Notes: Snowed-in Pats overcome injuries, illness

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Notes: Snowed-in Pats overcome injuries, illness

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

Another day, another dominating victory by the Patriots. Ho hum, right?

Not according to coach Bill Belichick.

"It was a tough week," the coach said after Sunday's 34-3 pasting of the Bills. "I really have a lot of respect for our players."

The team was without four starters -- guard Dan Connolly (concussion), tight end Aaron Hernandez (hip), defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (shoulderflu) and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham (calf) -- in addition to another pair of defensive linemen, Mike Wright (concussion) and Myron Pryor (back). All of them were declared 'out' on Saturday, and it was the culmination of a difficult time in Foxboro.

"We had a bunch of guys with the flu," said Belichick. "And the injuries; bumps and bruises coming off the Green Bay game. We had a hard time practicing this week.

"But they did a good job and fought through it. I'm proud of them for that."

So was quarterback Tom Brady.

"Every team has those weeks when some guys are and some guys are out," said Brady. "The guys fought through it and showed some mental toughness. That's been a big word for us this year."

Brady finished 15-of-27 passing for 140 yards and set the NFL recordfor most attempts (319) without an interception. He topped the mark setby Bernie Kosar in the 1990 and '91 seasons.

"What's my reaction?" said Brady, repeating a reporter's question. "I'm glad I'm not throwing interceptions."

The snow in New England didn't reach Buffalo, but it still affected the Patriots. They're grounded in upstate New York for at least a day since they're not able to fly back to Foxboro while the storm is raging.

"Pretty excited about that," said Belichick with a sarcastic smile.

The Pats have now won 15 straight games against Buffalo. They haven't lost to the Bills since the opener of the 2003 season . . . a.k.a. the Lawyer Milloy Game.

The only two longer streaks in NFL history: The Dolphins' 20 straight victories over the Bills from 1970-79, and the 49ers' 17 straight over the Rams from 1990-98.

The Patriots have an incredible plus-27 turnover ratio this year, with 36 takeaways against only 9 turnovers.

The Patriots haven't lost a fumble or thrown an interception in seven games, the longest streak in NFL history.

Wes Welker dropped two passes Sunday, giving him a dozen drops for the year.

The Patriots scored 24 (or more) first-half points for the third time in the last four games, and for the fourth time this year.

Brady has thrown two or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games.

The Patriots rushed for 217 yards, the second time this season they've rushed for 200 or more yards and their most rushing yards since they gained 277 at Oakland on Dec. 14, 2008.

Rob Gronkowski's two touchdown receptions lifted his season total to nine and tied the franchise record for touchdown catches by a rookie. He's tied with Jim Colclough (1960) and Randy Vataha (1971).

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass. 

Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

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Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household. 

For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."

I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016

In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed. 

Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth. 

He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "

If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.