Pats' triumph over Rams makes Brady winningest QB in NFL history

Pats' triumph over Rams makes Brady winningest QB in NFL history

FOXBORO -- There was no confetti. No streamers. Just a quick congratulations from running back LeGarrette Blount during the final kneeldown, a brief announcement over the Gillette Stadium public-address system, a quiet moment with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in the hallway outside the Patriots locker room. A bro hug. 


Little fanfare surrounded Tom Brady's record-breaking 201st victory, a 26-10 win over the Rams, just as he  wanted. It's a mark he has not been thrilled about discussing, either when he tied Peyton Manning last week for No. 200 or when he set it himself. 

"I'm grateful to all my teammates, coaches, family and friends," Brady said. "I've been fortunate to have been on some great teams . . . [And] it's always been about winning."

His head coach and his teammates, however, were more than happy to speak for their quarterback. 

"[It's a] a pretty long list," said coach Bill Belichick when asked what traits make Brady a great quarterback. "I don't think you win 200 games by doing one or two things right. You do a lot of them. And he does."

"We're in a locker room with a walking legend," said cornerback Malcolm Butler. "The most wins in quarterback history in the NFL, but he still comes to work like he hasn't accomplished anything. I look up to that."

Blount believed he was the first one in the stadium to shout "201" to Brady when the team was ready to run out the clock with in the fourth quarter. He beamed when asked about the man whose locker is two spots down from his. 

"I think that's a record that's probably not every going to be broken," he said. "He's going to continue to build on it this season, and he's looking great while doing it."

Brady completed 33-of-46 for 269 yards and a touchdown to help the Patriots move to 10-2. He took a handful of hard hits throughout, but even with the game in hand late in the fourth quarter, he was back on the field to finish things out as those left in the stands chanted his name. 

"It couldn't happen to a better guy or a better player," said receiver Julian Edelman, who had eight catches for 101 yards on 12 targets. "Everything he's done, he's deserved. He should be the face of this league with how his story, how he prepared, he's a family man. Couldn't happen to anyone better." 

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

AP Photo

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

Yes, please, on the proposed adjustment to defensive pass interference. No, thank you on the revised catch rule.

And I know I'm going to have my dreams crushed on both counts.

Despite all the arm-flapping and breath wasted that "NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A CATCH IS ANYMORE!!!!", long-distance pass interference has been a bigger bugaboo for the league for a much longer time.

In 2017, there were 129 pass interference calls longer than 15 yards. The proposed rule change that will be debated at next week's NFL Annual Meeting will make pass interference a 15-yard penalty unless it's egregious and intentional. In those cases, it will continue to be a spot foul

So overdue. For too long offenses have been rewarded by officials on 50-50 balls where DBs and receivers engage in subtle handfighting. It's absolutely illogical to expect middle-aged officials in okay (or worse) shape to keep pace with Gronk-sized receivers and whippet-quick defenders, then make calls on plays 40 yards downfield.

If you're going to throw a flag that gives the offense 40 yards, there should be an extreme degree of certainty accompanies that flag. And too often, the officials are forced to make educated guesses. Next thing you know, Joe Flacco and Rex Grossman are in the Super Bowl.

It's probably the most difficult penalty to call in football, yet it carries the greatest punishment for a defense? What sense does that make? 

I actually think the NFL should go a step beyond and make pass interference reviewable. I'll even make this concession -- it's reviewable only for DPI that puts the ball inside the 10 and is longer than 15 yards. How's that?

"More reviews?!?!? We don't need more reviews?!?!?!"

Okay, but you'll accept them when a dimwit coach argues a spot on a three-yard run that may or may not mean a first down, but not on a play that hands the offense half the field? Come on. Forward thinking.

As for the contention corners are going to begin bludgeoning receivers once they realize they're being beaten deep -- BAM! -- that's where you get the aggravated pass interference (API . . . trademarked 2018) that can be dropped on their heads.

A DB that doesn't turn to face the ball and runs through a receiver? An arm bar all the way downfield preventing a receiver from getting his hands up? A way-too-early arrival? That's API and it's a spot foul. What are the possible negative consequences?

It will now spawn debate as to what's aggravated PI and just garden variety PI. And it asks officials to make another judgment call.

But the truth is, it already is -- in many cases -- a judgment call. And if I were an official reaching for my flag on a Hail Mary from the 43 at the end of the game where there was jostling, I'd sure as hell be happy that I have the option to call garden variety PI and put the ball at the 28 rather than put the ball at the 1.

It's a rule change that makes the game better. That way you don't have calls like this or this. This 55-yarder would be an API (defender hugs Crabtree).

Tellingly, there's no outcry about the need to reform pass interference NOW like there is about the catch rule. You know what needs to happen? A few more plays like this where the Patriots profit. Then you'll see a damn MOVEMENT!


Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard. 

The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.

Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the β€˜Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.

Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet. 

This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters? 

It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it. 

Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.