On Wednesday Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton went on the Doug & Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 and said that the Patriots were tipping their plays.
"We let Tom Brady tell us what kind of defense we were going to play," Horton said. "What I mean by that is we had looked at them and given our players some fantastic keys. We'd call the defense in the huddle, but if New England came out with a specific look, we were going to check to something else because we knew they were going to run the ball. The players did a great job.
"When Aaron Hernandez got hurt, it threw that game-plan out the window. We knew that whenever Hernandez was in tight, it was going to be a run. So we had a run check. But when he got hurt, it screwed that up because they went to three wide receivers instead of two tight ends. What they did, and we figured out real quick, was whenever Tom Brady was under the center they were going to run the ball and whenever he was in the shotgun he was going to pass the ball.
"We told our players, make the run check if Tom Brady is under the center. If he's in the gun, go to the pass check. They handled it beautifully. We had dual calls and what we were telling them was that we knew when they were going to run and pass. Our players put us in the best position to win the game. They did a flawless job of managing the game of getting inside New England's head."
The numbers tell a different story, however.
According to Mike Reiss at ESPN Boston, the Patriots attack was a little more varied than Horton let on. The Patriots ran their offense out of the shotgun 39 times, including penalties and their two-point conversion attempt. On 11 of those plays they ran it.
Brady was under center 43 times, according to Reiss. The Patriots ran it just 17 times in those situations.
Horton put together a good defensive plan that stymied the Patriots, but it appears as though his memory of Sunday's game was a little off.
Friday's practice participation/injury report for Monday night's Patriots-Ravens game:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder)
DB Jordan Richards (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (hamstring)
DB Eric Rowe (hamstring)
WR/SpT Matthew Slater (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Crockett Gilmore (thigh)
LB Terrell Suggs (not injury related)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh)
C Jeremy Zuttah (not injury related)
G Alex Lewis (ankle)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)
FOXBORO -- It seems unlikely that a 23-year-old who has spent much of his life around sports would be unaware of how fantasy football works. But Malcolm Mitchell insisted on Friday that he was that 23-year-old.
Over the past seven days, Mitchell has been the second-most added player in ESPN.com fantasy leagues behind only Steelers tight end Ladarius Green. The rookie wideout went undrafted in many fantasy leagues before the start of the regular season, but his production has spiked over the last three weeks making him one of a hot commodity for people headed into the fantasy playoffs.
In wins over the Niners, Jets and Rams, Mitchell has caught 17 passes for 222 yards and three scores.
"I have family members mention it, but I never know what they're talking about," Mitchell said when asked if he was asked about his newfound popularity among fans of fantasy football. "I'm not sure how that works. If someone said it, I'd probably have no idea what it means."
A fewer lockers down from Mitchell is the stall of rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who cut into Mitchell's back-and-forth with reporters joking, "I've got him on my team!"
Mitchell's confusion over the phenomenon that is fantasy football seemed to be genuine as he asked questions about how teams operate and what fantasy free-agency means.
Those who've picked him up probably don't mind that Mitchell is in the dark on the subject -- and the same goes for the Patriots coaching staff, it's safe to assume -- as long as he continues to do his job as well as he's done it in recent weeks.