Category Archives: Patriots Commentary

Patriots  Week 14  Report Card, Dolphins Dump Patriots 27-20

Steve Balestrieri
December 13, 2017 at 10:36 am ET

First things first, and we’ve said this many times in the past, however this time the script was flipped. The score is far from indicative of how the game played out on the field. Miami dominated this one from start to finish in all three phases of the game. That the Patriots were still within striking distance late in the game to attempt an onside kick was a testament to their resiliency because they really had no business winning this game.

It was a very disappointing effort on all accounts as they had an opportunity to wrap up the division with a win and played their worst game in the past two months.

So we’ll go thru the positions after rewatching the tape and see what the grades say this week.

Quarterback: C-

Tom Brady had what he characterized as his worst game of the season, which is pretty accurate. The Dolphins switched up their defense, took away the middle of the field,  and were getting constant pressure on him while their corners completely shut down the Patriots wide receivers on the perimeter. Brady was forced into forcing low percentage passes down the field. He was picked off twice and nearly had a third.

He was forced to throw to the backs time and again because he had nowhere else to go.It was a very frustrating night for the team and its quarterback. It didn’t help matters that the offensive line wasn’t having a good night either. The Patriots were 0-11 on third down and Brady’s ability to slide and move in the pocket was the only reason the Dolphins didn’t have half a dozen sacks.

Running Backs: C

The Patriots didn’t run the ball effectively enough and then abandoned the idea way too soon in the second half. Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead had just 10 carries between them, James White had one. When the offense, which has been so balanced falls into that kind of ratio, bad things can happen and on a night where their top two receivers (Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski) weren’t in the lineup…bad things abounded.

Lewis had a fantastic one-handed stab of a pass Brady floated out when the Dolphins blitzed and Lewis, running a wheel route turned it into a 20-yard gain.

Burkhead turned one screen into a 23-yard play and had a nice run behind a block from James Develin into the first touchdown of the game.

James White made a really nice catch on a low throw from Brady and was able to keep his balance and dove for the pylon for a touchdown.

Wide Receivers: D

The wide receivers probably didn’t get the memo that the game started at 8:30 because they didn’t show up and then barely at that until the second half. Xavien Howard completely shut down Brandin Cooks, he wasn’t able to do anything on the Dolphins corner who picked off two passes. He had no catches until late in the game when he snagged a 38-yard pass when Miami had gone to a zone and blew the coverage and left him all alone. Chris Hogan caught one pass for one yard on five targets, being much less a factor in his return than was thought.

Danny Amendola had six catches including a nice 23-yard grab where he just came up short of falling into the end zone with just under two minutes to go in the game. Had the onside kick worked, it would have been a much bigger play.

Tight Ends: D

No Rob Gronkowski this week equated to zero production from the tight end position. With Gronk out, the Dolphins left a safety in the middle and Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister were not able to make any production at all where it was needed most.

Allen was targeted five times although not all of Brady’s throws were on the mark. He ended up with two catches for 10 yards. Not nearly enough.

Offensive Line: D

The offensive line had a night that they’d rather forget although, with Dante Scarnecchia as their coach, they’ll hear about it this week. The running game rushed for 25 yards, Brady has hit hard all night and the Dolphins blitzes weren’t being picked up nearly as sharply as they should have. The fact that Brady was sacked only twice speaks much more about his ability to move and slide in the pocket and unload the ball than it did about their ability to protect him.

The bad night was shared equally. All of the members were getting beat at different times on Monday night. Ndamukong Suh had a very strong game, he overmatched them inside all night long.

Defensive Line: C-

The defensive line was thin, missing Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy who plays both on the edge and as a linebacker. Then Alan Branch went down with a knee injury, tried to come back and left for good. That left Deatrich Wise, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy and Eric Lee playing a lot of snaps with little rest. That is an awful lot of inexperience there. Only Guy has played in the league longer than this season. And he had a terrific game and really stepped up his play. He had two run stuffs and nearly had a pick-six when Jay Cutler literally threw the ball right to him on a botched screen.

Butler had a few flashes, especially late in the game when the defense stiffened in the fourth quarter, but the run defense was gashed by Kenyan Drake and their inability to set the edge hurt. Lee was caught a few time not doing that, and for a guy with three games of experience in the NFL, that is what happens when the next man up mantra gets overused. No pass rush to speak of, Cutler was way too comfortable for most of the night. This unit needs to get healthy quickly this week.

Linebackers: D+

Elandon Roberts had arguably his best game as a Patriot two weeks ago against Miami but the script was flipped on him this time around and he had one of his worst. Due to injuries and David Harris being a healthy scratch, it was just Roberts and Marquis Flowers for the majority of the night. The run support wasn’t great, (Roberts’ specialty). Matt Patricia called a run blitz and instead of stuffing it behind the line, Roberts whiffed (a common occurrence all night) and Drake ran for 26 yards. Miami isolated him with Drake split wide and the results were what one would expect. That isn’t Roberts fault, the Patriots often do the exact same thing. It is up to the coaches to get him some help. Letting the speedy Drake run a 47-yard fly on Roberts is a win for Miami. Marquis Flowers had a forgettable night but did have one nice stop on Drake for a loss. Trevor Reilly made a cameo.

Secondary: C

The secondary had its weakest game in the last two months. Malcolm Butler had a very rough night. He was burned by 5’6 wide receiver Jakeem Grant for a 25-yard touchdown and should have given up another. Grant flew by him and was wide open. Cutler put the ball perfectly in his hands and Grant dropped it.

Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones were simply okay and not playing anywhere near the level they had been in the past month plus. The players looked like the dreaded communication issues were resurfacing with all of the crosses and bunch formations Miami was running. Pat Chung got faked out completely on a beauty of a spin move by Drake…that is one you just tip your hat to the foe.

Devin McCourty was solid and came unblocked on a blitz where he made a big sack of Cutler keeping the Patriots close. Jordan Richards came on another similar play and whiffed completely, resulting in a first down and later a Miami touchdown.

Special Teams: B-

The star here was Ryan Allen, who had his best game in quite awhile. He had a strong 46.4 net punting average with incredible hang time which really limited Miami’s ability to return the ball. He dropped several inside the 20. That fact alone kept the Patriots hanging around late in the game. Stephen Gostkowski hit both field goals and his kickoffs once again were outstanding, Miami’s kick return game was stifled by excellent coverage. The Patriots return game was stuffed completely as Miami’s coverage units were likewise outstanding.

What in the world was up with that onside kick? That had to be one of the uglier attempts I’ve seen, rivaling the Colts fake punt. Ugly design, uglier execution.

Coaches: C-

Bill Belichick was outcoached by Adam Gase, something that doesn’t happen all too often. The team came out flat and seemed unprepared. They usually have one of these type of games every year but this was the worst of all possible times to have that happen.

Josh McDaniels had some curious play calls and abandoned the run far too soon which seemed a bit of a panic move especially with the team down only three at the half. Matt Patricia’s MASH unit on defense was gashed both on the ground and in the air. But he did what he had to do, got creative with some blitzes and the defense made five straight stops late in the game to give them a chance to come back.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Steelers Tomlin Fired Up For Patriots Showdown

Ian Logue
at 5:00 am ET

It’s only Wednesday and Mike Tomlin sounds like a kid who can’t wait for Christmas as the Steelers await their long anticipated showdown with the Patriots this weekend.

He likely enjoyed himself Monday night as his hated rivals from New England fell apart on national television in a loss that put the Steelers atop the AFC for this week with the best record in the Conference.  That now puts the Patriots in a must-win situation this week, as a victory will tie them with Pittsburgh record-wise at 11-3, but give them the advantage with a head-to-head victory for the tie-breaker for the top seed with two games to play.

Fortunately, unlike back in January when the Patriots ended the Steelers’ run in the AFC Championship Game, Pittsburgh will get to play this one on their home turf.  This one still has plenty riding on it, and Tomlin is certainly fired up for it.

“It’s good to be in the kitchen.  The kitchen’s in Pittsburgh, PA, this week in the National Football League, and at Heinz Field,” Tomlin said via ESPN. “That’s where you want to be in the middle of December. We don’t take it for granted.”

Had New England beaten Miami, it would have likely put even more hype into one of the biggest match-ups of the season.  Up until Monday night, the Patriots and Steelers were the two teams in the AFC who were both playing well and seemed to be the most likely to end up in Minnesota this February.  Now, it’s Pittsburgh who has been the team that despite struggling against lesser opponents, they’ve still found a way to win.  New England, meanwhile, saw Rob Gronkowski get suspended against the Bills last weekend, leaving the Patriots vulnerable against a Dolphins team who smelled blood and took advantage.

Oddly enough, even as bad as everything went, the Patriots were still very much in the game but just couldn’t quite make enough plays to pull off the victory.  To Le’Veon Bell, that’s one of the things he feels should now separate the Steelers and give them the advantage as the Super Bowl favorites.

“I’m obviously going to say yeah, we should be the Super Bowl favorite and we have the talent to back it up,” said Bell via Yahoo! Sports.  “I think we haven’t been necessarily playing our best football, but we’ve been getting the job done for the last eight weeks or so that we’ve won. It may not be pretty, we may not win by 25, 30 points or play a style everybody likes, but we find a way to get the job done.”

“I think us beating Baltimore [in Week 14] 39-38 really showed a lot because that’s a divisional rivalry, against a team that’s been playing really good football. Then you see a team like New England [during the same week] they played a division rival and they didn’t get the job done. Some people don’t like the way we win, but at the end of the day we are winning the games. So I’m confident and I think the rest of our team is too.”

As a result, New England’s misery has Pittsburgh riding high heading into Sunday’s game.  The Patriots have history on their side since Tom Brady holds the 7-2 regular season advantage, as well as a perfect 3-0 postseason record, but Pittsburgh has the momentum.  The good news for Patriots fans is the fact that while Monday night’s game might not have gone the way they hoped, the one thing it likely will do is make the focus a little sharper this week and raise the motivation even a little bit higher as the Patriots try and get back to playing good football.

Either way, this is a pivotal game for both teams, and Tomlin says they’re looking forward to being in the spotlight on National Television for a chance to knock off their nemesis this weekend.

“It’s good to be in big games. It’s better to be in big games than ones nobody’s watching,” he said. “We better be appreciative of this spot and not resistant in any way, but embrace it.”

“This is what we’ve been fighting for since March, to be in these types of games against these types of people. Why would you fight that? It’s an awesome thing.”

Five Takeaways From the Patriots Loss To Miami

Ian Logue
December 12, 2017 at 9:00 am ET

Monday night down in Miami didn’t go quite as planned and the Patriots found themselves on the wrong end of a 27-20 loss in a game that was never as close as the final score indicated.

Sure, the Dolphins did about all they could to give the game away, but New England looked like a team that lacked energy and allowed themselves to be manhandled by a Miami team with little to lose and plenty to prove after losing their previous meeting up in Foxboro two weeks ago. The end result saw the Patriots get outplayed by an opponent that simply competed harder, which now sets up a game next Sunday in Pittsburgh that suddenly has even more riding on it.

That being said, here are some thoughts on what went down Monday night.

1) No repeat in their ground game this time around – In their first game, the Patriots did a good job running the football, with both Dion Lewis (15 carries, 112 yards) and Rex Burkhead (13 carries, 50 yards) finishing with strong performances as the Patriots racked up 196 yards on the ground.  But on Monday night, it was a different story as the two combined for just 10 carries and 25 yards.

Miami’s defense did a better job up front, especially against Burkhead, who carried 5 times for just 8 yards.  The Dolphins defense set the tone right away on the first play from scrimmage, with Ndamukong Suh drilling Burkhead and dropping him for no gain.  Suh walked back to the huddle jawing at New England’s offense and that ended up being a bad sign as the Dolphins brought plenty of fire and intensity in this one, which the Patriots never seemed able to match.  They attacked the Patriots offensive line and closed down a lot of the holes that were open the first time, keeping the Patriots from controlling the line of scrimmage while not allowing them to get into a rhythm.  As a result, the ground game seemed to take a backseat and that was obviously a big factor in shutting down New England’s offense.

2) Tom Brady looked like he was playing through pain – Looking back at last night’s game, one of the things that stood out was the fact that many of Brady’s throws were coming up short, while others either sailed or lacked the normally tight spiral that we’re used to seeing from the veteran quarterback.  He’s missed time over the past couple of weeks while reportedly dealing with an Achilles injury, but the lack of power on quite a few of his throws was probably about as evident as it’s been since this injury first appeared on the injury report.

The first sign something was up came on New England’s opening series, with the team facing 3rd-and-10 from their own 25.  With Brandin Cooks facing one-on-one coverage on the outside, Brady dropped back and thew deep down the left sideline and didn’t seem to get enough on it as he underthrew him, leading to his first interception of the night.   From there he was either coming up short or badly overthrowing receivers who were right in front of him, which for a player who is normally one of the more accurate passers in the league, it was clear something was amiss.  Brady was spotted flexing his hand after a hit, although it’s unclear if that played a factor.

Either way, as the game wore on, the ball didn’t seem like it was coming out of his hands well and it didn’t help that he was trying to battle through it against a Dolphins pass rush that did a good job of getting pressure on him.  By the fourth quarter, there were several balls that uncharacteristically fluttered after he let them go and for a player who relies so much on his mechanics, it was obvious that something definitely wasn’t right and it was hard not to wonder if his injury played a little more of a factor this week.


Brady and the offense couldn’t do very much Monday night.

3) With Gronkowski out, the passing game struggled – With Gronkowski out thanks to his fourth quarter hit against Tre’Davious White, it was clear that the Patriots’ plan was to try and get the running backs involved in the passing game in an effort to try and overcome his absence and create match-up problems.  At the end of the first half, it was Rex Burkhead (5/5 45yds), Dion Lewis (3/3 31yds) and James White (2/3, 8yds) who lead the team in receiving, while Brandin Cooks (0/2) and Chris Hogan (0/1) and Danny Amendola (0 targets) were each held without a reception.

Without their star tight end, the Patriots found themselves unable to attack the middle of the field and the Dolphins’ defense forced a lot of passes by Brady toward the sideline, and there weren’t many open looks.  The biggest reason for that was the fact the Dolphins played much more physical this time around with New England’s receivers.  Miami did a great job pressuring them coming off the line and making it hard for them to get into their routes, which allowed them to stay on them nearly every time coming out of their breaks.  Miami safety said Reshad Jones told Miami reporter Omar Kelly after the game, “We knew if we put our hands on the receivers they couldn’t get off the ball.”

It worked, and it made for a frustrating night for a group that just simply couldn’t get it going.

4) Third down was obviously a problem – The worst part about Monday night’s game was the fact New England couldn’t convert on third down, finishing 0-for-11 on the night, their worst performance during Tom Brady’s career.  Even worse, you actually have to go all the way back to 1991 to find another game where they didn’t move the chains, which happened against the Pheonix Cardinals after the team finished 0-for-6.  Brady was just 14-years old.

He finished the night 3-of-10 (30%) passing on third down, far and away his worst performance of the season.  Oddly enough, his other lowest completion percentage came against Miami in their previous meeting where he finished 2-of-5 (40%).  Prior to that, the last time he finished under 50% throwing the football on third down, you have to go all the way back to their week one loss against the Chiefs where he finished 5-of-11 (45%).

But one of the storylines of this season has been the fact that he’s had really poor results targeting Cooks on third down.  On Monday night he finished 0-for-4 with two interceptions, bringing his season total targeting him to 5-of-22  (23%).  From there he was also 0-for-2 targeting Chris Hogan, with Hogan normally a relatively reliable target for him (12-of-18, 8 first downs this season on third down).  Gronkowski’s absence loomed large, as he leads the team in 3rd down conversions, coming into the game with 16.

However, as bad as it was not having Gronkowski on the field, the bigger problem was the fact the Patriots found themselves in long-yardage situations on the majority of them.  They faced 3rd-and-8 or more on 7 of their 11 attempts, including 4 of 10-yards or longer.  That’s a recipe for disaster, and unfortunately things just didn’t go their way Monday night.

5) Defensive personnel losses definitely hurt them – As much as people want to panic about the way New England’s defense struggled during this one, the Patriots were also fairly depleted given that both Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy were absent coming into this game.  From there, they caught another bad break after Alan Branch suffered a knee injury in the second quarter.  The Dolphins took advantage and had a big night running the football, with Kenyan Drake putting up 114 yards on 12 carries.  Drake made his presence felt early after ripping off a 26-yard run on Miami’s opening drive that helped set up their first field goal, and he was a problem all night.

He also caused them problems in the passing game, which included a 47-yard pass that helped set up Miami’s second touchdown of the game. His performance was huge as he finished with 79-yards receiving and he played a key factor in Jay Cutler’s success on a night where Cutler finished 25-of-38 for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Branch managed to play just 15 snaps after he tried fighting through an early injury and the Patriots struggled against the run, while Van Noy’s absence was also problem as the Dolphins running backs were able to get deeper into the second level, lead by Drake.

New England managed to get some pressure on Cutler, but they were inconsistent.  However, as bad as it was, give Matt Patricia credit.  He did a good job of getting creative and drawing up blitzes from the secondary, with Devin McCourty finishing the night with one of the team’s two sacks, which came on a safety blitz.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

One thing to watch now will be the health of Patrick Chung, who was injured during the team’s poor onside kick attempt at the end of the night, which didn’t go ten yards and more or less summed up a bad night of football for a New England team that just never got it together.  Chung stayed down after the play and did manage to walk off under his own power, but he definitely appeared to be in a lot of pain.

This one will sting but the Patriots won’t have long to think about it.  They’ll return to work on Wednesday as they get ready to travel to Pittsburgh in what’s now become a must-win game if they hope to secure the top seed heading into the postseason.

Ugly MNF Loss As Miami Dominates the Flat Patriots 27-20

Steve Balestrieri
at 8:30 am ET

Yes, we know how short-handed the Patriots were on Monday night, missing several key players and losing another in the first half, but that wasn’t the story on Monday night in Miami. The Dolphins were the team ready to play on Monday night and it showed. They dominated in all three phases of the game and the final 27-20 score doesn’t do justice to how much they pressured and stymied the Patriots offense.

Monday night was the Patriots worst game since their early season struggles. They were sluggish from the opening snap and Miami’s offense set the tone early. The Dolphins were running short crossing routes and the Patriots defenders were having trouble with their communication and the crossers and rub routes were very effective. Jay Cutler didn’t resemble anything close to the aging QB who has struggled all season in South Beach and had arguably his best game of the season. Cutler, scraggly neck beard and all, even showed some fire on the field as he beat New England for the first time in his career.

On the opposite side, Tom Brady was flustered and off-balance all night. The Patriots offense had to rely on their running backs as their wide receivers were MIA in Miami all game long and were a complete non-factor. The Patriots also ended their streak of allowing 17 points or less as well as their 14-game road winning streak. Other observations from tonight’s game include:

Play Calling Curious: Josh McDaniels abandoned the running game far too early in this one. Despite being dominated in the first half, the team was down only 13-10 at halftime. The last time the two teams met, New England rushed for nearly 200 yards. To only give your running backs 10 carries? Curious.

Late in the game, needing two scores, Danny Amendola was tackled right near the goal line giving the team first and goal at the one-foot line. Rather than attempting to run it in, they passed, steadily moving backward until they faced a 3rd and goal from the 15-yard line. They kicked a field goal but the onside kick was comically bad and Miami recovered and killed the clock.

But had they scored a touchdown there, a field goal would have been all that was needed to tie the score. Very un-Patriot like.

Offensive Line Issues Abound: With the running game an after-thought, the Patriots offensive line was not up to the task of protecting Brady. Miami was blitzing all night, normally a sign that New England would be eating them up offensively, but not tonight.

Brady was under duress from all points of the compass and pointing the finger at just Cameron Fleming is wrong. They were beat all along the line and the communication there wasn’t the best.

The worst part is, the pressure Miami was bringing was right up the middle, not allowing Brady to step up enough and throw in the pocket.

Dolphins Secondary Dominates: Miami did a great job of taking away the middle of the field. Granted, that is a spot where Gronkowski normally dominates, but other than passes to the running backs, Brady and the wide receivers were never able to get anything going in the middle of the field until very late in the game.

Xavien Howard erased Brandin Cooks tonight, and intercepted Brady twice. Cooks was shut out until the fourth quarter when the Dolphins dropped into a zone and had a bad bust in coverage. But holding Cooks and Hogan to one catch a piece is a big win for their secondary.

Danny Amendola ended up with six catches with all of them coming in the second half. Miami forced Brady into his first two-interception game in the regular season since 2015 against Philadelphia. And the Patriots were an astounding 0-11 on third down.

Brady Battered and Flustered: Tom Brady was hit hard again and this time, the effects were shown. He finished 24-43 for 233 yards with one touchdown and two picks. His QB rating of 59.5 was his lowest since 2013.

Unable to convert a single third down and a combined 2-12 when targeting Cooks and Hogan, Brady was unloading those low percentage deep balls time and again. In the first quarter, the Patriots got two (2) yards of offense. Two, that is not the way you want to start.  In the second half, they got away from targeting the running backs as they were forced to stay in and help with pass protection.

Kenyan Drake Shreds the Defense: The former Alabama third down specialist is now an every-down back and he’s electric. The Dolphins wanted to get him the ball more as he’s got tremendous speed. And his array of moves was on full display tonight. He faked Pat Chung with a spin move leaving Chung holding air that was amazing. And once he hits the hole, if the defense doesn’t lay a hand on him, he has the speed to take it to the house.

Drake finished with 25 carries for 114 yards and five catches for 79 more in the passing game. They split him out wide and isolated him on Elandon Roberts which is a total mismatch. While Roberts has issues in coverage, asking him to cover Drake deep is a win-win for Miami. He burned Roberts for a 47-yard gain deep down the right sideline.

If Drake can hold up physically, he’s going to be an intriguing member of the Fins to watch next year.

Butler Has Rough Game: Malcolm Butler had one of his least memorable games in Miami tonight. He was constantly behind in coverage and was beaten badly by Jakeem Grant a couple of times, one for a 25-yard touchdown and on another on a deep pass by Cutler that was perfectly thrown and the wide-open Grant dropped it.

Butler is going to have to have a very short memory this week as he’ll be facing Antonio Brown this week in Pittsburgh. And judging from the game Brown had on Sunday and Butler had last night, the Steelers will be going to the well early and often against Butler this Sunday afternoon.

Branch Injury Leaves Defense More Depleted: The Patriots defensive line took another shot as Alan Branch injured his knee in the first half, tried to return but left for good leaving an already depleted defense even thinner. Facing the Steelers offensive line and Le’Veon Bell on a short week, if Branch is unable to go, that will be a huge loss.

Right now they have Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, and Adam Butler inside, with Guy playing some on the edge as well with Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy out. Vincent Valentine hasn’t even begun practicing yet so expecting help from him this week is not going to happen.

The Patriots simply were outplayed from start to finish in this one. Miami was hungrier, more motivated and came out with a purpose. This is what we expected from New England. So the Dolphins are alive for one more week and the Patriots still hold their destiny in their hands. With a win over the Steelers, they’d still own the #1 seed.  We’ll have more on this game later in the week.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

5 Final Thoughts Before The Patriots Face The Dolphins

Ian Logue
December 11, 2017 at 8:07 am ET

With the Patriots preparing for another key division game tonight against the Dolphins, here are some final thoughts as New England tries to keep pace with the Pittsburgh for the top seed in the AFC after the Steelers pulled off a last-second win over Baltimore Sunday night.

1) If you look back at the Patriots battle against the Dolphins two weeks ago, one of the things that comes to mind is the fact the Patriots were able to get on top of the Dolphins early, with Tom Brady and the offense scoring touchdowns on both of their opening drives to start the game.  That ended up being one of the biggest keys during their win because it allowed the Patriots the ability to absorb mistakes, and they made a big one early. Ted Karras made a bad snap in their own territory that flew past Brady and was recovered and returned by the Dolphins’ defense for a touchdown, allowing Miami to get back in the game at 14-7.

But New England came right back on the next drive and scored another touchdown, and thanks to their fast start, the Patriots were able to take the control right back, going up 21-7 while putting the pressure right back on Miami.

Brady has said on more than one occasion that going up early and playing the game on their own terms is one of the biggest things they focus on and it ended up being one of the more important aspects in their original meeting as it allowed New England’s defense to be more aggressive and they forced several turnovers as a result.  Hopefully they’re able to achieve the same success during tonight’s rematch, although without the miscues.


The Patriots have had their struggles in Miami over the years.

2) Normally a trip down to Miami is an immediate red flag given some of their past problems down there, but the Patriots actually find themselves a little fortunate tonight thanks to the fact the schedule makers cut them one break in that they’re heading to South Florida in December instead of earlier in the season.   Those early season meetings where the heat and humidity has been miserable has been their Achilles’ heel in a few of those games, creating an environment where the home team has had the clear advantage.

Instead, according to Weather.com, the forecast is calling for temperatures closer to 70-degrees, which will likely be even cooler when the sun goes down by game time.  That plays right into their hands, hopefully setting up a comfortable night for the Patriots to play their best football as they look to sweep the Dolphins for 2017.

3) Speaking of conditioning, it’s going to be interesting to see whether or not the Patriots can continue the same success they’ve had the last two weeks running the football against Miami’s defense. In their previous meeting, Dion Lewis rushed for 112 yards on 15 carries, averaging 7.5 yards per carry against a Dolphins defense that just couldn’t stop him.

The Patriots also hit Miami with a strong dose of Rex Burkhead, who carried 13 times for 50 yards as New England went on to pile up 196 yards rushing on the afternoon.

The ability to run the football allowed Brady to keep them off balance, with the veteran quarterback completing 10-of-12 for 67 yards and four touchdowns on second down, which is also normally a down where they’re a threat to run the football.

Instead, the Dolphins never figured things out and it created a productive afternoon for the offense. This meeting will obviously be a little different since the Patriots will be dealing with managing Rob Gronkowski’s absence, who played a big part in what they did the first time around. Fortunately Chris Hogan seems poised to return tonight, but with Gronk sidelined, it will be interesting to see what they do to try and compensate for him not being out there. However, it’s worth noting that in the one game he missed this season against the Buccaneers, the Patriots managed just 19 points, their lowest scoring output of 2017. Hopefully they’re a little more productive in this one.


Brady and the offense had a strong outing in their last meeting.

4) It’s amazing how when Stephon Gilmore went down with a concussion after the team’s Week 5 game against the Buccaneers, there were many who thought the team should part ways with him after Gilmore had some early difficulties with the communication in the secondary over the first month of the season.  But since his return in Denver, Gilmore has arguably become one of the team’s most important parts of the defense as they’ve continued their eight-game winning streak, and it’s clear he’s managed to establish a strong relationship in the locker room.

Looking back at the team’s first meeting with Miami, Gilmore made an interception and nearly had another at the end of the game. Instead, Duron Harmon, who collided with Gilmore on the play, ended up with the football after Gilmore gave it up to Harmon when the two caught the pass simultaneously and fell to the ground. 

After the game, in a moment caught on film by the team in the locker room, Harmon was met by Kraft and was all smiles as he talked about the play.

“That’s a good teammate!” said Harmon, pointing at Gilmore.  “He did that for me!”  Kraft smiled and walked up to Gilmore, shook his hand, and gave him a hug.  It was a huge play, as it proved to be the game-winning turnover as the Patriots closed out the Dolphins.

It’s been great seeing Gilmore settle in to this defense and he played well last week making some big plays, including a terrific defensive stop on 4th-and-1 on the back corner of the end zone in the fourth quarter against his former team.  They’ll need those types of plays in the coming months, and after a rough start, it’s nice to see him become the type of player they hoped they’d get when they signed him.


Scarnecchia definitely brings out the best in New England’s offensive line.

5) One of the things that really stands out is how well-respected Dante Scarnecchia is, and how big of an impact he really has on his players.  That was evident in watching back the video following the team’s win over the Bills this week, where Scarnecchia was spotted on the sideline sitting his linemen down and reminding them that they needed to step up and help make sure the Patriots offense made their way into the end zone instead of letting the defense force them into kicking field goals.

“We’ve gotta be at our best when it counts the most,” urged Scarnecchia, who locked eyes with each player as he spoke.  “We’ve got to stand up to them and we’ve gotta f—n get it done out there.  We just kicked two field goals.  It’s a one score game, it’s not enough.  We get those points in, it’s a whole different deal.  We’ve got to rise up and be better than that, at that time.  And we’ve got to understand that situation, embrace it, and get it done.”

It obviously worked, as the Patriots punched it in on back-to-back drives to begin the second half as they went on to beat the Bills for their 10th win of the season.

It’s a reminder of what a terrific influence he is and it’s obvious why this offensive line has been so much better since he came out of retirement.  He clearly brings out their best, and he possesses a gift that the Patriots will likely have a tough time replacing when he decides to retire again.  But he’s certainly the type of coach you want out there in the face of adversity and it’s definitely a lot of fun watching him work.

A win tonight will see the Patriots clinch the AFC East and it will set up a huge meeting next Sunday when they battle the Steelers down in Pittsburgh.

New England Patriots News 12-10, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
December 10, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 12-10, & AFC East Notes.

The Patriots are playing in their first Hat and T-shirt game of 2017 on Monday Night Football. Any scenario of a Bills loss/tie or a Patriots win/tie guarantees them the AFC East crown for the ninth year in a row. We know that they set their sights much higher, but it all begins with winning the division. And they’ve been remarkably consistent in the Bill Belichick era at doing just that.

Tom Brady began his Saturday presser with an apology to Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, saying that it had bothered him all week after his outburst early in the game in Buffalo last week. “I’ve been feeling bad all week and haven’t had a chance to say it. He knows how much I love him.” Brady said.

Chris Hogan Could Return This Week:
The Patriots could really use the return of Chris Hogan this week as they head down to Miami today without Rob Gronkowski who is suspended for this game. Hogan practiced, albeit in a limited capacity this week, but his return would be a shot in the arm for the Patriots passing game.

Both Malcolm Mitchell and Vincent Valentine have been spotted in the locker room this week. The Patriots only have one IR slot for a player to return remaining, so it may be one or the other depending on what the team needs are. Mitchell was a nice target in the red zone down the stretch last season. If he’s ready to go, he could be a nice addition to the offense.

Nate Solder, A Worthy Choice for the Team’s Walter Payton Award :
With the Patriots, as most of the NFL teams do, the players have to make so many appearances in the community as part of their contracts to give back. But many of the players go far beyond the minimum as they embrace their role in the community.

One player who has been out in the community a lot has been left tackle Nate Solder. Solder and his wife have been very active in supporting hospitals that deal with childhood cancer. His own 2-year-old son Hudson is undergoing treatment for his second go-round with cancer treatments after previously been in remission. Solder was the Patriots’ team choice to represent them in the NFL Walter Payton Award that recognizes a player’s strong play on the field with his involvement with the community off the gridiron.  Bill Belichick was asked about Solder last week before the Bills game and had this to say:

“Nate has a lot of maturity and discipline and physical and mental toughness to do what he does day after day, week after week. We have a lot of respect for him, Lexi, Hudson and the entire family.”

McDaniels, Caserio At the top of the List for the GIants Potential Fits::
Whenever there is a turn over in a head coaching or General Manager position, the Patriots’ Nick Caserio, Josh McDaniels, and Matt Patricia are always names that seem to come up at the top of lists. And once the Giants announced that they’d fired both their coach and GM, that got the tongues wagging once again.

Caserio and McDaniels both would be great fits in New York with the G-men. If there is someone who could light a fire out of that offense and get those players pulling in the same direction it is McDaniels. And Caserio is about as solid as a GM candidate as there is.

One has to wonder if the Giants are interested in them and with the current regime with Bill Belichick and his feelings known about the Mara family, he’d support the move there if it came down to it. It would be a tremendous loss for the team but Belichick would understand that the men were looking for the next big step in their career progression and being in New York with the Giants is big time.

“They Know Who He is Now”, Eric Lee Making An Impact:
The Patriots plucked DE Eric Lee off of the Buffalo Bills practice squad just a few weeks ago and the young player has certainly made an impact in his first two NFL games. After just a few days of practice, he played in about 40 percent of the snaps against the Dolphins, mostly in the second half and notched his first NFL sack. Last week against the Bills with Trey Flowers out, Lee was pressed into a lot of snaps [85 %] and the rookie made some major impact right away on the first drive of the game.

Although the Bills were running at him early, on that first drive of the game, once they got down in the red zone, Lee dropped into the throwing lane and intercepted Tyrod Taylor to snuff out the Bills’ scoring chance and he added 1.5 sacks, a couple QB hits and a tackle for a loss. His good, far outweighed the bad. And the rookie has now caught the eye of his fellow players as well as the coaches.

During the telecast last week, Tony Romo told the funny story how Lee in his first game, made a play and on the Patriots bench Tom Brady and Danny Amendola were talking and didn’t know who Lee was. Amendola said, “Eric Lee? Who is that? Wait, he’s on our team?”

“Brady looked at Amendola and says, ‘Who is Eric Lee?”  Romo added on the telecast that “They know who he is now.”

Who Do You Like This Week NFL Week 14:
Last week 12-4 mark. Season Total: 125-67.

This week’s Thursday games I went with New Orleans (0-1) over Atlanta. Now for the rest of the slate:
Colts at Bills – Buffalo
Cowboys at Giants – Dallas
Lions at Buccaneers  – Detroit
Raiders at Chiefs – Oakland
49ers at Texans  – Houston
Packers at Browns – Green Bay
Bears at Bengals – Cincy
Vikings at Panthers – Minnesota
Redskins at Chargers – Los Angeles
Jets at Broncos – New York
Titans at Cardinals – Tennessee
Eagles at Rams – Philadelphia
Seahawks at Jaguars – Jax
SNF Ravens at Steelers – Pittsburgh
MNF Patriots at Dolphins – New England
Next Thursday Denver over the Indy:

Eastbound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Taylor’s Status a Game-time Decision for the Bills:

The Buffalo Bills enter today’s game against the Colts with more uncertainty at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor, who injured his knee against the Patriots last week is officially a game-time decision on whether or not he can go and if he can’t Nathan Peterman may get his second NFL start.

Taylor was just a limited participant all week and although he’s had plenty of snaps of practice in the past, it may just be that he’s not physically capable of playing this week. Peterman threw five interceptions in his only start against the Chargers and then played late in the game last week against the Patriots after Taylor left the game.

If Peterman does get the call, his coach, Sean McDermott praised the rookie’s poise and control and stated that he is very steady for such a young player.

Dolphins’s Gase and Cutler talk about facing New England:

The Miami Dolphins face the Patriots for the second time in just three weeks on MNF  and Miami coach Adam Gates was asked about the Patriots pass rush.

“They’re a little bit more difficult than people give them credit for. There’s a reason why they haven’t let up more than 17 points since about the fourth week of the season,” Gase said.

“They force you to get the ball out quick. We had a couple of protection errors. That really put Matt [Moore] in a bad spot where a few times he thought he was good and all of a sudden somebody came free in his face, whether it was oline, running back, tight end – we all took our turns – play calling. There were a couple of those in there where I didn’t really give him a good chance and kind of put him in a bad spot. We’ve just got to do a better job of making sure that we handle that up front. They make it difficult because those guys, they do a good job game planning. They find your weakness and they try to maximize using the information they have.

QB Jay Cutler was asked about facing the Patriots defense and had this to say:
“I think it’s the whole team in general. It’s a very, very smart team. [They are] situationally aware. They do things the right way. I think they tackle well on defense.”

 

He added, “Their assignments are on point. I think he’s [Bill Belichick] notoriously taken away your number one receiver. He makes you get to two and three. (He) makes you do things that are maybe a little bit out of your comfort zone. I think they do a really good job of keeping things in front of them, making offenses go the long road – three, four or five first downs – to score. We’ve just got to figure it out.

Jets Now Have a Nice WR Tandem in Kearse, Anderson :

The New York Jets haven’t followed the script this season. They were supposed to be a team that may go winless, but this scrappy bunch of players from Coach Todd Bowles have ignored the noise and have been in nearly every game this season while going a respectable 5-7.

The Jets have found their wide receivers for QB Josh McCown in Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson and the duo have both gone over 100 yards in the past two games. They now face the Denver Broncos defense which will be a big test for the pair on Sunday. Anderson leads the Jets with 871 yards receiving and Kearse has set a career high in catches with 51 for Gang Green in 2017.Both were undrafted free agents.

If the Jets are to beat Denver today, they’ll need both Kearse and Anderson to step up their game. Anderson was undrafted out of Temple and had some off the field issues plague him in college. Kearse’s time in the 40 during the Combine caused his stock to fall but carved out a solid role with the Seahawks. The Patriots will see this duo in Foxboro in a few weeks.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Hat and T-Shirt Game On Tap For McCourty, Patriots

Ian Logue
December 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm ET

Devin McCourty said it best earlier in the season when he urged his team on prior to their match-up against the Jets, saying that it was time for he and his team to dominate the division, “like we do every year”.

Now here they are, one game away from clinching the Division for the ninth straight season.  It’s a familiar situation for a team that once again sits at 10-2 and in position to end the year for their three rival teams weeks before Christmas. But winning the Division is just the first step in a mission that is far from over for a team with much loftier goals.

“You know what’s at stake,” said McCourty this week.  “You’d be lying if you say you don’t know what’s there. That’s the reason we play games, to try to win championships. So I never take that for granted.”

The Bills have a chance to drag it out a little longer if they can beat the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, which will give them an opportunity to fly back to upstate New York and crowd around the television Monday night and gleefully root for Miami.  But if Buffalo loses, the Patriots will clinch the title before they even step on the field down in South Florida.

It’s the annual roller-coaster Bills fans ride this time of year and they’re fortunate the ride is even still going. All they’re likely hoping for now is an opportunity to see their grudge-ridden group get another shot at playing one more meaningful head-to-head game their hated rival on Christmas Eve hoping the Patriots don’t do what they’re probably going to do.


McCourty and the Patriots can clinch the AFC East Sunday

But If New England wins, the race for the division is over.  They’ll earn their first hat and T-Shirt of 2017 before turning the page and getting ready for a battle against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has already become one of the most anticipated games of the season. The stakes will be high, as the winner will likely decide the top seed in the AFC, giving a huge advantage to whichever club ends up with the advantage of playing at home throughout.

McCourty’s aware of what’s on the line. This is the time of year where the games matter a little more and the focus needs to be even tighter.  With the Division race all but over, the Patriots’ number one priority is on something bigger, with the goal of being one of the teams playing in February.  It’s a long road and the month of December usually decides whether or not the road to Minnesota for the AFC will go through Gillette Stadium.

“The opportunity to get to play for a championship is tough,” said McCourty. “We talk about winning in December but obviously you’ve got to do some things right throughout the whole season to have that opportunity. It won’t be — it’s not something we’re going to talk about every day but we know it’s there but we know the only way we get that is by being prepared and going out there and winning a football game.”

It’s been an amazing year. After a rough start for their defense, which has experienced 11 weeks of improvement, McCourty and the Patriots are exactly where they need to be with four games to go. The Dolphins likely won’t go down easy as they’re no stranger to giving the Patriots fits in their home field, but McCourty knows opportunity is knocking, and it’s time to answer the bell.

“They’ll be ready to go,” said McCourty. “We’re going to get their best shot I think in every phase of the game. So we have to be well-prepared in everything we do.”

Patriots – Dolphins MNF Key Matchups, Who Has the Razor’s Edge

Steve Balestrieri
at 12:10 pm ET

The Patriots go back out on the road for their fourth game in the last five as they take on the Miami Dolphins in South Florida on Monday Night Football. This is a hat and t-shirt game for the Patriots. With a win or a tie, the Patriots clinch the AFC East once again for the ninth straight time and the 17th since Robert Kraft took over the team in 1994.

This week’s game will be broadcast by ESPN on Monday, December 11 at 8:30 p.m. and can be seen on WCVB, Channel 5 in Boston. Sean McDonough will handle play-by-play duties with Jon Gruden as the color analyst. Lisa Salters will work from the sidelines.The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.

The Patriots (10-2) are coming off a 23-3 blowout win over the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park. The running game ran for nearly 200 yards while the defense for the eighth game in a row allowed 17 points or less.The Patriots secondary held Buffalo to just 82 yards passing

The Dolphins (5-7) are coming off of a 35-9 blowout win over Denver. The team snapped a five-game losing streak and are looking to get some consistency.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2017 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:

The Patriots and Dolphins are meeting for the 105th time overall with Miami holding a 53-51 lead all-time in the teams’ rivalry. However, the Patriots have won 12 of the last 15 meetings including the lone from two weeks ago where the Patriots rolled 35-17 behind 196 yards on the ground.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots RBs vs Dolphins Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots running game has been steadily improving behind the tandem of Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis. Two weeks ago against Miami, Lewis ran for 112 yards on 15 carries. They controlled the clock, the tempo and the line of scrimmage./

Miami has issues with the run with DE Andre Branch and DT Jordan Phillips having problems in the running game. If the Patriots see these two on the same side, look for them to run right at them. While they may not roll up 200 yards on the ground again, they should still find plenty of room to be more than a complimentary piece.

Patriots WRs vs Dolphins Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots passing game is averaging 292 yards per game, tops in the NFL. Tom Brady however, won’t have his top receiver, Rob Gronkowski in the game as he’ll be serving a one-game suspension. But…the team may get back Chris Hogan this week. He’s been at practice all week and if he’s able to go would signal a huge boost in the Patriots passing game outside the numbers.

Miami got after Brady with very good pressure from everyone across the defensive line in the first matchup. They’ll need an effort like that again because their best corner  Cordrea Tankersley could miss this week with ankle and knee woes. Without Gronkowski look for Brady to spread them out and try to use their quickness all over the field. They’ll try to get Brandin Cooks the ball in space and Hogan (if he plays) may get the chance to go deep on a few plays down the field. The backs will again be a major factor in both the running and passing games.

Next up the Dolphins offense:

Dolphins RBs vs NE Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England

The Dolphins running game hasn’t been the same since they traded the freelancing Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. The carries have been shared between Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams, but Williams is dealing with a shoulder issue and may not go.

The Patriots run defense has not been good and was gashed pretty well by the Bills last week although the return of Malcom Brown should help things. But will the Dolphins have the depth to force enough leverage there? The feeling here is no especially if they find themselves falling behind again.

Dolphins WRs vs NE Secondary- Razor’s Edge New England

Miami will have Jay Cutler back under center this week. He’s a different player than Matt Moore, so we’ll probably see some more shots down the field. Jarvis Landry had eight catches for 70 yards in the first one and he, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker with tight end Julius Thomas should be much more productive than they are.

The Patriots pass defense is playing tremendous right now. It is a possibility that we’ll see some of Eric Rowe on Landry this week as he has a bit of size, although Jonathan Jones matched up well with Landry in the first meeting.

Look for the Patriots to be much more aggressive against this beatable Miami offensive line again. They teed off in the second half and got six sacks. Cutler isn’t mobile and the Patriots may call down the dogs this week.

Special Teams- Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski is having an outstanding season. His kickoffs are pinning teams deep and the outstanding coverage units are smothering the opposition. The Dolphins have solid kickers but aren’t generating anything in the return game. The Patriots Special Teams has been scoring points, blocking kicks, and last time ran a fake punt for a big first down that set up a touchdown.

Next up, who wins and why…

Prediction:

This one is a divisional matchup on Monday Night so, as we’ve seen all season, anything can happen. But unless the Patriots implode, I can’t see the Dolphins beating New England this week. However, the Patriots have traditionally not played well in the heat of Miami. It does help that this one is at night so that shouldn’t be a big factor.

Having No Rob Gronkowski is a big blow for the Patriots offense but if Chris Hogan is able to come back and play this week it will be a nice boost to the outside passing game. Look for the running game to continue their solid play and Brady to spread the Dolphins defense out. Miami may run the ball effectively, but I don’t see Cutler having a good night against the secondary. New England heads to Pittsburgh 11-2 setting up a big game next week.  Patriots 30-13

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Julian Edelman Trolls Falcons Super Bowl Collapse In New Book Promotion

Robert Alvarez
at 11:46 am ET

Despite not being able to play in 2017 following his ACL injury in the preseason, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman continues to find new ways to occupy his time while recovering.

On his Instagram account Thursday, Edelman shared a promotional video for his second childrens book, “Flying High 2” a sequel to a first book he wrote last season and with it also came a subtle troll job at the Atlanta Falcons on the night they play the New Orleans Saints on “Thursday Night Football.”

“28 hours, 3 minutes to go #FlyingHigh2” the video caption reads, which of course references the 25 point deficit he helped his team overcome for the Super Bowl title.

Well played Jules, well played.

So with the holiday season fast approaching, Julian Edelman the author may be coming to a stocking stuffer near you.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcZtuPrhxoi/?hl=en&taken-by=edelman11

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcaXtArhc8d/?hl=en&taken-by=edelman11

Best Of Social Media: Week 13 Patriots vs Bills

Robert Alvarez
December 7, 2017 at 10:44 pm ET

The New England Patriots entered their week 13 matchup with the Buffalo Bills seeking to get one step closer to locking up yet another AFC East division title and would continue a stretch of five divisional games in six weeks to round out the 2017 regular season.

let’s go boys #gameday

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcPnr_EAYdT/?hl=en&taken-by=bbhulksmash

In the first quarter it appeared the Bills would draw first, until a former teammate just recently released from their practice squad, came back to haunt his former team. New England, meet your new defensive end Eric Lee.

A red zone interception by Lee thwarted early Bills points.

Getting the ball back and an early momentum shift, it appeared the Patriots would make the Bills pay for their costly interception, but Tom Brady missed his recievers on third down and were forced to settle with an early field goal.

CBS cameras would catch Brady in a heated argument with offesnive coordinator Josh McDaniels over the missed connections downfield.

3-0 Patriots after a quarter.

Althought the Patriots still struggled to find a rhythm in the end zone, Eric Lee continued to punish his former team on defense.

In the second quarter, the Patriots running game stepped up, with Dion Lewis tallying the teams longest running play of the season.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcTCjKlgf8Y/?taken-by=d_lew33

Unfortunately the Patriots again would comeup short in the red zone and have to settle for a second field goal. 6-0 Patriots at the 6:20 mark of the second quarter.

The Bills would finally get on the board with a Stephen Hauscka field goal to cut the lead in half to 6-3 but the Patriots running game continued to shine, this time with Rex Burkhead.

The career long 31 yard run by Burkhead would setup a third Gostkowski field goal and the Patriots would go into the half surprisingly only up six with no touchdowns.

In the second half, the trio of Lewis and Burkhead continued their big day, and would finally setup the first touchdown of the game. Burkhead would find the end zone and a 16-3 Patriots lead.

Despite the lack of touchdowns, Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski also had a big day on the stat sheet,  nine receptions for 147 yards, including this ridiculous catch.

Unfortunately a short time later, it would all be overshadowed by an uncharacteristic dirty play by Gronkowski after losing his cool about being held with no flag.

Gronkowski dove onto Bills cornerback Tre’davious White well after a play was over that resulted in a Bills interception. Gronk earned a one game suspension as a result and heavy criticism from around the league.

 

Rex Burkhead continued his strong game with his second touchdown of the quarter, and the Patriots all but put away the Bills with a 23-3 lead that would stand as the final score.

The Patriots would earn their tenth win of 2017 and eighth in a row.

#tbtimes

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Great team win in Buffalo and @nfl weekend for #mycausemycleats @teamjackfoundation

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