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

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group