Bennett bounces back: 'I'm like a phoenix . . . I rise from the ashes'

Bennett bounces back: 'I'm like a phoenix . . . I rise from the ashes'

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett admitted last week that he was dealing with injuries that were limiting him on the field, and against the Rams in Week 13, he said he put together his worst performance as a member of the Patriots. 

On Monday night, with an extra day to rest his ailing ankle and shoulder, Bennett bounced back with a solid all-around game against the Ravens. He played in 54 of a possible 69 snaps, helping clear space in the running game and catching four passes for 70 yards and a score.


"I knew I had to bounce back and continue to battle and get better this week for my team and myself and for the coaches," Bennett said. "I talked to all my teammates. They knew I was going to come back. I told them, I was messing around with [Matthew] Slater, I told him, 'I'm like a Phoenix, I rise from the ashes.' "

Bennett added: "It felt good to get back out there and block well. I felt like I blocked well. I had a lot of one on one blocks against [Terrell] Suggs and other guys. That's what I felt like I did a good job of this week that I didn't do a good job of last week."

Bennett was a liability at times against the Rams. He missed blocks and he had trouble making plays with the ball in his hands as a receiver. It was clear his ankle -- which he injured against the Browns in Week 5 and appeared to aggravate against the Jets in Week 11 -- was giving him fits.

But against Baltimore, he helped the Patriots in multiple facets of the game and he gave the team a 23-3 lead in the third quarter with a 19-yard touchdown grab. To make the third-down play, he jumped over linebacker Zach Orr and snared it off of Orr's left arm. Both players were fighting for the ball in the end zone, but the officials ruled it a touchdown almost immediately.

"I had it," Bennett said. "Sometimes there's one slice of pizza left and there's two hands that reach into the box. I'm always gonna get the last slice -- unless it's my wife's hand. Then I let her eat it. Only because I love her."

Bennett said that having the extra time to recover helped him physically get back to the player he expects to be.

"It was a little bit of extra time. Short practice on Saturday," Bennett said. "Coaches have been working with me very well to help me get healthy. Training staff's been doing a great job. I've been spending a lot of time in there, which I don't like, but it's worked.

"And I've been putting in a lot of extra time on my own with my own team. I've got a team of doctors I've been using for years. It's just continuing to build and getting healthier going into this next stretch."

If Bennett's starting to turn a corner physically, it could not come at a better time. At 11-2, the Patriots will have a short week to prepare for a game in Denver. Then they'll finish with division contests against the Jets and Dolphins.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "This is the best I've felt in a long time."

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.

Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.

More to come...

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment. 

Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".

Click here to listen and see how he did.