Curran: Offense continues to roll

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Curran: Offense continues to roll

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - There was a point in the first half when my former Providence Journal colleage, Steven Krasner, leaned over and said, "It looks like the Patriots just have more guys on the field."And it did. New England rolled up 274 yards of offense and Brady threw for 240 as the Patriots leaped to a 20-7 halftime lead over fellow AFC power San Diego. Brady went 20-of-23, including two big throws to the maligned Chad Ochocinco (15 and 40 yard completions). He also hit six other receivers in the half as the Pats scored on each of their four possessions (touchdowns to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski; 22 and 47-yard field goals by Stephen Gostkowski). The Chargers got their share as well, putting up 243 yards of offense (196 passing yards from Philip Rivers). But the Patriots came up with an outstanding goal-line stand capped by a fourth-and-goal stop by Jerod Mayo on Chargers' battering ram Mike Tolbert at the goal line. New England promptly went 99 yards the other way on a 10-play drive to make it 17-10. San Diego was moving the ball until, with 19 seconds left and San Diego at the Patriots' 29, Rivers tried to loft a pass into the flat and Vince WIlfork came up with his first-career pick. Starting at the Chargers 47 with nine seconds left, Brady hit Deion Branch with two darts that gained 18 yards in six seconds and Gostkowski pounded through his second field goal as time expired.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Pats' secondary coach: Butler 'is never going to give up the fight'

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Pats' secondary coach: Butler 'is never going to give up the fight'

FOXBORO -- Though he’s still fresh-faced, Patriots cornerback coach Josh Boyer has been on Bill Belichicks’ staff for a dozen years, including the last six presiding over the likes of Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib, Brandon Browner and Logan Ryan. In all that time, he’s never seen anyone play the position as competitively as Malcolm Butler.

“I would say that’s unique,” Boyer told me today. “It’s one of those things that whether something happens right, wrong or indifferent on that play, you know he’s always gonna be competitive. I think that’s an attribute to just his personal makeup . . . I think all of our guys are competitive but Malcolm is never going to give up the fight no matter what stands in his way or what obstacles he has. He’s always going to be competitive.”

Butler had a unsettling offseason that actually traced all the way back to an in-season contract negotiation that came close but never got completed. When that offer remained the same, and then Stephon Gilmore was paid massive dollars on day one of free agency, Butler, a restricted free agent, shopped himself. But with New Orleans and other teams unwilling to pay the price of a first-round pick, Butler decided he had no choice and returned to Foxboro somewhat reluctantly.

"Can't predict the future," Butler said back on May 25. "Whatever happens, happens."

While Butler wouldn’t commit to wanting to be a Patriot long term, he has made every effort to once again establish himself as the team’s best cornerback while not letting an unsettling contractual situation play play havoc with his on-field performance.

“You guys probably talk about a lot of stuff that we never talk about so we’re just, I’ll give Malcolm credit,” said Boyer, “He’s here. He works hard. We don’t ever talk about other outside issues. It’s all football and I think his focus -- I talked to him yesterday when he was in the building -- he’s excited to be back, excited to work, excited to see what this season holds for him.”