Belichick: Edelman still being evaluated

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Belichick: Edelman still being evaluated

On Tuesday, Bill Belichick gave something of an update as to the status of Julian Edelman. The receiver suffered a hand injury in Sunday night's loss to Baltimore.
"Well, we'll give you more information that tomorrow and see what he's able to do out there in practice," the coach said." I know that they're evaluating the hand and taking a look at it, trying to determine what the nature of the injury is and how -- or even the extent that -- it is injured and try to see where that is, and take a look at him tomorrow, see what he's able to do.
"We'll update you tomorrow after practice relative to his practice availability."
Edelman caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He went to the locker room early in the third quarter to have his left hand examined, and despite returning to the sideline later, never played another snap in the game.
The beneficiary was Deion Branch.
Branch had just one catch through the first two quarters. His role expanded in the third quarter and he finished playing 43 offensive snaps, which is 52 percent of the total.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was impressed with the way Branch stepped in.
"It's interesting because Deion, in the course of the game, played multiple position in the game and his ability to do that really was a plus for us the other night. He made a couple adjustments and plays at the line of scrimmage or right after the ball was snapped that really helped our situation there.
"One, in the two minute situation where they blitzed a weak corner; he and Tom were on the same page, and a few other adjustments they made as well. Deion embraced his role during last week's preparation and was ready to go when we needed to and we needed him to help us in multiple ways and he was up for the challenge the other night. "
As Belichick said, more information on Edelman's participation this week will be available after the team begins practice. It stands to reason expectations for Branch will likewise be made clear as the days pass.

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.