Ninkovich encouraged by Patriots effort vs. Niners


Ninkovich encouraged by Patriots effort vs. Niners

FOXBORO -- As of Monday afternoon, the Patriots showed up to Gillette Stadium searching for answers from Sunday night's 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a game in which they fell behind 31-3 at one point, and then saw their comeback fall short after they tied the game at 31-31.

But Sunday presents a new challenge. New England heads to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars, a team that has only two wins this season.

Before moving onto the preparations for that game, the Patriots -- on Monday -- went over some of their mistakes and their strong points from Sunday night's loss to the 49ers.

"I saw just kind of what everybody else saw," said Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich on Monday. "Too many turnovers early, and defensively, we just need to make some of those stops in the third quarter. That's kind of what we had to have."

Not everything was bad, though.

"I love the way that we fought the whole game," said Ninkovich. "Again, you can't put yourself in a hole like we did, early in the game, and expect to win those games. Again, I think we played tough."

Ninkovich said he'll go home on Monday night and begin to watch tape of the Jaguars on his own. From that point on, it will be about Jacksonville, and Jacksonville only.

"I'll be mad today, but I'll come in Tuesday and work out, get my two days of workouts in and get ready for Wednesday," he said.

"Obviously you don't want to have that feeling of a loss, but again, I just go back to taking this as a learning experience for us, to learn from and just move on," added Ninkovich. "It goes back to just learning from your mistakes, and still trying to build on what we have through the whole year."

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.