Patriots

Gillislee strong start stopped short after second career lost fumble

Gillislee strong start stopped short after second career lost fumble

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mike Gillislee came out of the gates with power and speed. But his day came to a screeching halt when he fumbled in the first quarter.

The Patriots big back didn't start, but when he entered the game on his team's second drive he looked strong. He carried on three consecutive downs for gains of nine, five and four yards. Two plays later, on first down from the Jets 27-yard line, Gillislee took the ball again and had another sizable gain. 

Then he fumbled. 

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Jets linebacker Darron Lee punched the ball free from Gillislee's grasp and Buster Skrine recovered, eventually leading to a Jets touchdown drive and a 14-0 road deficit for the Patriots. 

That was the last that MetLife Stadium would see of Gillislee for a while. He sat out nearly two full quarters -- giving way to Lewis even in goal-line situations and I-formation deployments -- and he did not return until he ran for two yards on first down with about four minutes remaining in the third quarter. 

"It's football," he said. "Things happen. It's all about what you do after that. Just focused and kept it together. Protected the ball after that."

Gillislee carried five more times in the game and finished with a total of 44 yards on 10 carries. He admitted after that it's difficult to maintain a rhythm after an extended stay on the sidelines like the one he endured, but he said he tried to make the most of his chances when he was called upon.

"I just stayed focused, just wishing for another opportunity," Gillislee said. "Coach put me back in."

In his most extended action of the season, Lewis took advantage of Gillislee's down day and capitalized with 52 yards and a goal-line touchdown on 11 carries. He forced four missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, which was more than any Patriots running back has forced in a single game this season. Lewis forces a missed tackle for every three attempts this season, per PFF, which is the second-best rate in the league. 

"Dion did a great job," Gillislee said. "He's a great running back. He's always focused, and he just did a great job tonight."

It seemed as though Gillislee was initially primed to play a big role against the Jets in Week 6. Bill Belichick said earlier in the week that he was sensing Gillislee was on the verge of some explosive runs, and the team's early nod toward two-back packages with Gillislee and James Develin indicated that the 5-foot-11, 219-pounder be a big part of the plan.

It didn't work out that way following Gillislee's fumble, but he didn't stay sidelined for long. And despite Lewis' emergence, it doesn't seem like Gillislee will be back on the bench for extended periods of time when the Patriots take on the Falcons at home next week. 

Why? He hasn't been a repeat offender. The lost fumble was just the second of Gillislee's career, giving him two in 233 carries over three-plus seasons.

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NFL Films' feature shows Belichick's tender side and yes, fashion sense

NFL Films' feature shows Belichick's tender side and yes, fashion sense

Bill Belichick - famously outfitted in a ragged hoodie with cutoff sleeves - dispensing fashion advice?

It happened long ago in Cleveland and it's actually a touching story that's part of the NFL Films' feature "Son of Zeus" about Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown's father, Orlando, who died in 2011, played for Belichick with the Browns. The coach recalled the story of Brown's rookie year when Belichick ordered his players to wear jackets and ties on all road trips and as the first one approached, Brown came to his coach with a problem. Watch the clip below:   

The gruff coach's seldom-seen tender - and funny - side is on display. And he can look good in a suit and tie, too.

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Quick Slants The Podcast: Mehta on why Gronk's done; Curran on end of the Pats' dynasty

Quick Slants The Podcast: Mehta on why Gronk's done; Curran on end of the Pats' dynasty

The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta on why Gronk is done and his days with Patriots are numbered; NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran on the Pats Dynasty 2.0 coming to an end.

1:45 - Patriots are at the end of the second run of their dynasty. Tom E. Curran explains how the 2.0 version of the dynasty is starting to come to an end.

5:05 - What will this group look like when the Patriots have to rebuild?

6:40 - Is this situation what the Patriots and Tom Brady wanted and expected?

9:30 - Going forward, Patriots have some tough decisions to make on several players.

10:51 - Twitter feedback on Curran’s column about the Patriots dynasty 

13:10 - Manish Mehta from the New York Daily News joins Quick Slants the Podcast to discuss his column where he said it is all but over for Gronk and his days are numbered with New England.

The News' back page on Wednesday featured a not-so-kind image of Gronk being propped up by his coach and QB:

16:50 - Mehta on Gronk's injuries: "His body is toast"

19:15 - Mehta says that Gronk will not be playing on the Patriots next season.

21:05 - Where does Gronk rank as an all-time iconic NFL player?

23:55 - Which quarterback would the Patriots rather see on Sunday - Sam Darnold or Josh McCown?

26:00 - Mehta on if the Jets will fire Todd Bowles after the season.

29:31 - Any chance Josh McDaniels goes to the Jets?

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