Patriots

Five quick thoughts: Patriots vs. Jaguars

cp-patriots-jaguars-brady-amendola-012118.jpg

Five quick thoughts: Patriots vs. Jaguars

FOXBORO -- Here are five quick-hitting thoughts on what transpired between the Patriots and Jaguars during Sunday's AFC title game . . . 

PATRIOTS 24, JAGUARS 20

1) How was Tom Brady's hand? At times it looked fine. At times, Brady was off the mark with his throws, forcing the football-watching world to wonder if his injury was inhibiting his accuracy. Brady's first pass to Brandin Cooks, a big-gainer up the seam just over Jacksonville's coverage, put Gillette Stadium at ease. His fourth-and-two throw to Danny Amendola, dropped in the bucket near the sideline with perfect touch, sent Gillette into a frenzy. The hand looked good. On Brady's first series of the second quarter, though, he missed Dion Lewis with a high throw to the flat. And on third down, Brady was high down the middle of the field to Chris Hogan. Brady's hand didn't keep him from making every throw, but it also wouldn't keep viewers from wondering if his injury impacted the outcome. 

2) Rob Gronkowski's head injury -- suffered at the end of the second quarter -- put one pregame decision by the Patriots into the spotlight relatively quickly. The Patriots opted to make Jacob Hollister a healthy scratch before the game, giving the Patriots two tight ends in uniform in Gronkowski and Allen. With Gronkowski limited, Hollister might've factored more heavily into a game plan had he been in uniform -- especially since it was a game where it made sense to lean on backs and tight ends. Was Hollister's absence the difference. Of course not. But it eliminated two-tight end packages from Josh McDaniels' arsenal. 

3) The Jaguars started to look like the Jaguars of old with about two minutes remaining in the first half. First, they punted -- with the clock running -- when they didn't have to. The two-minute warning was approaching. They could've had the entire roster on the sidelines and snagged a stoppage from the Patriots offense. They didn't. Bone-headed. The reason the Jags were punting in the first place was because they couldn't get a snap off in time following a time out. Delay of game penalty. Think about that. That turned a third-and-seven situation into a third-and-12. Then, on New England's subsequent possession, they picked up a personal-foul penalty and a pass-interference penalty that allowed the Patriots to drive and score just before the break. What could have been a 14-3 lead or more became a 14-10 lead in a blink due to Jacksonville's mistakes. 

4) Just when it looked like the Patriots out-smarted the Jaguars defense to pick up a big gain, they shot themselves in the foot with a devastating mistake. The Patriots worked a double-pass, using Danny Amendola's right arm to throw back across the field to a wide open Dion Lewis. With blockers in front of him, Lewis picked up 20 yards before Myles Jack caught him from behind. As Jack made the tackle, he punched the ball loose and recovered in one clean motion as he fell to the ground. It was an incredibly athletic play made by one of the most athletic linebackers in football. And it snuffed out a promising Patriots drive when they desperately needed one. 

5) With Gronkowski out and Julian Edelman in mothballs, who's Brady's most trusted option? That would be the receiver dubbed "All-Weather 'Dola" by teammate Matthew Slater. Brady hit Amendola for three catches worth 44 yards, including a nine-yard score with 8:44 left in the game. Amendola's fellow wideouts came up big throughout that drive, which cut the Jaguars lead to 20-17. Cooks started things off with an 18-yard contested catch along the sidelines, and Phillip Dorsett made a 31-yard catch off of a flea-flicker to keep the Patriots moving.  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Tom Brady hints at playing until 45 in Instagram comment

Tom Brady hints at playing until 45 in Instagram comment

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's potential retirement has been the main storyline of the team's offseason workouts. After telling Oprah Winfrey in an interview that he is thinkning about retirement more than he used to, the five-time Super Bowl champion wrote a cryptic response to an ESPN Instagram post

The photo contained the full retirement quote from the Oprah interview, while Brady's account sent a response saying, "Cuarenta y cinco," which means 45 in Spanish. Brady turns 41 on August 3rd, which would give him at least four more years under center for New England if he wants to play to 45 years old.

There is also the chance that the response alludes to a potential contract extension, in which Brady may ask for $45 million. Brady reportedly wanted a new contract back in April, as he is signed through 2019 making a $14 million base salary that ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Rob Gronkowski reportedly shopped to teams the Patriots trust

Rob Gronkowski reportedly shopped to teams the Patriots trust

According to MMQB's Albert Breer on Monday, the New England Patriots reportedly talked to four "trusted" teams about a potential trade for the two-time Super Bowl champion pass catcher. 

The reported teams were the Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers. The Lions are led by former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as their head coach. New England's former director of pro scouting, Bob Quinn, is Detroit's general manager.  Mike Vrabel, the head coach of the Titans, won three Super Bowls in New England as a linebacker and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is the head coach in Houston. San Francisco was New England's trade partner in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade last season. 

Gronkowski did not commit to returning to the Patriots until a few days before the draft, and also missed most of the team's voluntary offseason workouts. The Patriots and the tight end are reportedly working on a contract extension

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE