Curran: Offense continues to roll


Curran: Offense continues to roll

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - There was a point in the first half when my former Providence Journal colleage, Steven Krasner, leaned over and said, "It looks like the Patriots just have more guys on the field."And it did. New England rolled up 274 yards of offense and Brady threw for 240 as the Patriots leaped to a 20-7 halftime lead over fellow AFC power San Diego. Brady went 20-of-23, including two big throws to the maligned Chad Ochocinco (15 and 40 yard completions). He also hit six other receivers in the half as the Pats scored on each of their four possessions (touchdowns to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski; 22 and 47-yard field goals by Stephen Gostkowski). The Chargers got their share as well, putting up 243 yards of offense (196 passing yards from Philip Rivers). But the Patriots came up with an outstanding goal-line stand capped by a fourth-and-goal stop by Jerod Mayo on Chargers' battering ram Mike Tolbert at the goal line. New England promptly went 99 yards the other way on a 10-play drive to make it 17-10. San Diego was moving the ball until, with 19 seconds left and San Diego at the Patriots' 29, Rivers tried to loft a pass into the flat and Vince WIlfork came up with his first-career pick. Starting at the Chargers 47 with nine seconds left, Brady hit Deion Branch with two darts that gained 18 yards in six seconds and Gostkowski pounded through his second field goal as time expired.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.