Woodhead scores twice in Patriots win over Bills


Woodhead scores twice in Patriots win over Bills

FOXBORO -- He isn't the Patriots lead back. And it's been well-publicized, he isn't the biggest. But Danny Woodhead's big plays have seemed to be weekly occurrences this season, and he had a handful more in New England's 37-31 win over the Bills on Sunday.

He touched the ball five times, and two of them were scores.

"It's a pretty good day because we got the 'W,' " Woodhead said. "That's really the only thing that matters. Two touchdowns, whatever, that's not the most concern. It's just getting the win and we got the win."

Woodhead made his presence felt early in the second quarter, catching a 15-yard pass on third down, grabbing another for seven yards on the next play and then, one play later, running for 15 more yards and a touchdown.

He made an innocuous 6-yard catch at the end of the first half, but his next (and last) touch of the game was an 18-yard touchdown to make the score 31-17 in the third quarter.

Usually Woodhead is the running back trusted by the Patriots coaching staff to run with the offense when they are engaged in their fast-paced no-huddle. He was employed in those situations again on Sunday, and the Bills had trouble keeping tabs on him.

"Trying to cover him, obviously he's a quick guy," said Bills defensive end Mario Williams. "But whoever's back there, if you got him, if you got a gap you're supposed to play, do what you're supposed to do. I think I got matched up with him one time. It happens. Do what you gotta do and get through the down, especially if it's a mismatch."

A mismatch. That may not be a word often used to describe Woodhead, but his body of work this season has been impressive. He's not only trusted by the coaching staff to be on the field when the pace is quickened, he's trusted to have the ball in his hands.

He came through earlier this season with conversions on both third-and-14 and a third-and-17 plays in a 31-21 win over the Broncos. He scored on a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter of a game the Patriots eventually lost to the Ravens.

He proved his worth again on Sunday.

"Phenomenal, man," said Stevan Ridley of Woodhead's performance. "That's the leader in our room and Woody does it all. He runs well, he catches well. He's a threat for the defenses. They've got to find the little short guy out there somewhere, but most of the time he's making plays and it's too late. My hat's off to Woody for leading our room and doing it strong."

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan


Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.