Notes: Pats practice hard; Woodhead dodges queries


Notes: Pats practice hard; Woodhead dodges queries

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- There's a sign at Gillette stadium, when Patriots players enter and exit the building, that reads, "Don't believe the hype."

At 14-2, and having a first-round bye in the playoffs, these Patriots have, so far, exceeded the expectations of those outside the locker room.

But with this weekend off, and knowing that this weekend is only given off to the elite teams in the league, just how will the Patriots go about staying humble?

Veteran Vince Wilfork believes that's not an issue.

"Trust me, you have a bunch of guys in this locker room that hate to lose, hate to lose," said Wilfork prior to Thursday's practice. "Starting with me, I'm one of them . . . We all love football, but at the same time, we have to be able to take it one day at a time, especially now. Without a game this week, we definitely have to take it one day at a time, day-by-day right now, because we need to get better as a ball club, and that's exactly what we're trying to do now."

The Patriots practiced in full pads for the second straight day on Thursday. Wilfork hinted that perhaps coach Bill Belichick will give the team the rest of the weekend off, after Thursday's practice, saying, "Hopefully, Wednesday and Thursday will be enough."

"With us not having a game this week, I think we're trying to just stay on our regular routine," said Wilfork. "Going out and practicing, putting us in pads and everything, just so we don't lose a lot. Understandable, understandable, so I think we got some good work done yesterday. I really think we got better as a football team yesterday. And we need to continue that today."

Running back Danny Woodhead (head) practiced in a rednon-contact jersey for the second straight day on Thursday. When asked about his apparent head injury before the practice, Woodhead dodged the questions.

"I get better at what I do every day, and that's, whether it's pass blocking or running the ball, or whatever," said Woodhead. "I'm just trying to do my job better every single day."

When asked if he felt like he had dodged a bullet, Woodhead responded by saying, "Honestly? I'm just trying to get better at what I do every single day, try to do my job better every day. Sorry, I've got to go guys. I've got a meeting."

Joining him with a red top at Thursday's practice was offensive lineman Dan Koppen. Five Patriots players were missing from the session altogether. Those players were Aaron Hernandez, Jermaine Cunningham, Mike Wight, Eric Moore, and Sebastian Vollmer.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wins have been so hard to come by for the Oakland Raiders that it took three tries at the final play for them finally to pull this one out and possibly save their season.

Derek Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on the final play after the game was extended by two straight defensive holding calls and the Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"We didn't give up," Crabtree said. "We got a team full of fighters. We believe. ... No matter how hard the game was, we believed. We came out with the W and I'm excited. It's a good way to win, a great way to win."

With their season on the line following the recent slump, Carr led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:25 to give the Raiders (3-4) the thrilling comeback in a game they trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

Carr finished 29 for 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, with Amari Cooper catching 11 passes for 210 yards and two of the scores. The Raiders had struggled to get the ball downfield while being held to 17 or fewer points in four straight games but Carr repeatedly beat the Chiefs with deep passes.

"No. 4 kept making plays," coach Jack Del Rio said. "This is a special, special win."

Alex Smith threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough for the Chiefs (5-2). They lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 11-18, 2015, and had their 12-game winning streak in the AFC West snapped in a thrilling finish.

"I've never been part of a game that came down so dramatic," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "But, still had a chance to win. Period. Just have to make a play. One play. One play."

The Raiders had an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 18 seconds left overturned when replay ruled he was down at the 1. An offensive pass interference on Crabtree wiped out another touchdown on the next play.

But holding calls on Ron Parker and Eric Murray set the stage for the final play. Carr hit Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone to tie it at 30. Giorgio Tavecchio won it with the extra point , setting off a celebration on a wild night that included Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch getting ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official.

HOT TEMPERS: The game took an odd turn midway through the second quarter after Kansas City's Marcus Peters hit Carr late, angering the Raiders. Offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn confronted Peters and Lynch sprinted off the Oakland sideline to join the fray. Lynch, a close friend of Peters, ended up shoving line judge Julian Mapp and getting ejected . Peters also was called for a personal foul on the play. Lynch congratulated his teammates in the locker room after the game but didn't speak to reporters.

"I was disappointed he ran out because I knew we had a 15-yard penalty and we'd be in good shape," Del Rio said.

LONG DRIVE: After Marquette King pinned the Chiefs at their own 1 with a perfect punt early in the second quarter, Kansas City needed little time to turn the momentum. Smith hit Demarcus Robinson on a 33-yard pass on the first play of the drive. After a short run, Tyreek Hill beat David Amerson for a 64-yard touchdown pass that gave the Chiefs their first 99-yard drive since doing it Dec. 3, 2006, against Cleveland.

DEEP CONNECTION: Carr had not connected on a single deep ball to Amari Cooper all season before the two teamed twice for long TDs in the opening quarter. On the first, Cooper appeared to push Terrance Mitchell but the officials picked up the flag and gave Cooper the 38-yard TD . Later in the quarter Carr and Cooper connected on a 45-yard score, making Cooper the first Raiders receiver with two TD catches in the first quarter since Mervyn Fernandez in 1989.

KICKING WOES: The Raiders were hurt last week when a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. That was Tavecchio's first missed kick of any kind this season but he then had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 45-yarder wide left in the second quarter. Tavecchio also had a false start on an extra point in the third quarter.


Chiefs: Host Denver on Oct. 30.

Raiders: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.