Things to consider while realizing the rest of the NFL sees the Patriots sitting at 6-1 and knows exactly how everyone on “The Walking Dead” is feeling right now:

— Before we begin, understand I am in a state of post-traumatic stress from the season premiere of “The Walking Dead.” I promise, no spoilers. Just know that as you’re reading this, I should be curled up in a ball under my bed or seeking grief counseling. But I do it for you. Just don’t responsible for anything I say. Thank you.

— This is one of those wins where if you look at it close up, doesn’t feel all that impressive. You faced a back up quarterback, at times made him look like 1999 Kurt Warner and let a team hang around longer than you should have. But hit the “-” button on this one’s Google map a few times, and it looks better. On the road, the Patriots didn’t play their best game by any means, fumbled twice and dropped two perfectly thrown third down passes (one followed by a duck hooked 25-yard punt) and still won by double digits. Sure, they need to clean it up, but if you can find much negative in this, there’s a career waiting for you in the field of campaign attack ads. Or Boston sports journalism.

— I’m fascinated by Josh McDaniels’ approach to this one. We all know the McOffense can shape-shift at will like Mystique. And you’d assume its at-rest, default setting (its Rebecca Romijn/Jennifer Lawrence mode) would be the Rob Gronkowski/Martellus Bennett combination, create mismatches and chuck the ball all over the place. But in Pittsburgh, Gronk and Bennett rarely saw the field at the same time. And usually when they did, either one stayed in to block (the long catch by Gronk to set up the final touchdown) or was a running play (the three tight end look with James Develin they pounded LeGarrette Blount behind to kill the clock in the fourth). For the most part, McDaniels preferred a Posse look, with one running back, one tight end and three wideouts. It says everything about how stocked his toolbox is that he can use them the way he did and still put up four touchdowns despite the turnovers and drops.

— Of course, now that the battle station we call Gronk is fully operational, he alone is enough to make defenses suffer complete meltdowns. Consider his touchdown catch. The Pats ran a three man route combo I’ve seen called “Parachute,” where Danny Amendola ran a deep curl, Julian Edelman a shallow cross and Gronk ran the “chute,” a go route. The play side safety was Sean Davis, who left the seam to go help on Amendola and looked like he simply wanted no part of covering Gronk. Which makes zero sense football-wise, but perfect sense when it comes to self-preservation.

— More than anything, the gameplan seemed to be about pushing the Steelers front-seven around. And it succeeded. They used a lot of traps and zone blocks. Blount’s first touchdown was a stretch run where Nate Solder rode L.T. Walton into the interior of the line, Gronk came across the goal line to snowplow Mike Mitchell and Blount cut back against the grain for the score.

— The first touchdown was a perfectly blocked screen to James White, set up by David Andrews engaging Ricardo Mathews before slipping outside and Joe Thuney submarining Lawrence Timmons. All done with Gronk out of the play, split out as a wide-Y on the back side of the play.

— I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t single out Marcus Cannon for praise. Right now he’s in a two-man race with White for the most improved player on the club. I’m glad I said it, because I need to be able to live with myself. I can’t afford the extra rent.

— I really appreciate the NFL running those “Football is family” ads where a player does some woman’s job so she can go get her breast cancer screening. I’m looking forward to the one where a guy goes to help out Josh Brown’s wife so she can get treated for broken bones and contusions.

— There are few things in this life that bring me as much joy as watching Mike Tomlin make indefensibly stupid decisions. Throwing the challenge flag on a Gronk non-fumble that wouldn’t have gotten him possession of the ball unless Industrial Light and Magic doctored the replay with CGI. Down by 11 in the fourth quarter, he opts for a 54-yard field goal try instead of trying a fourth-and-2.

— Not to mention Tomlin’s team’s general lack of situational awareness. On that first Blount touchdown, his defense got set with all the urgency of the old lady in front of you in the express line paying with a check. And with the clock running down, his offense ran like the first rehearsal of a kindergarten play. Between Tomlin bellyaching last year about his headset going haywire in Foxboro, Ben Roethlisberger claiming the Pats defensive linemen were moving too much and his defensive coordinator saying the Patriots cheat, it couldn’t happen to a nicer coach. Keep worrying about Bill Belichick pulling fast ones on you instead of fixing your own failings, Dr. Foreman.

— I get people’s frustration over the Patriots defense. I don’t share it, but I do get it. They’re about keeping points off the board. And they succeed. In this NFL, giving up 16 points on the road is a win any way you look at it. I know it’s ugly sometimes. There’s no forgiving surrendering two, third-and-10 first downs to Cody flipping Hamilton. But it works.

— The Patriots D fights like the Russians did against Napoleon and Hitler. They gave up miles of ground, let the enemy get deep into their territory, then toughened up in the red area and, when it mattered most, inflicted millions of casualties. And, they’ll get even tougher when winter comes.

— Despite the lapses, like Hamilton and that 51-yard flag route by Antonio Brown over Malcolm Butler, I thought the secondary played pretty well. As Billy Zane told Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” you can be blasé about many things Rose, but not an end zone interception in single coverage. Butler also added a nice pass defensed versus Xavier Grimble on a third-and-4 to hold the Steelers to a field goal. And showed some real grit and balls on a reverse when Pittsburgh had numbers out in front of the runner, so he took Maurkice Pouncey head on. Add a Pat Chung pass defensed against LeVeon Bell at the goal line and some outstanding tackling (Chung against Grimble to force a punt on the first possession) and the fact that one of the touchdowns was that obligatory amazing sideline balancing act they get burned by once a week, and I think they’ll grade out better in the film room than in the court of public opinion.

— It’s been a good three bullet points since I dumped on the Steelers for their general dumbassery. So let me point out that Darrius Heyward-Bey complained about an offensive pass interference call where for his entire pattern, he beat Eric Rowe with a bat wrapped in barbed wire. Sorry. I promised no “Walking Dead” spoilers. I’ll say no more. Moving on …

— And before I move off the topic of Pittsburgh stupidity, you had to love the crowd booing the unnecessary roughness call when Artie Burns (the NFL’s “Least Football Player-y Name” winner for 2016) tackled Chris Hogan with a body slam that would’ve gotten Kurt Angle DQ’d from King of the Ring.

— This week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “This is where we grab ’em by the nose and kick ’em in the ass!” – “Patton”

— Another note about the way the defense played. It’s worth pointing out that Landry Jones is not the worst backup quarterback in the world. Granted, he’s got that weird thing going where his mustache doesn’t reach his beard. And when his chinstrap covers the beard he looks like he should sitting in a primered van parked next to a playground. But he could start for several teams. So there’s no shame in holding him to 16 at home.

— There is no one who’s more excited about having Brady back than Julian Edelman. Every time he catches a pass for a first down (which he did a lot of Sunday) I half expect him to bring the ball back to Brady in his mouth, wagging his tail.

— Though I don’t think Brady feels the same way about Malcolm Mitchell. After that play when he was running for his life then launched an ICBM, only to watch from his back while Mitchell broke off his route, Brady shot Mitchell a stink eye the likes of which we haven’t seen since Scott Chandler became invisible to him.

— With the Pats on a roll like this, and a bigger, better, stronger, faster, less stoppable roll seeming to arrive any second now, there is literally no team in the NFL I’d rather see them facing right now than Buffalo. That win over a wounded Jacoby Brissett that the Bills Mafia practically held a parade for has to be avenged.

Jerry has a book! “From Darkness to Dynasty: The First 40 Years of the New England Patriots” has been called “the perfect book for any reader who is a die-hard Pats fan.” It’s available now online and at bookstores everywhere. Details and scheduled book signings are at

wendysOctober marks the return of two legends: Wendy’s Original Taco Salad is back and so is our favorite quarterback. Wendy’s is celebrating these two historic returns by giving you a chance to win $12,000 in cash. Enter to win and see complete rules at

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Gerry and Kirk pepper Ken Laird with questions about his Indian in laws.

[0:02:15] ... had all its roots in a lot of phone calls total articles Josh Brown. 10 yeah. If you aren't the situation that's going on the house of but I'm not shocked Ken this year based on the weekend plans to over the weekend you have it. Little it baby shower frugally this layered right. That's directing debut show is Josh Brown to everybody was there. Although 48 the event like this morning that there. Forty pitcher hosts. House leaders want to that was ...
[0:13:20] ... countrywide why does not despite the true country on a point that Tim Hasselbeck on the side and that's about it. He was trying to get himself get the demons under control let's talk to and ...
[0:17:54] ... player and every player you better hold a dash cancel here is Tim Hasselbeck getting credit was from some guts last year was ripping Brady left and right accurate and Meehan Boston. Panama and today and instead of ripping Josh Brown. I think had his back wouldn't say I was saying he called it's sad yet to me that's the word used when you don't want. Pakistan when you don't wanna. Attack the and the culprit here in the criminal Josh Brown outs but some of that aspects out we get back. And for the violation is. And his daughter and I expected more ...
[0:19:06] ... And was happy to talk about it and today he's asked about Josh Brown. Nebraska defense brown I would say I just sat here for seconds post he didn't absolutely that we are listening back to that that is at a cop out like Hasselbeck at. That's what you always get in these situations I'll say it said remember from the OJ since archer saddle around. Split into this house it's sad from Josh Brown's perspective I get away with a for years beaten up his wife than don't. That they were she called the cops many ...

The guys talked about the fallout from Roger Goodell's handling of Josh Brown's domestic violence problems.
The guys talked about the Cubs run to the World Series and what it means for Theo Epstein and Headlines with Kirk.
Tim joined the show for his weekly visit and discussed his relationship with Josh Brown.
Gerry, Kirk and Mut talked about Phil Simms and the Pats win in Pittsburgh and heard from a crazed Mad Dog.
Tom Brady joined the show to discuss the win over the Steelers and Roger Goodell's handling of domestic violence cases.

[0:00:00] ... Tom Brady interviews brought you by house lubricate her north east electrical distributors might pillow did you federal credit union. What can DC UC ...
[0:06:30] ... weeks ago we rip Romo. Your former teammates is never a concern Jay Cutler's ever concerned that if he has two or three retreat doesn't get a lot of looks at that's going to be an ...
[0:11:51] ... Jerry mentioned the giants game maybe think of this whole situation which Josh Brown so you know he gets an incident obviously a long list of at the thing apps the Pro Bowl. The marriage are aware of that the NFL's aware of that they signed to a four million dollar dealing it's a one game suspension. Does it drive you crazy knowing that Josh Brown gets one game for severely abusing his wife over you know years and years. And you get four games for being generally ...
[0:12:37] ... handle it I think that's irresponsibility. Certainly don't condone it. Part of domestic violence I think it's it's a terrible terrible day. You know I think the league. Are they got a although I. But he ...

Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NFL: Houston at Denver, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Calgary at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. (NHL)

NFL: Patriots 27, Steelers 16
Cardinals 6, Seahawks 6
NFL: Buccaneers 34, 49ers 17
NFL: Giants 17, Rams 10
NFL: Eagles 21, Vikings 10
NFL: Dolphins 28, Bills 25
NFL: Bengals 31, Browns 17
NFL: Jets 24, Ravens 16
NFL: Chiefs 27, Saints 21
NFL: Colts 34, Titans 26
NFL: Lions 20, Redskins 17
NFL: Raiders 33, Jaguars 16
NFL: Chargers 33, Falcons 30
NHL: Oilers 3, Jets 0 
NHL: Rangers 3, Coyotes 2 
NHL: Islanders 6, Wild 3 
NHL: Ducks 4, Canucks 2


Eli Apple

Eli Apple

— After the mother of Giants rookie corner Eli Apple criticized Giants co-owner John Mara on Twitter last week, Apple reacted to her posts on Sunday.

“My mom’s very vocal and that topic is very important to her, so I can understand where she was coming from,” Apple said. “But at the same time in my position I just have to do my part and play football and do what I can do.”

Annie Apple, a domestic violence survivor, criticized her son’s boss for his handling, or mishandling, of Giants kicker Josh Brown’s domestic violence against his wife.

In an article for on Sunday, Annie Apple further expressed her disgust.

“The comments made by John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, were insensitive, dismissive and callous,” she wrote. “How are you a so-called champion of domestic violence but lack basic compassion for a victim? Yes, this man signs my son’s checks as I’ve been reminded on Twitter. Mr. Mara owns the New York Giants. He doesn’t own Annie Apple. Wrong is wrong. And Mr. Mara’s comments were unapologetically wrong and hit at a raw place.”

Apple stressed on Sunday he spoke with his employers and assured them he is committed to the team despite his mother’s anger.

“I talked to them, let them know my mom, her reactions like that sometimes are like that, she’s her own person, she’s going to do that, so I’ve just got to do my job,” he said. “I just made sure I talked to everybody, man, just let them know, whoever is concerned.”

Apple returned from a groin injury Sunday to play in his team’s 17-10 win over the Rams in London.

Derrick Rose returned to Knicks practice Saturday after being found not liable in his weeks-long rape trial.

Rose said it felt “like heaven” to be back on the basketball court and said he “just wants to hoop.”

“I got through my little situation, but I’m happy to be focusing on nothing but basketball,” Rose said.

And he has returned ready to get back into his craft.

“I’m very confident, man,’’ he said. “I really believe that’s why I’m here — to hoop. I still have a lot of confidence in my ability.”

Though he missed basketball, the only thing he regrets missing during his trial was his son’s birthday.

“Out of all this, the only thing that hurt me was missing my son’s birthday party and birthday,” he said. “Those were the two things I was worried about the most — not being there with my family.”

Rose likely will start in the Knicks’ season opener in Cleveland on Tuesday.

— For the first time since 2014, an NFL game ended in a tie.

When the Cardinals and the Seahawks went to overtime Sunday night tied, 6-6, Arizona’s kicker Chandler Catanzaro only needed a 24-yard field goal to secure the win. He missed when his kick hit off the left upright.

Then Seattle kicker Stephen Hauschka needed to make a 27-yard field goal for the win. He missed with a kick that went wide to the left.

The last time an NFL game ended in a tie was two years ago when the Panthers and the Bengals tied, 37-37.

The two missed field goals came on the same day Colts kicker (and former Patriot) Adam Vinatieri broke the NFL record for consecutive field goals with his 43rd.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Right now, I stink.” — Stephen Gostkowski, after missing an extra point for the second week in a row

THIS DAY IN SPORTS HISTORY: The Red Sox beat the Rockies, 13-1, to take Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. Dustin Pedroia becomes the first rookie to lead off a World Series game with a home run. Josh Beckett struck out nine batters and got his fourth win of the postseason.  

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge
People insist that the Sunday Night Football tie was good football. Christian doesn't feel the same way. We also listen to Tom Brady at the podium as well as Gronk at his Gronk-iest.