FOXBORO — Martellus Bennett sounds like he’s OK.

On Saturday against the Texans, the big tight end went down in the second half with what appeared to be a left knee injury. After a few anxious moments on the ground, he popped up and jogged to the sideline. After the 34-16 win, he was asked if he was OK.

Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett

FOXBORO — Martellus Bennett is OK.

On Saturday against the Texans, the big tight end went down in the second half with what appeared to be a left knee injury. After a few anxious moments on the ground, he popped up and jogged to the sideline. After the 34-16 win, he was asked if he was OK.

“I’m not a doctor,” he said when asked if he thought it might be a serious problem. “I watch a lot of ‘House.’ But I’m not a doctor.”

Bennett said that when it comes to being able to battle through bumps and bruises, he channels his inner Luke Cage, a Marvel superhero he’s referenced before know for his ability to overcome adversity.

“I just always think about Luke Cage,” Bennett said. “It’s funny when I get to the sideline, everyone’s like, ‘What would Luke Cage do?’ I’m like ‘[expletive], I’ve got to get back out there, because that’s what Luke Cage would do.’

“I don’t know … [expletive] happens,” he added. “You just try to find a way to fight through whatever it is. I’ve been fighting through [expletive] the whole year, and I’m not going to stop now. I’m getting too close to what my goal is in life. I’m just going to keep on trucking and keep trying to do what I can to contribute and play as hard as I can.”

Bennett, who finished with one catch for four yards, said there were moments he was pressing, trying too hard to make a play in his postseason debut with the Patriots.

“I think at some point I was pressing a little bit to try to make plays,” he said. “It felt like we needed some plays made, and being out there first time, you want to make it great.

“It’s like going on a first date with a girl you really love. If she steps in a puddle or you get in a car accident, it’s not that great,” he said. “I felt like I was struggling on that first date. I dropped a plate on my date, and all kinds of [expletive] was going on. But at the end of the day, it turned out to be a great date.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots certainly didn't play their best football on Saturday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)FOXBORO -- Looking at the final score it would seem the Patriots pretty soundly beat the Texans on Saturday night, but it doesn't tell the whole story.



FOXBORO — Tom Brady was under pressure for most of the night from the Houston defense and was knocked to the ground on several occasions in the Patriots’ 34-16 win.

Like he typically does, Brady worked the refs to try and get a call for a late hit.

This didn’t go over well with former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis.

Tom Brady was not very popular on Twitter Saturday night. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady was not very popular on Twitter Saturday night. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady was under pressure for most of the night from the Houston defense and was knocked to the ground on several occasions in the Patriots’ 34-16 win.

Like he typically does, Brady worked the refs to try and get a call for a late hit.

This didn’t go over well with former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis.

“It’s Called Football Brady,” Lewis tweeted after he pleaded with Pete Morelli for a late hit call.

Lewis wasn’t the only one attacking Brady on Twitter Saturday night. Seattle safety Earl Thomas was, too.

“Tom Brady has the easiest route… put his ass in our division and see what he does!!! #salty!!,” Thomas tweeted.

A fan also tweeted a GIF to Thomas from Super Bowl XLIX when Thomas blew a coverage against the Patriots.

“Did you watch the game this year I owned Tom Brady!! That BS you showing I was hurt trying to help my team,” Thomas replied.

It’s one thing to trash-talk on the field, but it’s another thing to trash-talk from a couch.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady was off his game at times, but the Patriots still came through with a Saturday night win over Houston.</p>
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FOXBORO — Sometimes you have to give yourself a kick in the backside to get going.

That’s apparently all it took for the Patriots trio of Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon to pick it up after what they felt was a less-than stellar first half Saturday.

Leading just 17-13 at the half, the three Rutgers products each had a second-half interception of Brock Osweiler and helped to shut down the Texans in New England’s 34-16 win Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

What was the key to the turnaround in the second half?

“Really, we were angry with ourselves,” McCourty said. “The first three points they got was a penalty on us that extended a drive on a third-down stop. Then, even in the red area, we held them to three on a sudden change, and then the touchdown, myself and Duron [Harmon], we could have got ourselves in a better defense.

“Going into halftime, we just looked at each other like, ‘We’ve just got to play better. Do what we’re supposed to do and make them earn it.’ We did that, we did a better job of that, but they came and they fought hard. I think they came and tried to play a complete game as a team and we had to battle through some ups and down. But that’s what the playoffs are about, finding a way to win.”

Osweiler was actually quite effective if not spectacular in the first half, completing eight of his first 10 passes before the Patriots pressure started getting to him. He finished the first half 13-of-20 for 83 yards. He was sacked twice but did throw a touchdown but he took care of the ball.

In the second half, the Rutgers trio flipped that script. McCourty had the first pick in the third quarter in front of the Texans sideline on a ball for DeAndre Hopkins.

“That was just a little bit of what we do coverage-wise,” McCourty explained. “I knew I had to get on him tight. He’s a go-to guy in that situation, third or second, I think it was third down. I just tried to stay tight on him and was able to make a play on the ball.”

In the fourth quarter, Ryan picked off an Osweiler pass over the middle and returned it to the Houston 6. Two plays later, Dion Lewis ran it in. And then, with the game in hand, Harmon stepped in front of a pass for tight end Ryan Griffin at the Patriots 3 with three minutes left.

“In the end we were able to take the ball away and play good in the red-area defensively,” Bill Belichick said. “That was helpful, and able to come away with more points. A big day for Rutgers, a big day for Rutgers. They all had interceptions. We love to see that, love to see them for anybody but especially when we get three of them. That was big.”

The Patriots defense may not have faced the stiffest test in the world Saturday but they started to feast on a quarterback that was wilting under their pressure in the second half and they were able to seal the deal late. That’s a good formula in the playoffs.

“Those guys have been getting after the quarterback,” McCourty said of the pressure from Ryan, Malcom Brown and Rob Ninkovich, all of whom recorded sacks. “A lot of people have said how bad we are rushing the passer, so I guess they’ll evaluate this and they’ll probably still say we’re bad at it, but we know what we can do up front, and I think it’s the back end talking to the front end, the front end talking to us, and we just keep everybody going. When they’re able to get after the quarterback and we feel that, we’re getting after it and trying to make good plays in the back end.

“Really, my interception was a ball that was behind, Logan’s was a high ball. That comes from the front. That’s the front causing pressure, making sure the quarterback’s not just back there and feeling comfortable, that’s them. That’s always – when you’re playing good in the secondary and getting interceptions, that’s usually because those front four, the front seven are doing a good job. Complementary football – that’s the way we’ve been winning and we’ve got to continue to do that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — In some ways, it was the perfect scenario for Bill Belichick following his team’s 34-16 win over the overmatched Texans Saturday night at Gillette.

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Bill Belichick speaks after a 34-16 playoff win over the Texans Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — In some ways, it was the perfect scenario for Bill Belichick following his team’s 34-16 win over the overmatched Texans Saturday night at Gillette.

The Patriots won to advance to their sixth straight AFC title game and even covered in the process. They got a key part of their offense on track in Dion Lewis. Julian Edelman moved up the ladder among all-time great NFL receivers with eight catches and 137 yards.

But then there were the three turnovers, the inability to score a touchdown before the half from inside the five yard line three times and allowing Tom Brady to get hit time after time by the Texans pass rush. There were – as they say – plenty of teaching points for Belichick to harp on this week as they get ready for the AFC championship at Gillette on Jan. 22.

“We’re going to have to play better, coach better,” Belichick said. “I don’t think the coaching was all that good tonight, either. We have to play better, we have to coach better than we did tonight, or there won’t be much left in our season. Hopefully we can do that and up our level of performance next week. Again, give the Texans credit. They did a good job. Defensively they gave us a lot of problems. We had six first-downs in the first half. We threw up a couple of prayers and came down with them, made a couple of good catches with Chris [Hogan] and Julian. We just didn’t have any consistency at all offensively, couldn’t run it or throw it very well.”

The Patriots were actually reeling before the half, leading just 14-13 and sensing the crowd at Gillette get a bit more nervous than anyone expected coming in. The Patriots were able to get three points to take a 17-13 halftime lead on a 19-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.

“Well, it was good to be able to get the last opportunity there,” Belichick said. “We drove it down. We got the ball to the one-inch line but couldn’t get it in. I might’ve thought about going for it on fourth-down, but when we lost yards there on third-down, the ball was on about the – I don’t know, one, one and a half, whatever it was – instead of on the one-inch line, then I didn’t really think very much about going for it at that point. It’s good to get the three points. We had the ball to start the second half because we deferred to start the game.

“But it would’ve been nice to get seven. We had a couple of good chances. We just didn’t get it done. Again, like a lot of things tonight, if we don’t improve in those situations the next time we play then it’ll probably be the last time we play. We’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities. We’ve got to coach and execute better. Hopefully we’ll be able to get that done this week.

How extraordinary is it to be in the position to go to six straight AFC Championship games?

“I mean it’s great to be playing at this time of year,” Belichick conceded. “You’re one of four teams that’s left after the weekend, but again, I mean I don’t really care about the other five years right now, or however many years it’s been. The only thing that matters is this year, this team, and what we have an opportunity to do, what we need to do to move on to play again.

“We can talk about all of that other stuff some other time. For right now, it’s just this team and getting to the AFC Championship Game and playing our best game next weekend. That’s what we’re going to need to do. We’re going to need to play our best game, better than we played tonight.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Dion Lewis had a game for the ages Saturday against the Texans.

The running back became the first first player in NFL postseason history to have a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown in a single game. Lewis also became fifth Patriots player to score at least three touchdowns in a postseason game in their history.