Tag Archives: Nate Solder

12 Reasons The Patriots Lost Super Bowl XLVI

The Patriots are just about set to take on the NFC Champion Seahawks in their sixth Super Bowl appearance in the last 13 years. In their two most recent trips in 2007 and 2011, however, the Pats have not been able to come away victorious. In their most recent Super Bowl loss to the Giants, there were some pretty clear reasons as to why they were unable to win the game. We all remember the last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive orchestrated by Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw’s accidental touchdown and the last-second Hail Mary attempt falling incomplete. Chances are, however, most people have forgotten about some of the other reasons the Pats came out on the wrong end of the score, but not to worry. Here are the top-12 reasons the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI.

Tom Brady walks off the field in Indianapolis following the Super Bowl XLVI defeat.

Tom Brady walks off the field in Indianapolis following the Super Bowl XLVI defeat.

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Patriots Embarrassed on Monday Night Football

It was nothing like Patriots fans had imagined while watching the team play on Monday night. It was something that was out of Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s nightmares, as they got absolutely annihilated!!!!! It would be fair to say it was the team’s worst loss since losing 31-0 to the Bills back in 2003.


The 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was a pathetic showing for everybody on the team. Bill Belichick probably came close to cutting guys in the middle of the game, and he had no problem putting starters on the bench in the 2nd half. After Logan Ryan committed a penalty as time expired in the 2nd quarter that allowed Kansas City to kick a field goal to take a 17-0 lead into the half, Belichick had words with Ryan, and didn’t see as much playing time as he used to.

In the 3rd quarter, former 1st round draft pick Nate Solder completely missed a tackle and allowed a defender to easily get to Brady and force a fumble inside the Chiefs red zone which led to another easy touchdown for the Kansas City offense. The next time the offense had the ball back, Solder found himself on the bench with Marcus Cannon in at his position.

In the first half, the Patriots only had 96 yards on offense compared to Kansas City’s 303 yards, and only had 5 first downs. They Chiefs easily ran against the Patriots, and also threw successfully against them with ease. It was the 1st time ever a team has gotten 300 yards against a Bill Belichick team in his career.

Tom Brady had shown his age this season, and this game was incredibly bad. Even with no good receivers, we all expect Brady to be at least decent enough to keep his team in the game. He couldn’t do much of anything. On a 3rd and three and with an opening to run in the 2nd quarter, he tried making a terrible pass, and the Patriots were forced to punt. If this keeps up, fans will be demanding Jimmy Garrapolo sooner rather than later.

For the positives that can be taken from this game for the Patriots: there are none. It was that bad. Nothing looked good as they made Alex Smith look like Joe Namath circa 1969. The minor positive was Jimmy Garrapolo looked pretty good, but that was also in garbage time, so in the end it doesn’t mean much. The win was the first win for Andy Reid against Belichick in his career.

Although it’s a shorter week because it was a Monday night game, this week will be a long one for the Patriots as they have a lot of work to do to prepare against the Cincinnati Bengals next week, who they lost to last season in Cincinnati. It will be interesting to see what Belichick and his coaches can do to mix things up and actually put a half decent team onto the field next week.

Relax, Patriots Fans: Brady Was Back At Practice Today

Tom Brady's knee

Tom Brady’s knee

You’ve seen the video. The aftermath is a big sigh of relief for Tom Brady, his knee, Patriots fans and Bob Kraft’s $1.8 billion franchise. Adrian Claiborn is not Bernard Pollard 2.0 as Brady simply suffered a knee sprain/injury/bruise – depending on who is reporting – in his collision with Nate Solder.

Logan Mankins wants you all to relax.

That means you, too, Stevan Ridley. The team’s top back actually said his heart was “at peace” that Brady was okay.

The Pats leader was back at practice Thursday and participated as he normally would, albeit with a knee brace. Brady is reportedly ready to go tomorrow night against Tampa Bay. Not that it matters on August 15th. Here’s what Ridley said:

I know he’s going to be there when it counts. When the season matters the most, Tom’s going to be out there. I just don’t want us to rush him or anything like that. I think Tom will make the right decision and the coaches will too.

Fans of the team will most likely agree with that.

Patriots Pulse: 53 Man Roster Projection

With the preseason games just around the corner many members of the New England Patriots team will be hoping to prove themselves on the field ahead of the regular season in hope of a spot on the roster for the start of the 2013 campaign. The Patriots have a lot of competition at various positions on both sides of the ball so it will be interesting to see who makes the final roster; let us take a look at my stab at predicting the 53 man roster come September with the following projection:

I choose you!



Quarterback: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow (3)

Despite the extra roster spot when having just two QB’s on the team being especially valuable to the Patriots in recent years I think Tim Tebow earns a spot on the team come crunch time. Obviously Tom Brady is a dead certainty as the future hall of famer looks to guide his team to their 4th Super Bowl Championship and with the Ryan Mallett to Cleveland trade rumours now all but gone he will definitely be on the squad too but whether Tebow makes it is a question everyone will have an opinion on.

Personally I think that although we know Tebow won’t be taking any snaps away from Brady his versatility will be the decisive factor in Belichick selecting him as New England can try to use him in various scenarios. Belichick would not have signed the former Florida man as a publicity stunt and after he spends a year with Brady and McDaniels they can assess his skill-set throughout the season giving the franchise the ability to assess the situation properly next year.

Running back: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LeGarrette Blount (4)

Ridley is a guaranteed selection after his production last season and after lining up at wide receiver in training recently Shane Vereen will make the team as he offers the team versatility which is what Belichick loves. Leon Washington can offer New England something different at the special teams and arguably something they have lacked in recent seasons especially in the shape of a kick-off returner so it’s worth him being chosen for the squad.

The three mentioned already are the sure fire bets but the 4th spot came down to either LeGarrette Blount or Brandon Bolden; Bolden has had recent injury problems and while the potential is there Blount is only 26 so despite being 3 years older than Bolden he has the advantage as he is reaching his physical prime as well as the fact that that he’s been making some nice plays in training camp so far so my bet is that Blount beats out Bolden for the 4th running back spot.

Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins, Matthew Slater (7)

The battle to be a receiver on the New England Patriots’ team this season is the most intriguing and the productivity of this year’s receiving corpswill be crucial in determining any success the Patriots have in 2013. Dobson and Boyce both have the potential to be valuable for New England but obviously with it both being their rookie year in the league predicting any success for either remains a mystery but nevertheless both make the roster and will hope to improve before the start of the season. Danny Amendola has built up a good rapport with Tom Brady so far and any fan of the Patriots will be excited to see how the two link up when the season starts as well as how their on the field relationship progresses during the campaign. Amendola has the talent to become a star and now that he has Tom Brady throwing to him I believe this will happen; we saw the same happen with Julian Edelman last season before his injury and remember he did start the 2012 season ahead of Wes Welker. With that being said it is safe to say that Edelman makes the roster with his versatility being a key asset to the Patriots at this moment in time.

With Aaron Hernandez now off the roster the next 3 wide receiving slots are as crucial as ever with the offense needing as many valuable weapons as possible. The current receiving core is drawing comparisons to a depth chart that included the likes of Jabar Gaffney yet still made the Super Bowl but as we know Tom Brady can make anyone produce the goods due to the fact that he is arguably the greatest quarterback ever with this being one of the arguments why. Matthew Slater’s familiarity earns him a spot on the roster while Jenkins and Jones may well battle it out for the final receiving spot on the roster if Belichick decides to go with 6 wideouts which could very well happen but for now I’ll say that both make the team as Jenkins is a reliable veteran option whereas Jones has some decent statistics from his time in Buffalo, most coming against the Patriots, and could therefore prove to be a surprisingly good acquisition once the season progresses.

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Zach Sudfield (4)

Rob Gronkowski is in a race against time to be ready for the start of the season and following the Aaron Hernandez saga the Patriots are facing the possibility of going from having two superstar tight-ends to none for week 1 of the 2013 season. Gronkowski will be ready to cause havoc on opposing defenses eventually but in the event of his absence during the start of the season the likes of Jake Ballard and Michael Hoomanawanui will get the chance to try and make an impact for the team during the teams early games.

It’s safe to safe after Hernandez being cut from the team that Ballard and Hoomanawanui make the roster; the fourth tight end spot goes to the 6’7 man out of Nevada Zach Sudfeld who signed as an undrafted free agent on in May and has the potential to be a possible diamond in the rough for Bill Belichick. All three will have the responsibility of trying to produce the goods now that Aaron Hernandez has been cut but as long as Rob Gronkowski gets back to full health the Patriots know they have a superstar they can rely on as well as having Tom Brady’s most valuable weapon at their disposal.

Offensive Line: Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, Marcus Cannon, Kevin Haslam, Markus Zusevics (9)

The likes of Solder, Mankins and Vollmer are all valuable assets to this team. Dan Connolly has improved season by season and Ryan Wendell will line up at centre again with Nick McDonald providing cover at that position as well as chipping in at guard. The offensive line needs familiarity that’s why there aren’t many changes from last year with the likes of Marcus Cannon also making the cut but this year Kevin Haslam and Markus Zusevic will get a chance to show what they can do.

Svitek was on my list but when you realise that this Patriots team is full of young faces it makes sense that they would choose a 5 year younger player in the shape of Haslam over Svitek plus Haslam came out of Rutgers and we all know how their connection runs deep. Zusevics makes the cut thanks to his versatility as the second year man his 2012 experience with the team under his belt and can offer cover at tackle and guard positions.


Defensive End: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Justin Francis, Jermaine Cunningham, Michael Buchanan (5)

Chandler Jones is the surefire bet at this position; he will look to build on an impressive rookie season as his raw talent proved to be a valuable asset during the 2012 season. Coming in to his sophomore year Jones will be looking to make a bigger leap by continuing to assert himself as one of the NFL’s best young ends. His ability to rush the passer will improve and if his production continues at a high rate he could help the Patriot’s defense get back to what it was during its Super Bowl winnings years. Rob Ninkovich will want to continue his good form and increase in production. Jermaine Cunningham may well have a shot at the versatility role while Justin Francis also gets in based on versatility. Cunningham gets in thanks to former Rutgers man Francis moving inside; the two seem to have both improved from 2012 and if they are determined to succeed it will earn them a roster spot.

I’ve projected 5 players at this position and it was hard to leave Jake Bequette and Jason Vega out but both just give me the impression that they’ll fall short which leaves the door open for 2013 draftee Michael Buchanan who I believe could be a real steal for New England. The 7th round pick’s stock in the draft fell due to character concerns but the 6’5, 255 pound defensive end is athletic and has shown signs of potential that could prove valuable especially as he possesses the ability to fit in to either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense thanks to the fact that his strength helps him in the pass rush as well as against opposing offensive linemen.

Defensive Tackle: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead (3)

With Vince Wilfork being the lone survivor on defense from the Patriots’ last Super Bowl winning team we know that he is pretty much as valuable to New England’s defense as Tom Brady is to its offense! This year I see him teaming up with just two out and out tackles in the shape of Kelly and Armstead; the two’s productivity will go a long way to determining the success of the Patriots’ passing defense in 2013.

Marcus Forston could well make the roster but having Justin Francis move inside along with Cunningham able to play inside means that the Patriots are allowed to go thinner at the defensive tackle position in 2013. If the ends and tackles step up like it seems they can then they can go a long way to helping the Patriots rack up a respectable position among defensive rankings this season and in the long run the production of these guys will go a long way in to determining any success they have come playoff time.

Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Don’t’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher (5)

The linebackers all but pick themselves for the Patriots this season. Jerod Mayo is a key player on this team and Brandon Spikes continues to improve making him a must for New England. Don’ta Hightower is coming in to his second season in the league on a high following a very productive debut year in 2012. The team will hope for something similar from Jamie Collins with the 2nd round pick out of Southern Miss showing he could make a huge difference on the team’s defense this year; his explosiveness, athleticism and versatility means he can play multiple positions for the Patriots and as we know as well as something that has been mentioned many times previously… Bill Belichick loves versatility.

Dane Fletcher may not be as versatile or athletic as any of the previous four linebackers mentioned but he is reliable and a good player to keep on the roster. The fact that new signing Adrian Wilson can also play linebacker means that five linebacker selections is fine for New England which is bad news for the likes of Beauharnais as it seems that he’ll be deemed surplus to requirements and not make the cut. Like I said these five pretty much pick themselves and it will extremely interesting to see how the likes of Mayo, Spikes, Collins and Hightower play together as well as end Chandler Jones with the prospect of this year’s defense wreaking havoc on opposing QB’s being quite likely if all goes to plan.

Cornerback: Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard (5)

Like the linebacker position I believe that the corners pick themselves. Aqib Talib will look to prove himself again after showing how valuable he can be to this Patriot’s secondary during the second half of the 2012 season. The shutdown corner has the ability to go up against any of the top wideouts in the game and after opting to sign just a one year extension with New England in a way it shows that Talib is set on proving himself being committing to a long term deal. We all know Dowling has talent but will injuries haunt him again? Well that remains to be seen; if they don’t we will see how productive he can be but if the plague continues the Patriots will need to bring in someone else.

Third round pick of out Rutgers Logan Ryan was one of the most talented players at his position in this years draft and could be another steal for New England in the long run. Kyle Arrington makes the team for another season but Alfonzo Dennard has questions over his head following his recent arrest. If he stays he will look to improve from 2012 but for now if something happens to him or Dowling you can expect the Patriots to add at this position.

Safety: Adrian Wilson, Devin McCourty, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon (5)

Duron Harmon was selected by the Patriots as the 91st pick from the NFL 2013 Draft… From yes you guessed it Rutgers! For someone not many people had heard of Harmon seems to be good value for a third round selection and will have a chance to prove himself in 2013. Adrian Wilson has been signed from Arizona will Bill Belichick hoping he has the same effect as Rodney Harrison did. If so the Adrian Wilson signing could well inspire a Super Bowl win as they need a talented and experienced leader to be the rock of this group to help improve their woes in the secondary. Adrian Wilson’s namesake Tavon doesn’t have much hype around him but the second year safety has the chance to learn from Adrian and improve his game.

Devin McCourty did very well in his transition to safety and it is clear to see he is better suited to the position but now New England will hope he can build on the 2012 season by producing the goods in 2013.It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t go for one risky selection throughout this projection and it will be in the shape of Nate Ebner as I think he has the potential to beat out Steve Gregory but in reality that maybe is a bit of a longshot.

Special Teams: Steve Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken (3)

Rookie punter Ryan Allen has given Mesko a run for his money up until now but with Mesko being a very reliable punter as well as arguably one of the best in the league he will make the team. Gotskowski had a challenger brought in as well but despite a rocky 2012 he has the ability to bounce back in 2013. Danny Aiken continues his role as long snapper.


Ravens Shock Patriots, Return To Super Bowl

Tom Brady sits on the ground following the interception that sealed the game for the Ravens.

Tom Brady sits on the ground following the interception that sealed the AFC Championship game win for the Ravens.

Remember when Tom Brady in the postseason was as sure as death or taxes? His 9-0 start to his postseason career had people all over New England thinking that this late-round diamond in the rough could never do any wrong. Three championships in his first four seasons.

None in his last eight.

Maybe it was payback. Maybe it was destiny. Whatever it was, Joe Flacco outplayed Brady, the Ravens defense outplayed that of the Patriots and as banged up as Baltimore  had been this year, it was the home team and favorite that felt the blows when it mattered most. Oh, and Ray Lewis, with the help if his good friend, God, has lived to play another day – and for the Super Bowl.

From the moment the coin hit the ground in favor of the Ravens and they deferred to the second half – stealing the Patriots’ bread and butter on their home field – it just seemed like it wasn’t meant to be. They committed fewer penalties, made less mistakes and completed a higher percentage of their passes. Most importantly, their zero turnovers, compared to three from the Patriots, were nothing less than huge. They were the team that executed better on Sunday.

Like it did towards the end if the regular season, the Patriots offense struggled to capitalize when their defense set them up with good field position and scored just 13 points – their lowest total of 2012. As the league’s No. 1 offense, the fewest points they had scored this year before yesterday were 18 in the Week 2 loss to the Cardinals.

The windy conditions at Gillette Stadium forced both teams to play conservatively and cost the Pats a couple chances at field goals they would normally attempt.

Their opening drive looked promising, but Wes Welker couldn’t haul in a deep pass from Brady when he had his defender beat by a couple if steps. They then almost caught the Baltimore special teams off guard, however, as Ryan Mallett snuck into the punt formation and forced the Ravens to burn a timeout.

A quick three-and-out by Baltimore gave New England the ball back, but only after a holding penalty called on Aqib Talib backed them up to their own 21. They had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski and took a 3-0 lead on their 32nd straight red zone possession that resulted in points.

The next Baltimore drive ended quickly as well, but came at a cost as Talib hurt his thigh while breaking up a pass on third and long. Some production from last week’s star Shane Vereen on the ensuing drive and a 15-yard personal foul penalty called on Lewis were for not as Brandon Lloyd ended up dropping a tough catch on third down.

Flacco then missed an open Dennis Pitta down the field and New England couldn’t convert following a 28-yard punt return from Welker as Paul Kruger influenced the Brady pass. The Pats D allowed just one completion in the first quarter and the Ravens went 0-for-3 on third down. New England led the Ravens 3-0 after one quarter of the AFC Championship game for the second consecutive year.

As the second quarter began, Flacco would lead a 90-yard drive in his first Title Game win to put the Ravens on the board with a two-yard run by Ray Rice. Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower both missed tackles on the back as he then walked into the endzone on second down. Pitta had an 18-yard reception on third and four and Flacco took advantage of Talib’s absence, hitting Torrey Smith on a 25-yard pass to the New England 15.

Brady would answer right away, however, aided by another personal foul penalty, this time on Dannell Ellerbe. A 24-yard pass to Welker set the Pats up in good position and Brady found him again from a yard out to make it 10-7 Patriots with 4:18 left in the opening half.

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Patriots 2012 Regular Season By The Numbers

On the surface, it is easy for any fan to see just how good or bad of a season their team has had. Whether it be wins and losses or total points put up, some stats tell the story, god or bad, of the year of their favorite team.

What most fans fail to sometimes realize, however, is all the stats that go into making an NFL team successful. Here are a bunch you would never even think to remotely consider about the 2012 season of the New England Patriots.

You name it. If it can be statistically tracked in the NFL, it’s probably in this post.

0 – The number of wins the team had when their leading rusher was under 40 yards for the game (0-2).

0 – The Patriots had no two-point conversions on the year. Just kind of odd.

0.5 – Brandon Bolden averaged half a yard more per carry than Stevan Ridley did.

1 – The number of franchises to score 500 points four different times. New England accomplished that this year after 500-point seasons in 2007, 2010 and 2011 as well.

1 – The New England offense ranked first in the NFL in total yards, yards per game, points and points per game in 2012.

1 – Of the four members of the team who finished the year as the starting secondary, only one (Devin McCourty) was on the team last year. Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, Steve Gregory were the other three.

1 – Vince Wilfork‘s four forced fumbles were tied for first in the NFL.

1 – The number of full games that tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were both on the field for the whole contest – the season finale against the Dolphins.

1 – The number of NFL quarterbacks to throw at least one touchdown pass in all 16 regular season games for three straight seasons – Tom Brady in 2010-12.

2 – The number of teams to ever win 10-plus games in 10 consecutive seasons – the Patriots became the second to accomplish that this year.

2 – Their two-game losing streak in Weeks 2 and 3 was tied for their longest losing streak since they lost four straight in the 2002 season.

2 – This season was the second time they have gone undefeated against the AFC East, joining the 2007 team.

2 – The number of teams to ever record 400 first downs in a season – the 2012 Pats and the 2011 Saints.

2 – The number of points that Stephen Gostkowski needed to tie the all-time single-season Patriots scoring record set by Gino Cappelletti in 1964.

3 – Pass plays in the NFL this season longer than Shane Vereen‘s 83-yard reception in Week 12.

3 – It had been three years since the Patriots lost four or more games in a season (10-6 in 2009).

3 – The Pats have scored 500-plus points in three consecutive seasons.

The Patriots' offense has been unstoppable in the three years since drafting this duo.

The Patriots’ offense has been nearly unstoppable in the three years since drafting this duo.

4 – New England had four different players lead the team in receiving in their 16 games – Brandon Lloyd (3), Wes Welker (9), Gronkowski (3) and Vereen (1).

4 – It was Brady’s fourth career season of throwing 30 or more touchdown passes, good for a tie for the fourth-most all-time.

4 – Welker finished four receptions behind league-leader Calvin Johnson, who had 122 on the year.

4 – The Patriots have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.

4 – The team had four different players lead them in rushing in their 16 games – Ridley (13), Bolden (1), Julian Edelman (1) and Danny Woodhead (1).

5 – There have only been five Patriots running backs to rush for 1,200 yards in the team’s history. Ridley became the fifth this year.

5 – Wilfork was elected to the fifth Pro Bowl of his career and will start on the defensive line for the AFC.

5 – The team has held its opponents to 20 points or less in five of six games since Nov. 18 (5-1).

6 – In 16 games, the Patriots only lost six fumbles.

6 – The Pats finished six spots higher in total defense this year compared to last season when they finished 31st in the league.

6 – New England has been a top-10 offense in the NFL for six straight seasons.

7 – The amount of consecutive games that Brady needs to throw a touchdown pass in to break the all-time record of 54.

7 – New England’s longest winning streak of the year from Week 7 through Week 14.

7 – The number of points that Brady’s total QBR trailed Peyton Manning‘s for tops in the league.

7 – McCourty was one of seven NFL players to return a kickoff more than 100 yards on the year.

7 – The team sent seven members to the Pro Bowl in 2012.

New England's seven Pro Bowlers in 2012 are the third-most in the league.

New England’s seven Pro Bowlers in 2012 are the third-most in the league.

7 – Last year’s NFL leader in interceptions, Kyle Arrington, had seven fewer interceptions in 2012 than a year ago. He had seven in 2011.

8 – The number of years it had been since the team had a 1,200-yard rusher before this year. Corey Dillon rushed for 1,635 yards in 2004.

8 – Rob Ninkovich led the team with eight sacks on the year.

8 – The Pats had eight return TD’s on the season.

9 – The number of games in which the starting offensive line of Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Logan Mankins were all on the field together.

9 – Brady now ranks ninth on the NFL’s all-time passing list with 44,806 yards. He needs 1,427 yards to pass Vinny Testaverde.

9 – Ridley finished the season as one of just nine non-kickers in the top-40 in the league in scoring.

9 – The team has a nine-game division win streak heading into next season.

10 – The number of consecutive 10-win seasons for the Patriots – the second longest such streak ever (16).

10 – The team scored 30-plus points 10 times in their 16 games in 2012 (8-2).

10 – The number of players who had a rushing attempt for the Pats in 2012 led by Ridley’s 290 carries.

10 – New England had 10 more sacks than it allowed in 2012.

11 – They also had 11 more interceptions than their opponents did.

11 – The combined number of points New England fell by in its four losses against the Cardinals (2), Ravens (1), Seahawks (1) and 49ers (7).

11 – The number of current and former Pro Bowl running backs that Ridley out-rushed in 2012.

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