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  • Patriots lose third straight game

    FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- New England coach Bill Belichick rested his regulars and Jacksonville routed the remaining Patriots.

    The Jaguars beat the Super Bowl champs 31-0 Thursday night behind three touchdown passes from Quinn Gray and one from David Garrard, all in the fourth quarter.

    But starting quarterback Byron Leftwich was disappointed he didn't face the Patriots' first-stringers in the exhibition finale for both teams.

    "You want to compete against those guys, because when you leave the game you will be better," Leftwich said. But, he added, "you understand because they've got a game in a week."

    The regulars played an unusually long time in last Saturday's 20-17 loss at Carolina and open the season next Thursday night at home against Indianapolis, while other teams start next weekend.

    "Any time you have the Colts coming to town, it's not a bad thing to get some rest," said Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

    None of the 22 offensive and defensive first-stringers played, but the Patriots (1-3) trailed just 3-0 after three quarters.

    The Jaguars (3-1) ended the exhibition season without a touchdown from their first-string offense, but coach Jack Del Rio wasn't worried.

    "I'm not really concerned," he said. "You would like to be a little more explosive in these preseason games, but overall I think we're going to have a good offense."

    Leftwich played just three series, going 4-for-8 for 24 yards. Starting running back Fred Taylor, who had a strained foot, didn't play.

    With Tom Brady charting plays on a clipboard, Rohan Davey played all but the Patriots' final series. The offensive player of the year in NFL Europe went 13-for-25 for 104 yards and two interceptions, but Belichick praised him.

    "Rohan did some good things," Belichick said. "He managed the game well. I thought he made a couple good throws that we weren't able to come up with."

    Kliff Kingsbury finished up at quarterback

    "I loved" playing so much, Davey said. "The only thing that could have been better would have been a win."

    The Patriots lost their third straight game, the others 31-3 at Cincinnati and 20-17 at Carolina. They enter the regular season with a 15-game winning streak covering the last regular season and playoffs.

    With Corey Dillon resting, Mike Cloud led New England rushers with 93 yards on 19 carries.

    The Jaguars committed no turnovers, while the Patriots had five, and outgained New England 451 yards to 222.

    "The two things I'm most excited about coming out of this preseason are turnovers and special teams," Del Rio said.

    After a scoreless first half, the Jaguars took a 3-0 lead on Josh Scobee's 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.

    "It's not up to me anymore," said Scobee, who had four field goals in the last two games while competing with Steve Christie for the placekicking job. "I feel good about how I finished the (last) couple games."

    The Jaguars put the game away with four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

    Garrard threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Troy Edwards, then was replaced by Gray after going 16-for-26 for 190 yards. Gray, who spent most of last season on Jacksonville's practice squad, was 5-for-6 for 109 yards.

    "He had a fantastic game," Del Rio said. "His timing with the receivers was outstanding."

    He threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Lewis, a 12-yarder to Ernest Wilford and a 17-yarder to Cortez Hankton with 2:36 to play.

    The last two touchdowns were set up by Jacksonville fumble recoveries.

    "It got out of hand at the end," Belichick said."


    Game notes
    The Jaguars used 61 players, the Patriots just 41. ... Patrick Pass was the only Patriots receiver with three catches. He had three for minus-3 yards. ... The Jaguars had 28 points in their first 3 exhibition games and 31 in the last half. ... Going into the last four minutes of the first half, the deepest penetration for the Jaguars was the New England 45-yard line, and for the Patriots it was the Jacksonville 43. ... Wilford had six receptions, the only receiver in the game with more than three. ... The Jaguars open their season at Buffalo on Sept. 12.

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  • DJRamFan
    [Patriots] Struggling Brady lives to fight another day
    by DJRamFan
    By Joe Burris, Globe Staff | November 1, 2004

    PITTSBURGH -- Tom Brady got the Patriots off to their usual start yesterday. The quarterback advanced New England steadily downfield on its first drive of the game, and though the drive ended with an Adam Vinatieri 43-yard field goal with 11:39 left in the first quarter, it marked the 15th straight game in which the Patriots scored first.

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    Yet the Patriots repeatedly have insisted that you can't base many conclusions on who scores first, and yesterday proved them correct.

    How decisively did fortune change for Brady & Co.? Consider that with 13 seconds left in the quarter, Brady had a pass intercepted by cornerback Deshea Townsend and returned 39 yards for a touchdown to put Pittsburgh ahead, 21-3, marking the first time the Patriots had allowed 21 points in a quarter since the third quarter against Chicago Nov. 10, 2002.

    The interception also marked the second time in as many drives that the Patriots lined up in an empty-backfield set, and the second time it resulted in a turnover that led to a touchdown.

    On the first play of the previous drive, Brady fumbled while being sacked by linebacker Joey Porter. Defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen recovered. Five plays later, Pittsburgh scored on a 4-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Plaxico Burress to put the Steelers ahead, 14-3.

    "That was the last empty backfield you saw, 0 for 2," said Brady, who tried in vain to lead a team minus its leading rusher, Corey Dillon, who missed the game because of a thigh injury. Brady said, however, that even with Dillon in the lineup, the Patriots would have had their hands full.

    "I think we had a game plan . . . and we just didn't execute the game plan," he said. "No matter if Corey's in there or if Corey's not in there, we still expect to go out there and play. Corey didn't force me to fumble that ball. You have to go with the guys you've got, try to run the ball and take advantage of throwing the ball.

    "We just didn't play the way we're capable," added Brady. "When you don't play the way you're capable against a good team, you lose."

    Brady's performance underscores the point that as he goes, so does New England. Yesterday, he completed 25 of 43 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted twice and sacked four times for 28 yards.

    The interception that was returned by Townsend marked the first time the Patriots had allowed a defensive touchdown since the 2003 season opener, when Buffalo's Sam Adams returned an interception 37 yards for a score in the Bills' 31-0 triumph. Those miscues, and a balanced Steelers offense, led to the Patriots' first defeat in 22 games.

    "I think the feeling is we have to get back to winning football, playing well and...
    -11-01-2004, 10:51 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Patriots] Busted at 21
    by DJRamFan
    A continuation of Patriot streak is not in cards
    By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | November 1, 2004

    PITTSBURGH -- Their baseball brothers, the Red Sox, are proof that all streaks must end, winning the World Series last week after an 86-year drought. So as if to balance the slate, the sports gods yesterday looked down upon New England and said, "Do not be greedy."

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    Thus, the Patriots' record 21-game winning streak ended. The Team That Could Not Lose finally met its match in the Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-20, before a record-breaking Heinz Field crowd of 64,737.

    There were no excuses from anyone in the Patriots locker room as to why they lost for the first time since Sept. 28, 2003, to the Steve Spurrier-coached Washington Redskins.

    That's because the Steelers played very much in their tradition, dominating the trenches, creating mistakes, and smashing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the mouth every chance they got.

    "I wish we could play again tomorrow," said New England defensive end Willie McGinest. "We're not going to make any excuses, like blame the refs, or injuries, or anything like that. It's disappointing we got our butts kicked and got outplayed. We have to come in tomorrow and look in the mirror and make sure each and every one of us can see what we did to add to this. It's not the end of the world. We have time to come back from this."

    The Steelers forced turnovers -- four of them -- which led to Pittsburgh scores. Two were caused by linebacker Jerry Porter, who played an emotional game, saying he was fired up by words McGinest uttered to him before the opening kickoff.

    If that was the case he made the Patriots pay big time, and young quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (18 for 24 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and a 126.4 rating) looked as calm and collected as a guy named Bradshaw in picking apart the wounded Patriots secondary.

    They didn't make excuses, but the Patriots were missing starting running back Corey Dillon, had to use a makeshift offensive line with starting right tackle Tom Ashworth out with a back ailment, and then lost left tackle Matt Light, who got the wind knocked out of him.

    The Patriots also lost cornerback Ty Law to a foot injury in the third series of the game, and when rookie free agent Randall Gay replaced him, the Steelers went right at him and made the Patriots pay.

    But in the past, the Patriots had never missed a beat because of injuries.

    "We've lost players to injuries before," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "We play as a team. Whoever is in the game has to do their part. That's the way we do it around here."

    With Dillon out, New England ran the ball six times for 5 yards, forcing Brady to throw it 43 times. The defense allowed the Steelers to romp over them...
    -11-01-2004, 10:48 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Steelers snap Patriots' record winning streak
    by DJRamFan
    By Bob Ryan, Globe Staff | November 1, 2004

    PITTSBURGH -- To the question of whether it would end with a bang or a whimper, here is the unequivocal numerical answer: Pittsburgh 34, New England 20.

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    ''It was pretty clear the Steelers were the better team," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ''They outcoached us. They outplayed us. They certainly deserved to win, and they won convincingly."

    Thus ended yesterday an almost unimaginable football feat. The New England Patriots had gone 21 games and 13 calendar months without losing a game, and had become the National Football League champions for the second time by winning the Super Bowl last February. But their bid to make it 22 victories in succession ended under ideal conditions on a late afternoon when the Steelers delighted a franchise record gathering of 64,737 with a truly inspired performance.

    To the end, the Patriots stayed relentlessly on message regarding their endless succession of victories. The word ''streak" had been officially banned from their vocabularies by Belichick. In the team's pregame notes, the media was informed that "The Patriots have recorded a one-game winning streak 21 consecutive times, setting an all-time record for the 85-year history of pro football." "It was never about the streak," said linebacker Mike Vrabel. "It was not in our preparation this week."

    Week after week the Patriots had, as the pundits like to say, "found a way to win." This time, however, they submitted a brilliant formula for defeat, combining a sputtering offense with a defense that allowed a disturbing 417 yards, of which a whopping 221 came on the ground. Four turnovers led to 24 Pittsburgh points.

    "We didn't do anything near the way we are capable of doing it, and they played an outstanding game" said Belichick. "That's the result you get when those two forces collide."

    There is nothing disgraceful about losing to the Steelers. Pittsburgh is a good team. The Steelers entered the game with a 5-1 record and they regarded this game as something akin to an mid-semester exam. They always have enjoyed the backing of a raucous crowd. No one ever looks forward to playing in Pittsburgh. This was true when they played in Three Rivers Stadium, and it remains true now that they play in the outstanding facility known as Heinz Field.

    The problem is that the Patriots feel they didn't give themselves much of an opportunity to win this particular game. "We knew that, eventually, we were going to lose a game," said safety Rodney Harrison. "But we don't want to lose in that fashion."

    The Patriots started the game the way they normally do, which is to say they scored first. Pittsburgh won the toss and elected to receive. The Patriots got them off the field quickly,...
    -11-01-2004, 10:46 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Patriots] Defense missed the stop signs
    by DJRamFan
    By Joe Burris, Globe Staff | November 1, 2004

    PITTSBURGH -- Patriots cornerback Ty Law yesterday suffered a left foot injury at the 4:52 mark of the first quarter. Initially, he tried to continue playing, but then signaled for help. And as he limped off the field the Patriots' chances of slowing the Pittsburgh offense may have gone with him.

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    He was spelled by rookie Randall Gay and it didn't take much to figure what was coming next. Pittsburgh became opportunistic. Gay became a moving target.

    Two plays later, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who was covered by Gay. Burress leaped over the defensive back and caught the ball in the end zone for the game's first touchdown, giving the Steelers a 7-3 advantage with 3:46 left in the first.

    That marked the beginning of a poor defensive performance by a unit that ended up yielding 27 points. In its previous three games, New England allowed 37 points combined.

    Law's departure was far from the unit's only problem. Steelers running back Duce Staley rushed for 125 yards on 25 carries for his fourth 100-yard performance in the Steelers' last five games. And goal-line specialist Jerome Bettis, who had a total of 64 yards on 37 carries entering the game, rushed for 65 yards on 15 carries.

    Burress's touchdown was the Steelers' longest pass reception of the day, yet he was among three Pittsburgh receivers to post catches of at least 20 yards. That helped the Steelers more than double the Patriots' time of possession in the first half (20:38 to 9:22).

    "We came out and we didn't play well at all," said Patriots safety and leading tackler Rodney Harrison, who posted a game-high 18 stops (10 solo). "We made a lot of mental errors. It wasn't good and they [took] full advantage of our mistakes."

    Burress said the Steelers' intent was to attack Gay immediately.

    "It's like they say, when there's blood in the water, you have to go after them," he said. "We knew that Ty went down and that they were a man short. We just went after them as far as throwing the football."

    Burress followed his first touchdown with another score while being covered by Eugene Wilson with 29 seconds left in the first quarter to put Pittsburgh ahead, 14-3. Deshea Townsend then scored on an interception return for a touchdown to put the Patriots down by 18.

    The 21 first-quarter points was unusual for a team that had yielded 21 points in a contest just five times during its 21-game winning streak.

    "Guys were just saying, `Let's continue to fight, the game's not over until it's over,' " said Harrison. "We had opportunities and we just didn't capitalize one them."

    Pittsburgh finished with 417 yards of total...
    -11-01-2004, 10:54 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Thomas: Rams Rocked By Patriots 45-7
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams rocked by Patriots 45-7

    8 hours ago BY JIM THOMAS

    LONDON As Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan so aptly put it: "Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the windshield."

    It wasn't difficult to tell which was which Sunday night in Wembley Stadium.

    The Rams got some sightseeing in during their weeklong stay in the England. Among other things, they saw the Tower of London, and the crown jewels, and Trafalgar Square. What they didn't see was that red, white, and blue truck - complete with windshield - otherwise known as the New England Patriots.

    After a promising start, the Rams were outscored, outplayed and humiliated by the Patriots in a 45-7 loss before a sellout crowd of 84,004

    It was a long way to go to play so poorly. The Rams, now losers of three in a row, fell to 3-5 and have an extra week to stew about it as they enter their bye before returning to action Nov. 11 at San Francisco.

    "There's just days where you're going" to stink, defensive end Chris Long said. "And ... we were terrible. We were also playing a Hall of Famer. So it was a bad day to come out and be below average."

    The Patriots, who pulled the future Hall of Famer - quarterback Tom Brady - with 8 minutes, 20 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, improved to 5-3. Adding insult to injury, they topped 350 yards of offense for the 17th consecutive game, breaking a record they had shared with the Greatest Show on Turf - more precisely, the 2001 Rams team they defeated in Super Bowl XXXVI.

    "They got off to a good start" with the early touchdown, Brady said. "We countered and never looked back."

    Things started promisingly enough for the Rams, who came out in the no-huddle after taking the opening kickoff. Just five plays into the game, quarterback Sam Bradford found wide receiver Chris Givens deep for a 50-yard touchdown pass. It marked the fifth consecutive game Givens had caught a pass of 50 yards or more, setting an NFL rookie record.

    "First time we touch the ball, we go down and score - exactly what we planned to do," Bradford said. "And then it just all felt apart from there."

    The lead lasted as long as fish and chips do at lunchtime around here. Before you could say "Spygate," it was 28-7 Patriots at halftime.

    "I don't know what happened," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "A lot of things steamrolled against us. We had plays where we just dropped coverages, missed communications. At the end of the day, we're a better defense than this - than what showed."

    En route to a 473-yard day on offense, Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots' underrated running game couldn't be stopped, or even slowed. The Patriots scored TDs on their first five possessions,...
    -10-28-2012, 10:09 PM
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