Pats' triumph Sunday defines 'winning ugly'

563122.jpg

Pats' triumph Sunday defines 'winning ugly'

FOXBORO Tom Brady engineered yet another late-game rally as New England squeaked out a 20-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The much-maligned Patriots defense continues to trend in the right direction, as they did their part to get the ball back in Brady's hands as he went about engineering comeback win No. 32 if you're keeping track at home.

But for anyone who saw Sunday's game, there was one word that probably best described the Patriots' fifth win of the season - ug-gah-lee.

"I would second that, without a shadow of a doubt," said Patriots guard Brian Waters. "I know that around here that's not anything new, to be honest with you. I know there have been a lot of close games around here and as well for Dallas. It was expected to come down to the end."

Maybe so, but certainly not like this in a game that featured more mental blunders on the Patriots part than usual.

"We did a lot of things very poorly," said New England tackle Matt Light. "And look, whether it was those guys just making great plays and having the kind of guys that can make plays like that or us just totally being asleep in certain situations. We've got to play better than that; we understand that."

Missed assignments is one thing. Penalties can kind of be explained away as well.

But more than anything else, it was New England's woeful job of tackling the Cowboys that was most disturbing.

In the first quarter with a first-and10 at their own 23-yard line, New England's defense stuffed Felix Jones for a one-yard gain - but only after he broke four tackles.

And the biggest play of the game for the Cowboys - a 33-yard catch by Dez Bryant - involved New England players missing tackles.

"We had some problems with tackling," acknowledged Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes, who came up with arguably the biggest tackle of the game when he disrupted a shovel pass near the end zone in the fourth quarter which resulted in a three-yard loss and even more important, forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal. "But getting all those hats to the ball, we took care of it."

Said coach Bill Belichick: "We missed a lot of tackles today. That was the biggest problem. We've got to do a better job of tackling, but we were able to play well in the red (zone) area and hold them to some field goals. Ultimately, the touchdowns beat the field goals, so we were fortunate there."

In addition to the missed tackles and penalties (5-for-35 yards), the Pats turned the ball over four times which included a pair of interceptions by Brady.

"We really squandered away some opportunities throughout the game but came up big when we needed it," Brady said.

To a large degree, it has been like that all season for the Patriots.

With every victory, there has usually been one aspect of their play that was noticeably bad relative to others.

On Sunday, it seemed as though the Patriots were unable to get into a nice flow in a number of phases of play.

And that, more than anything else, makes Sunday's victory so impressive.

"Everyone battled back and played hard," Light said. "These are the kind of wins you want, but you don't necessarily want to be in those situations."

Darrelle Revis has court date Thursday on fight claims

Darrelle Revis has court date Thursday on fight claims

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has a court date next week on criminal charges stemming from a fight after he turned himself in to police and was later released on a non-monetary bond.

Revis faces aggravated assault and other charges alleging he was in a fight with two men last weekend in Pittsburgh. He answered no questions from the media as he turned himself in Friday. He later made an initial court appearance, and his next court date was scheduled for Thursday.

Revis' attorney has said Revis was physically assaulted by a group of at least five people. He said Revis "feared for his safety" and sought medical attention, but he didn't offer details about the severity of Revis' injuries.

Police say the fight started when a man began recording a video of Revis and Revis grabbed his phone and tried to delete it. Two men say they were punched and knocked out.

The New York Jets said through a spokesman they would have no further comment on Revis' situation other than their initial statement that they were aware of the matter and had spoken with Revis. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to The Associated Press that the league was looking into the matter.

Attorney Blaine Jones said Saturday in a text message that while he was hired for the pre-indictment phase of the case, he would not be representing the Jets cornerback going forward.

Revis is due $15 million next season, including a $2 million roster bonus due on the second day of the new league year, March 10.

The $13 million in base salary includes $6 million in guaranteed money, which the Jets would owe him even if they decided to cut him before the deadline.

Revis had a bitter breakup with his agents last year and has no formal representation going forward.

Revis, who is from Aliquippa, was a star at the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted No. 14 overall by the Jets in 2007. He quickly established himself as one of the top players at his position - and in franchise history - while also earning the nickname, "Revis Island" for his penchant for routinely shutting down opposing teams' top receivers. He is in his second stint with the Jets.

---

For more NFL coverage:http://www.pro32.ap.org andhttp://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

It was a tough rookie season for Cyrus Jones after being selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the the 2016 NFL Draft.

Despite struggling in the return game all season and being inactive for the playoffs, Jones will forever the labeled as a "Super Bowl Champion" after his team's victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

But you won't hear Jones bragging about the victory.

"I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to," Jones told Childs Walker of the The Baltimore Sun. "I was part of the team, but I didn't feel a part of it."

The 23-year-old rookie played in 10 games for the Patriots, seeing 147 snaps on defense. But his struggles in the return game were a talking point for most of the season after he came in with such high expectations as a returner out of Alabama. 

"Honestly, it was hell for me," he explained. "That's the only way I can describe it. I didn't feel I deserved to be part of anything that was happening with the team. I felt embarrassed that these people probably thought they wasted a pick on me."

Jones has already turned the page on his rookie season saying, there's "no such thing as an offseason" because he "didn't earn it."