Brady looks at why his interceptions are on rise

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Brady looks at why his interceptions are on rise

FOXBORO -- Forget the passing yards and touchdown passes, the most amazing statistic Tom Brady's rolled up as a quarterback is his TD pass-to-interception rate.

Coming into this season, he'd thrown 261 touchdowns and 103 interceptions in 153 games. In 2007 and 2010 combined, he threw 86 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

He's never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season. Last year, he set the record for consecutive attempts without throwing it to the wrong team.

Compare and contrast:

Drew Brees was 235-131 coming into this year. He threw 22 picks last year.

Eli(te) Manning? 156 and 113. He threw 25 picks last year.

Peyton Manning? 399 and 198. He threw 17 picks last year.

Ben Roethlisberger? 144 and 86.

Aaron Rodgers? He's one that actually compares with Brady. 97 and 32 entering this year; 24 and 3 so far this season.

But this year, Brady's been on an interception binge. And Sunday's two-pick game against the Giants was actually worse than Brady's four-pick game against the Bills earlier this year. Against New York, Brady hesitated on a Deion Branch slant and threw into converging coverage. On the other pick, Brady looked right then, without checking the area came back and fired in the direction of Rob Gronkowski. Deon Grant intercepted. Against the Bills, tipped passes and undercut routes were the problem and an element of bad luck is in play there.

Brady's got 20 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. His personal high of 14 seems in danger.

"Just decision-making," Brady said when asked about the interceptions. "Just gotta make better decisions."

Sunday night, the Patriots play a critical game against the Jets. The teams are tied at 5-3 atop the AFC East along with the 5-3 Bills.

"We need to go out there and execute well this week," Brady explained. "Last time we played them we were a bit inconsistent as well even though we scored more than 30 points. I think we can be more consistent."

Over the season's first three weeks, New England's passing offense was mult-pronged. Now it's been trimmed to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch (all with 50-plus targets). The next highest target is Chad Ochocinco (21).

Asked whether balance between targets is a goal, Brady said, "If they're open, they get it. If they're covered, you throw to someone else. If you put other guys in position and they're open first, they get the ball. Really the guys who are gonna get the ball are the guys who are open. We're not trying to just force the ball. I don't think I ever -- well not ever but -- pick a guy before the play. But usually that doesn't go very well.

"A lot of times you just try to read it out," he added. "You know the route, you know the coverages, you know the matchup, you read it and make your throw using good technique and try to throw the ball with accuracy. We could bring one of you guys out there and throw if we told you where to throw it before the snap."

Don't know how many we'd complete, but sure we could. Actually, if you told us to throw to Ocho, we'd complete about as many as Brady has over the past three weeks. Zero.

The diligent defense of Ochocinco continued Wednesday. And while Senor Nueve receptions has been an unmitigated disappointment in terms of production at least he's trying.

"He is and he's continued to do a great job in practice in the role that he's carved out for himself and he's gonna continue to be out there and hopefully make a few plays for us," said Brady. "One of these days it is really gonna all click for us and the offense is gonna (kick it in)."

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.
 

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

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Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.