Patriots

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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Adam Gase explains what Jets were looking for in Demaryius Thomas trade

Adam Gase explains what Jets were looking for in Demaryius Thomas trade

The New England Patriots hadn't made a trade with the New York Jets during Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in Foxboro until the defending champs dealt veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Big Apple after their Week 1 win.

Thomas was signed by the Patriots in May, but after the addition of elite wide receiver Antonio Brown last week, they moved on from Thomas and sent him to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick

Jets head coach Adam Gase was asked about the trade during his media conference call Wednesday, and he explained what New York was looking for when it made the call to the Patriots.

"I think when (Jets general manager) Joe Douglas came to me, and when (Antonio Brown) got there, we were kind of in a situation where if we could find somebody that had knowledge of the system, that could help us, that was somebody that fit what we were looking for, which obviously Demaryius does," Gase said. "We were trying to figure out, 'How could we go about this?' I think to Joe's credit, he was like, 'I'm just going to call him and the worst they could say is no.' And when they said, "Let's talk," then those guys worked it out."

Trading with a division rival is difficult, but Belichick isn't afraid to make that kind of move if he feels it will help his team.

"We don't want to help the Jets, and they don't want to help us," Belichick said Tuesday. "We're in the same division, so they're not the easiest trades to make. ... But in the end, if it helps us in the other 14 games and helps our team, then it's something that's worth considering. We'll try to help our team in any way we can."

Belichick also added: "When you look at the beginning of each year, inter-division trading is probably not something that you think is going to be at the top of the list," Belichick added. "But we traded with Buffalo this year, too (acquiring center Russell Bodine from the Bills), so we made two inter-division trades within a week. You never know."

Thomas made his Jets debut during Monday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns. He made one catch for minus-1 yard on two targets.

The 31-year-old wide receiver didn't participate in Wednesday's practice due to a hamstring/knee injury, so it's uncertain if he'll play against the Patriots on Sunday.

Jets coach has high praise for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore>>>

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Referee assigned to Patriots vs. Jets Week 3 game also officiated Super Bowl LI

Referee assigned to Patriots vs. Jets Week 3 game also officiated Super Bowl LI

New England Patriots fans might recognize the referee assigned to Sunday's Week 3 matchup against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Carl Cheffers will work the game, and he also was the referee for Super Bowl LI, where the Patriots pulled off a historic comeback to beat the Altanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime after trailing 28-3 in the third quarter. Cheffers, ironically, wears No. 51.

The Patriots have an 8-3 record in games which Cheffers has served as the referee. The last Patriots game he officiated was New England's embarrassing Week 2 road loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. Last week's Patriots game against the Miami Dolphins was officiated by Bill Vinovich, who also officiated New England's victory in Super Bowl XLIX.

The defending Super Bowl champions have won their first two games of the season by a combined score of 76-3. The Patriots also have won six straight games against the Jets, and they are massive betting favorites entering their Week 3 matchup.

Jets coach has high praise for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore>>>

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