Patriots receiver Deion Branch checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss Sunday night's 31-30 loss to the Ravens.
Branch was hit hard on two plays in Sunday's game. First, he was drilled in the head by safety Ed Reed after catching a short pass. Branch couldn't hold on to the ball, but Reed was flagged for the hit so the Patriots picked up a first down. Branch and Reed respectfully tapped each other's helmets after the play, and Branch said he has no animosity toward the Ravens defender.
"He's a great player. He made a great play," Branch said. "I wasn't mad about the hit. I was mad that the ball came out of my hands."
Added Branch: "We all know going across the middle you're going to get hit. … Most time I have enough time to catch the ball and get on the ground. But he was on me so fast, I really didn't have time to react. So, unfortunately I dropped the ball. He made a good play. We got a flag out of it. Who knows what it was."
Later in the game, Branch caught a quick pass out to the right and was drilled on a clean hit by cornerback Jimmy Smith.
"The Ed Reed tackle, it was a good tackle. It wasn't as bad as it looked," Branch said. "The other tackle, with Jimmy Smith, now I felt that one. Even though that one was a very soft tackle. … The back of my head hit the ground. It wasn't the tackle, it was my head snapping back."
Branch was playing his first game of the season. He was cut at the end of the preseason and re-signed following New England's Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. Branch acknowledged that he had some "conversations" with the team after his dismissal about potentially returning during the season, but after the team's impressive opening win over the Titans, he wasn't sure the Patriots would need him back.
"After that first game, I was like, 'There is no way I'm going back to the team.' The guys looked that good," Branch said. "They played great against Tennessee."
Following tight end Aaron Hernandez' Week 2 injury, Branch got the call to rejoin his teammates. Now he's feeling the effects of his time off.
"My body's pretty tired today," he said. "I think those two weeks off, I'm feeling it today. But I'll bounce back. I've got to take care of my body. I'm looking forward to next week already. We've got to go in there and clean up this film. There's a lot of things that we left out on the football field, a lot of mistakes that were made during the course of the game that are very correctable. That's what we've got to do, we've got to move past this game. It's over, it's behind us. Regardless of what happened during the course of the game, we had plenty of times to win the game and take it out of the refs' hands."
Regarding the officiating, Branch played down the controversy surrounding the replacement referees.
"The bigger picture that we've all got to understand is that, hey, they're making those calls on both sides of the ball," Branch said. "There were some good and bad calls on the Ravens last night, there were some good or bad ones on us. … Regardless of who is out there, whatever ref is out there, if it's high school refs, rec league refs, we've got to play with those guys. They've got to call the game, and we have to play. That's just the bottom line. Once we all move past that as players -- and as fans --- once we move past that, I think we'll be OK. Because you've got to look at it that from the way things are looking now, it doesn't look like they're going to be changing refs anytime soon."
The Jets announced Monday that cornerback Darrelle Revis will miss the rest of the season after he tore his ACL avoiding a block during Sunday's overtime victory over the Dolphins.
"That's sad," Branch said. "You never want to see a guy go down, period. Regardless if he's on one of our rivals. That's sad. He's a great player. I'm sure he'll bounce back. I'm sure he'll bounce back. He's a tough guy."
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