Patriots

Patriots defense racking up impressive stats through three preseason games

Patriots defense racking up impressive stats through three preseason games

Yeah, yeah, yeah... it's only preseason and stats don't really mean anything. But what if they do?

The Patriots thought they had the makings of a special defense going into the 2019 campaign, and their performance through three games is backing that up.

On Thursday night, the Pats limited an opponent to three points, under 10 first downs and under 100 yards — the second time they've done that this preseason. Carolina "amassed" a grand total of seven first downs and 99 yards, just two weeks after Detroit "racked up" eight first downs and 93 yards.

Here's where the New England defense ranks so far:

Points per game: 7.7 (1st)
Yards per game: 166.0 (1st)
Pass yards per game: 91.7 (1st)
Rush yards per game: 74.3 (5th)
Sacks: 15 (1st)
3rd down percentage: 23.5% (2nd)
QB Rating against: 71.8 (6th)

As the longest-tenured member of the Patriots defense, Devin McCourty has seen both excellent and not-so-good defensive units, and he points to going on the road for joint practices before each of the team's first two preseason games this year as one reason why the D is off to such a strong start in 2019.

"I think one of the best things about going away for two weeks is you get to spend a lot of time together in the hotel, after meetings, eating, hanging out," McCourty said Thursday night. "As a group, the better you know somebody, the better your relationship is. I think you put more pressure on yourself to be accountable to that person, to know your stuff, to play for that person. So I think we've been really building as a defense and as a team overall, so it feels good when you put in all of the work during the week and you come out and have a good performance."

Again, it's still preseason, and these games don't really mean anything, so maybe Patriots fans should reel their excitement in a little bit. But then again, in the last game that actually meant something, the Patriots held the Rams to just three points. 

So who knows? This could be a sign of more good things to come.

Curran: Why trust trumps talent for Brady's receivers>>>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

patriots-nfl-top-100-plays.jpg
File photos

Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

Last week, the NFL released all but the Top 30 of its 100 greatest plays as part of its 100th-anniversary celebration. Seven plays involving the Patriots cracked that list.

This week, it was a countdown of plays 30 to 1 and the Pats found themselves well-represented again. 

The list was selected by a panel of 50 voters (the same panel that votes for the NFL Awards and the All-Pro team), including our own Tom E. Curran, who listed his Top 20 plays earlier this summer, here. Voters were given a ballot of 100 plays and asked to rank 50.

The rest of the countdowns on NFL Network continue next week with Greatest Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).

The No. 1 play was Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" touchdown in the Pittsburgh Steelers' December 1972 playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.

 

 

Report: Antonio Brown's latest incident 'enraged' Robert Kraft

Report: Antonio Brown's latest incident 'enraged' Robert Kraft

The Patriots gave Antonio Brown a shot at redemption when they signed him earlier this month, then another when they kept the wide receiver amid allegations of sexual assault.

But on Friday, enough was enough. When intimidating text messages sent by Brown to one of his accusers leaked to the public, that was the final straw.

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft came to the conclusion cutting ties with Brown was in the best interest of the team. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the decision stemmed from Kraft being "enraged" upon hearing about Brown's latest incident.

Howe writes:

Kraft, who was on a business trip, became enraged Friday when he heard the details of Brown’s most recently reported incident of text messaging harassment of a former female acquaintance. Kraft and Belichick spoke and decided together to officially release Brown just 11 days after the Patriots signed the controversial star receiver, according to sources.

Shortly before the release was announced, Belichick walked off the podium in the middle of his press conference following a flurry of questions related to Brown. He did note, however, “There are some things that we’re looking into.”

Brown's tenure in New England lasted only 11 days and one game -- last Sunday's 43-0 win over the Dolphins. Now, he's again a free agent faced with hoping another team will be willing to give him yet another chance.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.