Patriots

Patriots hold their breath, but Brady emerges none the worse for wear after another rushing TD

Patriots hold their breath, but Brady emerges none the worse for wear after another rushing TD

FOXBORO -- The reactions varied from player to player inside the Patriots locker room.

Some were thrilled to see Tom Brady put his legs to use to score a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown in the Pats' 43-40 victory on third down from four yards away, lunging head-first for the goal line when he got close. Others were concerned the way they might be concerned for a relatively fragile family member who got a little aggressive on the Slip-And-Slide on the Fourth of July. 

"I was pretty excited," Chris Hogan said. "I was just hoping that he didn't get hurt."

He didn't, though for the second time in as many weeks Brady paid the price for trying to break the plane of the end zone with the nose of the football. 

The 41-year-old took a shot from the Colts as he jumped and stretched across the line for six in Week 5.

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On Sunday night, with 5:25 left, he looked and looked and looked for a receiver but couldn't find one with the Chiefs dropping eight into coverage. 

"I don't know what happened," Brady said after. "They doubled three guys on the play. I'm just glad . . . Gotta watch it tomorrow, but I got close to the goal line and I just tried to get it in. We needed it."

The play made the score 37-33 and helped Brady -- who made some critical throws to win the game late -- atone for an egregious strip-sack that was recovered by the Chiefs deep in Patriots territory at the end of the third. 

But Brady's scramble-drill score almost never happened. He was in the grasp of outside linebacker Breeland Speaks, who couldn't wrap himself around Brady's legs firmly enough to bring the quarterback down. According to NFL Media's Mike Giardi, Speaks later blamed his inability to finish on his concern for picking up a roughing-the-passer penalty. 

For the offensive line surrounding Brady, it was a stressful play, and not just because Brady left his feet and was hit by two defenders at the end. In a scramble situation like that, with the Chiefs in a prevent coverage (or "P-coverage) and only rushing three, there's only so much Brady's blockers could do.

"I was kind of stuck in no-man's land," David Andrews said. "Think it was P-coverage. They only rushed three. I was going right with the protection. Tried to swing back when I saw there was only one guy coming right. I got to where the d-tackle went inside and Joe [Thuney] flushed him. I turn around and [Brady's] standing there. 

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"You don't know if you can go block downfield because he might flip it. You're just kind of watching. Unfortunately. I'm sure there's something I could've done better, but in the moment you're just kind of stuck there. You feel paralyzed almost because you don't want to get in his way, but you don't want to go downfield. Especially in that situation where we're so close to the goal line."

When Brady landed in the end zone, the Patriots had the lead again, and there were no apparent injuries to lament.

"Any time that happens [you worry], but he's tough," Andrews said. "And I guess he's pliable."

"Still got it," Matthew Slater said. "Forty-one, scampering around the gridiron. Looking nimble, agile. It's always fun when he uses the legs . . . and he comes up healthy. That's a plus."

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Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Chase Winovich is all of New England right about now.

The Patriots defensive end clearly isn't a fan of the idea that Tom Brady may suit up for a new team in 2020. On Wednesday, he took to Instagram to beg Brady to re-sign with the Pats, and he did so in hilarious fashion.

"'To stay or to stay... 🤔' #pleaseDad #NotAllowedtoLeave #goat #shakespeare," Winovich wrote.


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The "Shakespeare" is a nice touch, but history tells us Brady may not be amused. Winovich may be on to something with the "#pleaseDad" hashtag, though.

Winovich, drafted out of Michigan 19 years after his favorite QB and fellow Wolverine, will have to wait impatiently like the rest of us until Brady makes his much-anticipated decision. The 42-year-old officially becomes a free agent March 18 if he and the Patriots can't agree on a contract extension before then.

The Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders each have been named as potential suitors for Brady in free agency.

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski envisioned beginning his NFL career in Arizona.

Gronkowski played two seasons at the University of Arizona and was one of the best tight end prospects entering the 2010 NFL Draft. His initial preference was to make the 2-hour trip from Tuscon to Glendale and play for the Arizona Cardinals. The Kurt Warner era in Arizona had just ended and the team needed a tight end. On paper, the Cardinals and Gronkowski were a perfect match.

“I loved being in the state of Arizona … I was praying that they would take me because I wanted to go there,” Gronkowski said Tuesday on Arizona radio station 98.7 FM's "Doug & Wolf" show. “I felt like they needed a tight end and they brought me in for a little visit.”

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The visit didn't go very well.

“I took a visit there and everything, I could tell they had no interest in me,” Gronkowski said. “I could tell, the people that brought me in, they were just bringing me in to bring me in.”

Concerns over Gronkowski's back played a part in him dropping to the second round, where the Patriots took a chance on him with the 42nd overall pick. Gronkowski played nine years for the Patriots and became arguably the greatest tight end in pro football history.

He also played a part in three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams, including a Super Bowl LIII triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in February of 2019 that turned out to be his last NFL game. He retired in March of last year.

The Cardinals are still searching for an elite tight end 10 years later. The position has been an area of weakness for Arizona throughout the last decade. According to USA TODAY, Gronkowski's 80 career receiving touchdowns are 54 more than every Cardinals tight end combined (26 TDs) from 2010 through 2018. 

The Cardinals did take a tight end in the 2010 draft with the selection of Jim Dray in the seventh round. He played in 56 games (and tallied just two receiving touchdowns) for the Cardinals over a seven-year career that also included time with three other teams.

Gronkowski would've been great for the Cardinals, and he was right in their backyard.

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