2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know from Patriots' 23-3 win over Bucs

By HOWARD ULMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-23 03:32

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson had a huge challenge as the Patriots' rookie starting receivers.

With veteran Danny Amendola injured, they were replacing Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, who combined for 192 catches last year. And no NFL player had more than Welker's 672 receptions over the past six seasons.

``I just feel like you can't think about it,'' Dobson said after New England beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-3 Sunday. ``You just have to go out there and have fun. We've been playing this game since we were little kids.''

Five things to know from the Patriots' rout of the Buccaneers:

1. HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: Tom Brady is showing enough faith in his rookies to throw to them in key situations. As if he has a choice.

Amendola is sidelined with a groin injury so three of Brady's top four wide receivers are rookies. In the first two games, he completed 20 passes to veteran Julian Edelman. But on Sunday, Thompkins caught his first two touchdown passes and Dobson led the Patriots with seven catches and 54 yards receiving.

In their previous game, a 13-10 win over the New York Jets, Brady showed his displeasure with the rookies, raising his hands to his helmet and speaking animatedly on the sideline.

``Mistakes are going to happen, but you just have to learn from it,'' Dobson said.

He and Thompkins are, after combining for just nine catches in the first two games.

``They've worked really hard to understand what we're trying to do,'' Brady said. ``We did a good job of adjusting (during the game).''

2. UNBEATEN, BUT ... : OK, so the Patriots are 3-0 for the first time in six years. But look who they beat. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets with rookie quarterbacks. And now the Bucs, who have struggling veteran quarterback Josh Freeman. Not exactly the best teams in the NFL.

That changes starting next Sunday with a tough three-game stretch - road games at Atlanta and Cincinnati and a home game against New Orleans.

Regardless of the opponent, the Patriots are 3-0.

``It's the best we can be right now,'' safety Devin McCourty said. ``Everyone will continue to pick apart what we do well and what we don't do, but coming into the season if you said after the first three games, `Where would you want to be?' we would want to be 3-0. We've got to keep building and getting better because the games get harder and harder.''

3. WINLESS AND GETTING WORSE: The Bucs lost their first two games by a total of three points, losing on a field goal with 2 seconds left and on another on the final play. On Sunday, they never threatened after Rian Lindell's 30-yard field goal late in the first quarter.

Now coach Greg Schiano may have to worry about his players' attitude.

``I have great confidence this team will stick together,'' he said. ``We have a lot of football to play and I am confident that we will improve and we will win.''

4. STICKING WITH `EM: Schiano is sticking with Freeman and Lindell despite their shaky performances.

Freeman completed 19 of 41 passes for 236 yards and one interception and has connected on 45.7 percent of his passes this year. But Schiano isn't ready to switch to rookie Mike Glennon.

Asked if Freeman gives Tampa Bay the best chance to win and whether any consideration was given to pulling him, Schiano said, ``He does. And, no, there wasn't.''

But Freeman couldn't come up with big plays. The Bucs managed just three points despite getting inside the Patriots 40 six times.

On one of those trips, Lindell missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.

``I like Rian,'' Schiano said. ``I think he is going to be our kicker.''

5. TOUGH DEFENSE: The Patriots have allowed 34 points, their fewest through three games since 1979. Former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib intercepted his third pass of the season in the final minute of the first half, leading to Stephen Gostkowski's 53-yard field goal.

``Three weeks in a row we've raised our level of play,'' defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group