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4 hrs ago | Boston.com
The stat sheet may say otherwise, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did indeed target his diminutive wide receiver more than once on Sunday afternoon in Minnesota. What resulted from the third-down play in the second quarter, with New England leading, 10-7, was a nifty deep pass down the sideline, complete for 26 yards and a first down on what would be the Patriots' only bona fide offensive drive of the game.
Back on Sept. 21, 2008, rookie head coach Tony Sparano's Miami Dolphins - 0-2 and winners of just one of their previous 21 games - trudged into Gillette Stadium for what appeared to be a mismatch with a Patriots team that had won an NFL-record 21 consecutive regular-season games.
Tom Brady has had quite a while to develop some chemistry with Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson, and he's likewise had a full offseason and preseason to work with Brandon LaFell, yet if you watched Sunday's Patriots game against the Vikings, you'd never know it. Dobson had one catch on two targets, while Amendola and LaFell had a combined zero targets .
Chad Finn is the sports media columnist for the Globe and writes the irreverent Touching All the Bases blog for Boston.com. A frequent panelist on Globe 10.0 and the Red Sox Podcast, he previously worked at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.
BOSTON The NFL re-emphasized certain penalties prior to the start of the season, and after two weeks it appears that they are not messing around. Flags are flying all across the league, and that was very evident in Minnesota Sunday afternoon.
Patriots radio play-by-play man Bob Socci came on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich Monday morning following a 30-7 Patriots win over Minnesota. It's hard to sit here and pick apart a game in which New England won handily by 23 points, but when the quarterback himself is critical of the way his offense played you have to stop and take notice.
Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was benched for the return of Aaron Dobson , a decision only 10% of us expected . When Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell are far less productive on offense than Thompkins, yet manage to rank over him, we have to ask ourselves why did Thompkins sit? It's clear that no matter how much quarterback Tom Brady loves you- and Brady loves himself some KT- coach Bill Belichick will do what he deems is best for the team.
Best boots: Stephen Gostkowski made all three field goal attempts, including kicks from 48 and 47, and his four touchbacks effectively neutralized Vikings dangerous kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. Best boots, part 2 : Punter Ryan Allen punted five times and four of them ended up inside the 20-yard line.
Stevan Ridley : I went with Ridley as a "start" option last week. While he was the Patriots' primary early down back, the team failed to establish the run and he became essentially irrelevant in the second half.
To quote Patches O'Houlihan from "Dodgeball," the New England Patriots ' offense was "about as useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop" in their 33-20 Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins , particularly in the second half. The defense wasn't anything to write home about either, but the pieces are there; they just need to start to gel more and improve at stopping the run.
Rob Gronkowski's performance against the Dolphins suggests he's still a superhero cape shy of unveiling an all-out Gronk whooping on opponents. But if the Patriots can tear off a bit of the protective wrap Sunday against the Vikings, the offense can improve in a variety of ways.
After a great showing in the first half, the Patriots fell apart in the second half. Here are some facts that stand out.
Updated: Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:11 am
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