Patriots

Philip Rivers was looking for flags "every other play," says Dont'a Hightower

Philip Rivers was looking for flags "every other play," says Dont'a Hightower

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers wasn't the main reason why his team got trounced by the New England Patriots in Sunday's AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Gillette Stadium, but his lackluster performance in the 41-28 loss certainly was a factor.

Rivers was ineffective most of the game, especially in the first half when the Pats jumped out to a 35-7 halftime lead. It wasn't until garbage time in the fourth quarter did Rivers and the Chargers passing attack find any sort of consistency. The veteran quarterback also looked rattled and not focused enough throughout the afternoon. Rivers seemed to be letting his frustration get the best of him, and a lot of that involved yelling at the officials for what he thought were penalties going uncalled.

"He was trying to get a flag every other play for something," Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower said on NBC Sports Boston's "Monday Night Patriots." "I guess that's just part of how my dawg goes about it. He’s a great competitor, man, and he fought all the way down to the end. Brought those guys back with a couple of late score touchdowns. But all in all, hats off to Phil. He’s still a great competitor.”

The Patriots defense gave one of its best performances of the season versus the Bolts. The unit tallied two sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and allowed just 19 rushing yards. It's hard to blame Rivers for being frustrated since the Pats were in his face on many plays, including the ones in the videos below.

It was the type of effort that should give the Patriots defense a lot of confidence entering Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Patriots gave up 40 points and a lot of big plays to the Chiefs during a Week 6 win at Gillette Stadium. A similar performance Sunday likely would result in the end of the Patriots' season. They need to frustrate Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as much as they did Rivers.

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Chris Hogan sees similarities between Tom Brady and Cam newton

Chris Hogan sees similarities between Tom Brady and Cam newton

Chris Hogan wasn't with the Patriots for long, but in three seasons with the franchise, he experienced about as much as you possibly could for that short a time frame. He played in three consecutive Super Bowls and won two while catching passes from the legendary Tom Brady. 

Hogan signed a one-year deal with the Panthers this offseason after he said the Patriots moved on from him, though there are no hard feelings. Now he's working with the talented but inconsistent Cam Newton in Carolina, and has already noticed a key similarity between his new quarterback and Brady, as he told ESPN's David Newton

That competitive nature, it’s there. When it comes time to strap on the pads and play football, their focus is on one goal and that’s winning football games.

Cam wants to win. You can tell that right away from talking to him and being around him.

Newton won the MVP in 2016 and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, but lost to Von Miller and that brutal Broncos defense that featured Malik Jackson, Chris Harris Jr. and DeMarcus Ware just to name a few key contributors.

You have to wonder what would have happened if the Patriots hadn't lost to Denver in that year's AFC Championship game. Super Bowl 50 is the only Super Bowl the Patriots haven't participated in over the last five years. 

Hogan had enough time with Brady to notice what made him great, so if he sees that same competitive fire in Newton, then that has to be a good sign for Panthers fans. We already know Newton has the ability to turn a conference on its head, so there's a possibility we see him and Brady square off in February this coming season You never know. 

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WATCH: NFL Films special on Julian Edelman and his dad will make your Fathers Day

WATCH: NFL Films special on Julian Edelman and his dad will make your Fathers Day

It's Fathers Day, and for most of us who love sports, we've mostly developed that interest through our dad's, and Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is no different. 

NFL Films posted a great special on Edelman and his dad Frank and the journey they each went on for the former Kent State quarterback to become the second leading receiver in NFL Playoff history and a three-time Super Bowl champion. 

"I discovered football through my father," Julian said. "My brother played, he was seven years older than me, and my father was coaching him, so I was the kid in diapers running around the practice field and I’ve had a love for it ever since."

The video shows some of Edelman's highlights as a youth football star, donning No. 21 because he thought he was Deion Sanders. However, his opportunities were limited throughout his amateur career due to his size. 

"The thing about Jules is he was really little," Frank said. "He used to come in my room crying in the middle of the night saying, ‘Daddy when am I gonna grow, when am I gonna grow.’ And I said son, don’t worry. 

"He’s fearless, and always had a chip on his shoulder."

As a three-year starting quarterback at Kent State, Edelman threw for 4,997 yards, 30 touchdowns and 31 interceptions to go along with 2,483 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. The only interest he drew as a quarterback was in the Canadien Football League, while the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft to be a receiver. 

"I said, ‘Jules you just got picked up by British Columbia,’ and he goes, ‘I ain’t going I’m gonna be a receiver in the NFL," Frank said. 

Edelman only caught one pass for 11 yards in college, so he and his dad worked seven days a week for Edelman to get up to speed on being a successful receiver. His dad's coaching style was similar enough to Edelman's new coach that he called his dad, "Baby Belichick."

From catching punts with one eye covered and a hand behind his back to using running routes on tennis courts, Edelman's methods seemed to work for him. 

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