Brady puts the loss on inconsistent offense


Brady puts the loss on inconsistent offense

BALTIMORE, MD -- Tom Brady will neither talk nor tweet about replacement officials.

"I don't have any control over that, so, I just try to do my job," the quarterback said Sunday night.

As far as he would say, New England's 31-30 loss to Baltimore rests solely on the shoulders of the Patriots.

"We had a chance to win it . . . we just don't play well when we need to. We certainly, you know, we've got to play our best when it means the most and we've got to start winning close games."

Brady finished 28-for-41 for 335 yards, one touchdown, and a 101.2 passer rating.

The numbers for New England's defense are less impressive: 509 total yards surrendered. The officiating was questionable on both sides, but only five of Baltimore's 28 first downs came from flags against the Patriots.

So no matter what might have been going through Brady's mind, he left it alone.

He was equally disinterested in analyzing Welker's playing time, an oft-discussed topic over the last three weeks. He zoomed out big-picture at the end of his response to place emphasis back on Team.

"Yeah, he made plenty of plays out there for us. He's a big part of our offense," Brady said evenly. "It's just a matter of continuing to find ways to get him the ball and continue to spread it around to all the different guys. A lot of guys contributed."

Brandon Lloyd led all receivers with nine catches on 12 targets (108 yards). Welker was right there with Lloyd, catching eight of 10 passes (142 yards). New England also got 77 yards and two of its three touchdowns on the ground.

Brady's seventh drive, with his team was down 21-20, was brilliantly executed.

New England marched 80 yards downfield with the help of a 15-yard personal foul on Bernard Pollard to take back the lead. Brady used Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Kellen Winslow, Welker, and Lloyd as targets. New England showed shotgun and rushed; put Brady under center and passed.

And 11 of the 12 plays came from a no-huddle offense.

"I thought it put a lot of pressure on those guys," Brady said. "I don't think they really fooled us very much with their different looks."

Since he's right, it's curious why New England abandoned the no-huddle at one of the most pivotal points in the game. Like that failed fourth quarter drive.

Brady got the ball with a 30-28 Patriots lead and 4:01 left on the game clock.

What does the effort boil down to? Three incomplete passes, a 7-yard sack, zero no huddle plays, and just 29 yards gained -- 20 of which came from Ravens penalties.

Baltimore had two full minutes to get into field goal range. The 27-yard field goal was good.

"We just didn't move the ball consistently enough to score points, to score touchdowns," the quarterback said. "They're a good defense, they play well at home, and we just didn't really take advantage of our opportunities."

Inconsistent offense isn't the whole story of Sunday's loss. But it's the only story Tom Brady's telling.

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

Will time off in September benefit Brady down the stretch?


Will time off in September benefit Brady down the stretch?

FOXBORO -- As far as Tom Brady is concerned, there were no silver linings to Deflategate or the month he spent in exile from his team. Don’t try to put whipped cream on that particular mound of fecal material.
Found that out Wednesday when I gingerly asked Brady whether he’s ever felt this good in mid-October.
“I feel good,” said Brady. “I felt good at this time last year though, too. From one year to the next, I’d say I’ve become pretty efficient with how I get ready to play.
So the missing of September?
“I always wish I could be out there playing,” he pointed out. “I’d much rather be playing than not playing, but it is what it is. I feel good at this point. But like I said, I felt good last year, I felt good the year before that, and I think every year at this time of year just based on the right routine and kind of doing the right things to get yourself feeling good.”
The line of questioning was prompted by two things.
First, Brady’s played 256 games -- regular season and playoffs -- since 2000. His 31 postseason starts are the most in NFL history and he’ll add to it this year. No quarterback’s ever had a schedule like Brady’s for as long as Brady and the punishment he takes (witness Denver last January) would have destroyed the Montanas and Mannings with whom he’s compared. The extended layoff had to do a body good. And the level at which Brady’s playing right now -- and may continue to because he’s fresher -- can only mean good things.
Second, all the band, resistance and quickness work Brady does will never make him fast. But it has seemed to make him more decisive and determined that -- when he does opt to run -- the body will cooperate and arrive at the appointed destination without disaster.
Sunday, Brady both bought time for completions and embarked on short-range scrambles that picked up key first downs.
When Brady talked last week about making Pittsburgh “defend every inch of the field,” Brady scooting into open areas was a perfect illustration of that.
“If there are two or three plays a game that you can make just moving the pocket, or sliding, or buying your receivers more time, or scrambling on third-and-two, it’s just one more thing that they have to defend,” said Brady. “We made – Jimmy [Garoppolo] made a bunch of those when he was in there early. Jacoby [Brissett] made some.
“It’s nice to be able to do that because I think it’s a little discouraging for a defense when they feel like they’ve got you covered or they’ve got the right call on it, and all of the sudden – I mean, I don’t think they’re preparing for me scrambling for first downs. I know they’re not working on that. They’re working on stopping Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], and stopping Julian [Edelman], and Danny, and Hogs [Chris Hogan], LeGarrette [Blount] and James [White]. That’s not one of their top 10 things on their hit list, so I think it’s pretty discouraging when it happens and hopefully we can keep it going.”
At this point, Brady’s running has to at least be in the scouting report.
Although Rex Ryan isn’t buying.
“I’d like to see him do it more often,” said Ryan when asked if the scrambling of Brady was becoming annoying. “Put him in the option, that’s one thing that doesn’t scare you much, you live with that. What scares you is when he lets the ball go. He’s able to pick up a few first downs, But I think we may have the edge in running ability this week. I may go out there and make that bold statement. They may be worried about (Tyrod Taylor) more than than we’ll be about Tom running.”