Bill Belichick left no doubt as to who deserved most of the blame for the series of misfires at the end of the first half on Sunday against the Dolphins.

Bill Belichick left no doubt as to who deserved most of the blame for the series of misfires at the end of the first half on Sunday against the Dolphins.

With less than two minutes to go and backed up against their own goal line, the Patriots called three running plays before punting the ball away. Then, there were defensive breakdowns across the board that allowed Miami to post a touchdown with five seconds left to draw to within one point at halftime.

New England posted 27 second-half points on the way to a 41-13 win, but the sequence was still gnawing at Belichick the next day.

“You just want to put the whole thing on me — bad coaching,” he said Monday morning on a conference call with the media. “It was a poor end of the half. Nothing we did is the way we wanted it to go, and so that’€™s my fault. So it’€™s bad coaching, I’€™ll take responsibility for it and try to see to it that it doesn’€™t happen again. It was a poorly coached sequence of plays, period. And poorly played, I might add, to go along with that.”

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

In the wake of Sunday’s win over the Chargers, Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton guaranteed that Denver will win this year’s Super Bowl.

In the wake of Sunday’s win over the Chargers, Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton guaranteed that Denver will win this year’s Super Bowl.

“It doesn’t matter what happens. At the end of the year, we’re hoisting that trophy,” Knighton told reporters Sunday after Denver beat San Diego 22-10 to clinch the AFC West title.

“I don’t care if New England doesn’t lose again. I don’t care where we have to play. I don’t care who our opponent is. We’re not going to be satisfied until we hoist that trophy. So if we’ve got to go to New England (in the playoffs) and win somewhere we’re not used to winning, we’re going to make it happen.”

The Broncos moved to 11-3 with the win over the Chargers, but New England still maintains the No. 1 spot in the AFC thanks to its November win over Denver at Gillette Stadium.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Chandler Jones, one of the defensive stars in Sunday’s 41-13 victory over the Dolphins, stopped by for a visit with the Middays with MFB crew on Monday at Gillette Stadium. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones, one of the defensive stars in Sunday’s 41-13 victory over the Dolphins, stopped by for a visit with the Middays with MFB crew on Monday at Gillette Stadium. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Jones made his return to the field after missing six games with a reported hip injury, and the defensive end finished with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble while playing 55 of 81 snaps.

“My biggest thing was just moving forward from it. Each day forward was progression,” said Jones, who noted that he had an ‘X’ on the calendar marking the day he wanted to return. “I was just waiting for the doctor’s word and just taking it day by day by day, like Bill [Belichick] said. Yesterday was the day.”

Added Jones: “As I was sitting there getting ready, going through my pregame ritual, I started to kind of tear up, like, ‘Wow, I’m back, I’m back playing.’ And I just just hoped and prayed to God that I had a decent game and I was still able to move around. Because ‘lower-body injuries’ are harder to come back from.”

The Dolphins rallied past the Patriots for a win in Week 1, but the Pats showed that they are a different team than the one that started the season in Miami.

“Honestly and personally, I feel like each team in the NFL is a different team each week,” Jones said. “And not just as far as the roster — well, actually, the roster, too. And just the way teams approach different games and different game plans and different schemes. So we didn’t really look too far back on what had happened or certain yards given up. We had a new team since the last time we played them, and so did they. We just worked for what we had and we just tried to out-execute them, which we did.”

Teammate Brandon Browner continues to rack up the penalties, but Jones said the cornerback shouldn’t be too concerned about it.

“Brandon Browner is a very physical presence and he’s a very aggressive player,” Jones said. “I admire his game. I love it. I love it. Each and every time something happens I always walk up to him and say, ‘Hey, you know, let’s keep’ — because when guys start dwelling on the penalties and what they have done on the previous play, that’s when you get mixed [up]. There’s a whole game ahead of you. That’s my biggest thing, is I try to tell guys when I’m out there, ‘There’s a whole game to play, so don’t worry about that one play.’ So, he’s fine, he’s good. He’ll be all right.”

During his appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, Tom Brady talked about his devotion to a proper diet. Jones admitted that he doesn’t have the same approach.

“I know I shouldn’t say this because I do a lot of things with the Play 60, you know, 60 minutes a day with the little kids and exercise, but I am seriously a human dumpster,” he said. “I will eat anything. I will eat anything.”

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Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’€™ win over the Dolphins and other news around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots allowed the Dolphins 10 consecutive points at the end of the half, which cut the New England lead to 14-13. Hasselbeck said the locker room environment probably wasn’t angry, but one that looked to correct any issues from the first half.

“I don’€™t think it’€™s accusatory,” Hasselbeck said of the locker room. “I think what happens is you look at what [the other team is] doing. Really, what you try to do is you try to gather as much information as you’€™re able to gather. Usually, there’€™s some type of process where you’€™re going to the bathroom, the players do whatever they need to do. Guys, they go to the bathroom, they just switch their cleats. Whatever they need to do, grab a snack, whatever it is, they take their time to do that. The coaches will go and meet. The process of the coaches€™ meeting together, they’€™ll come up with a plan and say, ‘€˜Hey, look. These are the runs we think work. This what their kind of blitz du jour is for this week on third down. This is what where we’€™re having an issue with matchup-wise. This guy’€™s giving us a problem, so we need to help him.'”

Continued Hasselbeck: “They devise a plan and then you go talk about what the plan is for the second half going forward based on what did well and what you didn’t do well in the first half for whatever the reason. Whether it was a penalty situation, getting behind down and distance or whether it was a matchup thing. That’€™s really what happens, and I don’€™t think in an environment where you’€™re up one point there’€™s any situation to panic. I think you look at some of the maybe missed opportunities and things that you try to take advantage of in the second half.”

Rob Gronkowski was not involved in the offense in the first half, but when he grabbed three passes and touchdown in the second half, New England took off and ran up the score. This had many wondering why he wasn’t involved in the offense from the outset.

“People come in with a plan,” Hasselbeck said. “And then it’€™s kind of what I talked about with halftime and you start to adjust and you start to say, ‘OK, well this what we’€™re going to do formation-wise, so they’€™re not able to do that, so they’€™re not able to beat him up off the line of scrimmage.’ That type of stuff. And I think in the second half you saw that. Great example of something similar: You look at last night’€™s game, Cowboys and the Eagles. The first three third downs, [the Eagles] are dealing with Dez Bryant and they’€™re rolling somebody over the top to Dez, and Jason Witten has got one-on-one coverage and he’€™s not getting impeded off the line of scrimmage. In each of those third downs, Romo hits Witten for a first down. So, then Philadelphia is like, ‘€˜All right, enough of that. We can’€™t let him beat us.’ They start playing cover-1 single-high safety, bringing guys down so that there’€™s more traffic, congestion in the middle of the field. Well, then you isolate Dez Bryant and the game’€™s over at that point because Bradley Fletcher can’€™t cover him. So there’€™s elements and there’€™s that type of it’€™s either this or that when you’€™re starting to deal with guys that play inside the numbers vs. guys that are playing outside and how you’€™re defending it. I can’€™t say for sure that’€™s exactly what happened without going back and watching it closer, but I certainly get a sense that has something to do with it.”

The Browns turned to Johnny Manziel at quarterback Sunday in hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive. In his starting debut, Manziel flopped, throwing for 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals.

“It was a terrible start, and in fact I actually think was bad enough that Mike Pettine should think about revisiting the situation,” Hasselbeck said. “I don’€™t think that he will, but I think it was so bad that you have to look at it and you think, ‘€˜We made this move to hopefully get us better on offense. It made us worse.’€™ It absolutely made them worse on that side of the football. And really what was a pathetic offensive performance. I think he had five first downs. [Two] of them came by penalties. Think about that. They get [three] first downs by making a good offensive play the entire day. I mean, that’€™s absurd. That’€™s not good at all.”

Continued Hasselbeck: “They don’€™t trust him because he’€™s not ready yet. He doesn’t know what’€™s going on — he’€™s not ready yet. … Here’€™s the hard part for me and this was part of my evaluation of him when he was coming out. He would pass up open guys and then he’€™d make these ‘€˜Johnny Football’€™ plays that everyone would get excited [about] and I’€™m sure it’€™s fun to watch at times. He also made a lot of bad plays when that stuff happened. In college you can miss open guys and then get outside the pocket, start to make plays when you have superior talent surrounding you, which he did at Texas A&M. It doesn’t work that way in the pros. You can’€™t pass up open guys in the NFL.”

The reason the Browns even switched to their rookie quarterback was because Brian Hoyer had issues of his own behind center during the last few weeks. Hasselbeck said that the team surrounding Hoyer failed him.

“Here’€™s what people don’€™t realize about Hoyer and his struggles, though: The guys around him are playing terrible,” Hasselbeck said. “And Hoyer stabilizes the situation after they cut Ben Tate, the running back that they paid money to in the offseason to be their starting running back. Jordan Cameron is out with concussions for a good part of the year. Josh Gordon’€™s not even in the mix because of his suspension. So Brian Hoyer, while it’€™s not remarkable, with a cast of characters that’€™s not an impressive group. You give him Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins at wide receiver Jim Dray at tight end. Two rookie running backs. You lost your Pro Bowl center. And Brian Hoyer is kind of stabilizing the situation.

“Well, then they get some guys back and they don’€™t take off offensively, and he struggles against the Buffalo Bills, who by the way, ended [Peyton Manning‘€™s] streak of touchdown passes. They made Aaron Rodgers look bad this past week. They pull Hoyer when they’€™re really actually not in not that bad of shape with 11 minutes left to play in Buffalo. So, at that point, it turned into a mess.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Patriots clinched their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins.

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Patriots clinched their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons with a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also scrambled for a first down in the third quarter to spark the offense after an unimpressive first half.

“I found a little space there,” Brady said of his run. “They’ve been doing it to us the last few times that we played them where they really focus the coverage on a few guys and it leaves definitely some places to run. When I felt like I had the look, I kind of wanted to pull the trigger, and I saw some space and got some great blocks down field. So it ended up being a big play in the game.”

That 17-yard run was a hot topic after the game.

“Well, it’s pretty atypical. I guess when it happens once every seven or eight years then yeah, it can definitely be talked about,” Brady joked. “But I thought there were a lot of great things to be talked about. Certainly, a lot of guys played really well yesterday. Our defense is playing as well as I can ever remember. They really set the tone for us the last bunch of weeks.

“I’m glad we were able to put some things together there in the second half. But it’s a good defense. They’re the fifth-rated defense in the league. They got guys that can rush, they got guys they can cover. We made some plays there in the second half, which was great to see.”

After being tackles, Brady got up and was very vocal in the direction of Dolphins safety Walt Aikens.

“I don’t remember [what was said]. No, I don’t remember much,” Brady said. “He gave me a good little pop. Normally I’m always going down or getting out, and I was pretty close to the goal line. But there’s a reason why they’re called safeties and they’re the last line of defense. He definitely didn’t let me get any farther than I wanted to go.”

Asked if he took the hit in an effort to light a fire under the team, Brady said: “Well, I said after the game that I wasn’t in the best of mood at that time. So I think when I got there and I was into the secondary and surveyed some things and then I saw him coming, I just figured, why not? I don’t take those too often because usually those don’t go to well for me or for many players when they’re not used to getting hit. And he was bigger than I thought he was. I wish I would’ve stayed on my feet. But it was good play, it was a play that we needed. A lot of guys made a bunch of plays that we needed. I was glad to be able to contribute.”

Later in the third quarter, as the Patriots were starting to pull away, Brady again was seen being very vocal on the sideline.

“I wanted more points. That’s what I wanted,” he said. “We had a bad first half, and we kind of exploded there in the second half. I really wanted to drive the nail in the coffin. I think we were all pretty disappointed by the first half and wanted to have a great second half. We had a good third quarter, and I really wanted us to finish strong with a great fourth quarter. We tried, we made some plays, got down there somewhat close and then couldn’t convert on the third down, which I would have loved to have done.

“Every time we take the field we’re trying to score. I don’t think we ever take the pedal off the metal until there’s no time left in the game. Especially against a team  that beat us before and we’ve always had tough games against. And they’re a good defense, so it was good to put up 41 on them.”

The Patriots led just 14-13 at halftime, with half of their points coming courtesy of special teams. Brady said there was a lot of emotion in the locker room during the break.

“I think that it wasn’t necessarily we were going to go in there and make a bunch of scheme changes, because we basically hardly had the ball on offense. We had the ball for 25 plays, and they were 25 pretty crappy plays,” he said. “It wasn’t like there was a lot of coaching going on about, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do, here’s what we’re going to adjust or change,’ because we hardly did anything to keep the ball. We couldn’t convert on third down. We just had so many poor plays, self-inflicted wounds that don’t allow you to score points. And you need to be able to string them together. We missed plays that we should have had.

“Everybody was pretty fired up. Certainly Josh [McDaniels] was fired up. He expects a lot more out of us than what we were giving him there in the first half. Everybody kind of dug deep, responded. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and you’ve got to see what kind of mental toughness you have. Last time we played them we were up 20-10 and they outscored us a bunch there in the second half. It was a little bit of a role reversal this time around.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On the Sports Illustrated story detailing his dedication to his workout regimen and a healthy diet: “It’s been quite a learning experience for me over 15 years of playing pro football. I think there’s been a lot of things I’ve learned that I would love to teach other people, because I feel like I’ve learned a way that is the most conducive to — I always use the word sustaining peak performance. There’s a lot of high school kids, there’s a lot of college kids, there’s a lot of pro athletes that really want to do the best. And sometimes you get wrong information or misinformation. So you’re trying to do the best, but you end up getting better at getting worse. I think I’ve found ways I can really get better at getting better, and not just going out to do what people have always done in the past, just try to improve themselves as athletes. And it’s a very systematic thing.

“Really over the last four or five years I’ve always talked to my friend who is alluded to in the article, Alex, about, I always said when I was done playing I really want to go out and teach people. I have two sons myself that are going to be in sports, and I want them to not have the type of issues that a lot of players today or players of the past have had. Because I don’t think I’m going to have any of those problems with knees or hips or head issues or shoulder issues just because of the way that I’m able to take care of myself, and through the people and the support system that I have be able to try to perform as well as I can for as long as possible.

“Like I said, it’s more of a lifestyle. There’s no magic bullet. It’s not like you’ve got to do this one thing and you’ll be able to achieve that. It’s a lifestyle approach. It’s eating right, it’s the right nutrition, it’s working out the right way. It’s trying to be preventative. The last thing you want is to get an injury and then now you’re behind the eight-ball for the rest of the season. I think you’ve got to work as hard as you can to try to prevent injuries, and that’s the key to sustaining peak performance is to really not get hurt. That’s kind of what it was all about, and that’s what I’ve really learned over the years. I want to do a great job in my next life really educating people how to do that.”

On if he ever has times when he does not adhere to his healthy diet: “It’s balance in all things. So if that’s really what you want then you’ve got to go for it. But moderation to me is not once a day. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I don’t drink much, it’s just one drink a day.’ Well, to me that’s not really moderation. If you want to go out and you want to have a drink, it’s a special occasion, great. If you want to go out and have ice cream or a cheeseburger, great, in moderation. But you’d better do a lot of other things. It’s like having a bunch of bad meals and then having one good meal. That one good meal ain’t going to make any bit of difference. The same thing if you have a lot of good meals and you have one bad meal. The one bad meal is not going to make a difference. I’d say I do a lot more good than bad. But yeah, if I want to have a cheeseburger, I eat a cheeseburger. It’s not that rigid. …

“The one thing I probably don’t drink is soda. I haven’t had a soda in a long time. I don’t think that’s helping me at all. The hydration is really important for all athletes, because you really need hydrated muscles. You need soft, supple, playable muscles if you want to be able to sustain it. But so often we train ourselves to get big, rock-hard muscles that can’t give. Then once you get hit, that’s where you tear tendons and ligaments. … I see a lot of injuries around the league and I just shake my head, like, ‘Man, that’s so easily preventable.’ Think about it: You’ve got multimillion dollar athletes that you pay all this money to and then the guy can’t play because of a very easily preventable injury. And I think that’s the thing that’s frustrated me over the years to see is to see people get injured when it’s not really necessary. …

“I’ve always been someone that’s been intrigued by learning, and been intrigued by understanding better ways. And typically as an athlete you want to push the envelope. I kind of have a thirst for knowledge. I’m always trying to push the envelope with things that have different approaches. And I figure out the techniques that work for me. I think it’s balance in all things. I think that’s the most important thing.”

On his preferred desert of avocado cream with cacao: “It does the trick. It’s not quite as good as mint chocolate chunk or something like that, which is pretty delicious, too. Yeah, there’s a place by our house in Jamaica Plain that has it. The kids love it. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

On if his sons will play football: “If they want to. I would love it. I think it’s the greatest sport in the world. It teaches you a lot about teamwork and discipline and work ethic and sacrifice and selflessness, all the great lessons that it’s taught me. I’m not worried about them playing at all, because I know that if there’s ever an injury — which, look, if you play sports there’s going to be injuries — that I know exactly how to treat them. It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing that I’ve had someone that I’ve learned from that’s taken care of me for so long that I’m not worried about injuries, Yeah, they come up, you deal with them and then you get yourself better, you rehab the right way, you work hard to prevent injuries, and you get back out there and you’re able to do things that you love to do.”

On seeing Drew Bledsoe after the game: “It was great seeing him. He’s been a friend since the day we met. We’ve always kept in touch over the years and I love seeing him back at the games. It was nice to be with him.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar


FOXBORO — It was a hit that brought back many horrible memories for Patriots fans.