Patriots make Gates a complete non-factor


Patriots make Gates a complete non-factor

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO When you're as big as Antonio Gates, every week you expect to get your share of attention.

But this?

If you didn't know better, you would have thought the San Diego Chargers tight end was traded to the New England Patriots the way he was draped all game by Patriots jerseys.

While San Diego racked up 470 yards of total offense against New England, not a single yard was gained by Gates as the Patriots pulled away for a 35-21 win.

"They made it difficult for me to get off the ball," said Gates, who had zero catches and just one ball thrown his way all game. "They made it difficult for me to make a play on a ball. Every time I looked around, there were two guys around me. They had a game plan. They wanted to take me out of the game, and that's exactly what they did."

The Patriots used a number of players to defend Gates, including defensive back Sergio Brown, whose interception came in the third quarter while he was defending Gates.

"We hit him as much as we could because we knew we couldn't let him get started on his routes," Brown said. "Because as he builds up speed, he runs better routes as he gets up the field. So we try to get him as close to the line of scrimmage as possible."

Gates added, "They did a wonderful job re-routing me. You can't say enough about their game plan."

San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers is known for spreading the ball around, particularly to his tight end and his running backs.

In San Diego's 24-17 Week 1 win over Minnesota, Rivers connected with eight different receivers. His top three targets? Running back Mike Tolbert (9 catches, 58 yards), Gates (8 catches, 74 yards) and running back Ryan Mathews (3 catches, 73 yards).

Despite shutting Gates out completely, Pats coach Bill Belichick said the game plan was to simply "compete against him."

Belichick added, "The guys that covered Gates, Patrick Chung, Sergio -- the linebackers tried to jam them. We tried to make it hard for them, but you just try to compete against him. You can't really stop him."

The attention given to Gates opened things up for Vincent Jackson, who had 10 catches for 172 yards -- both career highs.

Gates said there wasn't really anything the Patriots did that totally caught him off-guard other than the steady dose of attention they paid to him from the opening kick-off until the game ended.

"I felt they were going to make it hard for me to release," Gates said. "But they did that, and more. They made it difficult for me to get off the ball. They made it difficult for me to make a play on a ball. Every time I looked around, there were two guys around me. They had a game plan."

Gates added, "I thought I would still have opportunities to make a play. I tried to stay patient, but they had a terrific game plan."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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