Patriots day-after lament is about chances blown


Patriots day-after lament is about chances blown

FOXBORO -- In the end, the Patriots lost by a wide margin -- 15 points.

But the space between the Ravens and Patriots on Sunday was made up of many little plays that the Patriots didn't show up for. It wasn't one or two critical moments. Rather it was a dozen or so that led to New England's season-ending Sunday night.

"Give the Ravens credit; they did a great job, they deserved to win, and they were the better team," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "We had opportunities that we didnt capitalize on and they obviously hurt us. The Ravens had opportunities that they did capitalize on and thats why theyre still playing. They did a better job of playing and coaching than we did last night. They deserved to win the game and they did. Take nothing away from them. We missed our opportunities."

Belichick cited the Patriots failures in the red zone in contrast to Baltimore (how big, in hindsight, was the hurried third-and-2 stuff of Stevan Ridley on the Patriots first scoring drive?), New England's defensive inability to follow up positive plays on first down with solid plays on second down, and the Patriots' sputtering offense after it crossed midfield.

"The red area was a big deciding edge in the game in their favor," said Belichick. "It felt like defensively we didnt do a good enough job on second down. We really, we had them in a number of second down situations, second-and-10s and those kind of things, and they kind of got off the hook there with a couple passes to Ray Rice, Dennis Pitta, Torrey Smith, a run by Bernard Pierce.

"We just were never able to get into many third down situations there in the second half where we actually could have gotten them off the field. We didnt string those plays together. We had a lot of negative plays or no-gain plays in there, but we just werent able to string them together and they were able to keep those drives going and finish in the red area. Really, that was pretty much the story of the game: missed opportunities and the differential in the red area. There were obviously a couple turnovers there in the second half."

The air didn't go out of the Patriots' balloon until very late, Belichick believed. The gig wasn't up because the Patriots were still moving it.

"Even though we were behind, I still felt like as we were moving the ball, we were getting down there, if we could have gotten it in, we could have made it a one-score game and we would have had a chance there," he pointed out. "But we got to the, whatever it was, 34 or 24 or 18, somewhere in there three or four times in that 30 to 20-yard line range and just couldnt really get it past that. I thought that was kind of the story yesterday."

And the Patriots will now have an offseason to figure out what they could have done differently to get there.

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited

FOXBORO -- Even though Dion Lewis returned to practice on Thursday, there were no changes to the Patriots injury report.

Because Lewis remains on the physically unable to perform list, he does not count against the active roster, and the team is not required to list his participation level following practices. The Patriots have three weeks to activate Lewis, and whenever they do, he'll be eligible to show up on the participation report.

There were no changes to New England's injury report, meaning that tight end Martellus Bennett, receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Jamie Collins all continue to be limited. Edelman has been limited with a foot injury since before his team's Week 6 matchup with the Browns. Despite just nine catches for 65 yards in Tom Brady's first two games back from suspension, Edelman bounced back against the Steelers and reeled in nine passes for 60 yards.

The Bills continue to be hampered by a variety of ailments. Linebacker Zach Brown, who almost single-handedly ruined Patriots plans back in Week 4, missed Thursday's workout with an illness, as did guard Richie Incognito. Running back LeSean McCoy missed practice for the second straight day with a hamstring injury, and receiver Marquis Goodwin was out with a concussion. 

Here's Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Bills:


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 Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)