Tom Brady directed the Patriots to a win on Sunday in Minnesota. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady directed the Patriots to a win on Sunday in Minnesota. (Getty Images)

From the moment Tom Brady took the podium after his first win of the 2014 season, it was apparent he wasn’t in a particularly good mood.

Brady completed 15-of-22 passes for 149 yards and nine-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. His quarterback rating was 102.3, the first time over 100 since last December against the Texans. He didn’t throw an interception and was sacked just once.

Still, Brady seemed upset with the lack of rhythm in the offense, partly reflected in a conversion rate of just 5-for-14 on third down.

“I’m happy we won,” Brady said. “I just wish we’d go out there and play like we’re capable. That’s just the way it is. I’m glad we won, great team win, a lot of guys contributed, a lot of great plays were made. Hopefully, offensively, we can do a better job next we

“I think we have a lot of work to do. It’s good to win. We’ll get back to work [Monday].”

Brady gave props to the offensive line that did a much better job in pass protection and opened holes for Stevan Ridley to rush for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.

“Some great running, great blocking up front,” Brady said. “He always runs really hard. We were really close on some runs to breaking some longer ones but that was really important for us to run the ball like that. We’re going to need that all season.

“We think had pretty good control out there,” Brady said of the offensive line. “I thought we did a good job in the run game, took advantage of some opportunities but hopefully we can be a lot better.”

Brady was likely not pleased that the offense was responsible for only one sustained touchdown drive on the day, a 61-yard march after a Darrelle Revis interception. That drive ended with a touchdown pass to Edelman, who finished with 81 yards on six catches.

“He’s doing a great job for us,” Brady said of Edelman. “He’s a great player, made some great punt returns and he’s a great player for our team. Hopefully, we can keep making improvements and he’s a big part of that. Hopefully, we can all get better.”

The Patriots were 2-for-4 in red zone chances, with one of those conversions coming after a Devin McCourty interception gave Brady the ball at the Minnesota 1.

“They made a lot of great plays, a lot great plays, a lot of big-time plays,” Brady said of his defense. “That’s what we needed. Hopefully, they keep doing that. We’ve got to start producing when we get it and take advantage of some of the things like getting the ball on a short field and getting it in the end zone.

“We’re going to try to make improvements. That’s why we go back to work [Monday] and see if we can do better. Certainly, same way after last week, try to make some improvements and hopefully we can go out there and do a better job.”

After all that, Brady still earned the win, his 149th as a starting quarterback in the NFL, moving past John Elway and into sole possession of third place on the NFL all-time list behind Brett Favre (186) and Peyton Manning (168).

“I’m glad we won,” Brady said. “I don’t think about those things too much. But I’m glad we won and hopefully, we can do better next week.”

Just imagine if the Patriots had lost.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

After a shocking loss to the Dolphins in Miami in the season-opener, the Patriots bounced back nicely Sunday against the Vikings, coming away with a 30-7 win.

Stevan Ridley led the New England ground game in Sunday's win. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Stevan Ridley led the New England ground game in Sunday’s win. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

After a shocking loss to the Dolphins in Miami in the season-opener, the Patriots bounced back nicely Sunday against the Vikings, coming away with a 30-7 win.

Tom Brady finished 15-for-22 for 149 yards and one touchdown. Julian Edelman had six catches for 81 yards and one touchdown and Shane Vereen added six rushes for 40 yards. On the ground, Stevan Ridley had 25 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown.

In addition, Chandler Jones had a pair of sacks, and a blocked field goal and return for touchdown (58 yards) just before the end of the first half.

On the other side of the ball, Matt Cassel was 19-for-35 for 202 yards with one touchdown and four picks. he was sacked six times. In addition, Matt Asiata 13 for 36 yards, and five catches for 48 yards.

Here are 10 things we learned about the Patriots on Sunday:

It was a much better week for Tom Brady and the offense, particularly down the stretch.

The Patriots were a team of two halves in the opener last week against the Dolphins, with an impressive start and a lousy finish. But on Sunday against the Vikings, New England was able to put together an impressive 60 minute performance, dominating in all areas. That included the work of the quarterback, who was in command throughout, getting more than enough time to throw (we’ll get into more of the reasons why shortly) and making impressive hookups with Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.

Chandler Jones had a really impressive bounceback game.

It wasn’t just the blocked field goal and touchdown on the return shorty before the end of the first half. The defensive end was able to get good pressure throughout the afternoon on Cassel, helping cave in the pocket and making life difficult for the Minnesota passing game for much of the day. Jones had two sacks (Dont’a Hightower added two, while Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Arrington added one each) and was able to display the sort of consistency the Patriots are craving from his spot going forward.

Bill Belichick still has Norv Turner‘s number.

The Patriots coach and Turner go back almost 20 years, but one thing that’s been pretty constant over the seasons is the fact that more often than not, Belichick knows how to beat a Turner-led offense. Belichick improved his personal mark against Turner to 11-2 (that’s since he took over the Patriots prior to the 2000 season). The last time Turner got the better if Belichick was October 2008 when Turner was the head coach of the Chargers and Cassel was quarterbacking New England. (Overall, it’s a three-game winning streak for Belichick.)

Darrelle Revis helped shut things down.

The cornerback had his first pick in a New England uniform, coming away with a second-quarter ball on a Cassel attempt for Greg Jennings. (For what it’s worth, Revis apparently told the TV broadcast crew on Saturday night that he was going to be with Jennings all day. We’ll need to take a closer look at the all-22 film when it is released, but that appeared to be the case.) An extremely unscientific look at his afternoon revealed three passes in his direction, with one interception and no completions. Over the course of his career, when Revis comes away with an interception, his teams are 19-3.

Julian Edelman is in perfect sync with Tom Brady.

The undersized slot receiver again put up big numbers as the lead option in New England’s passing game. On the Patriots second scoring drive of the afternoon, he accounted for 59 of a possible 61 yards, hooking up with Brady on a sweet 44-yard connection and adding a 9-yard catch to make it 17-7 midway through the second quarter. (He added a nifty 34-yard punt return in the second half.) Since the start of the preseason, no receiver has displayed a better connection with the quarterback — including the preseason, he’s caught 22 of the 25 passes thrown in his direction.

For the Patriots, it’s go big or go home.

New England utilized several six-man offensive lines over the course of the game, and in conjunction with plenty of two-back sets, allowed the Patriots to move the chains on the ground for the first time all year. Ridley ran with authority between tackles, topping the 100-yard mark for the first time on the season.

They did a nice job effectively taking Cordarrelle Patterson out of the game.

Patterson entered the game as one of the most effective multidimensional threats in the game (he had 128 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the regular-season opener against the Rams), but was shut down by the Patriots. In the early going, New England clearly had the focus on Patterson, and it showed when Cassel was able to successfully execute some nice play-fakes on the first drive on the way to an early touchdown. But Patterson never got going, and ended with four catches for 56 yards. A good display of team defense for the Patriots against one of the more dangerous offensive threats in the league.

The Patriots can take advantage of opportunities.

In contrast to last week — where the Patriots could only get 10 points out of three first half turnovers — New England did a much better job against the Vikings. They picked off Cassel four times, and turned it into 17 points on the afternoon. It started with a momentum swing of an interception from Devin McCourty in the first quarter, and was followed by the first pick of Darrelle Revis’ career when he got his own Cassel pass. A third pick from Logan Ryan was cashed in a few plays later when Gostkowski banged home his second 47-yard field goal of the day. Rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley added his first career interception midway through the fourth quarter on a tipped ball to finish the day.

Special teams had a much better day.

Stephen Gostkowski kept it out of range of Patterson for most of the afternoon on kickoffs (and added three field goals), while Julian Edelman had a 34-yard punt return in the second half. In addition, Matthew Slater did a masterful job leading the punt coverage team and Jones had a blocked field goal attempt and touchdown at the end of the second quarter which helped bury the Vikings. In sharp contrast to last week, it was a good afternoon for the New England special teamers.

Penalties are a problem.

In the first two games, the Patriots have 24 penalties, not counting calls that were declined or offset. (They didn’t hit the 22-penalty mark until after four full games last season.) New England is on pace for 176 penalties, a remarkable total considering it was hit with 69 penalties all last year, the second-fewest total in the league. Left tackle Nate Solder took three penalties on a single two-play sequence in the second half.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots and Vikings have played two quarters out in the Twin Cities, and New England holds a 24-7 lead.

The Patriots turned a pair of interceptions from Matt Cassel into touchdowns and got a blocked field goal (and defensive touchdown) from Chandler Jones to help with the lead. Tom Brady is 9-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown, while Julian Edelman has five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Matt Cassel is 12-for-20 for 144 yards with one touchdown and two picks, and Cordarrelle Patterson added three catches for 39 yards.

Here are a few quick notes:

The Vikings got started in style with a 7-play, 80-yard drive, one that took 4:06 and ended with a really impressive pass play from Cassel to Matt Asiata. Over the course of the first drive, it was clear the defensive focus was on Patterson — New England bit hard on a couple of play fakes, allowing Cassel to hit on some impressive connections with Asiata and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

That momentum started to change a few minutes later when Devin McCourty provided a spark for the New England defense, picking off a deep ball from Cassel (on a pass play intended for Jarius Wright) and returning it to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Stevan Ridley punched it in for his first rushing touchdown of the season to tie the game at seven midway through the first quarter.

New England then followed that up with another good defensive stand, forcing the Vikes into a 3-and-out with some good play in first and second down. The Patriots couldn’t punch it into the end zone, but ended up posting three more points when Stephen Gostkowski knocked home a 48-yard field goal (after a 10-play, 40-yard drive) to make it 10-7 just before the end of the first quarter.

After Darrelle Revis picked off his first pass of the season, the Patriots turned it around with a 7-play, 61-yard drive that included 59 receiving yards from Edelman and was capped off by a 9-yard pass from Brady to Edelman to make it 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

The Patriots then put the capper on the second quarter with a blocked field goal attempt from Jones — then, the big defensive end scooped it up and ran it all the way back for a touchdown to finish the scoring just before the end of the half.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
The boys go around the table for their final thoughts and predictions for Pats/Vikes today.
Tom E. is live in Minnesota and gives his take on the Peterson situation and what the scene is like there - multiple fans with Peterson jerseys and more. He gets into the X's and O's and what the Pats need to do today to get in the win column. Tom is not a big fan of making Thompkins inactive today in favor of Dobson.

[0:00:33] ... net's always -- he Carter was in Minnesota. TEC. Your thoughts on Adrian Peterson and one has gone on the past few days before we actually get to this game but. What do you think the ...
[0:01:44] ... from guys were at the stadium saying that there are a lot Adrian Peterson jerseys there was just a photo of someone -- Within Adrian Peterson Jersey during a switch. -- what what's the feeling out there amongst the fan base. I think it's important always to not ...
[0:07:34] ... sure -- -- target. I absolutely agree especially with the absence of Adrian Peterson. That. Diminishes the number of office of threats you have to worry about agree Rudolph is is a very very good -- ...
[0:08:13] ... it mature than his -- pastor -- to reason with. A book Norv Turner. Briefly McConnell. Probably what half hour ago and I eat you know what we -- all pre season. Without major computer. Doesn't change admitting that -- I mean obviously. -- play your basic critical appreciate. A lot on her way to game we're ready to go so that the Minnesota Vikings. Because of the fact that they have a veteran offensive coordinator turner -- bureaucracy. A lot of panic. From there -- sense given that. We will be able to move. Into something without acting mayor -- Christ. Tom on the other side of the ball we heard a lot this week about how Mike Zimmer is going to be able to bring his template for beating Tom Brady from Cincinnati to Minnesota. Did we make too much of that given affected yet some pretty exemplary personnel when he was with ...

Kembrell Thompkins is listed on the list of inactives for the Pats heading into the 1pm matchup with Minnesota. That means Dobson is active. This catches the guys off guard and they discuss why this is the case. They also get into the Greg Hardy incident and the fact that Carolina has decided to make him inactive today.

[0:00:48] ... Detroit Carolina another surprise break party. He has been deactivated by the Carolina Panthers. Discuss that a little bit more the final hour of NFL but again we'll start at quarterback today. -- Carolina the biggest ...
[0:03:52] ... they're going forward he is one of those guys who. Has earned Tom Brady's trust that is at a relatively good job getting acclimated to -- toward younger receivers but I think right now. You're looking ...
[0:04:31] ... try to find its way that if if this is one of Tom Brady's trusted targets does that make sense to sit him down tonight. Well bill dobbs a little bit bigger receiver. And Tompkins maybe ...
[0:14:08] ... its patent. A little underplayed. Based on obviously the latest with -- Adrian Peterson in the Ray Rice story. He was found guilty. By a district judge in July of assaulting and threatening to kill -- ...

Christian calls the NFL Sunday crew to discuss the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson debacles and how he is embarrassed to be associated with the league right now. He talks about the Pats' issues last week and how they can improve.

A logjam at wide receiver combined with the healthy return of Aaron Dobson has landed Kenbrell Thompkins on the inactive list for the Patriots’ Week 2 contest against the Vikings.

Also inactive for the Patriots Sunday are cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Michael Buchanan, Jamie Collins, Zach Moore, Ryan Wendell and running back James White.

Alfonzo Dennard

Alfonzo Dennard

A logjam at wide receiver combined with the healthy return of Aaron Dobson has landed Kenbrell Thompkins on the inactive list for the Patriots’ Week 2 contest against the Vikings.

Also inactive for the Patriots Sunday are cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Michael Buchanan, Jamie Collins, Zach Moore, Ryan Wendell and running back James White.

Buchanan (ankle), Collins (thigh) and Wendell (knee) were all ruled out Saturday night for various injuries.

Trainers were spotted looking at Dennard’s shoulder pregame Sunday in Minnesota, and that combined with the fact that he was having trouble finishing tackles in the second half against Miami is an indication of a possible injury issue, though Dennard was not listed on the Patriots’ injury report this week.

Dennard recorded his first interception of the season last week in the first half of the season opener against the Dolphins.

Sunday’s inactives mean defensive lineman Chris Jones, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and offensive lineman Bryan Stork are in line to make their season debuts.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia