Bolden breaks through

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Bolden breaks through

When a team scores 52 points in a game, you know the box score will be jam-packed with offensive goodness, and there's no shortage of that after yesterday's blowout in Buffalo.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Patriots became the first team since 1972 to score 45 points in the second half. They also became the first Pats team since 1980 to have a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game and only the second team in NFL history to have a pair of 100-yard rushers and a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game.

They also ran for 200 yards between the tackles, which is the third most of any team in one game since 2008, and more than the Bills had given up in their first three games combined.

But of all the notable stats from Sunday, none was more enjoyable to watch unfold than Brandon Bolden's 137 rushing yards. It was an out-of-nowhere performance from the undrafted back from Ole Miss and the first 100-yard effort from a Pats rookie since 2008.

(Who was the last one to do it? That would be the Pats last undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who broke 100 yards on November 9, 2008 against, of all teams, the Bills.)

Anyway, if there's one thing we've learned from the early stages of the Josh McDaniels Era, Phase 2, it's to expect the unexpected in terms of the Patriots game plan. Just because Bolden was featured heavily against the Bills and had substantial success doesn't mean that he'll be featured heavily next week against the Broncos. For all we know, they'll roll out Shane Vereen against Denver while Bolden polishes his helmet on the sidelines.

But if there's one thing we learned specifically on Sunday, it's that if they want give Bolden the call, the kid will be more than ready, willing and able to answer. In the meantime, we all might want to start scouting the Ole Miss running backs corps. The Pats next break out rookie has to be in there somewhere.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”

 

 

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)