Wilfork, Mayo: Patriot Way means putting team first


Wilfork, Mayo: Patriot Way means putting team first

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork didn't need reminding when he took to the podium Wednesday of AFC Championship week. He knew he was fortunate to have done the exact same thing last year. 
This season marks Wilfork's ninth in the league, ninth with the Patriots. Sunday's conference title game will be his fifth with New England. 
He understood the tradition of winning better than anyone else in the room. It is, after all, The Patriot Way. 
Wilfork discussed what it all means to him at this stage in his career. 
"I learned a long time ago with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour . . . I learned from some of the best that played around here," Wilfork said. "And the first thing that comes to your mind is you can't be selfish. It's not about you, it's about team, and if you buy into it, you'll be very successful.

"That's the one thing, I think, that this organization has had for a long time -- guys that come in and they're not selfish. They put the team first because it is a team sport, it's definitely a team sport. You need everybody working on the same page. If you have one or two guys that's not, you can be in big trouble. 
"That's The Patriot Way -- we put team first. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I've won a lot of games in my career here and I wouldn't trade it for nothing."
Another defensive captain, linebacker Jerod Mayo, was also asked to reflect. He explained that the attitude of excellence in New England goes beyond the athletes. Full commitment is expected on all levels of the organization, from sunup to sundown.
"The Patriot Way, for me, I think starts at the top with the Kraft family," Mayo said. "That's just not only being a good football player, but being a good person and falling in line. 
"We always talk about. If you want to be a good football team, you'll never get stuck in rush hour traffic. You want to be the first one here and the last guy to leave. I think guys really buy into that. Guys that come from other teams, I think they follow the lead of the bulk of the team and it's worked well here."

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air But and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he held Brown to five catches on nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his way from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Coach Bill Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up 9 catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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