Saturday, March 8, 2014
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.
The Patriots could clinch a playoff spot and the AFC East title on Sunday, but Bill Belichick isn't allowing himself to think that far ahead.
Askedin a Tuesday conference call about the possibility of clinching on Sunday, Belichick said his, and the team's, only focus is on their next opponent, the Cleveland Browns.
"Really, we're not talking about that,'' he said. "The only thing we can control is how we play against Cleveland. That's really what we need to focus on. Whatever else does or doesn't happen in the league is definitely outside of our control.
"Right now we're just trying to focus on improving, getting ready for the Browns, a team we don't know very well, a team that we have a lof of respect for that has a lot of explosive players. It's going to be a big challenge for us this week to match up against these guys. Hopefully we can go out there and improve and play better and win and whatever else happens, or doesn't happen, we can't worry about that.''
Stevan Ridley got a lot of airtime Sunday for a guy who didn't play.
The Patriots leading rusher was not active for New England's 34-31 come-from-behind road victory over the Houston Texans Sunday afternoon. Nor was he injured.
Ridley, who has gained 546 yards, was seen several times during the telecast on the sidelines holding a football. He has lost four fumbles this year, two of which have been returned for touchdowns.
But in his Monday morning conference call, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Ridley's benching was not a message.
Hello everyone, I took a couple of days off to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Now that the Black Friday shopping is done, time to give you all some things to chew on as the Patriots prepare to play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.
Remember, the starting time has been moved to 1 p.m. So set your clocks appropriately.
- Right tackle Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Aaon Dobson and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui are all OUT for the game. That means Will Svitek will start at right tackle and Kenbrell Thompkins should see a lot more action. As will Mainer Matthew Mulligan at tight end.
Four cornerbacks - Kyle Arrington, Aqib Talib, Marquice Cole and Alfonzo Dennard - are all listed as Questionable, which means there's a 50-50 chance they will play.
There is so much to discuss, so very much to discuss, about the Patriots stunning 34-31 overtime win over the Denver Broncos - the largest comeback in New England history.
So let's start by hitting on some key moments/notes:
1. The decision by Bill Belichick to take the wind in overtime and give Peyton Manning and the Broncos the ball first.
"The wind, it was a strong wind,'' said Belichick. "We just had to keep them out of the end zone, obviously. I jsut felt like the wind would be an advantage if we could keep them out of the end zone on that first drive. We were able to do that. The wind was significant in the game, it was definitely significant.''
Safety Steve Gregory, who broke his right hand in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' win over Pittsburgh on Nobv. 3, headed their inactive list for Sunday's game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Gregory, missing his second consecutive, will likely be replaced by rookie Duron Harmon. Gregory did practice during the week.
It wasn't all bad news for the Patriots however. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee) and Kyle Arrington (groin), all questionable for the game, are all active. That is huge against a Denver offense led by Manning that is averaging an NFL-best 39.8 points, 350.4 passing yards and 455.5 total yards.
Tight end Michel Hoomanawanui(knee) is also inactive, which should mean more playing time for Matthew Mulligan, the Maine native and UMaine graduate.