According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Lions center Dominic Raiola will not be fined for his actions in Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

On the last play in the game when the Lions were taking a knee, Raiola dove at the knees of defensive lineman Zach Moore. This comes after he was seen looking like he threw a punch at the back of his head on a play earlier on the drive.

Bill Belichick said the play came from frustrations on Raiola’s part.

“€œI’€™m sure there was a lot of frustration there for [Dominic] Raiola,” Belichick said on Monday’€™s conference call. “That’€™s obvious. He’€™s never beaten us. Tough day in there dealing with [Vince] Wilfork, [Dont’€™a] Hightower and those guys, so it was probably frustration. We saw a lot of that at the end of the game. [Tahir] Whitehead on [LeGarrette] Blount’€™s touchdown, [C.J.] Mosley on the personal foul on the field goal.”

The Patriots won the game 34-9, the Lions’ second loss in a row.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Julian Edelman joins MFB to talk about yesterday's win at Gillette Stadium against the Detroit Lions
Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season.  (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.

An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.

Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.

The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Bob Costas has been impressed by the recent run of the Patriots. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Bob Costas has been impressed by the recent run of the Patriots. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Here’s a sampling of what some of the national pundits were saying about the Patriots in the wake of their 34-9 win over the Lions Sunday:

Bob Costas after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America”: “There is no hotter team than the New England Patriots. Not that long ago, 2-2, the sky was falling in New England. Now they’ve reeled off seven straight wins. And they’re not just beating people, they are crushing people.”

Hines Ward after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America”: “It’s hard to believe the AFC Championship Game won’t be in New England. The Patriots offense just ran through a tough Detroit defense with ease … I think (Brandon) Browner and (Darrelle) Revis are the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.”

Tony Dungy after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America” on the end-of-game play where Lions center Dominic Raiola dove at Patriots defensive tackle Zach Moore: “I was surprised the Patriots didn’t take a knee there at the end of the game and tried to score. That still doesn’t excuse going after a guy’s knee. There’s no place in the game for that.”

Rodney Harrison after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America”: “This is what Bill Belichick preaches from the very first day of training camp, playing 60 minutes. This is professional football. You’re getting paid millions and millions of dollars. This is not high school … (Bill Belichick) wants to lay a foundation for his younger players. That’s why he always finishes. It doesn’t matter if it’s Cincinnati, if it’s Indianapolis, if it’s the Denver Broncos, he’s preaching 60 minutes.”

Rodney Harrison after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America” on Bill Belichick’s philosophy regarding Darrelle Revis: “He’s taken his best cornerback, Darrelle Revis, and he puts him on the number two wide receiver. And he completely shut Golden Tate down this week and last week he did the same thing to Reggie Wayne. What they’re doing is they’re taking Brandon Browner, they’re giving him help over the top, and he’s negating the number one receiver.”

Rodney Harrison after the game on NBC’s “Football Night in America”: “The strength of this team might be the defense.”

Steve Mariucci on NFL Network’s Total Access after the game on the difference with the New England Patriots since their Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs: “They’re protecting Tom [Brady] better, they’re catching the ball [and] they’re playing good defense. That secondary has the best four corners in the league and they can lock you down.”

Deion Sanders on NFL Network’s Total Access after the game on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski: “Tom Brady and [Rob Gronkowski] may be the best combination in the game.”

Michael Irvin on NFL Network’s Total Access after the game on tight end Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots: “This is the best [Rob Gronkowski] we have ever seen with the New England Patriots right now and they are by far the team that is rolling right. Gronk is playing the kind of football that belongs somewhere on Mars.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
In 2007, Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Bill Belichick took a shot at Smith after the contest. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In 2007, Anthony Smith (left) talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Bill Belichick took a shot at Smith after the contest. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick’s shot at Dominic Raiola on Monday morning got us to thinking about the moments — and they’re few and far between — where the Patriots coach has fired back at an opposing player after the game. (That means Baltimore’s Derrick Mason doesn’t qualify for this list.) In no particular order, here’s our top 4:

1) Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell: The chatty pass catcher — who once told the media that he’d like “like to thank my hands for being so great” — took plenty of shots at the New England secondary in the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots, saying he only knew the numbers and not the names of the New England defensive backs. (He added that he had “something special” for safety Rodney Harrison.) After New England beat Philly for the title, Belichick told Sports Illustrated: “All he does is talk. He’s terrible. And you can print that. I was glad when he was in the game.”

2) Steelers safety Anthony Smith: In December 2007, the Pittsburgh defensive back guaranteed a win over the Patriots, and dismissed the New England receiving corps: “They’ve got [Wes] Welker and Moss, but they’re not like Cincinnati.” During the game, Smith was targeted on several occasions by the Patriots, who rolled to a convincing 34-13 win. In his postgame press conference, Belichick was asked about Smith. “We’ve played a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

3) Panthers defensive backs Chris Gamble and Chris Harris: In the wake of a December 2009 loss to the Patriots, the duo intimated that Randy Moss didn’t go all-out in the game. That drew a harsh retort from Belichick, who said the day after the contest: “My response would be that’s a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game,” Belichick said. The coach then proceeded to pile on Carolina, who dropped to 5-8 on the year with the defeat.  “You can say whatever you want,” Belichick said to the media. “That’s your job. I just told you. I have a lot of respect for Randy. I think he’s one of our best players. I think if you watch other teams defend him, you watch other teams play against him, they think the same way. Other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another game. I guess they didn’t think that way. They haven’t won a lot of games now.”

4) Broncos receiver Wes Welker: In the 2013 AFC title game, Welker collided with Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on a crossing pattern, knocking Talib out of the game on the way to a Denver win over New England. The following day, Belichick hammered Welker. “I feel badly for Aqib, the way the play turned out,”€€ Belichick said. “It was a deliberate play to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’€™€™ll let the league handle the discipline on that. It’€™€™s not for me to decide, but it’€™s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. And that’€™€™s all I am going to say about that.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Very few players on the Patriots, and even in the NFL, have been as durable as Patriots defensive end/lineman Rob Ninkovich.

Ninkovich went wire-to-wire, playing 82 of 82 defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus in Sunday’s win over the Lions. For the season, he has played every snap of a game in eight of the 12 games, and overall he’s played 93 percent of the snaps — also per Pro Football Focus.

“Rob’€™s a tough Croatian, tough Croatian kid,” coach Bill Belichick said on Monday’s conference call. “He’€™s strong — he’€™s really strong for his size, been durable. He’€™s athletic, play on his feet, runs well. He’€™s able to definitely take care of himself out there and play in a lot of different situations. He’€™s strong enough to play against bigger people and athletic enough to play in some space and coverage situations, whatever the requirements are. There are a lot of things that he can do.

“We were a little light at end yesterday without [Dominique] Easley. I don’€™t know how much that would have affected Rob’€™s playing time yesterday, but we were definitely light at the position going in there. Rob gives us a consistent level of play and gives us a lot of toughness and a lot of versatility. I don’€™t think anybody is looking to take him off the field.”

Among defensive ends, Ninkovich is tops in the NFL with 81 straight games played, and 60 straight starts.

For the season, Ninkovich has 29 tackles, six sacks and one interception.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Things didn’t go calmly in the final moments of Sunday’s 34-9 Patriots win over the Lions.

Things didn’t go calmly in the final moments of Sunday’s 34-9 Patriots win over the Lions.

On the final snap when the Lions were taking a knee, Lions center Dominic Raiola dove at the knees of Patriots nose tackle Zach Moore. Raiola said it was “football” after the game.

Bill Belichick had his response on Monday.

“I’m sure there was a lot of frustration there for [Dominic] Raiola,” Belichick said on Monday’s conference call. “That’s obvious. He’s never beaten us. Tough day in there dealing with [Vince] Wilfork, [Dont’a] Hightower and those guys, so it was probably frustration. We saw a lot of that at the end of the game. [Tahir] Whitehead on [LeGarrette] Blount’s touchdown, [C.J.] Mosley on the personal foul on the field goal.”

Even with the win, the Patriots’ seventh in a row, Belichick is already thinking about the team’s next challenge — going into Green Bay and taking on the Packers this Sunday.

“Nobody is happier than I am when we win, but right now that doesn’t mean anything,” said Belichick. “Going into Green Bay — great football team, very well coached. Coach [Mike] McCarthy does as good a job as anybody that we play against, anybody in this league. Great quarterback and a real good football team. It will be a huge challenge for us this week.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan for his weekly chat Monday morning, following Sunday’s dominant 34-9 victory over the Lions, and talked about Darrelle Revis, Jonas Gray, Odell Beckham Jr.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan for his weekly chat Monday morning, following Sunday’s dominant 34-9 victory over the Lions, and talked about Darrelle Revis, Jonas Gray, Odell Beckham Jr. and Randy Moss. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With their seventh straight win, the Patriots are 9-2 and look like they have established some separation from the pack. Brady cautioned that there still is plenty of room for improvement.

“I think it’s a week-to-week thing,” he said. “At different times over the course of the year we’ve done a lot of things really well, and you really want them to all come together on game day. I’m sure there’s always things we can get better at. I thought we did a lot of good things offensively yesterday, but I think we could have been even better. You’ve just got to go out there every week trying to improve and stay sharp and improve things that have shown up over the course of the season and we haven’t done as well consistently.

“It’s great to win, but as always when you win it’s never as good as you think, and when you lose it’s never as bad as you think. We’ll go in today and watch the film and talk about all the things we can do better. We obviously are playing well, we’ve got a lot of good things going. We’re continuing to be tested, because we’ve played a lot of good opponents here the past bunch of weeks, and now we’ve got another one coming up on Sunday.”

Running back Jonas Gray, the star of last week’s win over the Colts, sat out Sunday after arriving late to practice Friday.

“Those are always coach’s decisions to do certain things,” Brady said. “It’s unfortunate for everybody involved. You never want to see those things, because all these guys are important to us, and Jonas is a big part of our team and a big part of the reason why we won a huge game in our season. You just hate to see someone disciplined, but that’s just the way coach decided to handle it.”

Darrelle Revis is showing the Patriots why he deserved his huge contract in the offseason, anchoring a defense that dominated Detroit.

“If you play a team that has a great player on the other side of the ball, you’ve got to do things offensively to try to not allow that guy to make a lot of plays,” Brady said. ” Even for me, I’m on the sideline watching, and I see pass after pass go in his direction. When we played him, we didn’t necessarily do that. But every team chooses what they want to do, and they obviously don’t feel like throwing over there is a big deal. But it’s great when they do it, because he covers so well.

“I always think the most impressive thing is how he defends passes without getting penalties. There’s always a fine line between just a little pull here or a little tug there. I think Revis does such a great job of there’s contact where it’s legal and his hands are off and he’s got such great anticipation and quickness and savvy and ball skills and timing for the ball. You may get him once on something, but you’ll never get him twice.”

Next up is a game against the Packers in Green Bay, a matchup that is being billed a possible Super Bowl preview.

“We’re so far from that,” Brady said. “We’ve got so many games. If we’re lucky enough to make it there, nobody cares who we play. That’s so far down the road. We think about the one game we have ahead of us, which is a good opponent. We’ve got nine wins, we’ve done a good job getting ourselves to this position. Now this is when the weather turns, the mental toughness, the discipline, how much we’ve improved really comes into play.

“We’re playing one of the best teams in the league. This team plays better — they play like we do at home, they always play good. We’ve got our work cut out for us. They’ve got a great offense, they’ve got a great defense, they do a lot of things defensively that are a challenge for us. They’ve got a good rush, they’ve got good coverage, they play the run well and they can score a lot of points.

“It’s fun going to Lambeau. I’ve only been there once. I think I’ve been there for a preseason game, but only once in the regular season. And we won, which was great. I’d love to get to 2-0.”

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

On Lions center Dominic Raiola’s cheap shot at the end of the game: “I don’t know, I didn’t really see the play. … I just think you’ve always got to go out there and protect yourself. We’re not going to quit. They’re not going to quit. And then some people get pissed off, and then emotions get the best of you. When you’re out there you’ve got to do everything you can to not take any play for granted, you’ve got to protect yourself. If someone’s going to try to cut you down, then you’ve got to play it like it’s a regular play. If we’re not going to take a knee — unless they want to stop playing and tell us, ‘Look, we’ll stop playing,’ and we’ll stop playing and we’ll just win, let’s just do that. But that’s not the way it goes. You play until the end of the game. You play until there’s no time left. If people don’t want to play that way then you’ve just got to understand the way it is and then play accordingly.”

On Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s amazing touchdown catch Sunday night: “Yeah, I saw it, and I couldn’t believe it. I kind of started laughing out loud. Ironically … just before that they were showing those catches of him in the pregame, and then all of a sudden he did it again. To do it on a ball like that — the ball was almost behind his head, and it barely even bobbled in his hand. It like stuck and then just started rolling and he got it to his body. That was unbelievable. That guy is going to be a hell of a player.”

On Randy Moss: “Randy had two great one-handed catches. He had the one against the Jets, and he had one against Miami where a guy was on him. We were going toward the lighthouse at home one day and he made a phenomenal catch. Randy was one of the greatest receivers ever to play the game. He was a game-changing player. Every time he took the field he was just one of the biggest threats to ever take the field. He was phenomenal.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar