Mazz: 'It's not about the guys on the field'

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Mazz: 'It's not about the guys on the field'

Tony Massarotti makes it pretty clear: As bad as the replacement officials are on the field, it's the guys off the field -- the owners and the NFL -- who deserve the blame.

Good point, Mazz. But those guys aren't showing themselves much right now. If they were, fans would probably have a few choice words for them too.

But Mike Felger talks about the ridiculousness in not being on the same page on the final play of the Monday Night Football game. Did they rule Seattle scored touchdown initially?

Perry: Garoppolo's accountability a winning sign in losing effort

Perry: Garoppolo's accountability a winning sign in losing effort

HOUSTON -- If Jimmy Garoppolo is destined to be a starting quarterback down the line, he showed one quality after the game that would seem to indicate he's just about ready.

He was accountable.

The strip-sack that nearly decapitated him and gave the Texans possession? On him.

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"The o-line did a great job tonight," Garoppolo said. "The sack-fumble was my fault. Can't let that happen . . . I'm the quarterback. It's just -- it's my fault."

His pick in the fourth quarter, a strange throw on the run that was out of reach for tight end Jacob Hollister? Well, yeah, no one else to blame there.

"You just gotta throw it away," he said. "Put more on it. Don't even give the guy a chance to do that."

It wasn't all ugliness in preseason game No. 2 for Tom Brady's backup. He hit DJ Foster on a quick toss over the middle that turned into a 25-yard touchdown. He climbed the pocket and drilled Austin Carr for a first down in the third quarter that started a streak of six straight completions, ending with Foster's score. He established chemistry with tight end James O'Shaughnessy, who had to sit during last week's game with the Jags. And he did it all behind the likes of Cam Fleming, Cole Croston, Jamil Douglas and James Ferentz.

One of Garoppolo's best plays of the night actually came on a sack. But instead of taking a vicious blow -- like the one he absorbed on the strip-sack -- he got on the ground just as the Texans were bearing down on him. He lived to see the next down, using an on-the-field awareness that may be tough to sharpen during practices when quarterbacks wear red jerseys and aren't allowed to be touched.

No, the final line wasn't sparkling, as it was a week ago. Garoppolo was 15-for-23 for 145 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He missed throws to O'Shaughnessy, Carr and Dion Lewis. He was nearly picked on a Brandon Bolden wheel route.

But the accountability Garoppolo showed after the fact is the kind of thing that doesn't go unnoticed by teammates, and it's one of the reasons he'll already have them won over if he ever gets another chance to start.

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Brady: 'Gotta be careful about who you double' in Patriots offense

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Brady: 'Gotta be careful about who you double' in Patriots offense

HOUSTON -- Though Tom Brady played just 17 snaps on Saturday against the Texans, and though he got his offense into the end zone just once in an abbreviated night of work, his team's second preseason game served as a reminder that the Patriots have a surplus of weaponry. 

Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis looked dynamic. Rob Gronkowski impacted coverage even when he wasn't targeted. Brandin Cooks was in uniform for the first time and caught a pass from Brady. Malcolm Mitchell saw plenty of work with Jimmy Garoppolo. James O'Shaughnessy looked like a viable third option at tight end. 

That's not even mentioning players like James White, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Dwayne Allen (all of whom are healthy) or Mike Gillislee (who is still working his way back from injury). 

The variety of options Brady can lean on in a given week, the matchups he and Josh McDaniels will try to dictate by using certain personnel groupings and formations, will be an every-evolving storyline over the course of the 2017 season. And Brady knows it.

"I think that’s what makes a great offense, having a lot of versatility," Brady said after the game. "I’ve said for a long time, I throw where the guys are open. If they double someone, everyone else is singled across the board, so you’ve just got to be careful about who you double. If we’ve got the right play call against a certain defense, it’s tough to stop us.

"We were decent out there, obviously had quite a few mistakes we’ve got to clean up, but it’s a good defense. We’re going to see them quickly. We had a good week of practice against them. It was a lot of fun . . . It will be a little bit different next time we play them."

Next time Brady and the Patriots see the Texans will be in Week 3, which will pit one of the league's most amorphous offenses against one of its best defenses.