Patriots looking for more stops on third down


Patriots looking for more stops on third down

FOXBORO -- The Patriots defense knows it needs to be better. Against the Bills they allowed 481 total yards and 35 first downs. They gave up 24 plays of 10 yards or more. Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran had the Patriots down for 25 missed tackles.

They committed three turnovers and won the game, 37-31, which is the statistic that matters most. But the Patriots understood their defensive performance against Buffalo left much to be desired.

When asked what the Patriots need to do better against the Colts on Sunday, the answer was simple.

"Coming off the Bills game? Everything," Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "We have to tackle better. Just the fundamentals. Just go out there and execute the game plan."

The acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib may help. But the Patriots know there is no cure-all. They've been hard at work this week, doing what they can to ensure that they don't put together a second-straight poor performance.

"It's a lot of footage," Vince Wilfork said. "Watching things that we've done, things we have to get better at, things that we have to eliminate. Football that we played that's bad football, we have to eliminate it. Here we are, 10th week. It's rolling fast and the ball's gonna continue to come fast. We're just gonna have to be able to execute well each week."

One of the elements of New England's defense that has significant room for improvement is their play on third downs. They allowed Buffalo to convert on 7-of-11 third down attempts on Sunday and are second-worst in the league at stopping opponents on third down, allowing them to convert for first downs on 44.6 percent of their third down plays.

"I just think we need to be more consistent," linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "Especially on third down. We've been having a lot of problems on third down. And we've been able to get in the right position, coach has done a great job of getting us in position. We know the scheme, we just need to, you know, try to execute it better."

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins


Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Dolphins game:


C David Andrews (illness)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

TE Martellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)

WR Danny Amendola (knee)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)


G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
DE William Hayes (back)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)

T Laremy Tunsill (illness)
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
S Maurice Smith (illness)

RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)
DT Ndamukong Suh (not injury related)

Pastrnak's third-period goal gives Bruins their fourth straight victory, 4-3 over Pens


Pastrnak's third-period goal gives Bruins their fourth straight victory, 4-3 over Pens

BOSTON – The Bruins always hope to give their fans something good in their annual matinee on the day after Thanksgiving, and that was the case Friday.

They got off on the right foot with a great first period, then finished with an electric breakaway from David Pastrnak in the third period, and posted an entertaining, solid 4-3 win over the back-to-back Stanley Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Pastrnak’s 11th goal of the season was the game-winner. The Penguins had battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits and tied the score, then Pastrnak was freed up by a brilliant neutral-zone pass from Riley Nash. He sped in all alone and flipped the puck over Matt Murray’s glove hand at 5:06 of the third.

David Krejci and Sean Kuraly had opened things up with goals in the first period, as the B's outshot the Penguins by a 14-4 margin. But Sidney Crosby and the Pens answered back in the second with three goals of their own, including a controversial game-tying score from Sid the Kid after Boston had moved ahead 3-1 on a goal from Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk.

The Crosby goal came after it appeared the refs had called play dead with a whistle as the puck sat on Anton Khudobin’s waist in the crease. It also appeared to have been goalie interference, as Crosby’s stick had made contact with Khudobin while the puck was in mid-air. But on replay the officials overturned the call of no-goal on the ice, and the score was tied 3-3 after two.

That set things up for Pastrnak, who snapped a five-game goal-scoring stretch, and handed the red-hot Bruins their season-high fourth win in a row.