Patriots Make A Statement

Brandin Cooks, Corey Moore

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Michael Dwyer

This past Sunday was unlike any other both NFL players and fans have ever seen. As most people have heard last week President Donald Trump was very critical when asked about players who were sitting during the national anthem to raise awareness for racial inequality in the United Sates.  Trump said that players who kneel during the national anthem should be pulled of the field and fired. This is not a political blog nor a political post however Trumps comments were both uncalled for and wrong.  when moments on Sunday occur such as the solidarity that was shown it can’t be ignored. On sunday NFL teams showed that they stood by each other with displays of unity. The Patriots players and team staff linked arms as some players kneeled during the national anthem. Many team’s did something similar as it varied throughout the league. Even though sundays are for football for a brief few minutes on Sunday these players reminded fans that they are more than just athletes.

With Politics aside once the Patriots and Texans game started fans were in for a wild game that reminded us why Tom Brady will apparently never age. So far this season the problem for the Patriots has been their defense and on Sunday it was the same. The Texans Rookie Deshuan Watson threw for over three hundred yards including two touchdowns. The rookie Quarterback was known for his elusiveness in college and on Sunday the Patriots had no answer. Even when the Patriots defenders got pressure on Watson he was able to avoid it giving his receivers more time to get open.  Heading into the last five minutes of the game it looked as if the Patriots were going to lose the game making them 1-2 and creating doubts about this team after an offseason which brought talk of an undefeated season. The Patriots however still had one more chip to play and that was Brady. Like he’s done so many times Brady rescued this team. The Patriots quarterback threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Cooks with 23 seconds left to put the Patriots up by 36- 33.

It was Brady’s fifth touchdown of the game as he also threw for 378 yards. Had the Patriots lost this game this team would be viewed very differently today. So far this season Brady leads all quarterback’s in yards and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down a bit. Eventually Brady will start to show his age however at this point at 40 he looks better than ever. The decline that everyone is talking about with perhaps the greatest quarterback ever seems to be far away. As Brady showed on that last drive people should not doubt him or his team.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots #NFL

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Takeaways from Patriots week one Loss to the Chiefs

NFL: AFC Divisional-Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots opened their season on Thursday with an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots were dominated in every aspect of the game. Their defense was picked apart as the Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished with 368 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Smith has always been considered a solid quarterback but he rarely has games like this. In Smith’s ten year career he has thrown for more than 300 yards in just five games. Smith was not the Patriots only problem as rookie Kareem Hunt ran for 148 yards in his NFL debut. As the Patriots defense struggled the offense did not do much to help as although the Patriots put up 27 points the offense rarely got in synch. The Patriots scored just 10 points in the second half while the Chiefs scored 28. Brady did not play up to his normal expectations and the offensive line struggled to protect Brady.

It however is not time for Patriots fans to panic. The Patriots entered the season as the defending champs and many experts have picked them to repeat. The Patriots had a tremendous offseason in which they added star receiver Brandon Cooks, Cornerback Stephen Gilmore, and a number of talented running backs. These additions have had many people thinking the Patriots could go 19-0. That will not happen but that does not mean that this Patriots team wont be very good. It will take time for this team to form an identity as many of these starters did not play much during the preseason.  Even though Brady did not play to his normal standards he also was not horrible. Patriots fans may be frustrated but this is not how this team will look at the end of the season. They will be one of the best teams in the NFL and this opening night loss will could be considered a wakeup call when all is said and done.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Patriots

Danny Amendola The X Factor

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Photo Credit: Jim Rogash/ Getty Images

When the Patriots signed Danny Amendola the notion was that he would replace Wes Welker. Welker left the Patriots for the Denver Broncos in free agency following the 2012 season after 6 impressive years with the Patriots in which he caught less than 100 passes in a season only once. Amendola hasn’t put up anything close to those numbers as his most catches in a season with the Patriots so far is 65. That however does not mean Amendola has been a failure in New England. Amendola has shown his value by coming up with clutch catches in postseason for the Pats since joining New England in 2013. Putting up the numbers that Welker put In New England is no easy task. Amendola has played along some very good targets in New England including Rob Gronkwoski, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennet and last years rookie sensation Malcolm Mitchell. Amendola may not light up the stat sheet at the end of the day however when the Patriots have needed a big play he has answered the call.

Next year the Patriots will have one of the most talented receiving corps in recent memory. The Patriots added Brandon Cooks in trade with the New Orleans Saints to go along with Julian Edelman, Malcom Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and fellow offseason acquisition Dwayne Allen. As a result of this Amendola moves further down the depth chart and with a six million dollar cap hit the Patriots asked Amendola to restructure his deal. Like two times before Amendola accepted this and choose winning over money. Amendola is not the type of receiver to put up godly numbers like 10 ten catches a game for 180 yards. He will however be there in the clutch as he’s shown time over time in the past few seasons. He may not be the next Wes Welker like many people predicted but he’s followed the mantra of his head Coach Belichick by doing his job when the Patriots have needed him the most.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

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The Butler Situation

Butler

Photo credit: Getty

The New England Patriots have had both a very busy and interesting offseason. They have not been afraid to spend money as they signed Stephen Gilmore, one of the top free agents, to a monster deal and Lawrence Guy a defensive lineman to a 2o million dollar deal. The Pats also traded for tight end Dwayne Allen and emerging star Brandin Cooks. The Patriots improved their defense and made their offense even scarier. There still remains two big tasks this offseason for the team. That includes resigning two key contributors to their last two Super Bowl wins: Malcolm Butler and Donte Hightower. The Patriots have plenty of cap space however the two still remain free agents. Not only have these two players contributed greatly to the Patriots success lately their paths to the NFL, especially Butler’s, is what makes them so special.

Butler was signed by the Patriots in 2014 after going undrafted. Butler then had to earn his way and wasn’t well known before his interception that will be remembered throughout New England forever. With the Seahwaks at the goal line they decided to throw it and Butler stepped infront of the ball picking off the pass and sealing the Patriots victory. Butler went from undrafted to hero and has gotten better every year since. Before the offseason began Butler said he wanted to be a Patriot for life however it does not look like that will happen.

Butler wants top ten cornerback money which he deserves. The signing of Stephen Gilmore  ended the possibility of that happening. Gilmore is set to receive 45 million guaranteed over the next five years and possibly 60 million in total. Butler is deserving of at least that and maybe more. The Patriots are not a team that would give two guys at the same position that same type of deal. It was reported that the Patriots won’t give Butler more than 1o million a year which is not top ten cornerback money. Recent reports also say that the Saints and Butler are already discussing a new contract. Even though the Pats could match that contract and bring Butler back that is highly unlikely. It seems that Butler’s days in New England are numbered however he will leave with two championship rings and having made one of the most impactful plays in Patriots history.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NewEnglandPatriots #Saints

AFC Championship Preview

dirty-towel

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This coming Sunday the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off for the AFC crown and the chance to move onto the Superbowl.This will not be an easy game for either teams defense. The Steelers must keep Tom Brady and the Patriots offense of the board while the Patriots defensive unit must contain the Steelers prolific combination of , Running back Le’veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. In the Steelers first two playoff games Bell rushed for 167 yards against Miami and 170 against the Chiefs last week. Brown also put up exceptional numbers in the Steelers first two playoff  games as against Miami he had 124 receiving yards and against Kansas City he finished with 108 receiving yards. Both these players have game changing speed and the Patriots defensive will have to contain them if they want to move on to the Superbowl. The Steelers defensive however also is facing a challenge as even without star tight end Rob Gronkowski the Patriots offense is still very dangerous.

Last week against the Houston Texans the Patriots showed how deep their offense is. Against the Texans who have a better defense than the Steelers Running back Dion Lewis put on a performance for the ages. Against the Texans Lewis became the first player in NFL history to score a rushing, receiving, and kick off return touchdowns in the same playoff game. This gave the Patriots something they didn’t have last year against the Broncos in the playoffs  when Lewis was injured .. depth. Rather then having to rely on Tom Brady last week the Patriots were a threat in both the passing and running game. This was critical as not only were the Patriots missing Gronkowski but they were also missing rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell who has become one of Brady’s favorite targets.  If the Steelers are going to knock off the Patriots then they must pressure Brady and contain the speedy running back Dion Lewis and bruising running back Legarrette Blount.

This game figures to be a high scoring one as both these teams have prolific offenses led by two of the best quarterbacks in league in Tom Brady and the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Both defenses will have to step up and make plays as this game could very well  come down to a big defensive stand in the last minutes  No matter what this will be an entertaining game and only one team can move on.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots#Steelers

Patriots Past Latest Test

tommy

Photo Credit: Isiah J. Downing, USA Today Sports

Yesterday the New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos 16-3 in Denver, a place that Brady and the Patriots tend to struggle. There was no Rob Gronkowski and Brady didn’t finish with the most glamorous stat line. However unlike last year when the Patriots left Denver after being dominated and knocked out of the playoffs they left in high spirits. It was a complete game effort in which every unit of the team played well. The defense kept the Broncos out of the endzone, the offense put up enough points to win, and the special teams unit played well and avoided the mistakes that plagued them last week. Since the Patriots lost star tight end Rob Gronkowski many have questioned if this team can still win the Superbowl and these last two weeks the Patriots have silenced their critics.

Last week the Patriots played the  Baltimore Ravens who came into the game with the best defense  in football. Brady would make it look easy as even without Gronk the future hall of famer still  threw for over 400 yards including three touchdown passes. The Patriots defense which had been disappointing so far this season started to show that maybe people judged this unit too quickly. They allowed 23 points however the special teams unit fumbled the ball twice within the twenty yard line putting the Patriots defense in a tough spot. Yesterday there were no such mistakes and the defensive unit never showed any signs of letting up. These last two games have arguably been the most telling for the Patriots as without Gronkoswki this team has had to show it can  put up enough points to win against two of the best defenses in football. This is what people have come to expect over the years and it should come as no surprise that the Patriots  continue to come out on top when faced with adversity.

With Sundays win the Patriots clinched their eight straight division title a truly amazing feat in the game today. Do not be fooled however as this team still has a lot to play for as they will not truly be happy until they are lifting the Lombardi trophy and are champsions once again

#Patriots#NFL

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

Brady Is Back

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Credit: Stephen Douglas

On Sunday the Patriots welcomed back their franchise quarterback as Tom Brady made his season debut against the Cleveland Browns. Brady looked like he hadn’t missed a beat as he completed 28 of 40 passes for 406 yards including three touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer completed 11 passes to Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, and Martellus Bennet all off season additions who Brady had never played with before. Brady also showed some love to longtime teammate  Rob Gronkowski. Gronk looked like his old self as he caught 5 passes for 109 yards and did not look hampered by his hamstring injury. The Patriots needed a game like this after an embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills last week and Brady delivered.The Patriots offense looked much better and they were finally able to showcase their new double tight end threat.The offense was not the only part of the Patriots game that improved the defense did as well.

Even though the Patriots only gave up sixteen points last week against the Buffalo  Bills the defensive unit was not happy with their performance. The tackling was not very good which allowed Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to avoid sacks giving Bills receivers more time to get open. This also keep the Patriot’s offense off the field. On Sunday against the Browns the Patriots defense did something that no team had done this year. The Patriots defense held Isiah Crowell who is in the midst of a breakout season to 22 yards on 13 carries his lowest total all year.This forced the Browns to throw the football putting more pressure on Cody Kessler,their third string rookie quarterback who eventually left the game due to injury and journeyman Charlie Whitehurst who replaced him. The Pats defensive unit also intercepted a pass and forced a safety. If the Patriots are going to make a deep run this year then they will need their defense to keep having dominant performances like they did Sunday.

Recently Brady said he stills sees himself playing for a long time. At age thirty nine it is hard for any athlete to compete at a high level especially in a physical game such as football. On Sunday Brady showed that he still has a lot left, even though it was against the Browns one of the worst teams in the NFL, Brady ran the offense with calmness like he has done his whole career. It remains to be seen if Brady will play late into his forties but on Sunday he reminded people he has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon and he’s out to prove he’s still the best.

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