Patriots defense lets down in fourth quarter


Patriots defense lets down in fourth quarter

FOXBORO -- Jerod Mayo recorded his first NFL interception in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' 31-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

It was one of the only positives coming from a fourth quarter that saw New England outscored 21-0.

"I was just reading the quarterback and just broke on the ball," said Mayo about his diving interception over the middle. "I don't remember, to be honest with you. I'll have to go back and watch the film."

When Mayo -- and the rest of the Patriots' defense -- goes back and watches that film, chances are, they're going to look at a whole lot more than just Mayo's interception.

They're also going to take a look at Indianapolis' 88, 93, and 90-yard scoring drives from that fourth quarter, which turned a 31-3 Patriots lead into a 31-24 final.

"We played good for 45 minutes, and then didn't do anything offensively in the fourth quarter," said Tom Brady after the game. "So we'll hear about that tomorrow."

Brady wasn't about to throw his defense under the bus. But as bad as the offense looked putting up a goose egg in the final 15 minutes on Sunday, the defense looked worse.

"We started off fast, we just couldn't finish the game," said Mayo. "Those guys fought back and executed at the end of the game, and we couldn't put two halves together. Hopefully we do it next week.

"It's kind of disappointing, to be honest with you," added Mayo. "Even though it's a win, and it's hard to win games in the National Football League, you want to finish so much stronger than that."

So what was the reason for the poor finish?

"Poor execution, lack of execution, lack of focus," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington. "Got to really look at the film. It's hard to really tell right now. We'll go back, look it over, and take a hard look in the mirror and see how we can get better."

"I thought we did some good things out there today," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We've obviously got to do a better job of finishing the game. That was disappointing, but we'll work on that. We'll get back to work here and get ready for Washington next week.

"I think we did some good things today," added Belichick. "There are other things we didn't do as well. That's the way it is every week."

Defensive lineman Andre Carter was a little more optimistic than others about the way New England finished defensively. The veteran sounded like a guy who believed some -- if not most -- of the let down at the end was more about human nature creeping into a 31-3 lead against a winless team, rather than a lack of skill.

"We just know that, in the end, as a team, we have the talent, and we have the mentality," said Carter. "We just have to finish strong. It's something that we have to communicate as a group and as a team, and move on from there.

"I think in general, it's a mindset," added Carter. "It's just knowing what you have to do, and going out there trying to execute. Unfortunately, towards the end, final stretch of the game, Indy was just able to make big plays. And that is something we have to eliminate."

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


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

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.”