Patriots

Patriots players shrug off Chandler Jones 'distraction'

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Patriots players shrug off Chandler Jones 'distraction'

FOXBORO -- When an off-field situation bubbles up, the immediate and most pertinent question is how the on-field product will be impacted.

The game is what ultimately is being manufactured by the players and coaches, covered by the media and followed by the fans.

Patriots players were instructed to offer no comment on the incident Sunday involving Chandler Jones. But one Patriots I spoke to indicated that the team has dealt so often with perceived distractions over the years that a situation like Jones’ barely even registers.

Another Patriot indicated that the accompanying media attention -- the gawk factor -- actually galvanizes the team and helps it to focus even more completely on the task at hand, which is a playoff game Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jones was not seen in the locker room during the 45-minute media access period prior to practice. A portion of the more-than-80-person media contingent encircled Jones’ locker but waited in vain.

Patriots captain Matt Slater was the most forthcoming on Jones, saying, “I certainly don’t know enough to comment at all on that situation. I will say this, as a member of this team we support all 50, 60 guys on this team. We have their backs regardless of the situation and that’s no different with Chandler. He has our support but as I said I don’t know enough about the situation, nor do I have the right to comment on that.”

Jones was at practice Wednesday afternoon, as he’s been each day this week.

“We just try to go about our jobs and routines as best we can and put the focus on football,” said Slater. “But as I said, obviously, when guys go through different things we support them if they need us, so that’s no different in this case. At the end of the day, (whether it be player or media) the man and the woman and what’s going on in life, their circumstances will always supersede the game of football. The closer a team is off the field, it definitely shows up when it’s time to step between the white (lines).”

 

Brady insists he was throwing it away on back-breaking pick: 'Shouldn't happen'

Brady insists he was throwing it away on back-breaking pick: 'Shouldn't happen'

PITTSBURGH -- You could rattle off Tom Brady mistakes Sunday as if they were freak reindeer.

There was a near-pick on first down and another on a screen. There were overthrows late, and a fadeaway prayer in the face of pressure he thought he'd seen.

And you'll recall the fourth-quarter pick, a heave off his back foot that looked like a desperation shot to Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski.

"I was just trying to flick it out of bounds," Brady said. "I didn't want to take the sack. Shouldn't happen."

Brady, whose play in clutch-and-late situations has so often bailed out the Patriots, did not have all the answers in his team's 17-10 loss to the Steelers. He finished 25-for-36 for 279 yards, a touchdown and a back-breaking interception with 7:43 remaining in the game and the Patriots down, 14-10.

STEELERS 17, PATRIOTS 10

It was the second straight week in which a Brady decision wiped points off the board.

Last weekend against the Dolphins a missed touchdown to Chris Hogan was followed up by a sack taken on third down with no timeouts. This time, though pressured by two Steelers, it was his choice to try to throw it away in Edelman's general vicinity. Joe Haden was there in coverage to make the easy interception. 

"They made some plays," Brady said. "We certainly had some opportunity out there and I give them credit because they made important plays when they needed to. But our defense played great. Special teams played great. But we have to do better offensively. Tough loss."

STEELERS 17, PATRIOTS 10

Brady was clearly frustrated when he took the podium after the game and answered questions about Rob Gronkowski's lack of production (two catches for 21 yards on five targets), his team's road struggles, and its first five-loss season since 2009. 

He seemed miffed at the way the Patriots handled the crowd noise (four false-start penalties, including one on the final drive). "I mean, we work on it so much. I don't think that's surprising us." And he didn't really hold back when asked about the three holding penalties his offensive line incurred (including one by Shaq Mason on the final drive). "Obviously there's holding on every play in the NFL. That's what we do. We hold. It's just whether you get called or not . . . I haven't seen them. What do you guys think? Hard to tell? That's how I felt."

When Brady was asked to lead his offense on a game-winning drive, they stalled, stalled again, and ultimately failed. 

Likely hoping to avoid a game-ending pick in the game's final moments, Brady overthrew into the Steelers end zone twice, not giving Gronkowski or anyone else a chance to make a play. On the last play of the game, Brady drifted away from pressure when he didn't really need to -- much like he did on the miss to Hogan in Miami -- and his pass fell incomplete. 

"It's not any one thing," Brady said after. "It's a lot of things collectively."

Over the better part of the last two decades, it's been unusual to lump Brady into that collective mess when things go wrong. But there was no doubt on Sunday that his play was among the issues his team had offensively.

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Game Story: Patriots sloppy in loss to Steelers

Game Story: Patriots sloppy in loss to Steelers

Analysis and post-game sound from the Patriots 17-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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