NFL Draft 2012 Live Blog: Belibuster on NFLN

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NFL Draft 2012 Live Blog: Belibuster on NFLN

Lotta downtime on draft night. And then there are flurries of activity. I'll timeline the hell out of it right here.

8:20 P.M. -- Trent Richardson is going to the Browns. I kinda like it. Colt McCoy needs Trent Richardson behind him so much more than he needs Justin Blackmon in front of him. And a good move by Minnesota who drops down, will still likely get Matt Kalil and get three late-draft picks.

8:14 P.M. -- Rich Eisen sounds like he's going to wet himself as the draft begins and the Colts GM picks up the phone. When NFLN shows Luck speaking to the Colts by cell, Eisen immediately launches into a defense of this now PROHIBITED MANEUVER by saying it was OK because everyone knew the pick. Who freakin' cares.

7:15 p.m. - Bill Belichick looks like a mannequin sitting and waiting for his interview with NFL Network. They come back from the break ad Belichick's still sitting there. I've been in the room where they do that hit, it's not luxurious. Or comfortable. Belichick proceeds to give a wide-ranging six-minute dissertation long on syllables and verrrrry short on specifics. I'm sure some producer somewhere in LA was yelling, "Never again! We're never having him on again before the draft! He kills the momentum!"
7:04 P.M. -- Brandon Meriweather, a Patriots' first round pick in 2007, elbows his way into the draft night hoopla. One thing about the draft - personnel guys swing and miss on speed, heart and stuff like that. But if a guy is a moron in college and does things that announce he's a character risk, it quite often happens that he continues down that road.

7:02 P.M. -- Working the red carpet for the NFL Network is Melissa Stark. She asks Robert Griffin III if the maroon and gold socks he's wearing which say, "Chase Your Dream" or some such thing were "specially made." No, Melissa. Bought 'em off the rack in Redskins colors right at a Duane Read in Times Square.

6:58 P.M. -- The media's in the press box for the draft. This is my 16th. I've spent 14 at GilletteFoxboro Stadium. The first draft I covered was for the MetroWest Daily News back in 1997. They took Chris Canty, Brandon Mitchell, Sedrick Shaw and Chris Carter in what was the maiden draft voyage of Pete Carroll and Bobby Grier. Sedrick Shaw later told me it wasn't him on the conference call with the local media but a friend who was at his house.
Hmmmph.

6:30 P.M. -- Little scene-setter for you. Just finished doing TV with Mike Giardi for Sportsnet Central at 6 and now I'm up in the press box. I spilled a bucket of words and didn't really say anything during that hit. I hate when I do that.

Roethlisberger takes aim at young Steelers teammates after loss to Patriots

Roethlisberger takes aim at young Steelers teammates after loss to Patriots

FOXBORO – Ben Roethlisberger rolled some teammates under the bus Sunday night but it was hard to tell exactly which ones had the tire tracks to prove it.

“It just at times almost felt like it was almost too big for some of the young guys,” said Roethlisberger after the Steelers were sent home sucking on a 36-17 loss.

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

He could have been talking about young receivers Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton, each of whom had deep balls slide through or past their hands.

Or he could have been talking about Antonio Brown, who within a week, went from being the star of his own Facebook Live broadcast to being bottled up by the Patriots secondary (seven catches, 77 yards).

While Coates and Hamilton didn’t come up with “combat catches,” a Steelers term that both Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin employed, Brown launched the Steelers week of preparation by depantsing Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers veterans with his tone deaf self-promotion.  

Roethlisberger may have been talking about the on-field product when he said the following, but it just as easily could be applied to Brown.

“Hopefully this is a learning game for guys to understand that this isn’t promised to anybody,” said Roethlisberger. “Tomorrow’s not promised to any of us and just to make the playoffs isn’t enough to get to this championship game. A lot of guys have been in this league for a long time and haven’t been to any of these or have been to very few, so I hope that they understand the importance and relish the opportunity if it comes again.”

Asked if he thinks the younger players understood that, Roethlisberger said, “I don’t know. That’s a good question. That’s probably a question for other guys, but I know I did.”

Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'

Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'

FOXBORO -- Someone told Chris Hogan before the AFC Championship that it would be a game he'd look back on 30 years from now and remember in perfect detail. 

That may be difficult for him given the sheer volume of plays he made in Sunday's 36-17 win over the Steelers. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets, surpassing Deion Branch for the franchise record for receiving yards in a postseason game.

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

"It'll be something that definitely I'll remember for the rest of my career," he said, "and probably for the rest of my life . . . I'm happy for everyone in this locker room, all these guys in the locker room, the coaches. We've worked so hard to get here, and I was just happy that I was able to help this team get a win tonight."

Hogan did more than that. He was pivotal during New England's first touchdown drive of the night, catching passes on three consecutive plays for a total of 41 yards, and then reeling in an easy 16-yard touchdown when the Steelers defense lost track of him in the right half of the end zone. 

"I moved a little bit to the left because they were pressuring up the middle, and the pocket kind of collapsed," Brady said. "So I kind of slid to the left and I had good vision. They kind of bit down on Julian [Edelman] pretty hard, and then Hogs just was standing there in the back of the end zone."

Hogan's other catches were generally more contested than that one, but several were made without a Steelers defender harrassing him. And when they let him be, he made them pay. 

The flea-flicker pass that resulted in Hogan's second score of the day was a kick in the gut for the Steelers defense, putting the Patriots ahead, 17-6. Brady initially needed a reminder of how Hogan scored his second touchdown of the night, saying, "Oh, the flea-flicker. How could I forget that?"

"We ran one earlier in the year against, I think it was Baltimore, and it worked," Brady added. "I hit Hogan on that one too, on a crossing route. Those were well-executed plays. It's nice when you can take advantage of some of those plays, nice to gain some chunks that way when you kind of get some misdirection or double-pass, flea-flicker, something like that. It's a big spark for the team."

At that point Hogan already had racked up a career day. He had never scored multiple touchdowns in an NFL game coming in, and he set his own career-high for receiving in the postseason with 117 yards. In his first and only playoff game the week before, he had 95 yards on four catches. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury in that game that limited him in practice and made him questionable against the Steelers. But he played, and he gave his team an early boost, helping force the Steelers to play catch-up for the vast majority of the night.

And the injury didn't appear to slow him down all that much. Though there were times when he was slow to get to his feet after being tackled, he showed the kind of speed that allowed him to put himself near the top of the list in the NFL when it comes to yards-per-catch (18.7). Among  receivers with at least 20 catches, he trailed only Sammie Coates (20.7) of the Steelers. 

"He's been incredible," Brady said. "I mean, to lead the league in average yards per catch is spectacular. He's made big plays for us all season. He made big plays in the biggest game of the year for us."

It's one that he'll remember for a long time, but he's hoping to add to that happy memory in two weeks.

"We've grinded throughout this entire year, this is what we worked for, and this is what we wanted to get to," Hogan said. "It's a special moment for all of these guys in this locker room. We'll enjoy this and get back to work because we've got one more."