Patriots

Notes: Pats win again for 'lubed up' home crowd

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Notes: Pats win again for 'lubed up' home crowd

Below are a collection of notes from the Patriots-Chargers game, courtesy of the Patriots media relations staff.

OWNING THE HOME OPENER
The Patriots have now won 15 of their past 17 home openers, including a perfect 10-0 record at Gillette Stadium since its opening in 2002. The 10 consecutive wins by the Patriots in home openers is the longest streak in the NFL.

TOUGH AT GILLETTE
With their win over San Diego, the Patriots have now won 17 straight regular season home games dating back to a 47-7 win over Arizona on Dec. 21, 2008. The Patriots own an overall record of 61-12 (.836) at Gillette Stadium in regular season games. Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFLs best record at home.

BRADY HAS 940 PASSING YARDS THROUGH TWO GAMESTom Brady threw for 423 yards on 31-of-40 passing (77.5 percent) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Combined with his career-high and franchise-record 517 passing yards last week at Miami, Brady has totaled 940 yards in the last two games. Bradys aggregate total of 940 yards in a two-game span marks the highest two-game yardage total of his career, topping the 763 total yards he had in back-to-back games on Sept. 22, 2002 vs. Kansas City (410) and Sept. 29, 2002 at San Diego (353). Bradys 940 yards are a franchise record for a two-game span, besting Matt Cassels total of 815 passing yards from Nov. 13 and 23, 2008.

BRADY IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF
Last Monday in Miami, Brady threw for 517 yards, becoming one of 11 passers in NFL history to break the 500-yard mark. Today against San Diego, Brady became the first of those 11 500-yard passers to follow up his 500-yard performance by throwing for 400 or more yards. Before today, only Drew Brees (2006) had followed-up a 500-yard game with 300 or more passing yards.

BRADY MOVES PAST JIM KELLY ON ALL-TIME PASSING LIST
Tom Brady (who finished todays game with 35,694 career passing yards) moved past Jim Kelly (35,467) into 17th place on the NFLs all-time passing list. Drew Brees ranks 16th on the NFLs all-time list with 35,955 career yards (including todays games).

BELICHICK LATEST STREAK
With the win over San Diego, the Patriots have now won 10 straight regular season games dating back to Nov. 14, 2010. Bill Belichick has become the second coach in NFL history with three separate 10-game win streaks, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula who had four 10-game win streaks. Belichicks Patriots won 21 consecutive games from 2006-08 and 18 consecutive games from 2003-04. Shula led the Baltimore Colts to 11 straight wins in 1964 and posted two 10-game win streaks with the Miami Dolphins (16 from 1971-73; 10 in 1973; 16 in 1983-84).

WELKER DOING WORK
Wes Welker extended his streak to 63 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots, tying TE Ben Coates for the franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 80 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins. Welker has caught at least one pass in each of his 67 games with the Patriots, including four postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with Miami.

BRADY SPREADS THE LOVE
This week marks the second straight week the Patriots have had three players with seven or more receptions. Today, Deion Branch (8), Wes Welker (7), and Aaron Hernandez (7) all eclipsed the 7-catch mark. Last week, Welker (8), Branch (7), and Hernandez (7) also accomplished the feat.Prior to last week, the last time New England had three players with seven or more catches in the same game was on Nov. 13, 2008, when Benjamin Watson (8), Wes Welker (7), and Jabar Gaffney (7) turned the trick.

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

FOXBORO - We’re not quite at the point of fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, or 40 years of darkness, or even dogs and cats living together, but this Patriots season isn’t headed down the right path, despite a 4-2 record and the top spot in the AFC East. 

There are several elements that appear missing at this juncture - chief among them a defense that actually has a clue. Please don’t celebrate holding the Jets to 17 points - I’m looking at you, Dont’a Hightower. Josh McCown threw for just 194 yards against the Cleveland freakin’ Browns for goodness sake, but he got you for 354 and two scores?! Even the 2009 Patriots defense is offended by that.

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We’d be foolish to think the Pats can’t get this leaky unit fixed for reasons so obvious I won’t state them in this space so as not to waste my time or yours. We also know - long before Bill Belichick’s 6 1/2-minute explanation on the Monday conference call - that it's not supposed to be perfect right now. Actually, it’ll never be perfect. That’s not how this game works. 

Yet week after week, we see uncommon breakdowns and one defender looking at the next as if to say, “I thought you had him?” or more to the point, “what the hell were you doing?” It started Sunday at MetLife on the third play of the game. Malcolm Butler, playing 10 yards off Robby Anderson, looking as if he’s never played the position before, inexplicably turning his back on Anderson even though the wide receiver makes no real move to the post. That results in just about the easiest completion of McCown’s life, a 23-yarder on third-and-10. 

On the same series, on another third-and-long, the Pats rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. Defensive end Cassius Marsh continued his season-long trend of rushing so far upfield he ended up in Hoboken. With Deatrich Wise ridden outside on the opposite edge, McCown wisely stepped up and found prime real estate with New York City views. He wanted to throw and could have when the Pats fouled up a crossing route from the backside of the play. But with that much room to roam, McCown took off, scooting for a quick 16 yards and another first down.

Fittingly, that drive ended with a Jets touchdown on yet another dumb play, this one courtesy of Mr. Hit or Miss, Elandon Roberts. Channeling his inner Brandon Spikes, the second-year pro blew off his key and responsibility on third-and-goal from the 1, charging hard to the line. This, despite one of the most feeble play-action fakes you’ll see. In fact, I’m not even sure it was a real play-action fake. Anyway, score it as a touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and an indictment on David Harris, who apparently can’t vault past the erratic Roberts on the depth chart.

Similar to the week prior in Tampa, the Pats found better footing after that. They forced three straight three-and-outs in the second quarter and then helped turn the game when Butler intercepted an ill-advised throw by McCown just prior to the half. They got another turnover to start the third, with Butler coming off the edge on fourth-and-1 and forcing McCown into panic mode. The veteran QB fired an off-target throw to - get this - a wide open receiver who went uncovered on a drag route and Devin McCourty was gifted an interception.

But this group frowns on prosperity. It took a little-seen rule to prevent a Seferian-Jenkins touchdown in the fourth, and on the game’s final drive, the Pats allowed a 32-yard completion on fourth-and-12. Then, on what turned out to be the Jets final play, the Pats let Tavaris Cadet leak out of the backfield and run unchecked 20 yards down the field. Had McCown not soiled himself again, Gang Green would have had a first down and at least one crack at the end zone. Then, who knows what the heck happens?

It was just a season ago that the Patriots led the entire NFL in scoring defense. If you’ll recall, we spent a better part of the year wondering if that defense was championship quality. Turns out they were. Right now, we’re wondering once again if this defense is of that ilk, but through an entirely different prism. It’s on the players and staff to change the current outlook, or those cats and dogs will have to figure out their shared space.

Have the offseason changes negatively affected the Patriots locker room?

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Have the offseason changes negatively affected the Patriots locker room?

The Patriots improve their record to 4-2 with a win over the Jets, but there are still a lot of concerning factors for New England. Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen talk about something the team isn't used to - close games.

Giardi also dives into whether there is a major problem with the locker room dynamic, and whether all the moves they made in the offseason were blown way out of proportion by the media and fans of the talent added, but didn't factor in the personalities they lost.

Koppen and Giardi also look at how the offensive line play has fallen off, despite the same personnel as last year. Finally, discussing the late scratch of Stephon Gilmore due to a concussion. Anything to read into the timing?