Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

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Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

FOXBORO -- In the waning moments of the first half, the Patriots were caught in a time crunch that forced them to settle for a field goal when they hoped to take a shot at the end zone for six points.

With just under 30 seconds remaining, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scrambled from the pocket and gained three yards before sliding at the Baltimore seven-yard line. With 20 seconds left, and one timeout, the Patriots had two options:

1) Call timeout, throw a pass into the end zone and hope for a touchdown catch or an incompletion, which would stop the clock and allow the Patriots to attempt a chip-shot field goal to end the half, or 2) spike the ball at the line of scrimmage, stopping the clock, and then still have time to run one quick play for a touchdown; if that didn't work, the Patriots could call time out and finish the half with a field-goal attempt.

Going off of coach Bill Belichick's explanation after the game, the Patriots tried for Option No. 2 but couldn't get to the line in time to "clock" the ball (read: spike it) in time.

Belichick said there was no thought of going with Option No. 1, calling an immediate timeout after Brady's run.

"I thought we could get up there, or we wanted to try to get up there and clock it and have time to run a play and have the timeout to kick the field goal," Belichick said. "So no there was no thought put into calling an immediate timeout, not really. I guess if we had known that it would take as long as it did to get the ball finally clocked we would have called a timeout, but then we didnt get a great look on the play."

Eventually, the clock ticked all the way down to four seconds and Brady was forced to call timeout just so the team had enough time to kick a field goal.

"Tom actually called timeout at the same time I did," Belichick said, "so we just didnt have it."

However, it looked like Brady was trying to line up a play without ever spiking the ball to stop the clock. He was lined up in the shotgun, lining up his teammates for a play before he looked up and realized time was running out in the half.

"Well, we had one timeout left so we were trying to save that for the field goal," Brady said. "I would have loved to get the touchdown there, but we settled for the field goal to go up, whatever it was, 13-7 at the half. We felt pretty good about where we were at halftime, but we just didnt come out in the second half and execute very well."

It was a bit of awkward time management that rarely seems to grip the Patriots, an uncharacteristic moment in a night full of them.

Bradley, Green and Jackson to miss Celtics' game Tuesday against Wizards

Bradley, Green and Jackson to miss Celtics' game Tuesday against Wizards

WALTHAM -- The team flight to Washington for tomorrow night's game against the Wizards will be a little lighter than the Celtics would like. 
 
Boston continues to be cautious with Avery Bradley and his right Achilles strain injury. Coach Brad Stevens confirmed that the 6-foot-2 guard won't travel and will sit out for the seventh time in the last eight games. 

Stevens added he didn't anticipate Bradley returning to the court anytime this week, which means he's likely not to return until next week's game against Detroit on Jan. 30. 
 
Bradley won’t be the only Celtic not making the trip for health-related reasons. Gerald Green and Demetrius Jackson are both not traveling due to sickness. 
 
However, the Celtics did get a bit of good news on the health front. Jonas Jerebko and Tyler Zeller, both having missed games with sickness, will take the trip to D.C. with the rest of their teammates.

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

FOXBORO -- It’s old hat to plenty of the Patriot, but certainly not all of them. A whole lot of players who joined the team since 2015 haven’t been to a Super Bowl. That says an awful lot about the personnel department headed by Nick Caserio with Dave Ziegler heading up pro personnel and Monti Ossenfort doing college personnel. 

Two of them -- cornerback Eric Rowe and linebacker Kyle Van Noy -- figured in the two Steelers turnovers in Sunday night’s AFC Championship Game. Both joined the team via in-season trades. 

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So in the afterglow of the Patriots postgame locker room, we asked a few of them what their emotions were upon realizing they were going to the Super Bowl

Eric Rowe (acquired via trade with Eagles, September 6): "It’s been a long road. Everyone has their own journey and how they got here but just for me, it’s been a long road. During OTAs and training camp down in Philadelphia, it was frustrating. I didn’t understand why I was sliding down the depth chart but I just kept my head down and kept working and once I got traded here I had to learn a whole new culture and defense and then I got hurt. Through those ups and downs it’s been all worth it. My parents, my girlfriend, my agent, all through training camp with the Eagles kept telling me, ‘Just keep your head up, there’s always something greater on the other side. Don’t stop working, keep working because you never know when you’ll get your chance and, ‘Boom’ I got traded so that was the way around that obstacle. And now I know what’s on the other side. 

Kyle Van Noy (acquired via trade with Lions, October 26): “I took a lot of heat [in Detroit]. I wasn’t living up to what I was capable of doing, even for myself. I had high expectations and I just wasn’t fitting in right away and it was great to get a fresh start and I’m really blessed to have them trust in me to come in and contribute. I don’t know if you ever get comfortable here. You better learn or they’re gonna pass up on you. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. Eric and I are holding it down for the Utah schools (Rowe went to Utah; Van Noy to BYU). We’re here to represent. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am truly blessed and the man upstairs is looking out.”

Chris Long (signed in March as free agent): "I honestly didn't know they did the confetti thing after. Because I'm usually at the bar with these games are going on. And maybe it's a little later at night. I've turned it off. I didn't know they did the confetti thing after the AFC Championship. That was a real plus . . . because I love confetti. There's no bad situation where there's confetti. I can't think of one. I certainly feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m on a helluva football team and lucky to be a part of it and we’ve earned the right for one more opportunity. It means something different to everybody. We come from different backgrounds, we come from different teams but we’ve all earned this together. It’s a melting pot in that way."

David Andrews (signed as undrafted free agent, 2015) whose great uncle is former Atlanta coach Dan Reeves: "When the Falcons went [in 1998], my parents couldn't take me, but they went." (Is he still sore about that?) "Not anymore. Not at this moment."

Joe Thuney (drafted in third round in May): "It's just a great opportunity. You've got people like Marty [Bennett] and Chris Long that have played so long and just don't get the opportunity. You just got to take advantage of it, and soak upevery minute, and just prepare as best you can, I think. Just go out there and do the best you can."

Malcolm Mitchell (drafted in fourth round in May): "I have no idea [what to expect]. I'm pretty sure I'll be debriefed. And guys will tell me everything I need to know walking into it."

Jabaal Sheard (signed as free agent, 2015): “Great feeling. Unreal. Just an awesome feeling. We gotta get this ring, man and go finish this thing off. It’s exciting, obviously. I’ve heard the stories from the guys who’ve been here. It’s huge. We have to go out there and take care of business.” 

Phil Perry contributed to this report.