See and hear the projo Play of the Week: Hobbs for the score
Back after an absence is the projo Play of the Week. Click the play button below to see Bob Breidenbach's photos of Ellis Hobbs' crazy touchdown run in the fourth quarter, which followed a big hit by fellow defensive back James Sanders. The play didn't do much to determine the outcome, but it ensured that the Patriots matched their franchise record for points in a single game.
It was a stampede. That about sums up the Patriots' devastating win over Buffalo last night, and that story is the highlight of today's sports cover. We also discuss PC's loss to Miami and URI's win over UAB.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- With a New England Patriots victory clearly in hand late in the game Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills, the unbeaten Monster of the AFC East continued to do what it has done all season -- score.
Late in the game the Patriots decided to go for it on a fourth-and-two situation and scored to go up 42-7.
That's when the rude comments started from the Bills fans, calling Brady and his teammates not the nicest of names.
“We hear everything,” Brady responded with a big smile. “It’s not the worst word I’ve ever heard, and I’ve said plain worse than that. Coach says he puts us out there to score every time we touch it, so that’s what we’re trying to do and I think that’s the job description for every offense in the NFL. You score because you’re not out there to punt. . . If our fans ever called us that, then I would be pissed."
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The first thing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did after yesterday’s dominating win over the Buffalo Bills was kiss Myra Kraft.
The young stud planted a huge one on the cheek of his boss’s wife before heading into New England’s locker room where the song “Another One Bits the Dust” was blaring.
The feeling of affection is surely reciprocal because Brady is becoming the best quarterback in franchise history, and he took another step toward immortality last night. He completed 31 of 39 passes for 373 yards, including five touchdowns. With his six-yard TD pass to Randy Moss with 6:33 remaining in the second quarter, Brady surpassed former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan with 183 career touchdown passes to become the franchise leader in that category.
It took Grogan 16 seasons to reach that plateau. It has taken Brady only seven.
Even though Brady is not one to talk about individual accomplishments, he did say it was an honor to be put in the same category with someone with Grogan.
“We have a great history of players for the Patriots,” said Brady. “Every time we take the field (at Gillette Stadium) we see the banners of the history of our team and the players who led the way for us. Hopefully we make those guys proud. I follow in the footsteps of a great quarterback myself in Drew Bledsoe, who taught me how to play quarterback in the NFL. . . Every time I’m around (Grogan) I think he’s a great person. He’s a great representative of the Patriots organization.”
Brady wasn’t alone last night in the history-making class.
First-year teammate and wide receiver Randy Moss caught 10 passes for 128 yards, including four touchdowns. When he grabbed his first TD of the night – a 43-yard reception to give New England a 14-0 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first quarter – he set the new Patriots’ single-season record with his 13th touchdown reception to surpass former receiver Stanley Morgan, who caught 12 in 1979.
Moss wasn’t done.
He finished with three more touchdown catchers to set another franchise mark, the single-game touchdown record of four. It was the first four TD game in team history. Moss is also the first Patriots player to grab at least three TD passes since Ben Coates accomplished that feat on Nov. 26, 1995.
And, it’s only November.
“I’ve never been a fan of records,” said Moss. “I learned at a young age that records are made to be broken, and I’ve never lived for my name in the record books. We have a goal, and that goal is to still be playing in January.”
Every week the Patriots’ offense continues to impress, and yesterday was as a dominating performance as they scored a season-high 56 points. In fact, the scored seven times on their first seven possessions.
So, Moss was asked if he has ever been a part of an offense this dominating, and he quickly pooh-poohed the question for good reason.
“The ’98 Vikings still hold the record for most points in the season,” he answered from first-hand experience.
That record of 556 points by Minnesota in 1998 may not last too much longer as the Patriots have scored 411 in the first 10 games of this season.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens caught eight passes for 173 yards, including four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 28-23 victory over Washington. Moss said he saw the performance, but that didn’t give him any more motivation than he already had heading into his game Sunday night.
“Yeah, I saw it,” he said. “But I don’t get into that. I have a job to do and that’s for me to block and catch balls. To go out there and try to duplicate another receiver, that’s not my game and I’m not going to do that.”
It was a record-setting day for the New England Patriots, one that ended with a kiss. The next time Brady kisses something immediately after a game, it could be another Vince Lombardi Trophy. Then, of course, he’ll pass it over to Moss.
With the San Francisco 49ers losing again and the Jets pulling off their upset of Pittsburgh, two things worked in New England's favor:
* They are now firmly in control for home-field advantage in the playoffs; Indianapolis is 8-2 but New England beat the Colts head-to-head, and Pittsburgh falls to 7-3 with a Dec. 10 date in Foxboro looming. Jacksonville is also 7-3.
* If the season ended today, by virtue of San Francisco's 2-8 record and other factors, the Patriots have the number two pick in next year's draft. Remember that New England traded its second first-round pick in this year's draft (28th overall) to the Niners for their fourth-rounder this year (which was then flipped for Randy Moss) and their first-rounder in '08.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Ellis Hobbs can light up a room with his smile, but after last night's win -- despite a nifty pluck-and-run that led to a 35-yard fumble-return touchdown -- Hobbs wasn't much in the mood to smile.
As he dressed and talked, the cornerback was frantically looking for his diamond earrings, which are of a substantial size. When asked if he really had lost the earrings, Hobbs replied, "I'm dead serious."
Hobbs was the last player out of the locker room as he looked for the diamonds; it's believed he did not find them.
But he's not the first Boston athlete to lose a pricey earpiece -- Manny Ramirez lost a $10,000 diamond stud sliding into third base playing a rehab game with Pawtucket. Of all places, the game was in Buffalo.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – During New England’s win in Indianapolis, Adalius Thomas became a football version of “Where’s Waldo?,” as the high-priced free agent linebacker wasn’t spotted too often on the RCA Dome turf.
Was he injured? In the dog house? A rare bust for Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli?
The answers: who knows, who knows, and probably not.
Last night, as New England played a high number of snaps in a 4-3 defense rather than its base 3-4, Thomas got to see a lot of time at outside linebacker, and got to fill out the stat sheet as a result: three tackles for 2 ½ sacks, four quarterback hits and one pass defensed.
"I was just really working," Thomas said of his ability to pressure J.P. Losman. "Anytime you can get a sack early in the game it sets the tone, especially on a long third down, it
gives you some momentum and it gives you a chance to get your offense back
on the field."
After Buffalo picked up 16 yards on its first play of the game, Thomas broke through the line completely unabated and dropped Losman for a nine-yard loss. One play later, on second-and-19, Losman dropped back again, and though he got off the pass, he probably would have preferred another up-close meeting with Thomas: his pass attempt was picked off by Randall Gay, setting up the Pats’ first touchdown.
“He’s a pretty versatile guy,” Bill Belichick said of Thomas. “He’s played inside and outside (linebacker). He does a great job for us. He’s able to do a lot of different things, which helps give our defense some flexibility.”
In all, the Patriots’ defense had four sacks on Losman, with one from Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi getting a half-sack as well.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – For Tom Brady, making history has become a near-weekly event this season, and he went into last night’s AFC East matchup with the Bills with a chance to make even more.
With five touchdowns against the Bills, Brady now has 185 in his career, passing New England Hall of Famer Steve Grogan for the franchise career record.
In 16 seasons, Grogan threw 182 touchdowns. Brady is playing his eighth season and seventh as a starter.
Brady also extended his NFL record for consecutive games with three or more passing touchdowns to 10 games; against the Colts, he broke the record of eight games that he was sharing with Indy’s Peyton Manning.
More Brady numbers:
* He is on pace to throw a league-record 61 touchdowns against just six interceptions;
* He is now 32-2 on artificial turf;
* 45-16 on the road;
* 21-2 when the game-time temperature is 40 degrees or below;
* 20-3 when throwing for more than 300 yards;
* 71-3 when leading at halftime and 75-2 when leading after three quarters;
* 47-1 when is passer rating is 100 or better.
One other team record went down last night, as Randy Moss scored four touchdowns, breaking the tie he had with Stanley Morgan after the Colts’ game for the single-season record for receiving touchdowns.
Moss now has 16, passing the record of 12 Morgan set in 1979. With six games to go, he is one away from tying his personal best of 17 scores, which he did in his rookie year, 1998, and in his final season with the Vikings, 2003.
The 30-year old also has a chance to break the single-season league record of 22 TDs, set by Jerry Rice in 1987. Moss is now on pace for 26 touchdowns.
Moss also topped 1,000 receiving yards for the season last night, making him the first Pats’ receiver to do so since Troy Brown in 2001 (1,199 yards on a franchise-record 101 grabs). Moss finished the night with 10 catches for 128 yards, giving him 66 catches for 1,052 yards (15.9 yards per catch).
It is the eighth 1,000-yard season in Moss’ 10-year career.
New England established a new franchise record for total touchdowns in a single season last night, pushing its total to 54 with the eight-TD performance against the Bills.
The previous record was 52, set in 1961 and 1980. The NFL record for most touchdowns by a team is 70, set by the 1984 Miami Dolphins. The Patriots are currently on pace to shatter that record, with 86.
Laurence Maroney's first quarter touchdown was his first of the season, but he is the 19th different player to get into the end zone for New England this season; the league record is 21, set by the 2000 Denver Broncos and 1987 Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots have now won nine straight games against Buffalo, the team’s third-longest regular-season win streak against an opponent.
Their longest win streak against the same opponent is 11 games, also over the Bills, from Jan. 2, 1983-Dec. 20, 1987. New England beat San Diego in 10 straight meetings from 1973-2001.
Before last night, Buffalo’s record on Sunday Night Football was a league-best 5-0; Green Bay and Philadelphia are both 5-1 under the Sunday night lights.
New England is now 33-9 against the AFC East since 2001, the best intra-divisional record in the NFL over that time – the Steelers are second, at 32-12.
The next best record in the AFC East belongs to the Jets, who are 20-22 in division play over the last six-plus years.
Last night’s game inactives for the Patriots: Matt Gutierrez, third quarterback; safeties Eugene Wilson and Mel Mitchell; linebacker Eric Alexander; offensive linemen Stephen Neal and Wesley Britt; and defensive linemen LeKevin Smith and Kareem Brown.
For the Bills: Gibran Hamdan, third quarterback; running back Marshawn Lynch; tight ends Tim Massaquoi and Ryan Neufeld; linebacker Leon Joe; offensive lineman Christian Gaddis; and defensive linemen Copeland Bryan and Jason Jefferson.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Somewhere, Pete Rozelle must be spinning in his grave.
The longtime late NFL commissioner worked throughout his career to make sure that there would always be parity in the league, that at the start of each season and on any given Sunday, every team would have a chance to win.
And this year, the New England Patriots are making a mockery of Rozelle’s life’s work.
Making everything look easy from the opening snap, the Patriots returned to their dominating ways against the Buffalo Bills, tying the team record for points in a 56-10 embarrassment of their AFC East foe.
While New England’s supremacy this season has taken on an almost absurd quality, Tedy Bruschi said believing that they can be beaten is what drives the Pats.
“I can only tell you how I look at it as a player, and the reason we prepare so hard, I prepare so hard, each week is because of the knowledge that we can get beat each week,” he said.
With an average margin of victory of 24.4 points, the Patriots can make it look easy. But the finished product, Ellis Hobbs noted, is the result of long hours.
“The thing about it is, it’s not that easy,” said Hobbs, who flashed some great hands during a 35-yard fumble return touchdown in the fourth quarter. “You’re just seeing the finished product of hard work. We work hard all through the week.”
In its last game two weeks ago, New England needed 60 minutes to edge Indianapolis, but last night it took all of five plays to announce their intentions against Buffalo: to score often, and to score at will.
The Bills were without rookie running back Marshawn Lynch due to an ankle injury, and lacking their leading rusher, Buffalo became one-dimensional, putting the game almost squarely on the (shaky) right arm of quarterback J.P. Losman.
Losman found Lee Evans for a 16-yard gain on the first snap of the game, but then was dropped for a nine-yard loss by Adalius Thomas. On second-and-19, Losman dropped back, looked downfield for Josh Reed – and found Randall Gay instead.
Gay returned his third interception of the season 21 yards, and New England had 15 more tacked on after that when Bills’ offensive lineman Langston Walker shoved Gay after he had gotten out of bounds.
Starting at the Buffalo 13, Tom Brady hit Jabar Gaffney for a seven-yard gain. Then Laurence Maroney got the ball – an infrequent occurrence for him when the Pats are in a goal-line situation this year – and the middle of the line parted. Maroney ran untouched into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
The game was less than three minutes old and already, it seemed, the outcome had been decided.
Parity, as it has on so many Sundays (and one Monday) thus far this season when New England is playing, had taken the day off.
The plucky Bills, who have overcome a devastating Opening Day injury to one of its players and season-ending injuries to 11 others and came into the night on a four-game winning streak and an unblemished record at home on Sunday nights, would have no chance on this night.
No chance to win, and no chance to slow down Randy Moss.
The receiver, in his first season with the Patriots and 10th in the NFL, put up numbers in the first half that many wideouts long for in a game – eight catches, 112 yards and four touchdowns.
Yes, a single-game franchise-record four. In one half. He now has a single-season team record 16 scores in 10 games.
But Moss, who acknowledged after the game that he knew about Dallas’ Terrell Owens also recording four TDs on Sunday – though Owens needed four quarters, not just two – wasn’t all that impressed by his performance.
“I’ve never been a big fan of records. I learned at a young age that records are meant to be broken. I’ve never lived on records or getting my name in the record book,” he said.
Moss, like Brady, also knew where to give a lot of the credit for the passing game’s success.
“The whole offense executed, starting with the offensive line; they gave Tommy time to throw,” said Moss. “The offensive line did their job and it trickled down to everyone else.”
The first of Moss’ touchdowns, like so many of the throws and catches between Brady and Moss this season, was gorgeous, a 43-yard arching bomb on third-and-12. Moss had defensive back George Wilson all turned around, and when the ball came, Wilson was a good three yards from Moss – and facing the wrong way – more than enough space for Moss to work with.
“I saw the flight of the ball and I thought I had a shot at it,” Wilson explained. “But as I went back and jumped, the ball went over my hand and Moss was there in the end zone. It was a tough way to start out on defense.”
Buffalo did breathe life into aging Ralph Wilson Stadium on its next drive, as Losman connected with Roscoe Parrish for a 47-yard touchdown to cut the score to 14-7. Ellis Hobbs fell in coverage and was not able to make a play on the ball.
It was one of the few missteps by a Patriots player all night.
As if his first half weren’t impressive enough, Moss was on the field with the defense on the final play of the half, when Losman dropped back for a Hail Mary.
Not surprisingly, he got his hands on that ball as well, knocking it down to the turf.
Other players got involved in the second half, as Benjamin Watson made a nice catch in the right corner of the end zone, and Kyle Eckel dove over the goal line for his second score of the season.
And Hobbs, who has said he lives for the bright lights of prime time games, made a prime time play in the fourth. Losman completed a short pass to Dwayne Wright, and James Sanders jarred the ball loose knocking Wright out of bounds.
The ball popped up in the air, and Hobbs came down with it, racing 35 yards to the end zone and the Patriots’ eighth touchdown of the night.
Rozelle wanted parity, and he has it – everywhere but in New England.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. _ Bill Belichick’s name will never show up on the final score sheet.
But after the New England Patriots completely dismantled the Buffalo Bills 56-10 Sunday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium, every Patriots player gave their coach more props than usual.
With New England’s victory, the team is 10-0 in 2007 and things could only get better with the way the Patriots are playing, and with the way Belichick is coaching. In fact, during his eight-year tenure in New England, his ability to get the most out of his players has been quite obvious.
This season, however, it’s clear more than ever.
After the Patriots defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Colts, New England enjoyed a bye last weekend with Belichick giving his players five days off to do whatever they wanted. But, when they returned to Gillette Stadium last Monday, they were put through one of the toughest weeks they’ve had this season in order to prepare for last night’s game.
According to Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss, the coach gave the team a huge slice of humble pie.
The unbeaten record didn’t mean much. The complete dominance its shows every week didn’t mean much. Belichick wanted to make sure the Patriots weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves. After all, it’s only November.
“I’ve always known coach Belichick to be a hell of a coach,” said Moss. “I consider him the greatest coach ever, but I really didn’t expect the week of preparation he put us through. I’ve never been through that, so for us to come out and win this game the way we did is actually something to really smile about."
Moss said it was a hard week mentally and emotionally, something he’s never experience in his career.
“He really put us through it,” added Moss. “Coming off the bye week, and me not knowing what to expect, he tore our heads off Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was just a big week, an emotional week.”
Moss, and the rest of the players in the cramped quarters of the visitor’s locker room at Ralph Wilson Stadium, said the coach placed a lot of emphasis on making sure the team was prepared.
“He didn’t want us to be satisfied by being 9-0 and coming off a bye week,” added Moss. “He put it to us this week. I have to commend him on that because not many head coaches will bit down hard, and put their team through the work he put us through this week. It surely paid off.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who always points out that the coach’s preparation is what allows New England to be so successful every Sunday, definitely made it a point after Sunday’s game to press it even further.
“He sets the tone for us,” said Brady. “He’s a great leader for us and he has high expectations, and when we don’t play up to those expectations in practice or the game, he let’s us know.”
Brady felt the team responded well to Belichick’s demeanor leading up to Sunday’s victory. He treated the team like it was 0-9 and not 9-0. For the players to respond so positively to Belichick’s philosophy the way they did is pretty amazing given this day and age of professional sports.
With such a big win on Sunday, the players are expecting much of the same this week.
“He doesn’t change his tone too often,” said Brady. “That’s just the way he coaches. There’s never anything that’s good enough, and after a well you get sick of it [saying] ‘enough coach.’ We take beating after beating after beating, but a lot of it helps us prepare and a lot of it puts us in the right frame of mind to go out there and play well each Sunday. It’s been 10 weeks and we have 10 victories, which is great.”
With the Bills now in the rear-view mirror, the Patriots have turned their focus to the Eagles.
“I hope we play up to his expectations,” said Brady.
Seriously, though. The team is 10-0 and is on pace to complete a historic season. What else is there to nitpick?
Belichick will find something.
“I missed a blitz pickup tonight from a look that I never expected them to blitz on,” said Patriots’ Heath Evans. “We are coached so diligently week in and week out, and we know so much coming into these games. Sometimes we relax because you’re not expecting [something] because of the way we are coached.”
Evans said there are always things you can improve on in order to play perfectly.
Belichick wouldn’t expect anything less.
“You know we’re going to be coached hard,” Evans said. “We’re going to practice hard, and that’s all I can guarantee you.”