Tag Archives: Rob Gronkowski

Prime Time Patriots

Monday Night Football!

The New England Patriots travel to Arrowhead Stadium tonight for the season lone appearance on Monday Night Football. This is one of 4 straight games against AFC opposition with the Patriots welcoming the Bengals to Gillette Stadium for Sunday Night Football before facing divisional rivals Buffalo and the New York Jets.

After starting the season with a lacklustre performance against Miami the Patriots have bounced back to win their last two games with a convincing 30-7 victory versus the Vikings and a hard fought victory against Oakland last week 16-9. While the 2014 edition of the New England offense is going through some teething problems the defense has looked steady often producing good play and signs of potential to be one of the best in the league.

They rank 1st in the NFL with the fewest yard against them over the first 3 weeks of the season giving up just 818 yards and 3rd in points against with just 49 given up leaving them just behind Arizona on 45 and Cincinnati with 33. Success at forcing turnovers has also been impressive in the opening weeks of the 2014 campaign for New England, something Bill Belichick’s defense have always been known for, with the team having racked up 6 interceptions already on the year which is tied for 2nd in the league. As well as these stats they have forced 3 fumbles so far recovering 2 and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 7 times.
The Chiefs didn’t start 2014 too well themselves going down heavily against the Titans 26-10 before almost taking the Broncos to overtime in week 2 when they narrowly lost 24-17. Last week was much better for Andy Reid’s team as they dismantled the Dolphins 34-15 to chalk up their first win of the year. Kansas City will be the hardest opposition that the Patriots have faced so far this year especially as Arrowhead stadium can often conjure up quite an atmosphere. Tonight they’re attempting to regain the crown they once had as “The loudest stadium in the world” so Tom Brady and co could be in for a tough task.

While tonight’s matchup could be rather tough for New England especially as they’ve had early season offensive woes so far this year it has to be said that typically on Monday Night Football Tom Brady excels in front of the prime time cameras; his MNF record is 13-5. Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in a Monday Night game nine times, including four four-touchdown performances. He has also thrown four touchdowns in three of his last four Monday Night games. It’s also worth noting that Brady is tied with Steve Young for third place with 42 touchdown passes on Monday Night Football, behind Brett Favre (69) and Dan Marino (74). Steve Young threw 42 touchdown passes in 25 Monday night games, while Brady has 42 touchdowns in just 18 games!

 

Last week was Brady’s 150th career regular-season victory as a starting quarterback.

With Rob Gronkowski’s snap count growing as the season has begun it’s only a matter of time before the Brady-Gronk partnership lights up and tonight could be that night. There have been struggles on the offensive line but every team has its own individual chinks in their armour to deal with especially during the early stages of the season. Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen along with Stevan Ridley offer the Patriots versatility in the offense and either of the two could have a big game tonight as New England will look to take advantage of a Kansas City secondary that has looked sloppy at times during the early stages of the 2014 season.

Spare a thought for Danny Amendola as he is struggling performance wise while Aaron Dobson is still recovering from injury, as for Brandon LaFell well he saw some more targets from Brady last week and either him or Kenbrell Thompkins will be looking to build up some rapport with Brady tonight also watch out for Timothy Wright who seems to be growing in to the system week by week following his trade to the Patriots from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier on in the season.

As mentioned before New England’s defense has been playing well so far this season and will have to be at their best tonight when they go up against the likes of Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. The likes of Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins continue to made big stride week by week and these 3 young defensive players are becoming big time assets to the Patriots along with the likes of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork. The secondary has been progressing well as Darelle Revis settles in along with Devin McCourty who always seems to perform at a high level and I personally can’t wait to see Brandon Browner make his debut for the Patriots which should be next week versus the Bengals now that he has served his four game suspension.

 

Chandler Jones is coming for you Chiefs!

 

With Tom Brady’s record on Monday Night Football and Bill Belichick revitalising his team following their week one defeat I expect the Patriots to put in their best performance of the season as despite the Chiefs ranking 7th in yards against their defense and 6th in points given up so far this season they giving up an average of 354 yards a game. Ahead of that mouthwatering encounter against the Bengals next Sunday New England will be hoping to return back to Boston with a 3-1 record and give Bill Belichick his 16th victory as the head coach of the Patriots on Monday Night Football games.

Patriots Defeat Raiders, Feels More Like a Loss

It took an interception by Vince Wilfork with under 2 minutes to go, to keep the double digit underdogs, Oakland Raiders, from tying, and forcing overtime against the New England Patriots. It was a 13-6 WIN, but it felt more like a loss for the now 2-1 Patriots. It’s a weird feeling for fans of a winning side, to feel like they lost. Maybe it’s only something Patriots fans feel because they’ve been so spoiled over the past 15 years, either way, it was not a good win for the Patriots.

Brady Raiders

After last week’s win in Minnesota, Tom Brady spoke out about how the Offense needed to step up, and play better together. That didn’t happen this week. In fact it seemed to be worse than it what it was last week. The offense that has been displayed through the first three weeks of the season does not look at all like a Super Bowl caliber offense.

Brady was 24 for 37 with 234 yards, and one touchdown, which was thrown to Rob Gronkowski with 4:14 left in the first half to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead. That was the only Touchdown scored all day by either side.

Although only one Touchdown was scored, the Patriots and Raiders but had good chances to find the endzone, but neither could get the job done. The best chance for the Patriots to score 7 was at the start of the 4th quarter, and the ball on the Raiders 2 yard line. Brady threw a great pass up the middle to Gronkowski, but he was unable to hang on to it. So Brady tried again, this time to Danny Amendola. Despite a dive by Amendola, he was unable to make the catch, and the Patriots had to settle for the field goal, which put them on top, 13-9.

The missed touchdown by Amendola was the only pass targeted to him all game. The common theme for Brady thus far has been avoiding Amendola like the PLAUGE!!! The only receiver Brady has trusted this year has Julian Edelman, and occasionally Gronk. Edelman once again was the top receiver in the game with 10 receptions and 84 yards. There is clearly some sort of disconnect between Brady and his receivers, and maybe JUST MAYBE Brady is responsible for a lot of the Patriots struggles. (I know, blasphemy just by suggesting Brady might be responsible.) Read more

Patriots Destroy Vikings, Brady Still Not Satisfied

After a lackluster start for the Patriots defense, that allowed Matt Cassel and the Minnesota Vikings to march right down the field and into the End Zone on the opening drive, the Patriots defense stepped up, and didn’t allow the Vikings to score another point, as the Patriots defeated the Vikings on Sunday, 30-7.

brady vikings

The opening drive for the Vikings offense was very reminiscent of the Dolphins first drive of the game last week against the Patriots defense, and like the Dolphins they had an early 7-0 lead. After a 3 and out from the Patriots offense, Devin McCourty picked off Matt Cassel at the New England 39 yard line, and returned it 60 yards, to the Vikings 1 yard line. Stevan Ridley powered it into the End Zone to tie the game, and from there on, it was all Patriots.

With less than 30 seconds left in the 1st half, and with the Vikings trailing by just 10, and trying to lower the gap to just a touchdown by going for a field goal, Chandler Jones stepped up, blocked the kick and returned the ball himself 58 yards to score a touchdown. Instead of the game being separated by 7, the Patriots took a 17 point lead into the locker room. The blocked field goal was the Patriots first blocked field goal since 2010.

In the second half, the Patriots defense didn’t fold like they did last week, and shut out the Vikings. The defense had four interceptions against Matt Cassel including one by the new and hyped Patriot, Darelle Revis. The defense was also able to bring the pressure, and sacked Cassel 6 times. Even when they couldn’t sack him, they made him throw quickly.

The Patriots offense didn’t do much in the 2nd half, and only put up 2 field goals. The lack of offense and offensive touchdowns led Tom Brady to speak out after the game, and let his dissatisfaction known.

“I’m glad we won, I just wish we’d go out there and play like we’re capable of” said Tom Brady during his post game press conference. “A lot of guys contributed. A lot of great plays were made. Hopefully offensively we can do a better job next week.”

Although his comments are similar to what Bill Belichick expresses after any win (we still need to work on things and get better), Brady had a right to complain about his offense, at least about his receivers. Brady only completed 15 passes, and 6 were to Julian Edelman, and 4 were to Rob Gronkowski. Edelman looked like he did last year in this game, and was Brady’s go-to guy when finding a receiver. He also performed well on Special Teams, by averaging over 15 yards on punt returns.

Despite finding Edelman often, Brady and the rest of his receivers didn’t seem to be on the same page for most of the game. For Tom Brady to be Tom Brady, he needs receivers to be in sync with him.

The running game wasn’t an issue for the Pats offense. They rushed for a total of 150 yards, and Ridley himself rushed for 101 yards, with ZERO interceptions.

The win was Brady’s 149th career win which puts him in 3rd all time on the win list for Quarterbacks, and it was Bill Belichick’s 200th win.

Next up for the Pats is the Raiders at Gillette next Sunday

Patriots Drop Season Opener to Dolphins

Every season, the Patriots seem to have difficulty in Miami and this season was no different as the Pats dropped the 1st game of the season, 33-20, to the Dolphins in Miami. In the first half, we saw the Patriots team we were expecting to see, as they scored all 20 of their points in the first half, and took a 10 point lead into the second half.

After scoring 20 points in the first half, the Patriots came out in the 2nd half with an anemic looking offense. Tom Brady and his receivers couldn’t get much going at all. The offense was so weak, they only picked up 3 first downs in the 2nd half.

NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Brady, who wasn’t happy about Logan Mankins being traded to Tampa Bay two weeks ago, had little help from his offensive line, as he was sacked 4 times in the game, and he fumbled the ball twice. Miami took full advantage of this, and brought the pressure to the Quarterback frequently, and Brady never had much time to make his throws.

The offense was the only Patriots downfall for the Patriots, as the defense couldn’t do much to stop Miami, especially in the 2nd half. The Dolphins were led by Runningback, Knowshon Moreno who rushed for 134 yards on 24 carries. Moreno is no stranger to the Patriots as they saw him twice last year when he played for the Denver Broncos, including the November matchup in which he ran for over 200 yards at a very cold Gillette Stadium.

Ryan Tannehill played well, and did exactly what he needed to do to help the Dolphins to victory in the game. He threw for two touchdowns, and threw for an interception early in the game, when Alfonso Dennard picked him off deep near the goal line.

Seeing his first game action since mid last season, Rob Gronkowski had 4 receptions, including a 6 yard touchdown from Brady in the 2nd quarter. Gronkowski didn’t play as many snaps as he normally does, but that was expected as he didn’t make any appearances in the preseason, and Bill Belichick is trying to limit his playing time until he’s completely 100% back to normal.

This week 1 loss was the 1st week 1 loss since 2003, when the Patriots lost to the Drew Bledsoe and Buffalo Bills 31-0. Later that year the Pats got revenge by beating them by the same score, then of course went on to win the Super Bowl! So lets hope history can repeat itself, and the Pats can rebound and make a run to Super Bowl 49!

Patriots Pulse: Can Danny Amendola Stay Healthy This Season?

The obvious answer is probably not, look at his injury history. Amendola has only played in all 16 games once in his career, 2010 with the Rams. While with the Rams he played in 14, 16, 1, and 11 games respectively. Last year with the Patriots he played in 12 games, he didn’t miss any of the same games Rob Gronkowski missed down the stretch, but Tom Brady did not look his way too often.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year's opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year’s opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Brady did not look his way at all in the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos where Amendola had no receptions as well as no targets. Amendola was brought in to replace the production vacated by Wes Welker but he did far less than expected. Julian Edelman who has had his fair share of injury history as well, stepped into the Welker role hauling in 10 passes in the AFC Championship. Edelman became Tom Brady’s favorite target and was fourth in the league in receptions with 105. Amendola only had 54.

Amendola has grown tired of hearing, as well as talking about his injury history. This offseason during a phone interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones, Jones asked Amendola a few questions relating to his injury history, Amendola was not too pleased and hung up on the phone interview. St. Louis is much different than New England. The comparisons to Welker are really unfair but now in his second year with the Patriots he should be expected to step up.

Amendola had a great showing in last season’s opener against Buffalo bringing in 10 passes for 104 yards, a game he was also injured in. After that he missed the next three games, and was not looked for often in the following games by Brady who was throwing passes to the likes of Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Austin Collie. Amendola did not bring in double digit grabs again until Week 15 against the Dolphins. He is surely capable of being a good receiver, he just needs to looks and to be healthy.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Danny Amendola’s injury history is well documented, but is it really his fault? Some might say it is bad luck. With new rules in place for defensive holding penalties, Amendola might be able to break out this season, splitting time in the slot with Julian Edelman while giving newly acquired receiver Brandon LaFell chances to get open. The real key to the Patriots offense has always been Tom Brady needs multiple weapons to throw to because once they double his favorite receiver where will he look? The AFC Championship Game last year was a prime example. Amendola will have to step up this season to silence his critics, myself included.

NFL Preseason Week 1 Preview: Patriots @ Redskins

Tom Brady Patriots Boston Sports Then & Now

It is time. The first real action of the 2014 NFL season is upon us. After 14 days of training camp and joint practices in Washington, New England will take on the Redskins tomorrow night at FedEx field with a 7:30 kickoff. Crowds of close to 22,000 have flooded Bon Secours Training Center to catch a glimpse of the AFC East powerhouse. As with every first week in the preseason, the main priority is health and maintenance – don’t expect to see starters going more than a few series.

The real opportunity in this game is for rookies and at risk players to display their game speed and an early understanding of the playbook. Belichick is no stranger to bringing in proven veterans in the offseason. Whether it’s to help groom the youngbloods or add a positive presence in the locker-room, someone like Will Smith can only benefit the organization.

It’s hard not to mention new additions Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell. In one off-season, the Patriots may have transformed their defensive backs to the best in the NFL. Despite a four game suspension to start the year, Browner has displayed his physical presence early and often in 2014. Remember how good Rodney Harrison was at safety? It’s hard to deny Brandon’s elite athleticism as one of, if not, the largest corner in this league. While Revis has dazzled in camp, matching up with DeSean Jackson should be an early challenge for the Pro Bowl veteran. Brandon LaFell has flashed signs of brilliance in the back of the end zone thus far. With Gronk strictly participating in individual drills, LaFell’s 6′ 2″ height has become a point of emphasis for Brady and the offense. Look for TB12 to establish a game connection with LaFell tomorrow night.

As for the rest of the squad, here are three areas to keep an eye on:

1) Defensive Line: It’s no secret that New England struggled here in 2013. Losing both Wilfork and Kelly, the plugs in the middle, left the Patriots vulnerable the second half of the year. Big Vince has showed he’s “back” with an interception and TD rumble in a recent practice; however, how will the veterans respond in real game speed? Ninkovich and Jones excelled last year and need to keep up the edge presence to take the pressure off the vets and rookie Dominique Easley. It’ll also be great to take a look at the Florida 1st round pick. Furthermore, with Sealver Siliga hurting his hand, expect Joe Vellano, Michael Buchanan and Jake Bequette to get some serious playing time.

2) Quarterback: Yes, the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of a much needed tight end in the 2nd round this year. Yes, Ryan Mallett’s contract is up after the season. Yes, Tom Brady claims he will be playing until he is 40. What does this all result in? Media speculation and a little fire under Brady. Jimmy has not looked good in training camp and while Redskins coach Jay Gruden claims, “Brady is a hall-of-famer and the best of all time”, there’s no denying he is getting older. The Mallett vs. Garoppolo battle will be on tomorrow night.

3) Running Back: The early word on Wisconsin 4th round pick James White is quite positive, he is more than just a change-of-pace back. We all know the ball security issues Ridley has struggled with; however, there is no denying that he is our best pure back. Losing Blount to the Steelers will hurt, no way the Patriots get to the AFC Championship without him. Brandon Bolden may now be our “powerback” but White needs to step up in Blount’s absence in 2014. Vereen has shown great potential to be a more explosive Woodhead, but continues to nurse ailing injuries. Will this be the year he stays on the field? Let’s see who shines tomorrow night.

Prediction: Garoppolo shines, impresses doubters and the Patriots edge out a meaningless game with Belichick calling two timeouts in the 4th quarter.

 

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