Pats-Eagles 2nd Quarter: Leaky O-line; Eagles penalty-heavy

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Pats-Eagles 2nd Quarter: Leaky O-line; Eagles penalty-heavy

FOXBORO -- What a mess for Philadelphia. The Eagles only accumulated more total yards (94) than penalty yards (86) with little over two minutes to play in the second quarter. The team went into the half with 10 for 91 yards. Consequently, New England was winning the time of possession battle with almost double the clock used.

And yet the score was tied, 14-14.

The Patriots offensive line looked ugly and a muffed punt by a rookie didn't help. To be honest, New England was lucky to not be losing.

For all of Mallett's first quarter struggle (6-12 for 60 yards), he started the second with a touchdown. The ball was very well-placed to DE-turned-TE Alex Silvestro just inside the end zone.

Jerod Mayo, ever the captain, was helping Jeff Tarpinian line up before the snap.

Will Allen and Nate Ebner were your safeties.

Little dime package on third-and-10. Will Allen almost came up with an interception thanks to some nice pressure by Trevor Scott.

Brandon Bolden, an undrafted rookie, muffed a punt. Akeem Jordan put on the speed, blew past two Patriots defensive backs, and recovered for Philadelphia.

A slight scuffle broke out when Brandon Boykin shoved Marquice Cole next to the fumble recovery pig pile. Cole pushed back. Things broke up quickly.

Vereen and Donte' Stallworth were back to receive on New England's next kickoff return. Patriots seem to like this pair. Vereen got 22 yards out of the effort.

Brian Hoyer came in with just over 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. His offensive line: Nate Solder at LT, Donald Thomas at LG, Nick McDonald at C, Jeremiah Warren at RG, Marcus Cannon at RT.

Ryan Mallett's second half: 2-3 for 27 yards and a touchdown.

Phillip Hunt paid his 1.75 and used Cannon as a turnstile, blowing by and sacking Hoyer for a Patriots fumble. Philadelphia got the ball on New England's 12.

Brandon Bolden got a lot of looks in the second quarter -- he ran five times and was targeted for three passes on Hoyer's second drive.

When the Patriots needed a big first down, they went to Branch. (First quarter: third-and-5 with 51 seconds left. Branch got 20.) His second catch was on a second quarter third-and-13; pass was good for 17. Makes sense when you think no Welker, Hernandez, no Gronkowski, no Lloyd.

More trouble for the offensive line as Cannon wasn't the only sprung leak. Warren and McDonald got blown up by Cedric Thornton. Hoyer got taken down hard.

Josh Barrett came in at safety in the last 30 seconds of the quarter.

I do believe Nate Ebner had four consecutive practice days with at least one pick last week. He had 34-yards on the red zone INT return Monday night.

Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

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Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

FOXBORO -- With NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in Atlanta for the NFC Championship game, his second visit to Atlanta in the last month, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was posed an interesting question during his pre-game interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Who would make it to a game at Gillette Stadium next: Goodell or Donald Trump?

The newly-elected president, of course, is a friend of the Krafts and a Patriots fan who has visited Foxboro for games on more than one occasion over the years. 

"I'm gonna let you," Kraft said, "place the over-under on that . . . We're happy. Whoever wants to come can come. Donald has done this [radio] show before . . . He was great. He's a big Patriot fan."

Here are a few more quotes of note from Kraft during his interview with The Sports Hub's Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper . . . 

On the Colts firing general manager Ryan Grigson, who helped spark Deflategate: "Who? Yeah. You'd have to ask Jim Irsay about it. He'd be the one to ask. That game might've been Ryan's pinnacle, I don't know. Jimmy can talk about what's going on with the Colts. We're fortunately playing football today."

On Rob Gronkowski, who was a guest at Robert Kraft's home for a pre-AFC title game party Saturday: "He's doing great. He was funny. He was engaging with the crowd . . . He looks great . . . He didn't look like a guy who was hurting."

On if the Steelers called to apologize for Mike Tomlin's comments last weekend, calling the Patriots a-holes: "No, but we wouldn't have expected them. There was nothing to apologize for."

On his memories of the Kraft family's first postseason game (Sunday's is their 40th) as owners of the Patriots: "We went to Cleveland. It was Bill [Belichick]. Bill eviscerated us. It's nice to have him on our side this time."

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will go with four receivers against the Steelers as Michael Floyd has been listed as a healthy scratch for the AFC title game. 

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots had all five of their wideouts -- Floyd, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola -- available to them for Sunday's matchup, but they're opted to use the four who are most experienced in the team's offense. 

Hogan (thigh), Mitchell (knee) and Amendola (ankle) were all listed as questionable going into the weekend, but all have been deemed physically ready to play as their team vies for a Super Bowl berth. 

Floyd had his worst game as a member of the Patriots last week in the Divisional Round against the Texans. On two routes, both slants, Floyd ran the pattern in such a way that there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and quarterback Tom Brady. One was picked off and the other was almost picked. 

Floyd admitted as much last week, saying that there are still intricacies to the Patriots offense that he needs to pick up -- including exactly how Brady wants certain routes run.

Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans last week but felt optimistic soon thereafter that he'd be good to go for the conference championship. Mitchell hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 16. 

Other Patriots inactives for Sunday include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back DJ Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, safety Jordan Richards and corners Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.