speculation and reports, they’ve seemingly surrendered and reached the point where they’ve accepted a future that might not include the guy who gave them so many unbelievable moments.

If you fall into this category.  You need to stop it.

Check that.  If you’re not realizing the gravity of what seems to be unfolding, you may want to take a second and realize that your football life is going to be drastically different moving forward.  And you’re really, really not going to like it.

With the daily – and usually conflicting – reports of Brady’s future circulating in the media and spiraling in a variety of directions, it’s done a pretty good job of making people numb.  They start thinking maybe it’s time for a reboot.  After all, Brady is closer to the end than the beginning and this time was coming anyway, so it just makes sense to move on.  Bill Belichick has always talked about getting rid of players a year early instead of a year late, so why not now?

We can debate that logic, but this is a little different.  Brady’s not a wide receiver.  He’s not a defensive end.  He’s not a linebacker.  Granted, he’s heading into uncharted territory thanks to his age, but he’s been arguably the most consistent player in football both in his work on the field and the way he’s maintained his body off of it.  But he’s not like most of his peers at this point in his career.  He’s physically shown no signs of letting up and appears he still has at least a couple of more championship caliber seasons in him. 

Yet there seems to be a real possibility that it could all be ending.

And there are some of you who seem to be O.K. with that. 

I just don’t understand it.

Some of this mindset may simply come from how you view things in your day to day life.  Maybe you’re not someone who tries to squeeze every last bit of the best out of everything.  Maybe you throw out your toothpaste tube when it’s close to the end and starts taking a little bit of effort to get any out, leaving you having to use your thumb and force it.  Maybe you trade your car in once it’s outside the warranty, instead of milking it for 260,000+ miles (the mileage of a car I just parted with after the transmission finally gave out) and getting every last mile out of it.  You just use it up until you finally grow tired of it and move on to the next one, whether you could have gotten more out of it or not.

If that’s how you feel, you may be willing to walk away from a player who you know likely still gives you the best possibility to win, but you’re just ready for a change. Maybe you’re bored of the idea of having one more championship to throw in the face of opposing fans who spit fire at the mere sight of the Flying Elvis on your T-Shirt.  Seeing them irritated is one of the most delicious things fans in New England have been able to enjoy. But you’re O.K. of letting that go. Having a 43-year old quarterback doesn’t make any sense and you just feel like it’s time to make a change.

Really? You don’t like that feeling? You don’t enjoy knowing that it’s been a reality each of those fans have been forced to live with for 20-years?  Every year they all have hope..right up until they find their team with the Patriots standing in their way each season. Then that usually means that it’s back to the drawing board, having been left with the irritation of knowing that next season might also be just as frustrating for them.

Brady’s been behind all of it.  After all, we’re talking about a guy who has been the heart and soul of this franchise for the last 20-years, with arguments and debates raging over comparisons with other quarterbacks who struggled to help their teams reach the top of the mountain.  Those include players like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, who collectively still don’t have as many championships as Brady has.

With Brady under center, winning was always the likely outcome.

Stop and think about that.  Each of those players kept their teams competitive year after year and even those guys couldn’t make enough plays in key moments to consistently cap off the success they each have had year after year during the regular season.

Manning only made it to the Super Bowl twice during his tenure in Indianapolis, having run into Brady several times in the postseason before being sent home.  The two exceptions came in 2006 where a flu-riddled defense wore down in the heat of the RCA Dome in the second half, which saw Manning beat a pathetic Bears team for his lone title with indianapolis, beating a Chicago club who somehow even knocked out Brees with Rex Grossman at the helm to get there.  In 2009, the Baltimore Ravens did the dirty work and knocked the Patriots out in the wild card round, clearing the path for Manning who eventually ended up on the wrong end of a 31-17 loss to Brees and the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.  That defeat ended up being Brees’ lone victory.

In Denver, it was a different story.  With the altitude and home field on his side, Manning beat New England twice, with his defense leading the way in his final battle against Brady at the end of the 2015 campaign after the Broncos hit the Patriots QB nearly 20 times (it was 20 initially before the league, after review, lowered that total to 17), sacking him 4 times.  Brady still managed to put them in a position to tie it late, but they came up just short.

Manning made hit there twice with the Broncos, having been blown out 43-8 against the Seahawks at the end of the 2013 campaign before eventually managing to walk away from the game on top two years later with a 24-10 win over Carolina where a neck injury that season left him a shell of his former self and he did just enough to win the contest.  He wisely retired immediately after, leaving the NFL at the age of 39.

The Colts ultimately replaced Manning with Andrew Luck but while they were competitive, Luck never elevated them to a level that made them a championship-caliber club.  The Colts then became fun to watch when Jacoby Brissett came on board and were competitive, but took another step back and still aren’t close to winning a title.

That’s likely a hard pill for Colts fans to swallow.  They came into every season believing they had a shot going back to 1998 when Manning came on board.  Now they’re still without a viable long-term answer as they try and fill the void Manning left behind.

Unlike Brady, Aaron Rodgers has typically been a spectator in February.

You can scoff at the notion but that only scratches the surface of where this is going.  With Brady, the Patriots became a dynasty that even Manning wasn’t really ever able to get past with any success until much later in his career.  Most of the time, the Patriots were a wall that most opponents, Manning included, slammed into and saw their once-promising seasons come to an end.  Brady has been that type of player where you never had any doubt going into a game that the Patriots had a good chance to win.

The same could likely be said about Manning by Colts fans, or 49ers fans with Joe Montana and Steve Young, or Cowboys fans with Troy Aikman and going way back while staying within the AFC East, Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills and Dan Marino in Miami.  The latter two haven’t seen consistent success since and both San Francisco and Dallas haven’t been able to come close to getting back to what they were during their glory days.

That’s stunning to think about.  Fans here in New England might be willing to put their faith into Bill Belichick believing that he can somehow keep it going, but it still takes a special player who can make plays in key moments to get it done.  The 49ers learned that the hard way last month after Jimmy Garoppolo’s atrocious 3-for-11 4th quarter played a role in San Francisco’s 10 point lead evaporating as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs sent them home.  Jimmy G played well, but he couldn’t close it out.  Seeing it done and doing it are two very different scenarios and given how tough it is to even get there, who knows if he’ll ever make it back.

Guys like Brady know how to close those games out.  They know how to do what it takes when the pressure is on.  Brady’s been so good for so long that most fans usually go into every one of those moments with zero doubt in their mind that the ability to do it is there.  The only question has ever been whether or not the guys around him would help him get it done.  If there was enough time on the clock, you always felt like Brady would deliver the dagger, provided the defense could hold up their end of the deal.  You never had any doubt.

That’s an amazing asset that’s about to walk out of here.  Let’s face it, the 2019 campaign was bizarre because the whispers about his future were there but no one ever really took it seriously.  If Brady walks away, it will come on the heels of one of the most anti-climatic seasons in NFL history where it was never looked at as a possible farewell tour.  The build-up for that possibility was never there. Coming off a Super Bowl victory earlier that year, everyone was instead focused on the next game and the next possible championship run.

Could this really be it for Brady in New England?

That all came to a screeching halt in January, with the gears switching quickly as the media started realizing that things were about to get real.  Since then, we’ve learned that Brady’s future in New England may truly be in doubt and that the future of the franchise is now in question.

With rumors swirling at a record pace, most fans are mentally worn out and some have even reached the point where they’re “good with a reset” if that’s what it comes down to.  You may find yourself left with a team that’s competitive, maybe makes the playoffs and maybe even goes a game or two deeper.  But that confidence you had won’t be the same.

Maybe you’re ready for that.  But if you are, just get ready to deal with the reality that you could be joining fans like the ones in New Orleans, Green Bay and Seattle who still go into every season with their fingers crossed at maybe getting one more shot.

With Brady here, the Patriots were the ones with the best chance of standing in their way.  Now, instead, you could find yourselves frustrated that your quarterback couldn’t make enough plays as you head into another offseason wishing things had turned out differently.

While that’s been the story of this offseason, hopefully you remember that a year ago at this time, things worked out a little differently.  You also probably know that with another additional weapon (or two), the results could have been different and should still be very different next season.

But either way, with Brady you know reaching the top of the NFL mountain remains a possibility.  Without him, this team might be heading toward a new reality you may not be happy with.

Being competitive is fun.  Being a champion is better.

Unfortunately, if Brady walks away, that difference may become a little more obvious.

We’ll find out in the coming days what reality we’re all about to be left with.  Whether or not we’re going to like it will be another story.

Brady on What He’ll Do If His Future Is Without the Patriots? – ‘I Just Don’t Know’

Ian Logue
January 6, 2020 at 9:51 am ET

Tom Brady is certainly heading into uncharted territory this offseason as he’s potentially a 6-time Super Bowl Champion without a team in 2020.

After losing in the Wild Card round at the hands to Tennessee on Saturday night, Brady heads into this offseason with a contract that’s about to expire and a fair amount of uncertainty.  It seems strange to imagine, but the idea of whether or not an extension will get hammered out to keep him in the fold heading into next season doesn’t seem to be a given.

It’s a bizarre place for someone of Brady’s stature to be, especially given his history with this organization and all the unbelievable moments he’s brought to this region over the last 20-years.  Most would think that bringing him back would be a no-brainer, but there doesn’t appear to be any guarantees at this point.  In fact, even Brady doesn’t seem to know what his future holds.

So what will he do if his future isn’t with New England?  While many are already starting to speculate, with Dallas, the LA Chargers and Miami Dolphins among destinations people are already pondering, even Brady doesn’t know what he’ll do if the door closes on a return with the Patriots.

Speaking with Peter King, Brady admitted that he’s not sure what will he’ll do if he doesn’t take the field at Gillette Stadium next season.

“Yeah,” said Brady when King asked him what it was like to be a ‘free man’ this offseason. “I think I’m just . . . I’ll explore those opportunities whenever they are. If it’s the Patriots, great. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I love playing football. I still want to play football. I think I still can play at a championship level. I’ve just got to go do it. I’m motivated to get back to work and training.”

Former receiver Antonio Brown posted on his social media accounts that he doesn’t want to play for anyone but Brady in 2020, which given his past comments, that bridge appears to be burned for Brown in New England.  As a result, that would likely have Brown rooting for Brady to play elsewhere.  But given the importance Brady places on his family, the thought of having to pack everything up and move them somewhere else would seem to be a worst-case scenario that he and his agent would seemingly only consider if things reach a point of no return.

For now, Brady sounds like a player who really wants to stay.  The only problem appears to be that he may not be willing to take another home town discount, which could keep Bill Belichick from making the financial commitment to keep him here.  There’s no question that they need to surround him with additional talent, but the team is also faced with the challenge of re-signing free agents like Kyle Van Noy, Joe Thuney and Devin McCourty, along with whoever else they may look to bring in this offseason.

Needless to say, it’s a difficult situation.  At this point, you can tell by Brady’s comments that he’s a player who is hoping to stick around.  Whether or not the team is willing to pay him what it may take for that to happen now remains the biggest question heading into this offseason.

Five Thoughts Following the Patriots Playoff Loss to Tennessee

Ian Logue
January 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm ET

Saturday night’s loss to the Titans was certainly disappointing, leaving the Patriots on the outside looking in and marking the start of an offseason full of questions.

Here are some thoughts following this one:

1) A lot of the headlines this morning centered around Titans running back Derrick Henry’s performance Saturday night, who finished with 182-rushing yards during the Patriots frustrating Wild Card playoff loss to Tennessee. However, as good as Henry was, give the Patriots defense credit for eventually settling down and limiting the damage after a fast start.

Henry picked up 49-yards on the first drive on 7 carries and finished the first half with 106-yards, but New England’s defense did a decent job in the second half, coming up with several stops that were key in keeping the game close, including a big turnover thanks to a fourth-quarter interception by Duron Harmon. However, the biggest issue in this game was the simple fact the Patriots couldn’t come up with the plays they needed to score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals.

New England was 1-for-3 in the red zone Saturday night, including just 1-of-2 on goal to go. Considering this one was being played at home, it was surprising to again see them struggle the way that they did.

Anytime a Tom Brady led team has a defense hold the opponent to 14-points, that should be good enough to win the game. Saturday night, it obviously wasn’t but as much as people will talk about Henry’s performance, the defense gave it their all out there and just didn’t get any help on the other side of the football.

Brady and the offense got into the end zone just once Saturday night.

2) The 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line early in the first half was a frustrating sequence, especially when they tried three times and couldn’t punch it in.

The first play saw running back Sony Michel dropped for a 1-yard loss, followed by a run by Burkhead that picked up a yard and put them back at the 1-yard line. However, on 3rd-and-1, they tried running Michel again and Tennessee’s defense was able to break through and drop Michel for a 2-yard loss.

Oddly enough, that was the first time all year the Patriots failed to punch it in facing a 3rd-down on the opponents’ one-yard line, with the offense having scored all three times on their three previous attempts. Brandon Bolden scored in the second quarter back in their October meeting against the Giants on a 3rd-and-1, while Michel scored twice in the same situation in a road game against the Jets a couple of weeks later, with 1-yard TD runs in the second and fourth quarter.

For whatever reason, this year’s offensive line just wasn’t able to provide the same push as last year’s group, which was also obviously missing Rob Gronkowski’s terrific blocking ability. But their inability to score at that point in the game was probably one of the biggest moments in the contest because instead of going up 17-7, New England settled for just a field goal. That took the pressure of Tennessee, who ended up marching down the field and punching it in on their next possession, which gave them their final offensive points of the evening and it ended up being enough to win the game.

3) This has been mentioned before but one of the most frustrating aspects of the later part of this season was the fact the Patriots just didn’t have the offensive skill players to come up with big plays in key situations, which was probably the most notable difference from past seasons.

2019 will probably mark the gutsiest performance of Julian Edelman’s career, with the veteran receiver putting forth an unbelievable effort over the final half of the year. While Edelman had a key drop Saturday night, one thing worth noting was the fact that he appeared to suffer a hand injury after making a diving attempt prior to that play.

Edelman finished the night with 3 receptions for 30-yards as well as two carries for 12-yards, which included a touchdown.

But aside from Edelman, the Patriots never had anyone else step up. Rookie N’Keal Harry had some good moments, but he was targeted 7 times with just two receptions. Mohammed Sanu’s performance was a disaster, with Sanu finishing with just one catch on five targets, including the ball going off his hands on their final possession and ending up in the hands of Logan Ryan, who took the interception into the end zone for the touchdown.

Phillip Dorsett became a non-factor down the stretch after suffering a midseason injury and he was a dismal 1-of-4 catching the football Saturday night, with his one reception going for just six-yards.

You can’t win football games that way and it’s just amazing given how deep they were in the preseason that things turned out the way they did. One would have to believe this will definitely be a focus this offseason heading into the 2020 season.

It would be hard to imagine life without Brady.

4) Listening to Brady after the game on Saturday night, he sounds like a player who is really hoping to return next season.

Brady was asked about his future after the game and said that he doesn’t know what the future looks like and also called any chance of retirement “unlikely”. I posted this on our message board last week but going back to before the start of the season, the sense I get is that something was seemingly said during the negotiations that may have upset him, which appeared to lead to the sequence of events where we heard about the “no franchise tag” clause after this season, his house going up for sale, etc. Brady’s an emotional guy and he’s not the type of player to become greedy and selfish, and there were moments for the first few weeks where he was lauded for not appearing to be happy after wins. That makes me think there was possibly something more behind the scenes playing a factor.

It’s been a long, frustrating year and things might have turned out differently had it not been for two players completely blowing up in their face. For Brady, the situations with Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon, two guys who he invested a lot personal time and energy with, were obviously the most frustrating. Both players each imploded in their own ways and both, most notably Brown, would have certainly been helpful Saturday night. Instead, they lacked playmakers and couldn’t come up with key plays to come away with the win.

For now, it sounds like Brady wants to come back but that there might be a concern about whether or not the team wants him back at whatever number he and his agent are looking for. As a result, that will probably lead to an offseason that will likely be fairly interesting.

Will Belichick be here in 2020?

5) Another report after the game that raised some eyebrows came from Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal, who indicated that like Brady, Bill Belichick’s future may be in question.

According to Bedard, there are rumblings that hadn’t previously been heard and that any move by the head coach would likely have to come “soon”.

“There have been increasing NFL rumors that perhaps Belichick is not as wedded to Foxborough as many of us, certainly me, thought. Is Belichick setting up a final test on whether he has complete control of the football operations? I think Belichick would be OK with Brady being back, but not at the expense of the rest of the team. There are four openings out there and they won’t last forever. If Belichick is contemplating a move, it would have to come soon. There’s no solid intel, but some rumblings I hadn’t heard before. So I don’t rule anything out,” wrote Bedard.

“For the record, my money is still on Bill and Tom being back together again for Year 21.”

As frustrating as that would be to see him leave, unfortunately, the timing sort of makes sense. If Belichick was to start over with another franchise, making a move now would be the logical choice. At age 67, if he planned on coaching for another 4-5 years, it would make sense to do it now vs in another few years when he turned 70. The big question that we’d have to wonder about is where a potential landing spot might be. Obviously, everyone knows about his affinity for the Giants and the other franchise that seems to be gaining steam appears to be the Cowboys, with many within the Dallas media pushing for owner Jerry Jones to throw however much money it might take to get him there.

Needless to say, this should set up an interesting few weeks. One would have to believe if it is going to happen, Bedard is probably correct in terms of a move needing to be made fairly quickly. Hopefully, it’s just noise but if the unthinkable does happen, hopefully, we’ll at least find out fairly quickly whether or not we’re finally about to experience an end of an era with either of the two greatest pieces of this franchise to begin 2020.

Four Patriots Thoughts Heading into the Playoffs

Ian Logue
December 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm ET

Some quick thoughts as we turn the page to the postseason.

1) As much as it would be nice to remain optimistic about the Patriots chances of playing in February, it’s hard to deny the fact that Sunday’s loss to Miami was definitely significant. Losing the bye was critical because New England’s success desperately hinges on the health of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was in dire need of a week off to recuperate given how banged up he’s been. Unfortunately now, he’s not going to get it.

The other key part of this equation also falls on Tom Brady who, as much as he wants to continue to deny it, is clearly still dealing with pain in his throwing elbow after cameras caught him looking uncomfortable again on Sunday while throwing on the sideline.

Let’s not kid anyone, Edelman has been key during New England’s previous championship runs and the fact he’s as hampered as he is doesn’t bode well for their postseason hopes. With the offense struggling badly, it remains a group that still hasn’t quite come around and certainly isn’t riding any momentum heading into January.

Unlike previous years, they’re heading into the playoffs coming off of a short week and it gives them little time to fix a unit that, with the Titans up next, may struggle if this becomes a high-scoring affair against a team that blew them out in a previous meeting. Unlike the Patriots, Tennessee has been playing their best football as of late and that makes them a pretty dangerous foe heading into Saturday night’s showdown at Gillette Stadium.

2) On a side note, my family and I spent the holiday week on vacation and that led to two instances where I was unable to watch the game and instead forced to listen to the radio broadcast with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak, which was a bit eye-opening for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to hear them. Zolak is a breath of fresh air as a color commentator, offering up terrific insight and honest analysis. More importantly, he more or less calls it how he sees it, with Zolak being quite critical of wide receiver Mohammed Sanu and he blamed Sanu’s drop on Sunday for Brady’s pick-six, as the interception came just after Sanu’s miscue, leaving Brady likely leary of looking his way. Instead, he tried to force the football to Edelman, with former Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe being far too familiar with that connection and he stepped in front and took off for the races. That doesn’t excuse Brady from the interception but listening to how the sequence played out, it definitely put a negative spotlight on Sanu, who hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations since they traded for him.

Zolak also went on to call Sanu “useless” while also mentioning that he’s “not worth” the second-round pick the Patriots gave up to Atlanta to acquire him. Add in some of the officiating issues from the previous week in Buffalo, which led to Zolak pointing out the official that continually overlooked the abuse N’Keal Harry took against the Bills’ secondary, and moments like that are ones that definitely made for some entertaining radio.

All-in-all, Zolak’s approach is pretty refreshing given how stale and “safe” a lot of on-air analysis tends to be these days. While some may disagree, it’s nice to hear him echo the thoughts that many fans may have while watching the game and listening to the broadcast. Don’t get me wrong, former broadcaster Gino Cappeletti will always be a legend in New England and in his prime was one of the best during his time as the color commentator with the late Gil Santos. However, Zolak really has been an outstanding replacement and it makes me wish there was an easier way to sync the broadcast each week, especially considering some of the people on the national networks that we’re forced to listen to over the course of the football season.

The Patriots are missing playmakers like Gronkowski around Edelman on offense this season.

3) Getting back to some additional thoughts heading into the playoffs, while I don’t think a deep playoff run or Super Bowl shot is impossible, there’s no question that the Patriots now face a remarkably uphill battle in order to pull it off.

The obvious reason is the fact they’re just not playing well offensively and have been undeniably inconsistent. This is the first season in recent memory where they’ve literally been a completely different team from week-to-week and just can’t seem to string together anything positive on the offensive side of the football from one week to the next. In years past, we’ve seen them slowly make progress and get better, but that just hasn’t happened this year as Brady continues to struggle building chemistry with the weapons they’ve provided him with this season.

Rookie N’Keal Harry continues to get a little better, with Brady going to him a little more each week but they still haven’t quite gotten completely on the same page. Jakobi Meyers has also had some good moments, but it’s been a similar story. We’ve already mentioned Sanu, who Zolak said needed to “wake up” and become someone who can start making the key plays.

Truthfully, that’s what New England is missing right now. They just don’t have enough guys who can make a big play in a key situation, which obviously has been the hallmark of this club in past years. Heading into this postseason, they don’t have additional players like Rob Gronkowski or even Chris Hogan to compliment Edelman, which is a little concerning. They’re also still having a tough time running the football, which was also one of their strengths at this time last season.

It’s not going to be easy. Honestly, they’re about to embark on what they hope is a 4-0 run to win it all with one of the toughest roads imaginable. Playing Tennessee, despite the fact they’ll face them at Gillette Stadium, is no easy task and the prospect of having to venture into Kansas City missing the key faces that helped them win there the last time is also daunting. Factor in that the next step would be having to beat the Ravens at home (if Baltimore advances) to earn a shot at a trip to Miami won’t be easy either.

Obviously, plenty of people also didn’t expect the Giants from pulling off a similar feat years ago when they ran the table and shocked the unbeaten Patriots in a game that no one here in New England likes to talk about. But Eli Manning did that with a serviceable group of receivers and an offense that happened to peak at the right time. Brady is going to have to do it with his best receiver dealing with a sore knee and a banged-up shoulder while relying on other players that he’s seemingly just not confident with. It would be great if they picked next week to start putting it all together, but we haven’t exactly been given reasons to believe that’s going to happen.

It’s not impossible, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s hard enough to win four straight games in this league as it is, even against so-so competition. Having to take on that task facing the NFL’s best with a group that’s scrambling to find themselves may be the biggest challenge of Brady’s career and it remains to be seen whether or not they can finally figure things out.

New England’s defense couldn’t quite close out the game on Sunday against Miami.

4) The other concerning part of this equation is the fact that New England’s defense has been shaky in recent weeks and even more importantly, has struggled closing out opponents. Sunday’s loss to Miami was clearly the worst, especially given what was on the line since New England held the lead during those final moments of the contest and all they had to do was keep the Dolphins out of the end zone. Instead, they couldn’t do it.

Injuries have been an issue on that side of the football in recent weeks, which is another huge reason why losing the bye was so important. They’re now forced to spend this week trying to get healthy on a short week against a pretty good passing offense. While many will talk about Ryan Tannehill’s issues in Miami, he doesn’t look like the same player with the Titans after they’ve done a good job of helping him turn things around and it’s been one of the big reasons why Tennessee is in this position.

Meanwhile, no one probably expected Ryan Fitzpatrick to pull off what he did on Sunday, especially given how bad he played in the previous meeting. But the frustrating part of that wasn’t the fact Fitzpatrick was able to make some plays on Sunday, but rather that the defense allowed a game-winning drive where all they needed to do was keep Miami from scoring a touchdown.

Should New England find themselves in a tight game with the lead, what happened on Sunday will likely be fresh in their minds and until they prove they can close things out, it’s going to be hard for Patriots fans to not be a little nervous.

We’ll see if Saturday night will be the start of something great or just the culmination of a frustrating season. At this point, history has shown that anything can happen. Now we just have to hope that Bill Belichick and Brady still have a little magic left in them when it all begins this weekend.

5 Thoughts After the Patriots Win Over the Bengals

Ian Logue
December 16, 2019 at 9:35 am ET

After losing two in a row the Patriots got back on the right track with an impressive 34-13 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

Here are a few thoughts on the win, which improved New England to 11-3 on the season.

1) With the Patriots as depleted as they are at the wide receiver position, Sunday’s performance by rookie wideout N’Keal Harry was certainly impressive but more importantly, it was much needed.  The rookie finished the afternoon catching two of Brady’s four targets thrown his way including a terrific grab in the back of the end zone for one of New England’s touchdowns.  What’s even more impressive was the fact they both came on 3rd down, which clearly shows how far he’s come in recent weeks.

The rookie was also used as part of New England’s ground game, with Harry carrying twice and accounting for 22 of the 175-yards the Patriots put up against the Bengals defense rushing the football.

However, it was one of the receptions he made that didn’t show up in the stat sheet that gave fans a glimpse of what he’s capable of, with Harry making a terrific diving reception early in the game that would have gone for 36-yards but was negated by a false start by Julian Edelman.

Coming into the game, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had said that he planned on getting the rookie involved more in the offense.  That seemed to be the plan on Sunday and it was a nice step forward Harry, who will potentially be a big key here down the stretch as New England begins their push for a top seed over these final two games.

2) Wide receiver Julian Edelman was a game-time decision and after watching him Sunday afternoon, he definitely appeared to be significantly hampered during this one.

Edelman finished the afternoon with two receptions for just 9-yards and really labored through the contest, which wasn’t really a big surprise.  Reports coming into the game said he’s dealing with both a knee injury and a significant shoulder injury but he continued gutting it out.

The veteran was targeted five times on Sunday and didn’t look close to like himself, but he battled through.  There’s no rest for the weary as New England faces a tough test with the Bills coming into Foxboro on a short week next Saturday and Buffalo is still playing well, having beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10 in a hard-fought game Sunday night.

In their last meeting, New England barely escaped with a 16-10 win out in Buffalo and were actually playing better offensively at that point compared to where they are currently.  Hopefully, things go a little differently this weekend and they’ll be able to get out in front early and limit Edelman’s time on the field.  He’s been critical to their success in the past and they’ll definitely need him healthy here down the stretch if they hope to have success in the postseason.

Brady had decent protection on Sunday in Cincinnati.

3) It was another nice step forward for the Patriots’ offensive line who, for the most part, did a pretty decent job in the running game on Sunday.  They helped open up holes for New England to put up 175-yards on the ground, 89 of which came from Sony Michel.  Michel carried 19 times and averaged 4.7 yards per carry, looking more explosive than we’ve seen him all season as he broke through several tackles and managed to make some tough yards after contact.

Rex Burkhead also played well, with Burkhead coming in and putting up 53-yards on 6 carries, including a touchdown.

Despite two sacks, Brady also got relatively good protection and had time to throw, which helped New England pull away in the second half after the defense pulled off a couple of turnovers.  That was important because like Edelman, Brady clearly appears to be dealing with some pain of his own as he missed some throws he normally makes.

The Patriots’ success is likely going to depend on how this group performs and it remains a work in progress as the team continues dealing with injuries.  This has been a difficult year to say the least but they’ve at least taken steps forward.  Hopefully, they’ll take another next week against the Bills.

Gilmore has had one of his best seasons this year.

4) Watching Stephon Gilmore on Sunday was a reminder that the Patriots clearly made the right decision when it came down to investing their future in the former Buffalo Bills defensive back in lieu of former Patriot, Malcolm Butler.

At the time, that was one of the more heated debates of the offseason and most fans had seen little of Gilmore, who the Patriots had had some success against in their previous meetings prior to his signing.  Gilmore received what at the time was one of the largest contracts given to someone at that position by the team, but he’s earned every penny during his tenure with the team and Sunday was another great example of his value.

As we’ve seen several times this season, some of the interceptions made by New England’s defenders have simply come from being at the right place at the right time and being alert enough to make a play.  But both of Gilmore’s turnovers Sunday due to the defensive back showing off his athleticism, with each instance seeing him run the route stride for stride with the receiver and then break in front of the football to make the reception.

That was the most obvious on the interception where Gilmore scored.  On the play, he made a terrific move to cut off the pass and snatch away the football, taking it 64-yards the other way for the touchdown.  Both of those plays solidified that Gilmore is clearly the best cornerback in the game right now and the Patriots’ success may hinge on how he continues to play in the weeks ahead.  In the postseason, turnovers and big plays matter and New England is fortunate that despite an already impressive season, Gilmore appears to be peaking even more at just the right time.

5) One of the most important aspects of Sunday’s game was quietly the fact kicker Nick Folk looked much more like himself, which comes one week where he didn’t see much action but didn’t quite appear to have recovered from the emergency appendectomy that had sidelined him.

Against the Chiefs, Folk hit one of two attempts and had one blocked, but did connect on his only extra point attempt.  He didn’t look comfortable and it was apparent that his range was also limited given how it affected their offensive decisions that afternoon.  On Sunday he looked much better, hitting each of his two field goals right down the middle, although long kicks appear to be his only weakness.

The absence of Stephen Gostkowski has been one of the issues plaguing this football this season but the fact Folk appears to at least be getting healthy is a positive sign given how important the kicking game is as they continue trying to make their push toward the postseason.  While extra points have been a problem, Gostkowski’s prowess when it came to field goals has always been an asset and it’s been frustrating to watch how not having that has affected some of their decisions this season.  Adding into it the fact that the offense has struggled, the timing of Gostkowski getting hurt certainly hasn’t helped.

Fortunately, Folk has at least been serviceable and appears like he might give them enough to do some damage in tight games.  The big question at some point could come down to whether or not he can come through with a key kick to win a game.  We know Gostkowski had it in him but Folk has yet to really be put into that situation.  Hopefully, the offense will get it together and if all goes well, we won’t have to find out.

The Patriots will now spend this week preparing for a visit from the Bills, who will be looking to keep New England from clinching the AFC East when the two clubs meet in a key showdown on Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm.

Edelman Active, Battling Through “Grotesque” Shoulder Injury, Knee Issues

Ian Logue
December 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm ET

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is an intricate part of New England’s offense and it’s safe to say that he’s certainly been proving his toughness more than ever this season.

Edelman, who missed a day of practice this week as he continues battling through injuries, is in Cincinnati and will be out there today against the Bengals.  The veteran receiver is reportedly dealing with a “tendon injury” in his knee but it doesn’t end there.  He’s also apparently dealing with a shoulder injury which, according to NBC Boston’s Tom Curran, appears to be pretty significant.

Curran said on Wednesday during his weekly appearance on Dale & Keefe on WEEI that he saw Edelman in the locker room and the fact he’s been out on the field to this point shows just how tough he really is.

“I just don’t think you can sit down the most important player in the offense with a shoulder injury, which is a fairly grotesque looking injury,” said Curran, when asked about Edelman’s absence at practice this week. “I happened to see him the other day in the locker room and it looks like, did you ever see that [episode of] Family Guy where he grows another head on his shoulder?  That’s what it looks like.  He’s got another tiny little Julian head on his shoulder.”

“It’s a weird-looking situation.  I don’t know if it’s a bone bruise, I don’t know if it’s a blood swell, it’s weird.  It’s swollen up on the bump on his shoulder.  It’s swelled up significantly.”

Curran also pointed out that given how depleted the Patriots have been at the receiver position all year, Edelman’s role has been critical and the fact he’s continued to be able to answer the bell has been key to New England’s success this season.

“But if you look at the role that he’s carried, you know, 90 catches, 1010 yards, 3 games to go, it’s pretty remarkable,” said Curran.

As for Edelman, he’s ready to go.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm today.

After Tough Loss, Patriots Remain a Team Full of Questions

Ian Logue
December 9, 2019 at 9:52 am ET

When the Patriots look back at Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, while the officiating was beyond frustrating, the bigger frustration really centered around the fact that they had more than enough chances to win this football game but just couldn’t make enough plays when it mattered.

That’s been the storyline all season and it continued on Sunday.  Despite being at home, the Patriots still couldn’t fix what’s wrong with an offense that managed to put up just sixteen points against an explosive Chiefs team that New England’s defense completely shut down in the second half.

Make no mistake, despite giving up 17 second-quarter points, that group did more than enough for the Patriots to win the game.  They held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense to just 3 second-half points, putting Brady and the offense in position for a comeback.  The only problem was, New England’s offense just doesn’t have quite enough at this point to pull off the same types of miracles we’re used to seeing.

To make matters worse, for a team that was already dealing with little margin for error in this game, it didn’t help that the officials made their own mistakes that cost the Patriots badly in this loss.  That will be the topic of discussion for at least a few days until the sting wears off.  After that, the fact Bill Belichick’s team could have kept it from ever reaching that point is the reality we remain left with and overcoming that remains the bigger problem.

Heading into the final weeks of the season, it’s time to accept the fact the problems they have are what they are.  They’re not going to change and it’s no secret that some of their issues have been caused by the fact the club made some personnel missteps and gambles that simply didn’t pay off.

The biggest one that remains frustrating was the fact they gambled on Antonio Brown, who lasted with the club for just one game before it blew up in their face, with Brown being accused of sexual assault.  The accusations were one thing, but the fact he was unable to just allow the people he was paying to do their job instead of harassing an accuser via text ended up costing him his place on this football team.

But it didn’t end there.  Brown ended up being his own worst enemy and he made it worse with his social media outbursts that further complicated things here for him, seemingly damaging any chance he had for a potential return.  On Sunday, Adam Schefter confirmed previous reports that a reunion in New England isn’t likely and that the Patriots don’t intend on re-signing him.  The market is reportedly expected to be busy for Brown when he does become eligible to play again, which likely would have further complicated things.

But Brown wasn’t the only player that let them down.  They gambled on Josh Gordon, devoting a roster spot to a player who let them down last season and according to reports, the embattled receiver started having issues internally this year and it led to the team ultimately waiving him.  At the time, the addition of Brown and Gordon’s place on the roster ultimately led to them parting ways with Demaryius Thomas, who scored a touchdown with the Jets on Sunday.

They gambled by acquiring Mohamed Sanu at the trade deadline, who initially looked like a pretty solid pick up.  But a high ankle sprain has hampered him and it remains to be seen whether or not, if the team can still pull off a first-round bye in the playoff seeding, Sanu will be able to get healthy enough to somehow be able to be a difference-maker in the postseason.

Belichick had to battle the officials during Sunday’s loss to Kansas City.

From there, they’re just a team full of question marks.  On paper, they seem like they have enough to work with in the passing game.  They have veteran receivers Julian Edelman, Sanu and Phillip Dorsett.  They have dynamic running backs in James White and Rex Burkhead.  They have speedy rookies in Jakobi Meyers and first-round pick N’Keal Harry.

The problem is, injuries and inexperience are absolutely killing them.  Two of their key veteran receivers are banged up.  Sanu is still recovering from his ankle injury.  Dorsett is clearly still not 100% and left the game briefly again on Sunday.  Both Harry and Meyers continue to be shakey out there, with neither player clearly on the same page with quarterback Tom Brady.  To make matters worse, Harry suffered an apparent hip injury while diving for the pylon as he tried to score a touchdown late in Sunday’s contest.

The officials blew the call after saying Harry stepped out, despite the fact replay showed he never went out of bounds. The kind folks running the jumbotron at Gillette Stadium replayed that over and over, firing up an already irritated crowd who had to endure one of the worst officiating performances we’ve seen in a game that held serious importance given that the Patriots were trying to keep pace with the Ravens, who beat the Bills on Sunday.

So now, Harry’s status for next weekend is in question, potentially leaving the Patriots down another body in an area where they couldn’t afford to be any thinner.  Meyers had a couple of drops and finished Sunday exactly the same way he came into it as a player who still clearly has a long way to go.

As a result, Brady will still find himself next Sunday dropping back and looking for guys that he still doesn’t have a lot of faith in out in Cincinnati.

The offensive line has been their other big problem.  They’ve struggled running the football this season and have had difficulty protecting Brady, which has been largely due to injuries.  Their problems started with David Andrews developing blood clots in his lungs just before the start of the season.  He was one of their most ferocious inside linemen and his loss, along with other injuries up front, have plagued them all year.  They were shorthanded again on Sunday after Ted Karras was sidelined and James Ferentz stepped in at center, but the Chiefs were able to get pressure inside and it caused problems all game long.  They’ve made some progress running the football, but they’re still a long way from where they were at this point last season.

It’s frustrating.  It’s about to be week 15 and the Patriots aren’t any closer to solving their offensive problems than they were coming into Sunday’s contest.  The one positive they can take away is the fact that despite all their issues, they fought, they never gave up and they were in the game right until the end but just came up short.

Maybe that’s just how it’s going to be for the rest of the season.  With the Bengals, Bills and Dolphins left on the schedule, the Patriots still have a chance to run the table and put themselves in position for a top playoff seed.  The rematch against Buffalo remains the biggest concern, although the Patriots will at least play the next one on their terms in Foxboro having already beaten the Bills once on the road earlier this season.

Should they put themselves in a position with a high enough playoff seed to sit out the first round, all bets are off.  After all, there were similar questions heading into last year’s postseason and after two weeks to get a little healthier and work things out, the Patriots came out of the bye looking like a completely different team and they took care of business in the postseason.

Unfortunately, getting there remains the challenge and it’s obvious that this team still has quite a bit to figure out if they have any hope of making it that far.  One thing we know is that they still face an uphill battle as they head into this stretch with an offense that hasn’t gotten out of neutral all season.

Whether or not they can ultimately kick things into gear remains the biggest question.  At 10-3, things could definitely be worse and with Belichick and Brady, they remain a team that could still surprise everyone in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, this loss is simply another reminder that they’ve still got a long way to go if they want to ultimately pull off another surprising turnaround.  After what we saw Sunday, it definitely looks like they have their work cut out for them and they’re running out of time if they hope to figure it out.

SCHEFTER: Patriots Won’t Bring Back Antonio Brown

Ian Logue
December 8, 2019 at 11:54 am ET

There are many Patriots fans out there who may be hoping that embattled receiver Antonio Brown might make a return to New England, but it appears that the door for that option may finally be closed.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, sources told him that the Patriots will not re-sign Brown, which should end that speculation.

Brown was terrific in his one outing with the Patriots, finishing with 4 receptions for 56-yards and a touchdown down in Miami in their blowout win over the Dolphins back on September 15th.  But that would be his only appearance with the team after sexual assault allegations had earlier surfaced and Brown made the mistake of texting one of his accusers with language that was deemed potentially threatening, which ultimately led to his release.

The league has since conducted an investigation and over that span, the possibility existed that Brown would have been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would have potentially made him ineligible to play even if he was still on the Patriots’ roster.  But Brown has also since had outbursts on social media where he took shots at owner Robert Kraft, which certainly didn’t help the situation.  Brown has since apologized, but the damage was done.

In the meantime, it sounds like Brown may soon be eligible to return to football and his agent believes there are teams out there who “would love to sign him” once all of this is resolved.

Either way, it appears that a return to New England won’t be an option.  The only concern now could possibly be that once Brown becomes eligible to play, the possibility exists that he could potentially land on a roster of a team the Patriots could face in January, which could see him lining up against his former team in the postseason.

New England is currently preparing for a critical game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium later this afternoon at 4:25 pm.

Five Thoughts Following the Patriots Loss to the Texans

Ian Logue
December 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm ET

After a week of misery where the Patriots saw their locker room get swept up with a team-wide illness, Sunday night’s performance in Houston certainly didn’t leave anyone feeling any better.

Bill Belichick took his healthy players on one plane and his sick players on another, clearly hoping to keep the illness from spreading. Instead, their 28-22 showing against the Texans likely ended up being nauseating for everyone and the team now finds itself with a remaining schedule full of must-win games if they hope to earn a top seed and possibly even win the AFC East.

With this one behind us, here are some thoughts coming off of the loss.

1) The discussion this week will likely center around the lack of offensive weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal but it’s hard not to look back at what happened in this game and not feel like the problem extends beyond their lack of experienced talent at the receiver position.

Obviously the miscue by rookie wideout N’Keal Harry that led to an interception was bad, especially since Houston took advantage and scored their first touchdown. But the fact he was essentially completely removed from the offense is pretty disappointing.

Harry wasn’t targeted again following the interception and was on the field for just 22 of the 87 offensive snaps Sunday night, clearly being penalized for the miscue. It was definitely a bad play, which saw him not fight through the defender for the football and led to the interception. But following that turnover, Harry appeared to see little of the field and it was surprising to see them completely give up on him.

For a team that used a 1st round pick on him, it’s surprising that he would be taken out and alienated considering they need every receiver they have to be involved right now. Some may say Harry’s disappearance might be on Brady, but the lack of playing time was clearly a coaching decision and that’s obviously not great news.

If that’s the case, it’s telling for the future of Harry this season, who a few weeks ago seemed like he might have been one of the answers this team has been in need of. Instead, he’s now become a question mark and it’s concerning not just for the remainder of this season, but potentially moving forward if they hope to avoid failing with developing yet another young receiver.

2) This group right now really is a mess, with the veterans accounting for the majority of Brady’s attention as he selectively tries to work the younger guys into the mix. One thing is obvious, as much as it’s going to irritate him, Brady is going to have to force himself to get other players involved in the offense, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him.

There weren’t many occasions where guys came open but there were a few where players like Matt LaCosse and Jakobi Meyers managed a little separation, but Brady instead opted to target his more trusted receivers in both Julian Edelman and James White, who each combined for 214 of the 326 passing yards Brady finished the evening with.

But for the most part, his usual guys were covered and some of his targets were forced, with Phillip Dorsett and Edelman both seeing several passes thrown their way that should never have happened, including two plays where the ball was heaved downfield both to Dorsett and to Edelman (who was double-covered) and nearly picked off, with Brady clearly hoping for either a miracle or a pass interference penalty. Neither happened.

Mohamed Sanu was a guy many hoped would be a difference-maker, but he’s been banged up and played just 19 offensive snaps Sunday night as he continues fighting through an ankle injury. Brady went to him early in the third quarter, which included a 3rd-and-4 where Sanu couldn’t quite reach the marker. The Patriots went for it on 4th-and-1 and Sanu, who was also interfered with on the play, was targeted again couldn’t quite come up with the football. That was a critical sequence because the Texans turned around and took the football the other way on the ensuing possession, with Watson hitting Kenny Stills for a 35-yard touchdown.

Brady clearly has his expectations of how he expects the offense to be run and he was spotted Sunday night imploring his receivers to be “faster”, “quicker” and “more explosive”. He’s got guys who are both quick and fast, but the mental complexity that goes with this offense is clearly creating a learning curve that the younger players have yet to master. You saw it on the play where Meyers didn’t turn upfield when the play broke down and you saw it again where the depth of his route didn’t change and he collided with Edelman, who was penalized for a pick play after Meyers crossed in front of him. Those are mental mistakes, but not reason enough to yet give up on guys who will potentially be valuable down the stretch.

Those are the plays which account for Brady’s frustration and is just going to require patience, because there isn’t another player walking through that door to help them out.

Brady may not realize it, but he’s getting what he wants. He might prefer older, more experienced players, but they need to get younger, faster and quicker and have two very good receivers that fit that description. Despite the growing pains, Brady is just going to have to accept the fact things aren’t going to be perfect and rather than ignoring them after a bad play, he’s going to have to stick with them if he hopes to see them become valuable assets in this offense. It needs to happen, because the offense can’t be stuck in neutral if they expect to beat another tough opponents in the Chiefs team this weekend.

Michel had a productive night against the Texans.

3) Speaking of the offense, it was surprising to see them completely give up on running the football, especially considering the success Sony Michel had early in this contest.

Part of the reason why is somewhat obvious. The fact Michel isn’t a dual threat is likely the reason he came out of the game in favor of James White, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels probably hoping to make things a little more unpredictable for the Texans’ defense.

The bad news is, it made the Patriots less effective and they struggled to sustain drives and give New England’s defense much of a break through much of the first half.

That remains a curious situation given that Michel has shown some good moments catching the football and working in the open field. The problem is, when he’s dropped a pass or not made a play, they completely get away from targeting him. That’s quietly been the story with several offensive players this season and it’s bizarre that they haven’t yet realized giving up on guys and not going back to them has become a pattern that has really hurt them and kept them from potentially getting to where they need to be. Michel has shown he can fill that role when he needs to and it’s strange that they didn’t use him more after he had been productive prior to them going away from him. Whether or not that changes remains to be seen, but that’s been how things have gone so far with the second-year running back who had 621-receiving yards and 6 touchdown receptions during his collegiate career at Georgia.

4) The loss of Stephen Gostkowski continues to loom large, especially after losing Nick Folk to an appendectomy coming into this game.

Newcomer Kai Forbath hit a 23-yard field goal to cap the team’s first drive of the game, but missed an extra point and he looked pretty shaky as the team struggled all game long to sustain drives.

Say what you want about Gostkowski, but he missed just one field goal in his eight attempts this season before getting injured, although he was 11/15 on his extra point kicks. But if the team was in field goal range, there wasn’t much doubt that Gostkowski had a good shot at hitting it. Instead, not having a reliable field goal kicker is something that has definitely hurt them this season and you saw again on Sunday night how it affected some of their decision making.

This will likely remain a problem and when you take into account their offensive struggles, it’s even more concerning as these games continue to become tighter and more meaningful heading into the end of the season.

Despite giving up a few big plays, the defense played about as well as could have been expected Sunday night.

5) Meanwhile, despite how much they struggled, the defense actually had a better game than people think, especially after Belichick pulled them aside late in the first half and started making adjustments.

They did a reasonably good job keeping Deshaun Watson in check, with the Texans really only putting together and scoring one good touchdown drive in the first half, which came on a 13 play, 88-yard possession where Houston held the ball for nearly 7-minutes and wore down the Patriots’ defense. The other touchdown came on the Brady/Harry interception, which gave Houston the football at the New England 21-yard line, setting the Texans up for an easy scoring play to Duke Johnson just 3-plays later.

They actually held Watson to just 3-of-7 in the Third quarter, but the problem was, each of those completions went for 15, 20 and a 35-yard touchdown pass, respectively. For a group that’s normally good about not allowing big plays, that was their Achilles heel as the Texans pulled away.

However, the fact the Patriots managed just 3 points really made things tough and it seemed like it was just a matter of time before the wheels eventually came off. That’s unfortunately, exactly what happened after Houston marched their way down to the Patriots 35-yard line early in the third quarter, with Watson tossing a 35-yard pass to Will Fuller, who appeared to haul in the football for the score. However, replay showed that Jonathan Jones got his hand in and kept Fuller from controlling the football and the call was reversed and called incomplete.

But the Texans wasted no time going right back at Jones, with Watson this time throwing a perfect 35-yard pass to Kenny Stills on the next play for a touchdown, which suddenly put the pressure on New England at 21-3. That play was a tough one, especially after the close call Jones had just one play earlier. It was also the second longest scoring pass play allowed all season, with the previous one coming all the way back in Week 6 against the Giants thanks to Golden Tate’s 64yd touchdown.

The Patriots answered with a scoring drive of their own on the next possession, but the failed extra point seemingly took the wind out of their sails and they trailed 21-9 at the end of the third quarter. Houston then put together a drive to begin the fourth quarter that ended with a toss to Deandre Hopkins, who then threw a touchdown to Watson on a play that looked like a pitch but was ruled a forward pass, with Watson diving into the pylon for the touchdown.

Either way, the real story of this game was the fact on a night where they were facing a good team who came in with a good game plan, the lack of complimentary football by the offense was really their bigger issue. Three first half points obviously wasn’t enough and unfortunately, it put them in a hole just deep enough where despite their last-second scoring run, they just couldn’t recover.

As good as this defense has been, expecting them to hold opposing teams scoreless if they can’t put up points is asking a little much and all things considered, especially considering the state they were in health-wise, they played about as well as could have been expected.

With the Chiefs up next it’s another big challenge and expecting this group to shut down Pat Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City offense is going to be a tall order if they can’t put up any points. If that ends up being a problem again this weekend, they’re going to be in for another long afternoon.

Hopefully, they’ll figure it out. They’ll spend the rest of this week trying to put this one behind them and do just that before they kickoff against the Chiefs on Sunday at 4:25pm.

Five Thoughts on the Patriots Win Over the Cowboys

Ian Logue
November 25, 2019 at 8:33 am ET

The weather at Gillette Stadium may have been miserable, but at least the fans on hand who braved the elements on Sunday got to see the Patriots take care of business against the Cowboys as they improved to 10-1 on the season.

Points were at a premium and it was New England who came away on top, beating Dallas 13-9 on a rain-soaked field in front of the home crowd. Here are some thoughts on the win.

1) Wide receiver N’Keal Harry had a fairly solid outing on Sunday, with his athleticism on display in what ended up being the key play of the game as he scored the lone touchdown of the afternoon.

On the play, Harry broke out toward the corner and twisted himself around, snatching the ball out of the air on a terrific throw from Tom Brady, while managing to keep both feet in bounds for the 10-yard touchdown.

It was a huge play for the rookie, coming two plays after Matthew Slater blocked a Dallas punt deep in their own territory and it ended up being the knockout blow as the Cowboys never reached the end zone for the entire game.

Harry was targeted 4 times with his lone TD reception but did have a couple of drops in this one, which were largely due to the elements as the ball slipped through his fingers on a couple of leaping grabs that may have otherwise been receptions in dryer weather. But Sunday was a nice glimpse of why the Patriots selected him and hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come.

2) Sunday was also a big day for fellow rookie receiver Jakobi Meyers, who stepped up big in Sunday’s win.

Meyers was targeted 9 times and finished with 4 receptions for 74-yards, all of which were first downs. He also caught 2-of-3 targets on third down, both of which moved the chains.

The rookie averaged a team-high 18.5 yards per reception and made a critical 9-yard catch during a fourth-quarter drive that led to a 42-yard field by kicker Nick Folk, which put the Patriots up 13-6 and kept the pressure on Dallas.

Overall, like Harry, it was a solid showing for Meyers and it came when they needed it most. Without receivers Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett, who were both sidelined with injuries, the two each got in some much-needed work and it was great to see both players take advantage of their opportunities.

3) Much of the talk all week centered around the return of left tackle Isaiah Wynn and he didn’t disappoint on Sunday.

Brady had significantly more time to throw and even more importantly, the ground game was pretty effective all afternoon. Running back Sony Michel finished Sunday’s game carrying 20 times for 85-yards, 14 of which went to the left side.

Dallas’ pass rush was also kept at bay and Wynn played a big factor in that and he looked fairly comfortable out there. Not bad for a player who has been a spectator all season as he spent time getting healthy. The team seemingly took their time and didn’t rush him back, hopefully making sure that this time, they’ll have Wynn back for the long haul.

If Sunday’s game is any indication, Wynn appears to be the difference-maker they needed up front and the result certainly speaks for itself.

4) One of the things that also stood out was the fact that Stephon Gilmore was absolutely outstanding on Sunday, completely shutting down Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper.

Cooper was held without a reception for the first time since he joined the Cowboys, with Gilmore blanketing him all game long and making sure Cooper was never a factor out there.

Gilmore also finished the game with a diving interception, which came early in the second quarter as Dak Prescott was targeting Cooper and the Patriots ended up with Folk hitting a 44-yard field goal, which at the time put New England up 10-0.

By the fourth quarter it was obvious Cooper was frustrated and the game ended in fitting fashion, with the Dallas receiver failing to haul in a fourth down reception as Cooper dove for a pass from Prescott to try and extend the game. It was initially ruled a 20-yard reception but was overturned after replay showed that Cooper couldn’t quite secure it before he hit the ground.

But credit Gilmore for his performance. In a tight game like this one where there was little margin for error, the veteran defensive back made sure there were certainly no mistakes on his side of the field.

5) Sunday’s game was a solid outing for Brady, who finally had some room to work back in the pocket.

With Wynn stabilizing his side of the offensive line, Brady did a solid job even despite the rain throwing the football. Granted, there were a couple of throws that were off-target, but that was to be expected given the elements. But the biggest thing that was noticeable was the fact he was much more poised than he had been in recent weeks and that was largely because he was under significantly less duress.

Brady finished the afternoon 17-of-37 for 190 yards and a touchdown, with his best quarter coming in the final 15 minutes of Sunday’s game as he completed 7-of-13 for 55-yards, which included a terrific 23-yard pass to Julian Edelman that put New England in Dallas territory. While the drive stalled, that pass was big because it put them into position to allow Jake Bailey to pin the Cowboys in at their own 8-yard line and forced Prescott and the offense to have to drive the length of the field if they hoped to win the game.

However, he did make a dangerous play in this one on another throw to Edelman as he was sandwiched between defenders and twisted awkwardly as he went down. Fortunately, Brady escaped injury but watching it on replay was certainly scary. For a player who normally does a pretty good job with self-preservation, that was a moment that could have turned out badly and he’s fortunate to have come away unscathed.

But overall, it was probably the most comfortable we’ve seen Brady in a long time and with a climate-controlled game up next in the dome in Houston, it should be interesting to see if this is the week both he and the offense finally breaks out.

If ever there was a week to make a statement, this is certainly it. Hopefully, that’s exactly what we’ll see next Sunday night when New England faces the Texans as they look to improve to 11-1 on the season.