Curran: Brady shocks 'Fins, awes Patriots

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Curran: Brady shocks 'Fins, awes Patriots

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
MIAMI - They ran them out of the gym. The belief (and I was one who held it) that the Patriots might be left gasping in the sticky air of South Florida Monday night was laughable by the end of New England's 38-24 win over the Dolphins. Instead of the Patriots being doubled over, it was the Dolphins. Exposed low by an up-tempo New England offense and the best quarterback of this generation, Miami wilted. And they were moving on. Veteran Miami linebacker Jason Taylor, being reminded one time too many about Brady throwing for 516 yards, finally said, "He hung 500 yards. Who gives a damn? There's next week. If you want to write a story about Tom Brady throwing for 500 yards, feel free. Congrats. He did a great job. We lost the game and we play again Sunday."The total was eye-popping and aided in large part by the 99-yard catch-and-run to Wes Welker in the fourth quarter. More impressive was the way the New England offense just kept crashing on the Dolphins in wave after wave. "Its a fine line between putting pressure on the defense and playing out of control," said Brady. "I thought at times we did both, and you never really want to play out of control on offense.It was a good pace at times, gave them some problems, and other times they adjusted to it."Asked how much he enjoys going quickly, Brady answered, "I enjoy scoring points. Whatever the hell we need to do to score points, thats what I enjoy doing. Sometimes we go fast, sometimes we go slow, its just a matter of what the point at the drive is, how were trying to execute, and ultimately trying to get the ball in the end zone."They did that seven times -- four times on passes from Brady. He made use of everybody except Chad Ochocinco, who had had one catch for 14 yards. Brady hit eight different receivers on the night and completed 28 to Wes Welker, Deion Branch and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. By the end, the Dolphins rising corner tandem of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith was cramping up. "That was phenomenal and there are plenty of things we can still get better on and that's kind of scary," said veteran guard Brian Waters who signed with the team late in the preseason. "The pace is just hard to keep up with for anybody, I don't care how good you are. The pace is hard for anybody."Brady wasn't interested in doing a victory lap or accepting bouquets after the win. There were plays that didn't look smooth, throws missed, choppy periods. His demeanor wasn't lost on Waters. "He's a great one. The fact that even at the end of the game, he was saying how it could have been better, that's phenomenal and that's a challenge for the rest of us, really," said Waters. "It makes you always concentrate on getting better and getting your job up."He is the reigning MVP coming off a 36-touchdown, four-pick season. The other time he won the MVP award in 2007, he threw 50 touchdown passes. Now add a 516-yard performance in the 2011 opener to his list. This is Bird. This is Teddy Ballgame. This is history, ladies and gentlemen. Said Matt Slater, who caught a 46-yard post from Brady in the first quarter, "I'm just happy to be a part of this effort tonight and part of this record-setting offense with this man tonight. He never ceases to amaze me. But the thing about him is he never gets complacent. He always is hungry to get better and that helps our team. We look to him and he sets the bar so high, even with a night like tonight where he goes for over 500 yards he's not like satisfied. He just says, 'All right, what do we got next week.' Just the way he approaches the game as a professional and I've learned a lot."It's astounding that this player who in the first portion of his career was the ultimate game-manager and clutch player, has now become one of the most prolific and efficient passers the game has seen. Enjoy the ride. And get yourself some oxygen. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Brissett sees room for improvement but feels he's 'moving in the right direction'

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Brissett sees room for improvement but feels he's 'moving in the right direction'

HOUSTON -- It wasn't the mechanics of his throwing motion that he was concerned about. For Jacoby Brissett, it was the way in which he was seeing the Texans defense, the length of time it took to get a feel for the game, and how his night ended that bothered him. 

"I felt like I was getting my rhythm," Brissett said after the Patriots lost their exhibition with the Texans on Saturday, 23-20. "But you can't really remember all that stuff when the last play happens like that. It's the last one."

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Though the outcome of the game meant nothing, Brissett and his teammates were looking for a game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left when Brissett had the ball knocked from his hands and out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. 

Brissett's night finished up with him going 5-for-10 for 36 yards. He was sacked twice and pressured on seven of his 15 drop-backs. 

The reserves playing for the Texans in the fourth quarter made life difficult for Brissett and his teammates as their first two drives resulted in punts. Brissett was hit twice on those drives, and his first third-down attempt failed when Houston sniffed out a screen. The Patriots had what looked like a third-and-21 conversion on their next sequence, but Devin Lucien bobbled a catch deep over the middle of the field that fell incomplete. 

Brissett seemed to make a couple of relatively difficult throws during his time on the field -- he nearly had a game-winning touchdown pass completed to Cody Hollister on a fade to the back corner of Houston's end zone, but Hollister got just one foot in-bounds -- yet he wished he could have done more to spark the Patriots offense quickly.

"I think I'm throwing the ball good," he said. "I don't think that's the issue. I think it's more so just my eyes and the timing of everything. I don't think it's throwing -- actually throwing. I think it's the mechanics of playing the game."

There was some good to be taken from Brissett's brief outing. After taking over possession with less than two minutes left, he helped the Patriots get deep into Texans territory with completions to Lucien, Sam Cotton and a third-down strike to DJ Foster. He also avoided a near sack, getting out of bounds to stop the clock, and he wisely spiked the football into the turf when he realized Houston had figured out another screen was coming.

Brissett looked back on where the third-team offense was at the start of camp -- with players like receivers Tony Washington and KJ Maye having just been added to the roster -- and pointed out that he felt they were significantly ahead of where they were then.

"I think we've gotten a lot better," Brissett said. "Just this two-minute drive is a good example. Last week we didn't make it past, what, the 40-yard line [against Jacksonville]? This week we're in the red zone with a chance to win the game. I think a lot of our young guys are stepping up and making plays and we're getting a little continuity together."

As for Brissett himself? The 2016 third-round pick has been the subject of some media speculation as to whether or not his spot on the 53-man roster is safe. After seeing some inconsistency in his play during camp practices and last week's game against the Jaguars, there were those who wondered if he was progressing at a rate that would help him survive this year's cutdown date. 

Asked to give a self-evaluation after the Texans game, Brissett said, "I definitely want to do more and play better, but there are good things getting done, good learning experiences. Moving in the right direction . . . 

"I feel like I'm still getting better. I think I'm doing good things. I mean, this league is hard. You just continue to work on things and continue to get better. Yeah, [tonight] the end result is a loss, but there were some good things we did out there. Some things it's good to get on film and learn from. It's a learning experience. That's what this is right now."

Whether the coaching staff sees the improvement Brissett described is unclear. 

"We've all got a long way to go," Belichick said following Saturday's game when asked about Brissett's progress. "I don't think anybody's where we need to be. Any player. Any coach. Any anybody . . . Just grinding it out. It's going to take a while."

Brissett insisted that coaches have been just as tight-lipped behind the scenes when it comes to how they've seen him grow summer. 

"I don't know what they think," Brissett said with a smile. "They don't tell me . . . I'm putting my best foot forward. It's up to them if they think I've been getting better or not."