After visiting New England, Stevie Johnson has signed with San Diego. (NFL Game Rewind)
Stevie Johnson visited the San Diego Chargers over the weekend, then the New England Patriots on Monday. And by Tuesday morning, the free-agent wide receiver had made his decision.
Johnson chose San Diego over Foxborough, as NBC4’s Dianna Marie Russini first reported and the organization later announced.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it is a three-year deal.
The 28-year-old Johnson spent the first six years of his career in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills, where he amassed three consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns and caught 32 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns versus the Patriots.
Ryan Allen has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the New England Patriots’ 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
The second-year pro punted five times for 247 yards, registering a 49.4-yard average, while also dropping four inside the San Diego 13-yard line with one touchback. Continue reading
Jamie Collins has registered three sacks in his last two games. (NFL Game Rewind)
Jamie Collins amassed 16.5 sacks over his final 26 collegiate games at Southern Mississippi. But through his first 26 regular-season games with the New England Patriots, that number stood at zero.
Now it stands at three.
Collins has been called upon to rush the passer 17 times over his last two games. And through the A-gaps he’s hit home. He’s hit home the way he often did as a senior on an 0-12 football team, only two years later, he’s hit home as a chess piece on a 10-3 one.
Patriots left tackle Nate Solder faced the Chargers’ edge rush on Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
The San Diego Chargers brought pressure off the edge with the likes of outside linebackers Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney on Sunday. And it was up to New England Patriots left tackle to stop them over the course of the offense’s 78 snaps.
On three occasions, Solder was unable to do so as San Diego’s pass-rushers generated one hurry, one quarterback hit and one sack via his vicinity, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed the former first-round pick in his conference call with the media on Tuesday. Continue reading
When it comes to the safety position, it hasn’t been about one. (NFL Game Rewind)
Devin McCourty played all 57 snaps against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. But three others played the safety position along with him.
It wasn’t the first time personnel usage within the New England Patriots’ defense rotated. It was, however, a time that revealed the value in doing so.
The Patriots have dispersed in single-safety looks, two-safety looks, three-safety looks and even four-safety looks to counter offensive packages and situations in recent memory. Along the way, the back end has played two-deep, single-high, cover-zero and a core special-teamer as a hybrid linebacker in the dime defense. Yet there is something to be said for how the group has assembled those pieces for those alignments.
And there’s something to be said for how head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and position coach Brian Flores have incorporated more than one free and one strong safety into the 11.
That was on display in San Diego.
Brandon Bolden made the most of his one touch versus San Diego. (NFL Game Rewind)
Brandon Bolden did not have a carry against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. But the third-year running back did have a hand in the New England Patriots’ 23-14 victory at Qualcomm Stadium, as well as two forearms.
It took one play.
It took place on special teams, where the Ole Miss product has carved his purpose since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012. It took place in with 5:37 remaining in second quarter at a time when the Patriots needed it to, down 14-6.
The end result would shift the course of Week 14.
An interception before halftime left Tom Brady dejected. But the QB and the Patriots would recover. (NFL Game Rewind)
It was a 13-14 game with 18 seconds remaining before halftime at Qualcolmm Stadium.
The New England Patriots had journeyed the football down inside the San Diego Chargers’ 19-yard line, and the offense was looking to take a lead heading into intermission from there. But as Tom Brady dropped back and targeted tight end Rob Gronkowski off his back foot, those plans fell through.
The Chargers took the ball back instead. An interception by second-year linebacker Manti Te’o stopped New England’s offense in its tracks. And it stopped the Patriots quarterback on the field in his own tracks as well.
“The timing of the play got screwed up, and I just made a dumb decision to try to throw that ball,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Monday. “It was a bad play. I’ve got to eliminate those. We just don’t need those.”
New England battled back to win by a score of on 23-14 Sunday night. Yet what could have been points before the half left Brady battling himself, disgusted, and taking it out on the grass beneath him. Continue reading
Julian Edelman and the Patriots surged to defeat the Chargers on Sunday night in San Diego. (NFL Game Rewind)
A 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers thrust the New England Patriots back atop the AFC on Sunday night.
But while the Patriots moved to 10-3 and the Chargers fell to 8-5, the numbers that stood behind the game said as much as the outcome of it.
New England’s defense was the lone constant versus San Diego. (NFL Game Rewind)
There was no Chandler Jones. There was no Dont’a Hightower. But there was continuity from the New England Patriots’ defense against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night, even without them.
The 23-14 final score reflected it.
New England’s defense started fast, holding quarterback Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense to seven plays and a punt on the opening series before its own offense claimed a 16-play drive, capped off by a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
The first blood was drawn along with it, 3-0.
Even so, the Chargers would respond on the Qualcomm Stadium field, taking a 7-0 lead at the 13:36 mark in the second quarter on a 15-yard red-zone pass from Rivers to 6-foot-5, 225-pound wideout Malcom Floyd over 6-foot-4, 221-pound cornerback Brandon Browner. Then, just three plays and a fumble from Patriots receiver Brandon LaFell later, New England had given way to a 53-yard touchdown return for by safety Jahleel Addae.
With the first turnover of the season by a Patriot not named Brady, San Diego suddendly assumed a 14-3 lead with 11:06 left in the second.
Only San Diego would not score again. Continue reading
Chandler Jones will not make his return tonight against the San Diego Chargers.
Though a limited participant in the last two weeks of practice, the New England Patriots defensive end will be sidelined once again with the hip injury that has hampered him since it transpired against New York Jets in Week 7.
But once the 8:30 p.m. kickoff gets underway Sunday night at Qualcomm Stadium, Jones will not be the only defensive starter held out.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower is also among the Patriots’ seven inactives, as a shoulder injury suffered against the Green Bay Packers left him questionable heading into Week 14. His absence will call upon a new helmet for sideline communication between plays.