Patriots

Remarkable first half for Pats on both sides

191543.jpg

Remarkable first half for Pats on both sides

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
TAMPA BAY - As I started this post to explain how drastically different and refreshingly nasty the Patriots defense looked, Andre Carter nearly sawed Buccaneers backup quarterback Josh Johnson in half. As I typed that sentence, I looked up to see Jerod Mayo screaming off the right edge and taking Johnson to the ground at the end of another pressure. Bill Belichick has unleashed the hounds. And the hounds, they were fast and angry, my friends. At halftime, the score is 28-0. Tom Brady led the Patriots to touchdowns onfour of sixfirst-half drives. The first two scores were absurdly easy tosses to Aaron Hernandez and Chad Ochocinco. The next two were 1-yard touchdown runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Buccaneers, a team that beat the Chiefs 25-0 last week, provided very little defensive resistance until the second quarter when they started to get some pressure on Brady. He finished the half 11 of 19 for 118 yards. The Patriots' ground attack was impressive. Danny Woodhead and Green-Ellis combined for 116 yards on 16 carries. A lot of that was creditable to the offensive line which manhandled the Bucs defensive line on the ground. Welker had five catches for 56 yards and Aaron Hernandez had three for 42. Ochocinco was targeted five times. He had two catches for 14 yards. He got obliterated on a leaping attempt in the first quarter drawing a 15-yard flag. He also seemed to catch an earful from Belichick for dogging it downfield on a 39-yard run by Woodhead. But the defense was the story. With the two-gaping style apparently in mothballs until further notice, the Patriots were invading the Bucs backfield all half. Carter and Mayo were particularly outstanding. Carter, coming off the right edge of the defense, consistently brought the edge pressure this team's been dying for. Eric Moore and Mark Anderson were the beneficiaries of Carter's backside pressure as Bucs starter Josh Freeman had to scramble right and bring the ball down to avoid Carter. Mayo, meanwhile, was shooting off the edges - one quarterback hit from both the right and left edge - and shooting up the middle. He had two sacks for 17 yards and two passes defensed. The Bucs ran 28 plays and gained 73 yards. They had four first downs. They were 1 for 8 on third down. NOTES Brandon Meriweather started at safety along with Patrick Chung and was replaced midway through the quarter by Sergio Brown. LB Dane Fletcher left the game with a thumb injury in the first quarter. S Bret Lockett appeared to injure his groin on a punt return and was carted off. Gerard Warren had a 3-yard tackle for loss with a swim move that put him on top of LeGarrette Blount when the running back was handed the ball. Nate Solder gave up a sack in the second quarter when defensive end Tim Crowder came with a bull rush and then discarded the rookie tackle.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

ramsey_11418.jpg

Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are well aware of Jalen Ramsey's Super Bowl prediction, and they're not about to take the same approach to the AFC title game buildup. 

"If you're going to make a statement like that," Patriots rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler said on Wednesday, "you better be able to back it up . . . It's a bold statement to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That's all I can really say about that."

As that quote made the rounds, Ramsey tweeted an emphatic "WHO!???" Didn't seem to be a coincidence.

What Ramsey said, though, is part of who the Jaguars are. They're young. They're confident. They're not afraid to talk. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's plane ride back from Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that (expletive)."

Outside of Butler, the comments have garnered little in the way of public commentary from Patriots players. 

"I mean, obviously, that's his game," Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. "He's a confident dude . . . Obviously, they're happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don't think it's a good idea . . ."

"We saw what happened to the Steelers. But on our end, obviously, we're not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we're not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game."

Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

FOXBORO - Who knows if Tom Brady’s injured right hand is cause for concern? The quarterback reportedly injured himself on a botched handoff at practice Wednesday and was got X-rays to determine if there was a break. A source close to Brady said the 40-year old “should be ok,” but that’s hardly definitive. 

MORE PATRIOTS:

This morning, the news was presented to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. He’s no dummy. 

“I’m sure he could probably throw left-handed if he has a problem with his right hand and throw just as well,” he said.  Marrone's Jags face the Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady has missed a fair share of practices this year and been limited for a number of others. That hasn’t prevented the Pats QB from being the odds-on-favorite to win the NFL’s MVP. Patriot players didn’t notice difference yesterday, and if they did, they sure as heck weren’t sharing.

“He looked good, like he always does,” said Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Eric Rowe added, “Shoot, I don’t know. He looked like Tom. He was doing the same stuff he always does.”

Brady is coming off a 35-of-53 for 337 yards and three-touchdown performance in the Divisional Round playoff game vs. Tennessee. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE