Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

FOXBORO — After his first action of the 2014 regular season, Brandon Browner sounded like a relieved man.

The veteran, who was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season but also sat out the last few weeks, said after Thursday’s win over the Jets that it was simply “fun” to get back out on the field again.

“It was fun. It was actually fun,” said Browner, who got the start at cornerback against the Jets in Thursday’s 27-25 win. “I was fortunate to be out there to play. Last week I had an ankle injury, so I’m just happy to be out there playing football.”

Browner was on the field with the starters at the beginning of the game, but appeared to be a little gassed at the first half wore on, and ended up sitting for a significant chunk of the action in the second quarter. He also appeared to play reduced snaps in the second half. After the game, he confessed to being on a snap count, and said he felt “a little rusty.”

“I felt like I could play better,” he said. “In the first half, I felt like I was pretty tired out there. I can only get better from here. We’ll look at the film and critique myself and only get better from here.

“[There were] no surprises, but I was kind of tired out there, you know?” he said. “I’ve got to work on my conditioning.”

Browner was flagged for two penalties on the night, but after the contest, he took issue with both calls.

“To be honest, I have to see it,” he said, “because I don’t think I held him on the first one and I don’t think I pushed him on the second one. He fell down and I’ve got to look at it on film. I’ll probably have a better answer for you after I check it out on film.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Danny Amendola makes one of his big kick returns Thursday night against the Jets. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)FOXBORO -- Get off his case. Danny Amendola deserves a break.



Shane Vereen had a big night against the Jets, and with Stevan Ridley on the shelf he almost certainly will be asked to do more the rest of the way.</p>
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Less than a few hours after the Patriots’ 27-25 win over the Jets Thursday night, Tom Brady is already looking forward to the Patriots’ next opponent — the Chicago Bears, who come to Gillette Stadium on Oct. 26.

Here is what he posted to his Facebook page:

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady and Shane Vereen connected for two touchdowns Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Shane Vereen connected for two touchdowns Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — What a difference 18 days makes.

Following the Patriots’€™ Week 4, 43-17 loss to Kansas City on Monday Night Football they were 2-2 and not trending in the right direction. Fast forward to Thursday night, the team has now reeled off three straight wins — outscoring opponents 107-64 — and now looking like the team many thought they would be entering the season.

“We started the year off 0-1, so 5-1 since is not bad considering where we’€™re at,”€ Tom Brady said. “€œHopefully we can be a lot better. We’€™ve got to make the plays, got to make the improvements, got to execute it when it matters. But, it feels good to be where we’€™re at.”

Brady had another strong game against the Jets Thursday going 20-for-37 passing for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while not throwing an interception. He has now thrown 372 touchdown passes, which ties Drew Brees for the fourth-most in NFL history. Thursday’€™s win also marked his 41st straight regular season home win over an AFC opponent.

The offense got off to a good start as they scored just 1:29 into the game on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Shane Vereen. Vereen ran right past the defenders and was wide open on the right side by the goal line and Brady found him for an easy score. It was the second time this year the Patriots have scored on the opening drive of the game.

Following the opening drive, the Patriots went 3-and-out on their next two possessions as the Jets dominated time of possession in the first half, as the Patriots held the ball for just 7:57.

“We scored quick and hen we got crushed on time of possession,”€ Brady said. “€œWe’€™ve got to do a better job staying on the field, making the plays, executing the plays on first down, second down, third down so we can stay on the field and keep our defense off the field. If the defense is out there as much as they were tonight, it’€™s going to be tough for them. We’€™ve got to help them out by playing a lot better offense.”

The highlight of the second half was Danny Amendola‘€™s touchdown catch on 3rd and goal from the 19-yard line with 7:49 left in the game to give the Patriots a 27-19 lead at the time. Brady scrambled to his left and was able to find Amendola at the goal line — hitting his back shoulder perfectly — for Amendola’€™s first touchdown catch of the season and his second overall catch since Week 1.

“€œIt was a big play that he made there,”€ Brady said. “That was a great kind of ad lib. He ran a little return route and then when he saw me scramble, broke it up field like we talk about all the time and made a great catch.”

Although it wasn’€™t the prettiest — a division win is a division win — and now the team will have a few extra days off before beginning their preparation for the Bears who come to Gillette Stadium a week from Sunday.

“We’€™ve played quite a few games here in a short period of time, so I think everybody will enjoy letting the body –€“ just some of the little things — heal up,”€ said Brady. “But, we’€™re going to be grinding. It’€™s football season, so there’€™s no time off. We have a lot of things we need to do to get better and guys are going to be working hard this weekend to do those things.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

// FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knew better than all the experts who had the Patriots as a nine-point favorite Thursday night.

FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down how the Patriots escaped with a 27-25 win over the New York Jets on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. Chris Jones blocked a potential 58-yard field goal by Nick Folk to hang on for the win and improve to 5-2 in the AFC East.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knew better than all the experts that had the Patriots has a two touchdown favorite Thursday night.

Short week, injured key players lost for the season and playing your division rival that had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by beating you.

And that was before the Jets put up 226 yards rushing and held the ball for nearly 41 of the 60 minutes played. The game came down to Chris Jones blocking a Nick Folk field goal attempt from 58 yards. The Patriots held on, 27-25, to improve to 5-2, with an extra three days to rest up before getting ready for the Bears on Oct. 26 in Foxboro. No wonder he ran into the north end zone after the game and gave his old linebacker Willie McGinest a big hug afterward.

“It was, I think, probably about the game we expected,” Belichick said. “With the Jets it’€™s always tough; definitely a grind-it-out game. [I'€™m] obviously really happy for Chris [Jones] at the end. After what happened last year, I thought it was so fitting that he made that play. That was awesome. It wasn’€™t our best. It was good enough, but it wasn’€™t our best. We have to do a better job in all three phases of the game, all the way around.”

The Jets were 9-of-16 on third down, a major reason they were able to hold the ball for nearly 41 minutes. Still, Belichick gave credit to his team for making it through the stretch of four games in 18 days with a 3-1 record. More importantly to Belichick, he has seen his team prove its mental toughness time and time again in the last three games.

“But I have to give our team a lot of credit,” he said. “They played four games in whatever it is, 17, 18 days, whatever it is, [18 days] since that Kansas City game. They’€™ve been tough, they’€™ve worked hard. They’€™ve really pushed themselves on the preparations. Some guys [are] banged up, some guys having to step in and all that. I thought it was a real good team win for us.

“[It'€™s] always good to win in the division; [the] kind of games that you have to win during the year somewhere along the line. So, give the credit to the players. They made the plays when they had to make them. I thought Danny [Amendola] really stepped up and gave us a lot of energy on the kickoff returns and obviously that touchdown catch was a great catch. That was good too. Hopefully we’€™ll get a little bit of a break here, a couple days to kind of catch our breath then we’€™re right back at it. Good to win; we’€™ll enjoy it for a little while, not too long and then turn the page and get on to Chicago.”

Q: Defensively, they ran with relative ease but is there an adjustment period you figured you would have to go through without Jerod Mayo in there?

BB: I think probably the bigger problem we had was third down. We had our chances to get off the field on third down. That would eliminate a lot of those plays. And we have to play the run better too. We didn’€™t make them punt until the fourth quarter [third quarter], whenever it was, it was late. Luckily we played well in the red area, kept them out of the end zone and kept the points down. But didn’€™t do a good enough job in the running game, didn’€™t do a good enough job on run force, didn’€™t do a good enough job on third down obviously. So those are obviously not ‘€“ and we had some three-and-outs offensively that kept us from keeping the ball, keeping momentum. We just weren’€™t consistent enough in any phase of the game. [We] didn’€™t cover kickoffs well. I mean, that play hurt us. We had some breakdowns and we can’€™t afford them, can’€™t afford them. But give the Jets credit. They played hard and they gave us a lot of problems too. There’€™s always work to do.

Q: Can you talk about the adjustments your receivers made? Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola both made adjustments on touchdown catches.

BB: Yeah, Danny’€™s touchdown was, we had a double move outside. Tom [Brady] ended up scrambling, Danny adjusted it, Tom back shouldered him. That was kind of a scramble play. That’€™s one of the first things we put in when we go to the red area offensively and defensively is to deal with the scramble passes, extended plays. Tom did a good job of buying time and put it where only Danny could get it. Danny made another great catch. Shane’€™s play it looks like the corner just ‘€“ we ran a double outside route, it looked like the corner sat on and just dropped Shane. It was like he was out to practice early. It was good by Tom to see it because Shane was kind of a clear-out guy on that route but Tom had time, he was able to scan downfield. You don’€™t want to give him those kind of opportunities. He’€™s not going to miss many of them.

Q: Danny hadn’€™t had many touches the last few games but had contributions today. Is it hard to measure a guy when he’€™s not getting touches and stay up?

BB: Nobody works harder than Danny does. Nobody works harder than Danny. He’€™s working every day: offense, scout team, special teams. He always works hard. He’€™s a really competitive kid; tough. No question about it. I never saw that from him at all.

Q: What was the thought behind using Danny on kickoff returns?

BB: I think Pat’€™s [Chung] done a good job for us. It’€™s just Pat is playing a lot of defense, playing a lot of plays in the kicking game. He’€™s the personal protector on the punt team with Nate [Ebner] out. He’€™s played on the punt return. Just to try to spread it out a little bit. Danny’€™s worked back there all year. [We] thought it would be a good opportunity to take a little bit off Pat. But I’€™m not unhappy at all with what Pat’€™s been doing. I think he’€™s done a good job. But it just gives Danny an opportunity to get some balls back there and also to kind of spread the load to everybody. It’€™s one less thing that Chung has to really focus on because he’€™s got a lot of other stuff on his plate in terms of defense, punt, punt return, nickel, dime, goal line. There’€™s a lot of stuff there.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Although the Patriots beat the Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football to move to 5-2 on the year and won their third straight game in the process — there are still plenty of improvements to be made — particularly when it comes to defending the run.

FOXBORO — Although the Patriots beat the Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football to move to 5-2 on the year and won their third straight game in the process — there are still plenty of improvements to be made — particularly when it comes to defending the run.

Not given any favors with the loss of Jerod Mayo to season-ending knee surgery this week, the Patriots allowed 218 yards on 43 carries to the Jets — including a 21-carry, 107-yard performance to running back Chris Ivory. The 218 yards were the most rushing yards the Jets have had in a game since Oct. 14, 2012 against the Colts.

This is something the defense is not taking lightly.

“I’€™m very stingy when it comes to the rush defense,”€ defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “That’€™s the one thing I’€™m disappointed in [the run defense]. We’€™ll fix it, we always do and hopefully we can get this thing rolling consistently.”

Thursday marked the third game this season where the Patriots have allowed 190 or more rushing yards — the Dolphins ran for 191 in Week 1 and Kansas City ran for 207 in Week 4. Also, Bill Belichick has allowed more than 200 yards rushing to an opponent 13 times during his tenure in New England and two of them have come this year.

“Luckily we played well in the red area, kept them out of the end zone and kept the points down, but didn’€™t do a good enough job in the running game — didn’€™t do a good enough job on run force, didn’€™t do a good enough job on third down obviously,” Belichick said. “We just weren’€™t consistent in any phase of the game.”

The Patriots entered Thursday with the fifth-best overall defense in the league, but the passing defense carrying the group as they are fourth in the NFL defending the pass, compared to 14th against the run. This is much improved as just two weeks ago they were 23rd.

Without their leading tackler — and emotional leader in Mayo — things will not come easy. Dont’€™a Hightower and Jamie Collins filled in admirably, finishing with 13 tackles apiece, but other than the two of them they don’€™t have many others.

Due to the lack of depth at the position, they have been forced to play a lot of nickel defense and even have had plays where safeties Tavon Wilson and Patrick Chung have lined up at inside linebacker — a major reason why the Jets ran for 124 yards in the first half alone.

The Patriots adjusted in the second half by having linebacker Deontae Skinner play more along with Hightower and Collins, but he’€™s an undrafted rookie and cannot truly be counted on at this point in his career.

With the Patriots taking on the Bears with Matt Forte and then the Broncos with Montee Ball the next two games, the defense will need to start making stopping the run more of a priority because allowing 200+ yards rushing each week is not a recipe for success and puts even more pressure on the offense.

“[We'€™re] playing well in situations, but there are some things we can definitely do better,” Wilfork said. “At the same time you can’€™t complain about a win, especially in the division. You can’€™t complain about those wins, so we are very proud to have them so lets get that straight, but there are some things we have to do a lot better moving forward.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable