Colts acknowledge 'embarrassing defeat' in AFC Championship


Colts acknowledge 'embarrassing defeat' in AFC Championship

INDIANAPOLIS - While a good number of NFL fans remember the AFC Championship as the night Tom Brady and the Patriots were allegedly altering air pressure of game balls, the Indianapolis Colts have an entirely different memory of that 45-7 loss at Gillette Stadium as they head into this Sunday’s rematch, this time at Lucas Oil Stadium

“It certainly was an embarrassing defeat,” said quarterback Andrew Luck. “You don’t want to be associated with those types of losses. As far as motivation, I think if you need motivation from a past game to go out and play a football game, I don’t know, that’s probably wrong in my mind. We go out to win every time, at least personally. Every game is a challenge no matter if you play the team before or not or what happened before. We all have our own motivation, but in my mind, sure you don’t want to be associated with a loss like that in the past but I don’t know if it has that much bearing on this week.”

Matt Hasselbeck, who’s both started and won the last two games as Luck recovers from a shoulder injury, believes the Colts don’t think about Deflategate, rather the beatdown they absorbed in a decidedly one-sided game from start to finish

“It was a reminder of us getting embarrassed on national TV in the AFC Championship game,” he said. “They took it to us in that game and played great, and we played terrible and so every time - I  would say in this locker room - every time that game gets brought up, it’s not something we want to think about or talk about.”

“They just flat out outplayed us the whole stretch of the way,” said linebacker D’qwell Jackson. “We were in that game for a blink of an eye.”

Now maybe that loss has no impact on what happens Sunday night in Indy. These two teams have had the usual offseason personnel turnover. But maybe the anger that exists in Foxborough will be unleashed on the Colts and their fans in a game that the entire country will be tuning in to see.

“We know it’s going to be a dogfight,” said Jackson. “Right now we’re trending in the right direction. We’ve been playing well as of late. We’re finally getting some guys back from injury. So to address the elephant in the room, this is the game where we’re going to see each other later down the road. It has implications on the playoffs, whether home or away. So guys are aware of it but if you start to do things differently than what you’ve done in weeks past it’s going to throw you off. So the main thing for all the players, coaches, everyone involved – stay the course, do what you’ve been doing and let’s go out and play on Sunday.”

“I don’t know how they operate,” Hasselbeck said. “They are one of the great enigmas of our league. They always find a way to win. I have a tremendous amount of respect for their success and how they get it done year after year. They always get it done. This is a team, they are the toughest game on your schedule.”

They have been, for well over a decade now. And they have been a massive thorn in the Colts side, winning 4 straight over Andrew Luck’s Colts, but way before that, tormenting Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy and the almost-great Indy teams of the past decade. If you know how the powers that be feel at Patriot Place, you know they’d love nothing more than to keep this run going, with Sunday night the logical continuation of this latest chapter.

Patriots-Jaguars practice participation/injury report: Brady sits out


Patriots-Jaguars practice participation/injury report: Brady sits out

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's hand injury is significant enough that he was held out of Thursday's practice, according to the Patriots.

Whether that means he was at risk of exacerbating the injury by playing, or whether he needed more time to receive treatment (or both) is not clear. Brady was present for the stretching portion of practice on Thursday, which reporters were permitted to watch, but the team must have held him out of action following that period.

Brady last missed a practice on Dec. 27 as the Patriots prepared for the regular-season finale against the Jets. He was scheduled to speak with reporters on Thursday afternoon following practice, but the Patriots announced that they had pushed back his media availability to Friday. 

The Patriots will hold their final practice of the week on Friday before taking on the Jaguars in the AFC title game Sunday. 

Thursday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Jaguars game:


QB Tom Brady (right hand)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (knee)

DL Alan Branch (knee)
RB Rex Burkhead (knee)
RB Mike Gillislee (knee)


FS Tashaun Gipson (foot)

SS Barry Church (shoulder)
RB Leonard Fournette (ankle)
DT Malik Jackson (ankle)

QB Blake Bortles (right wrist)
OL Patrick Omameh (illness)
LB Paul Posluszny (abdomen)

Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'


Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are well aware of Jalen Ramsey's Super Bowl prediction, and they're not about to take the same approach to the AFC title game buildup. 

"If you're going to make a statement like that," Patriots rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler said on Wednesday, "you better be able to back it up . . . It's a bold statement to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That's all I can really say about that."

As that quote made the rounds, Ramsey tweeted an emphatic "WHO!???" Didn't seem to be a coincidence.

What Ramsey said, though, is part of who the Jaguars are. They're young. They're confident. They're not afraid to talk. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's plane ride back from Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that [expletive]."

Outside of Butler, the comments have garnered little in the way of public commentary from Patriots players. 

"I mean, obviously, that's his game," Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. "He's a confident dude . . . Obviously, they're happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don't think it's a good idea . . ."

"We saw what happened to the Steelers. But on our end, obviously, we're not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we're not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game."