Patriots

Without Prater, no legend of Tebow

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Without Prater, no legend of Tebow

FOXBORO -- Without Matt Prater, there is no Tebowmania.

Lost in hubbub over the Broncos' quarterback is the fact that Denver's kicker has been the most clutch in the NFL this season. Prater has kicked three game-winning field goals in the Broncos' last three contests. Last week he kicked a 59-yarder to send his team to overtime against the Bears. Then he knocked down a 51-yard bomb in overtime to win, further contributing to Tebow's legend, hardly his own.

Make no mistake, Tebow, dubbed "The Mile High Messiah," has done plenty to contribute to his team's seven wins in its last eight games -- both with his play on the field, and it appears, his attitude. But if not for Prater, who has four game-winners in all this season, Tebow's Tebowing may have gone unanswered.

None of this is lost on Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who knows just how important a good kicker can be to his team's success. In the NFL Network documentary, A Football LifeBelichick called Adam Vinatieri the best player on the Patriots when they won Super Bowl XXXVI.

"He's got a leg, but he's also an accurate kicker," Belichick said. "He's hit a lot of long ones. Special teams coach Scott O'Brien coached him out there, so we know him. He knows him. Absolutely it extends your defense in those field goal situations.

"To protect against the field goal, you have to extend out a little bit further... Especially at the end of the game because then they'll take a shot at anything."

And especially at Invesco Field, where the mile-high air may contribute to the completion of longer field goals. Two of Prater's three field goals of 50 yards or longer this season have come in Denver. In his career, he's 12-of-16 from beyond 50 yards.

Prater's leg also comes into play on kickoffs. He has recorded 40 touchbacks this season, but Belichick has paid close attention to Prater's talent for onside kicks. The Broncos beat the Dolphins in Week 7 after recovering a Prater onside kick. They nearly recovered another last week against the Bears. It was essentially a jump ball, placed perfectly by Prater, but Chicago recovered.

"He does a great job of spiking it, putting it up there, giving them a chance to get under it," Belichick said. "He has great touch on those kicks."

If the Broncos find themselves in yet another situation when a Prater onside kick may give them a chance to win the game, the Patriots will be ready for it. Belichick said it's a situation they prepare for every week.

"It's just another thing to prepare for," Belichick said. "It's another thing you've gotta work on. It's a critical play if it comes up. It doesn't come up every week. You dont know when it's going to come up. But when it does, you gotta cover it."

When the Pats say (again and again) that the Broncos are not a one-man team, they mean it. It's not all about Tebow, or the Broncos' running backs, or their defense.

It's also partly about a kicker. And while the rest of the country may be wrapped up Tebow's story, it's clear, Prater is not a forgotten man in Foxboro.

In a surprise move, Chiefs sign Darrelle Revis

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In a surprise move, Chiefs sign Darrelle Revis

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs needed help in their leaky defensive backfield.

Darrelle Revis was ready to provide it.

So the AFC West leaders signed the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback on Wednesday, a surprising midseason move involving a big-name player. Revis played for the New York Jets last season, but his massive salary cap number combined with a decline in performance led to his release in late February.

Still, the Chiefs were desperate to find a cornerback to play opposite Marcus Peters. Terrence Mitchell, Kenneth AckerSteven Nelson and Phillip Gaines have all failed to hold down the spot.

"He's ready to go now," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a conference call with reporters. "He was coming off the wrist (injury) and that he had last year, you know - this is when he was ready to go. We felt the same way. So it was a nice, mutual agreement that took place and here we are."

Reid did not rule out Revis playing Sunday against Buffalo, either.

Four days is typically a quick turnaround for a player to get acclimated to a team, especially one that hasn't played a snap since the end of last season. But Revis has a few things going for him: He has a vast amount of experience from which to draw, he is already familiar with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's system having played for him with the Jets, and the Chiefs really have nothing to lose.

They enter the game with the 28th-ranked pass defense in the league, hemorrhaging more than 250 yards per game. That includes a 417-yard performance by Oakland's Derek Carr a few weeks ago.

"We've had some young guys trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too," Reid said. "It's a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that will continue to grow."

Perhaps coincidentally, the Chiefs visit the Meadowlands to face the Jets on Dec. 3.

Revis at one point was considered the best cornerback in the league, picking off 29 passes over 10 seasons with the Jets, Buccaneers and Patriots. He won a Super Bowl ring with New England.

He parlayed that into a five-year, $39 million contract to return to the Jets, but a wrist injury slowed him down a couple of years ago. Revis struggled most of last season, looking as if the 32-year-old had lost a step for the first time, and the Jets made the decision to let him go.

He's spent the past summer and fall keeping in shape.

"He's been around awhile. He looks great physically," Reid said, "but time does that, time will take a step away from you. But he's a smart guy, knows how to play the game and that becomes important at this point in his career. I'm not telling you he can't still run, he can run."

Good enough to help the Chiefs (6-4), who had dropped four of their past five?

"Darrelle is a proven player in this league and we are excited to add him," first-year Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in a statement. "He's had a Hall of Fame career and his leadership and playing experience will be valuable to our defense."

That may be where he is most beneficial: His experience. The Chiefs have little veteran presence in their secondary after safety Eric Berry was lost to a season-ending injury.

"You're talking about one of the all-time great players at that position," Reid said. "It's just a matter of getting him back in the swing of things and seeing where he's at. He's excited to be here. We are excited to have him. I would think his role would be to step in and be a starter."

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both sat out of the entirety of Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady is dealing with an Achilles injury, per the injury report released by the Patriots. The Boston Herald has reported that Brady will play despite the issue. It's unclear when exactly Brady suffered the injury, but Brady was hit low by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Mack was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Gronkowski, like teammate David Andrews, is dealing with an illness. Patrick Chung, who left Sunday's game briefly, has an ankle issue. 

Here's the full injury report for both the Patriots and Dolphins . . . 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Marellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

FULL PARTICIPATION
RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)