Patriots

Felger: Everything old is new again for Patriots

197881.jpg

Felger: Everything old is new again for Patriots

By Michael Felger

That was an old-school Patriots win.

Old school as in special teams carrying the day.

Old school as in undrafted andor unheralded players making game-winning plays.

Old school as in maintaining composure on the road.

Old school as in playing well in the second half.

Old school as in feeling disrespected and actually doing something about it.

Not that I'd recomend making travel plans to Dallas (site of the Super Bowl) for February just yet. But at least the next two weeks should be a pleasant stretch for the Patriots and their fans after Monday's 41-14 thumping of the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

There's nothing worse than spending two weeks bemoaning a loss. Instead, the Pats gave themselves something to build off while silencing their critics for at least the next 12 days.

Guess we'll have to spend the next two weeks ripping the Red Sox.

As for Monday, it was a vintage, 2001-era victory.

That's what was going through my head as I watched the Pats return a kickoff for a touchdown (Brandon Tate to open the second half), block a punt (by Patrick Chung) to set up a score, and block a field goal (again by Chung) to give them another touchdown return (by Kyle Arrington). Sort felt like the 2001 AFC title game in Pittsburgh. Remember?

That was also the feeling after witnessing the performances of Rob Ninkovich (two interceptions, sack), Danny Woodhead (36 rushing yards; 11-yard touchdown catch) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (76 rushing yards; touchdown). Future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, meanwhile, didn't even catch a single pass. It was fitting. Sort of felt like the days of David Patten, Bobby Hamilton and Jermaine Wiggins all over again.

When it comes to winning on the road and playing well in the clutch -- forget 2001. Coming up big in hostile environments was a hallmark of the Patriots right up through 2008.

And, finally, that element returned on Monday night, as the Pats outscored the Fish, 38-7, after halftime and recorded their biggest road win since beating the eventual AFC East champion Dolphins in Miami in November of 2008.

Remember, that game was under the direction of Matt Cassel.

For Tom Brady, you'd have to go back to Week 17 of 2007 for his last feel-good road win.

And you could tell he felt good about it. The shots ESPN got of Bill Belichick and Brady celebrating in the final two minutes constitute what I call Patriots porn for the footy-pajama crowd. It was quite a sight. And it was deserved. Belichick reportedly spent much of the past week letting his players know how much heat they were taking in the media, and the players were able to turn that around and use it as motivation.

The Pats used to do that, too. A lot.

Remember?

Felger's report card will post Wednesday. Email Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursday. Listen to Felger on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

marsh_patriots_112117.jpg

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

patriots_bill_belichick_092417.jpg

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.

MORE PATRIOTS:

“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."