Kyle Van Noy is on a roll.

The Patriots’ linebacker may have had the best game of his career in Sunday’s 37-31 overtime win against Kansas City in the AFC championship game with 10 tackles and a career-high-matching two sacks – including one at the end of the second quarter that wiped out any chance the Chiefs had of getting on the scoreboard before halftime.

Van Noy also added a strip sack in the first quarter that forced a punt.

Since coming to the Patriots midway through 2016 in a trade with Detroit, Van Noy has stepped in and only gotten better. He assumed a starting role at the beginning of the 2017 season, and this year he was the team leader in tackles with 90.

Acquired from San Francisco in a trade last April, left tackle Trent Brown says the perception that the Patriots don’t have fun simply isn’t true.

“Of course I knew you had a chance to win here,” Brown answered when asked his initial reaction when he learned he was headed to Foxborough. “But the other thing that popped into my mind is all the (stuff) people say about this place. I’ve always been a man who forms my own opinions and when I got here I quickly found out that it’s nothing like anyone says. It is fun here.”


The Patriots returned to the practice field in full health. All 53 players were present for the first practice of the Super Bowl bye week.

The Pats practiced indoors at the Empower Field House.

With Super Bowl LIII set to be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the Pats no longer need to practice outside.

RAMS: Kicker Greg Zuerlein’s strained foot doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, Coach Sean McVay said.

The Rams expect Zuerlein to be able to kick in the Super Bowl next week, McVay said.

RAVENS: Coach John Harbaugh received a new four-year contract following a season in which he guided Baltimore to the AFC North title.


The new deal is designed to keep the winningest coach in Ravens history under contract through the 2022 season. It replaces a pact that was slated to end after next year.

BEARS: Chuck Pagano is ready to embrace the “opportunity of a lifetime” as the Bears’ defensive coordinator.

He inherits a group that ranked among the best in the NFL and helped Chicago win the NFC North after four straight last-place finishes. The Bears made the playoffs for the first time in eight years in their first season under Coach Matt Nagy.

Pagano will continue to run the 3-4 as Chicago did under Vic Fangio and combine his philosophy with the system in place. Fangio left to become coach of the Denver Broncos.

SAINTS: Retiring tight end Benjamin Watson strongly criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his public silence following a blown call in the NFC championship game.

Watson posted a letter to Goodell on Twitter, saying “we all realize that football is an imperfect game, played, coached and officiated by imperfect people. What occurred last Sunday in New Orleans, though, was outside of that expected and accepted norm.”


Watson continued, adding “your continued silence on this matter is unbecoming of the position you hold, detrimental to the integrity of the game and disrespectful and dismissive to football fans everywhere. From the locker room to Park Ave., accountability is what makes our league great. Lead by example. We are waiting.”

Officials clearly missed pass interference and helmet-to-helmet contact on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who flattened Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis on an incomplete pass inside the Rams’ 10-yard line with 1:45 left in a tie game. The play occurred in close range of two officials along the sideline who never pulled their flags.

PANTHERS: Quarterback Cam Newton has had arthroscopic surgery on his right throwing shoulder.

The team announced Newton’s rehabilitation process will begin immediately and no timetable listed for when he can begin throwing again.

PACKERS: The Packers hired Ravens front office veteran Milt Hendrickson as director of football operations.

Hendrickson has spent the past 14 seasons in the personnel department with Baltimore.


CHIEFS: Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants’ defensive coordinator and interim head coach, was named defensive coordinator.

Spagnuolo, 59, was out of football in 2018 after three seasons with the Giants.

The Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton after losing to the Patriots 37-31 in the AFC championship game.

Dee Ford, of Kent, England, told the Kansas City Star that her “phone was going off literally nonstop” due to angry tweets from Kansas City Chiefs fans who thought they were venting at linebacker Dee Ford following his critical late penalty in last weekend’s AFC championship loss to the New England Patriots.

She says Ford “doesn’t deserve” the vitriol. Ford is a 47-year-old Englishwoman.

The player isn’t on Twitter, but he was no stranger to the Englishwoman. Five years ago, when the player was still at Auburn, someone in the school’s athletic department tagged the woman in a congratulatory tweet after the player was named most valuable player of the Senior Bowl.

She decided to learn a about the game and was hooked. She has spoken to the Chiefs’ Dee Ford by phone and attended two games – an Auburn home game last fall and a Chiefs game in London in 2015.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: