Brady shows competitive attitude in Wednesday's joint practice

Brady shows competitive attitude in Wednesday's joint practice

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia – Tom Brady’s legendary competitive streak was on display late in Wednesday’s joint practice with the Texans. Executing an end of the half drill, Brady hurried his team to the line of scrimmage and got the defense he wanted. Perhaps over-amped, he misfired on a mid-range out pattern near the Patriots sideline, throwing the ball just past the extended hands of Rob Gronkowski. Immediately, Brady’s hands went to his helmet, his shoulders slumped. 

“I mean we've got to make that play,” said Brady after the session. “It’s got to be a better throw. We've just got to come up with it. Sometimes you get the exact look you want versus a certain play and it’s not a productive play. Those are the ones that you kick yourself on. Then there’s some plays where they’ve got the right defense called versus what you have called and sometimes an incompletion – that’s what it is. Plays where it really should be a completion and a big gain, those are the ones you’ve got to come up with."

That Brady reacted like he did, on a mid-August day some three weeks from the season opener is just another reason why he is who is he. It also punctuated by far and away the most intense pair of days this training camp has seen, and the emotional Brady didn’t hold back, emoting at nearly every turn, directing those feelings to everyone: teammates, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Texan defenders and even members of the Houston coaching staff. 

“Yeah, I'm always pretty frustrated throughout the day in practices,” he said. “You’re just trying to create some urgency. I ask guys to dig a little deeper. It goes like that. Sometimes things don’t go great in the first quarter of games, sometimes they don’t go great in the first half, sometimes they don’t go great for the first three quarters, but you’ve got to keep grinding. You’ve got to keep digging deeper. A lot of times football is a lot about momentum. Things don’t go well early and then you find a little rhythm, start making some plays, scoring some points and then you can rattle off 28 points. That’s football.”

One doesn’t have to look too far back to find the Pats reeling off 28 off unanswered points. Super Bowl 51 ring a bell? In order to even get to that game, Brady and the Pats had to overcome the Texans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, a closer than it appeared 18-point victory that saw Houston’s defense do something that few ever manage: they picked off Brady twice and held him to under 50% passing. Though Brady says last season is over and dead, that memory lingers.

“I think what you realize with this team is they're not going to make it easy on you,” he noted. “There is no easy play, there is no easy throw, there is no easy run. They’ve got good players, they’ve got a good scheme, so it’s really challenging and has forced us to raise our game.”

And if the Pats didn’t grasp that concept on their own this week, Brady made sure he brought it to their attention early and often.

INTERCONFERENCE: Rodgers burns Bengals deep in OT, Packers win, 27-24

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INTERCONFERENCE: Rodgers burns Bengals deep in OT, Packers win, 27-24

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Aaron Rodgers burned another defense deep with a free play. The Cincinnati Bengals found their offense and a new way to lose.

Mason Crosby kicked a 27-yard field goal with 6:26 left in overtime set up by Rodgers' 72-yard pass to Geronimo Allison, and the Green Bay Packers rallied to beat Cincinnati 27-24 on Sunday.

Crosby's kick completed the Packers' comeback from a 21-7 halftime deficit.

On third-and-10 from his 21, Rodgers took advantage of yet another free play after defensive end Michael Johnson was whistled for offside. Officials let the play continue and the two-time NFL MVP found Allison on about a 40-yard pass before the receiver beat a couple defenders for more yards.

"Luckily I put it in a good spot and G-Mo did the rest," Rodgers said.

Crosby, a veteran kicker, finished it off for the Packers (2-1).

The winless Bengals (0-3) won the toss in overtime but went three-and-out on their opening drive. It was so loud at Lambeau Field that they had to call timeout before their first overtime snap.

Rodgers thrived under the pressure.

He connected with Jordy Nelson for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 24. Cornerback Dre Kilpatrick narrowly missed batting away the bullet thrown by the quarterback into the front right corner of the end zone.

"We rushed the quarterback, keeping him in. We did a lot, but when we broke down, (Rodgers) made plays," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.

Rodgers finished 28 of 42 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Allison had six catches for 122 yards.

"I thought Aaron played one of his best games," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I thought he was tremendous today."

The Packers flipped the script after the Bengals controlled the first half.

A.J. Green caught a 10-yard scoring pass on the game's opening drive for Cincinnati's first touchdown after two frustrating weeks for the offense. Bill Lazor made his debut as offensive coordinator for the fired Ken Zampese.

Andy Dalton was 21 of 27 for 212 yards and two scores. The Bengals were desperate to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2008. But they couldn't finish the Packers off in the second half.

"A disappointment is not finishing a football game now," Lewis said.

Green Bay's defense generated a little more pressure on Dalton in the second half, and rookie safety Josh Jones gave the injury-laden defense a boost with two sacks and 12 tackles.

Rodgers shook off his early struggles to guide the Packers to another win. He was sacked six times, mostly against just the Bengals' four-man rush, though the protection shored up after halftime.

Rodgers threw just his second career pick-six - and his first at home - when William Jackson returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown for a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.

"Oh, we took a step as a football team," McCarthy said. "This always pays forward when you go through adversity and you have success."

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INTERCONFERENCE: Titans score 21 straight points in 3rd, beat Seahawks, 33-27

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INTERCONFERENCE: Titans score 21 straight points in 3rd, beat Seahawks, 33-27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tennessee Titans scored 21 straight points in rallying to beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 Sunday.

Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards, including a 75-yard TD run . Ryan Succop also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (2-1) scored at least 30 points for a second straight week.

The Seahawks (1-2) finally scored a bunch of touchdowns with Russell Wilson throwing for 373 yards and four TDs. His second TD, a 10-yarder to Chris Carson , put Seattle up 14-9 in the third quarter.

Then the Titans took control with Mariota answering with TDs on the next two drives for Tennessee.

Mariota tossed a screen to Rishard Matthews, who ran 55 yards to the end zone for a 16-14 lead midway through the third. Matthews and tight end Jonnu Smith celebrated taking pretend selfies in the end zone.

On the next possession, Mariota found a wide-open Jonnu Smith for a 24-yard TD and a 23-14 lead.

Murray's TD gave Tennessee a 30-14 lead late in the quarter, and Tennessee finished with 195 yards rushing.

Wilson pulled Seattle within 33-27 with his fourth TD, an 8-yarder to Paul Richardson with 1:50 left. But Titans tight end Delanie Walker recovered Seattle's onside kick.

The Seahawks had one last chance with the Titans lined up to punt on fourth-and-3 with 11 seconds left. Then officials flagged the Seahawks for 12 men in the formation, giving Tennessee the clinching first down.

Both teams chose not to take the field for the national anthem on a day of protests around the NFL. Meghan Linsey, a runner-up in "The Voice," took a knee when she finished singing.

Then Wilson locked arms with center Justin Britt, followed by his teammates as the Seahawks walked onto the field. In the other corner, Mariota locked arms with Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker and linebacker Wesley Woodyard, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Brian Orakpo as the Titans walked out.