Woodhead scores twice in Patriots win over Bills


Woodhead scores twice in Patriots win over Bills

FOXBORO -- He isn't the Patriots lead back. And it's been well-publicized, he isn't the biggest. But Danny Woodhead's big plays have seemed to be weekly occurrences this season, and he had a handful more in New England's 37-31 win over the Bills on Sunday.

He touched the ball five times, and two of them were scores.

"It's a pretty good day because we got the 'W,' " Woodhead said. "That's really the only thing that matters. Two touchdowns, whatever, that's not the most concern. It's just getting the win and we got the win."

Woodhead made his presence felt early in the second quarter, catching a 15-yard pass on third down, grabbing another for seven yards on the next play and then, one play later, running for 15 more yards and a touchdown.

He made an innocuous 6-yard catch at the end of the first half, but his next (and last) touch of the game was an 18-yard touchdown to make the score 31-17 in the third quarter.

Usually Woodhead is the running back trusted by the Patriots coaching staff to run with the offense when they are engaged in their fast-paced no-huddle. He was employed in those situations again on Sunday, and the Bills had trouble keeping tabs on him.

"Trying to cover him, obviously he's a quick guy," said Bills defensive end Mario Williams. "But whoever's back there, if you got him, if you got a gap you're supposed to play, do what you're supposed to do. I think I got matched up with him one time. It happens. Do what you gotta do and get through the down, especially if it's a mismatch."

A mismatch. That may not be a word often used to describe Woodhead, but his body of work this season has been impressive. He's not only trusted by the coaching staff to be on the field when the pace is quickened, he's trusted to have the ball in his hands.

He came through earlier this season with conversions on both third-and-14 and a third-and-17 plays in a 31-21 win over the Broncos. He scored on a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter of a game the Patriots eventually lost to the Ravens.

He proved his worth again on Sunday.

"Phenomenal, man," said Stevan Ridley of Woodhead's performance. "That's the leader in our room and Woody does it all. He runs well, he catches well. He's a threat for the defenses. They've got to find the little short guy out there somewhere, but most of the time he's making plays and it's too late. My hat's off to Woody for leading our room and doing it strong."

Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame


Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

Raymond Clayborn has been voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out both Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour for the honor. The corner, who is tied for the franchise record for interceptions with Ty Law (36), will be the 26th person inducted to the Hall. 

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977, and chipped in both in the secondary and as a kick returner. As a rookie in the return game, he averaged 31 yards per return and brought back three for touchdowns. 

Clayborn reacted to the news on Twitter soon after the announcement was made. 

"I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond's entire Patriots career," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.

"One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket."

Clayborn has been a finalist for each of the last four years but was not able to generate enough support in the annual online vote to beat out Ty Law (2014 inductee), Willie McGinest (2015) or Kevin Faulk (2016). Clayborn was eligible to be voted in by the senior committee since he's now been retired for 25 years, but he did not receive the requisite eight of 10 senior committee votes to be elected in that way. 

As it turns out, he didn't need to be. When Kraft called Clayborn with the news, he said Clayborn received over 40 percent of the vote to beat out the pair of three-time Super Bowl champs.