Washington Football

Brady throws 4 TDs, Patriots top Texans 42-14

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Brady throws 4 TDs, Patriots top Texans 42-14

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Just another game for the New England Patriots. Just a wire-to-wire domination of the team with the NFL's best record.

So when their 42-14 Monday night rout of the Houston Texans was complete, there were few big smiles and no loud music in the Patriots locker room.

They've been here before - many times.

``We've played in a countless number of big games,'' said guard Logan Mankins, a veteran of two of the Patriots five Super Bowls in the past 11 seasons. ``We know what it takes to prepare for one and not over-hype the game.''

Not exactly the way some Texans viewed it coming in - ``the biggest game in the history of this franchise,'' wide receiver Andre Johnson had said.

Houston certainly didn't play like it, falling behind 21-0 early in the second quarter on three touchdown passes by Tom Brady. It was 28-0 on his fourth scoring toss just over five minutes into the third quarter and, with a strong showing by an improving Patriots defense, the Texans had little hope of coming back.

``If we do what we want,'' safety Devin McCourty said, ``we can't predict the score but we know we can dominate games.''

Starting with Brady.

He threw four touchdown passes for the 18th time, passing Johnny Unitas and moving into fourth place all time. In the Patriots seven-game winning streak - four by a margin of at least 28 points - he's thrown for 19 touchdowns and just one interception.

But Monday night's performance was his first as a father of three, capping off a stretch in which his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, gave birth to Vivian Lake on Wednesday.

``She is doing very well,'' Brady said. ``It's been a great week, a great way to end it.''

The Patriots (10-3) tied the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos for the second best record in the conference and already have clinched the AFC East title. The Texans (11-2) still hold the top spot in the conference, and have locked up at least a wild-card berth, but two of their remaining three games are against Indianapolis, which trails them by two games in the AFC South.

``We know how important this game was to us,'' Johnson said after the Texans six-game winning streak ended. ``We have to respond next week'' against the Colts.

Wes Welker had only three catches and remains five short of becoming the first player with five 100-reception seasons. But his 31-yard punt return and 25-yard catch - the 107th straight game he's had at least one - led to the first of Aaron Hernandez's two touchdowns, a 7-yard score that gave Brady 45 consecutive games with a scoring pass, the third longest streak in NFL history.

Houston came right back, marching to the Patriots 21-yard line. But Matt Schaub forced the ball into double coverage on the next play and McCourty intercepted in the end zone.

It was the farthest the Texans would get until their second series of the third quarter that ended with Arian Foster's 1-yard scoring run that did little to shift the momentum.

``We just got outplayed in all aspects of the game,'' Foster said. ``It's hard to come back from a deficit when you are playing a team of that caliber.''

By the time he had scored, the Patriots had built a 28-0 lead on the 7-yard pass to Hernandez, a 37-yarder to Brandon Lloyd, a 4-yarder to Hernandez and a 63-yarder to Donte' Stallworth, who had been cut in training camp but re-signed last week after wide receiver Julian Edelman was injured.

``That particular play is something we had worked on, even in the spring,'' Stallworth said.

That helped New England to its 20th successive home win in December dating to a loss in 2002 to the New York Jets.

``It is always good to play in Foxborough in December,'' linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ``When you go out and perform the way you do, I think Foxborough is going to be a tough place for anyone to come and play.''

It certainly was for Houston, no longer the only team to be unbeaten on the road, falling to 6-1.

Brady nearly had a fifth touchdown pass when Danny Woodhead broke free on a screen pass early in the fourth quarter. Defensive end J.J. Watt, who was pretty much invisible otherwise, forced a fumble, but the ball soared 11 yards into the end zone, where Lloyd fell on it for a 35-7 lead.

Stevan Ridley made it 42-7 with a 14-yard run. Texans backup quarterback T.J. Yates scored on a 1-yard run with 2:00 remaining to close the scoring.

``We got our tails kicked,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. ``I've got to get their chins up and get ready to go play again.''

Notes: Watt, who leads the AFC with 16 1/2 sacks, had none against the Patriots. ... New England CB Aqib Talib hurt his hip in the second quarter. CB Alfonzo Dennard injured his hamstring. ... Brady completed 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards. Schaub went 19 for 32 for 232 yards. ... New England has won 10 games in each of the last 10 seasons. The record is 16 by San Francisco (1983-98).

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 

 

Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.

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Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.

 

These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 

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Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

There were already some decent expectations placed on Antonio Gandy-Golden for 2020 — and then Kelvin Harmon went down. Now, the Day 3 selection is being labeled as someone who needs to really contribute to the Washington Football Team.

But is that too much to ask for a rookie who went on Saturday in the draft? Recent numbers indicate that answer may be yes.

From 2015 to 2019, 25 wide receivers were chosen in the fourth round, which is where Washington nabbed Gandy-Golden a few months ago. Here are some takeaways from looking back on how all of those guys performed in their first professional seasons:

  • Only one target topped 50 catches and 600 yards, and coincidentally enough, it was Jamison Crowder. Crowder caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two scores as a rookie for the Burgundy and Gold in 2015. The only other guy who came close to either of those marks was Antonio Callaway, who had 43 grabs for 586 yards and five touchdowns for Cleveland in 2018. Those are easily the two best performances by a fourth-round rookie wideout since 2015, so keep that in mind when discussing Gandy-Golden.
  • Out of that group of 25, 15 suited up for double-digit games for their teams during their first taste of the league. The average stat line for those 15 rookies was 17 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown in about 14 contests. That's meager. 
  • Just nine out of the 25 recorded a touchdown catch as a rookie, and only four (Crowder, Callaway, DaeSean Hamilton and Malcom Mitchell) visited the end zone multiple times.

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So, judging solely off of that data, it would appear that Washington shouldn't be prepared to lean heavily Gandy-Golden. And once you combine that history with other factors, such as the huge transition he's about to make from Libery to the NFL and the very limited offseason he's had thus far, then the outlook for Gandy-Golden becomes even dimmer.

There is a super simple counter argument, however, at least when it comes to comparing him to his past fourth-round peers, and it has to do with his potential playing time.

While the 22-year-old has to fight through a pandemic, something none of the above rookies can relate to and something that could be detrimental to his early career, he also may be in line for a massive share of snaps right away. Most players who go off the board where Gandy-Golden did are usually worried about simply making the team; he, on the other hand, very well could be a starter across from Terry McLaurin in Week 1.

That alone means Gandy-Golden could end up having enough involvement in the offense to come up with a Crowder-like, impactful debut. In 2019, McLaurin far surpassed other third-round rookie receivers due largely to the amount of opportunity he got with Washington (his ridiculous talent was a bonus of course, too). Gandy-Golden is tracking on a similar path. 

A fairly general rule for any franchise is that it's not exactly prudent to need a Day 3 pass catcher to immediately act as one of your primary weapons. Stats from 2015 to 2019 seem to back up that general rule.

Every rule has an exception here or there, though. Maybe Gandy-Golden, with his outstanding physical traits and possibly featured role in 2020, will be that next exception and make all this math and comparing a totally moot issue. 

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