Monday, November 20, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Patriots getting parts back together on offense

RECOMMENDED READING


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For the Patriots offense, health has been a fleeting commodity this season.

When the offensive line was healthy, the backfield hurt. Then the receiving corps took its turn on the training table late the second half of the year.

Now, after wading through a season where the smorgasbord of injuries stunted the offense's productivity at times, the Patriots enter Sunday's AFC Championship Game at Denver as healthy as they've been in weeks.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski looks like himself after being bothered by several nagging aliments. Receivers Julian Edelman (broken foot) and Danny Amendola (knee) have also returned, helping restore missing productivity to a unit that hummed with efficiency in carving up Kansas City's defense to the tune of 340 yards, 302 passing, on Saturday in the division round.

Now the Patriots hope the rediscovered chemistry carries over as they prepare to face a Broncos defense that allowed the fewest yards per game this season and was the league's stingiest against the pass.

"We're going to be as healthy as we can be," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "It was good to have our guys on the field last week, that was a big part of us getting better and making some improvements, and we're going to need to do it again this week."

With his core targets active in the 27-20 win against the Chiefs, Brady looked as comfortable as he has in weeks.

Beyond two touchdowns to Gronkowski, Brady kept several drives going by linking up with Edelman — one of his favorite short-yardage targets — for 10 completions. Amendola also had two catches.

It all helped Brady notch his first 300-yard performance in a win since a Nov. 15 win at the Giants.

Coach Bill Belichick said players like Edelman, who have time in the Patriots system, can jump right back into the mix.

And Amendola said one of the biggest factors when the offense is clicking is that he and his teammates simply like playing together.

"We're confident in our abilities and what our ideas are to help move the ball," he said. "We've been working together for a long time. We're doing all we can to make this machine go."

That, and blocking out distractions.

The Broncos have taken a few public and social media swipes at Brady and Gronkowski in recent days, most notably saying that the Patriots quarterback complains often to the referees, and that Gronkowski is notorious for using his frame to push off.

"It's just part of the game. I've just got to be aware of it," Gronkowski said. "(I've) maybe just got to step up my game a little bit. Maybe throw a juke, I mean I don't know how many jukes I've got, but I've just got to be aware of it. It's football and it's just part of the game."

Comments
Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

The topic for the Times' set-up package  for Bucs-Dolphins in Sunday's editions was Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Admittedly, it's not James Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, but the two defensive linemen were taken back to back in the 2010 NFL Draft...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

On Sunday, the Buccaneers and Dolphins played one of those football games that gets only an obligatory mention at the end of highlight shows. In that spirit, this week’s Turning Point will focus mostly on the final three minutes of Tampa Bay’s 30-20 ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Trump calls out Marshawn Lynch, who sat for the U.S. national anthem but stood for Mexico’s

Trump calls out Marshawn Lynch, who sat for the U.S. national anthem but stood for Mexico’s

President Donald Trump on Monday added Marshawn Lynch to the list of sports figures he has criticized on Twitter.Lynch has been regularly sitting during the national anthem this season and did so again when his Oakland Raiders played the New England ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: As Jameis Winston faces another accusation, Bucs win with Ryan Fitzpatrick

Rick and Tom podcast: As Jameis Winston faces another accusation, Bucs win with Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bucs win again behind backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a defense that creates five turnovers against the Dolphins. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the game, including the calm that Fitzpatrick has brought and ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins report card: Grading Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

Bucs-Dolphins report card: Grading Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

MIAMI GARDENS — That was one ugly football game.The Bucs had a bad game. The Dolphins had a really bad game. And who had the worst game of all? The officials.In fact, the best part of Sunday’s game was before the game even started, thanks to a stirri...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Jones: Even in victory, dread hangs over the Bucs

Jones: Even in victory, dread hangs over the Bucs

MIAMI GARDENS — A dark cloud is hanging over this football team.It’s a heaviness. A dread. A dread for what might have happened in the past and what might happen in the future.And that makes it hard for fans to truly enjoy what happened Sunday.The Bu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: How Ryan Fitzpatrick steadied Tampa Bay

Bucs-Dolphins: How Ryan Fitzpatrick steadied Tampa Bay

MIAMI GARDENS — For chaos, there was Jameis Winston missing his second game with a shoulder injury and an NFL investigation swirling around him.For calamity, there was the Bucs forcing four of their five turnovers in the first half and building a two...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins:  How rookies like O.J. Howard carried the day

Bucs-Dolphins: How rookies like O.J. Howard carried the day

MIAMI GARDENS — From start to finish, the Bucs’ wobbly 30-20 win over the Dolphins on Sunday was made possible by game-changing plays made by rookies.The Bucs’ top three picks in this year’s draft — tight end O.J. Howard, safety Justin Evans and rece...
Updated: 8 hours ago
NFL Week 11: What we learned

NFL Week 11: What we learned

Is Jerry Jones the next Al Davis? Is he really going to let his anger for commissioner Roger Goodell ruin his relationship with the other owners? Should we have seen this coming? I think the answers are: Yes, probably and yes. Jones is the modern-day...
Published: 11/19/17
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Published: 11/19/17