Bad outweighs the good for Arrington


Bad outweighs the good for Arrington

FOXBORO -- Kyle Arrington almost had a fantastic night.

The Giants were up 10-3 in the third quarter's final two minutes and poised, quivering on the New England 5. Quarterback Eli Manning looked into the end zone and saw Mario Manningham. He launched the ball.

Picked by Arrington.

The interception saved New England at least three points. When Tom Brady and the offense returned Arrington's favor with a touchdown and extra point, the pick turned into a game-tying 10-point swing. And this was his second point-shaving play. At the beginning of the quarter he got a finger on a slant thrown to Victor Cruz on a third-and-3 from the Patriots 4. The ball fell incomplete; New York settled for a field goal.

Seven points saved.

But it's the seven lost -- and 35-yards -- that'll be remembered by most.

Arrington was hit with a huge pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter. Manning was working a first-and-10 on the Giants 25 when he found Manningham running deep along the left sideline. Instead of turning to make a play on the ball, Arrington stayed facing the receiver and got his hands on Manningham. In a flash -- with one whistle -- New York moved up to New England's 40. The Giants got seven, the lead, and an enormous shift in momentum.

New England lost 24-20. In the locker room, Arrington appeared exhausted.

"Receiver had a step on me so I'm trying to make up ground on the thrown ball," he recalled. "Could have played it better or... I don't know. I have to see the film. I didn't think... It doesn't matter what I think. They called it."

He bit his tongue on debating the penalty. The urge to claim innocence is instinctual, but, to Arrington, also pointless. It was a moment of the irrevocable -- as impossible to change as it is to forget. Fellow cornerback and defensive captain Devin McCourty said he understands the frustration.

"It's probably the toughest play. A guy goes deep and, not many guys in the league are slow so, you really have to start running. As he stops and adjusts to the ball, sometimes, like I said to Kyle, those underthrows are the toughest to defend.

"Sometimes you're able to get your head around, sometimes you have to play his hands. Each situation is different and that pass interference call is going to go either way. As a defender it's tough; sometimes the ref sees it as pass interference, sometimes it's a no-call. You've just got to continue to play and try to get it out of there."

The Patriots defense unraveled.

Though Arrington wasn't alone in making mistakes, things continued to trend downward after his penalty. His disappointment after the game was different from that of his teammates; it was like the fall from interception to pass interference knocked the life out of him. Worse, he's part of a secondary beleaguered by doubt in the first place, so instead of coming up a hero, it's like he failed like the statistics said they would.

That's how it will be recalled, anyway.

Arrington says he has to learn and move on. There can be as much dwelling on the bad as there is the good: zero. It's the only way to survive.

"It's the National Football League; playing corner in this business, you have to have a short memory."

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.