Patriots

Jets fall further off AFC East pace with 15-10 loss to Bucs

cp-bucs-jets-fitzpatrick-1112117.jpg

Jets fall further off AFC East pace with 15-10 loss to Bucs

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ryan Fitzpatrick led two long scoring drives and Tampa Bay limited the New York Jets to less than 200 yards of offense until late in the fourth quarter to snap a five-game losing streak with a 15-10 victory Sunday.

With Fitzpatrick filling in for injured quarterback Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers (3-6) used three field goals to build a 9-3 lead. Charles Sims put the game out of reach with a 6-yard touchdown reception with just over six minutes remaining.

Fitzpatrick, facing the team he played for the past two seasons, completed 17 of 34 passes for 187 yards and was intercepted once.

The 34-year-old Fitzpatrick, one of just four players in NFL history to throw TD passes for seven different teams, led a seven-minute drive that produced a field goal in the first quarter. He finished a 15-play, 81-yard march, also lasting more than seven minutes, with his TD pass to Sims to make it 15-3.

Josh McCown, also facing one of his former teams, was 23 of 39 for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Robby Anderson caught a 38-yard TD pass in the final minute for the Jets, scoring for the fourth straight game to give New York one last chance.

But Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin recovered the ensuing onside kick, ending any chance of New York completing a comeback.

Winston hurt his shoulder on Oct. 15 and made three more starts before the Bucs decided to shut him down for a minimum of two weeks. The Bucs also played without leading receiver Mike Evans, suspended one game by the league for his role in a sideline skirmish the previous week at New Orleans.

Fitzpatrick has played for seven different teams during a 13-year career, including the Jets the past two seasons.

McCown, who has been with 10 franchises over 15 seasons, was 1-10 as starter with the Bucs three years ago.

Despite finishing with 275 yards to Tampa Bay's 271, the Jets failed to move the ball with any consistency for more than three quarters.

INJURIES

Jets: Played without RB Matt Forte, who didn't practice all week because of swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. ... CB Morris Claiborne left in the first half with a foot injury.

Buccaneers: CB Vernon Hargreaves III left the game in the second half with a sore hamstring and did not return.

UP NEXT

Jets: Bye. Next game at home vs. Carolina on Nov. 26.

Buccaneers: At Miami next Sunday, beginning stretch of three consecutive road games. Rescheduled from Sept. 10 because of Hurricane Irma.

Patriots-Steelers inactives: Haden out for Pittsburgh

pittsburgh-steelers-joe-haden-121617.jpg

Patriots-Steelers inactives: Haden out for Pittsburgh

The Patriots have one of their top defenders back in action in Pittsburgh. 

Trey Flowers, who injured his ribs in Week 12 against the Dolphins, will be in uniform against the Steelers. The Patriots have been considerably thinned on the edge in recent weeks so having Flowers back -- both to rush the passer and set the edge against the run -- should be key for Bill Belichick's defense. 

Also in action for the Patriots are Stephon Gilmore (ankle), David Harris (ankle), Eric Lee (ankle), Matthew Slater (hamstring), LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) and Deatrich Wise (foot). All came into the game listed as questionable but will be available. 

There are few surprises on the Patriots inactive list as Chris Hogan's status was reported earlier in the day by ESPN. We broke down how things could look without Hogan could look like right here

On the Steelers' end of things, their defense will be forced to go another week without Joe Haden, who is still recovering from a broken leg suffered earlier this season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin seemed optimistic earlier this week that Haden could return, but instead he'll rely on corners Artie Burns, Cam Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh on the outside. 

With both Haden and linebacker Ryan Shazier unavailable, the Steelers are without two of their best matchup players, meaning their desire to play more man-to-man defense -- a desire they professed all the way back in the spring -- may not be in the offing. 

Meanwhile, Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) will be in uniform, complicating the matchups for the Patriots secondary. Gilmore could spend time on Smith-Schuster or Martavis Bryant if he's not deployed on Antonio Brown. That would likely leave Eric Rowe -- whose size makes him a logical match for Smith-Schuster or Bryant -- on whoever's left.

The Patriots-Steelers inactive lists:

PATRIOTS
DL Alan Branch
OL Cole Croston
RB Mike Gillislee
DL Geneo Grissom
WR Chris Hogan
S Brandon King
LB Kyle Van Noy

STEELERS
QB Joshua Dobbs
DT Daniel McCullers
TE Vance McDonald
OT Matt Feiler
CB Joe Haden
\WR Justin Hunter
S J.J. Wilcox

With Hogan down, what's next for Patriots at receiver?

patriots-chris-hogan-121216.jpg

With Hogan down, what's next for Patriots at receiver?

The Patriots have been dealt yet another blow on the injury front, it appears. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chris Hogan is not expected to play against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon. Hogan made the trip to Pittsburgh, but he's still dealing with a shoulder injury that kept him out for four games following the bye week. 

Hogan returned to action on Monday night against the Dolphins and was targeted five times, catching one for one yard. He played 55 snaps, taking over the No. 2 receiver role and keeping Phillip Dorsett (zero snaps versus Miami) on the sidelines. 

For the Patriots, not having Hogan against the Steelers stings because he had nine catches for 180 yards and two scores in the AFC title game in January. 

What do the Patriots do if Hogan can't go? The answers shouldn't be all that hard to find. They just spent a month without him. But the acquisition of Kenny Britt, which went down earlier in the week, complicates things a tad. 

From Weeks 10 through 13, Dorsett played an average of 42 snaps -- second only to Brandin Cooks at his position. But for all the work Dorsett saw, Brady threw only three passes his way in four weeks. 

Asking Britt to take on a heavy workload would be asking a lot. The Patriots practiced with Britt three times this week, but one was a walkthrough. The team did as much as it could to get Britt caught up on the week's game plan, but how he works with Brady and the rest of the offense in a game situation remains to be seen. 

The Britt situation, in some situations, mirrors what went on with Michael Floyd and the Patriots last season. Floyd was claimed off of waivers on Dec. 15 last year. He played nine days later against the Jets and caught one of two targets for six yards. 

It's not out of the realm of possibility that Britt is able to play and see extensive action against the Steelers five days after being signed, but he would've blown the Floyd timeline out of the water. 

Though he doesn't have the familiarity with the offense that Dorsett does, Britt's size and physicality could make him an immediate option against a secondary that has openly admitted this week it plans to get its hands on Patriots pass-catchers. He's a more viable option in that kind of game than someone like Dorsett, who relies on his speed more so than his ability to win battles at the line of scrimmage. 

The Patriots should feast on Steelers linebackers in coverage in this game with running backs Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White. Rob Gronkowski will also be a focal point as he returns off of his one-week suspension.

With Hogan out, now maybe Britt can get into the mix as well.  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE