Patriots

Curran: Five thoughts from first half

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Curran: Five thoughts from first half

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - The Patriots find themselves staring up at the Jets and into the face of a loss possibly as ignominious as Super Bowl 42. It's 14-3 and the mood in the stands is morose.

WAAAY OUT OF CHARACTERIn the final three minutes of the first half, the Patriots attempted a direct snap to punt protector Patrick Chung. It ricocheted off Chung's thigh and he scuttled around for no gain. The Jets turned that into a touchdown making it 14-3. On the ensuing drive before the half, left guard Logan Mankins heaved Jets corner Marques Cole, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Add to that the questionable challenge on a throw to Santonio Holmes near midfield (the ruling was upheld) and you have a recipe the Patriots haven't cooked up in a while. Almost forgot . . . Tom Brady's pick thrown to David Harris on a screen pass and an end zone drop by Alge Crumpler. SANCHEZ ON MARKJets quarterback Mark Sanchez has started 10-for-16 for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Some of his misses have been wild but the restart he made in the second quarter when he directed Braylon Edwards to the deep left sideline and the ensuing throw set upthe Jets first touchdown. Brady, meanwhile, is 10 for 17 for 99 yards and a pick. WELKER GETS WRIST SLAPPEDCBS' Jim Nantz reported before the game began that Wes Welker would be benched at the start because of his press conference Thursday which was suspiciously laden with references to feet. Welker was on the field to field the first plus-50 punt of the day from Steve Weatherford but did sit down for the first series. Given the ceaseless chatter from Jets' camp all week, Bill Belichick was no doubt making a point not only to Welker but the Jets as well. Or football in general. Either way, it was interesting. PRESSURE COOKERSo far, Brady's been sacked three times and has been thoroughly addled in the pocket. He's got one completion to a wide receiver so far, a 10-yard completion to Wes Welker. Terrific mix of blitzes so far by the Jets defensive coordinator. The Patriots managed just one first down in the second quarter. JETS PICKING UP STEAMAfter being outgained 104-36 in the first quarter, the Jets went into halftime outgaining New England 157-127. This will be a true challenge to the coaching staffs on both sides - can the Jets keep flowing and send Rex Ryan to his second straight AFC Championship?

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

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Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: