Bengals have no answers for Gronkowski, Patriots
Professional baseball player Tim Tebow’s fruitless tenure with the New England Patriots represents a missed opportunity in his life — in more ways than one.
In his new book, “Shaken,” Tebow tells a story of receiving an offer for a one-day commercial shoot that would pay him a ridiculous sum of money. Before he signed off, he wanted to run it by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick, wary of turning Tebow’s audition with the team in the circus that came to define his brief tenure with the Jets, advised Tebow to turn down the offer.
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Tebow was later cut by the Patriots. No job. No million dollars.
On one hand, this obviously sucked for Tebow. But before we rush to demonize Belichick here — and trust me, I understand more than anyone how fun that can be — let’s remember a) Tebow is stupid rich and b) Tebow wasn’t beholden to Belichick just because he answered a question.
Special teams ace Matthew Slater inked a 1-year extension on Tuesday worth up to $1.8 million, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, citing a source informed of the deal.
Slater is one of the more underrated players of the last 10 years. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Slater has racked up more than 120 tackles over his career. He is available to catch passes, defend them or return kicks. He last signed a contract extension with the team back in 2014.
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Loyalty is important to Belichick and no one has encapsulated the Patriot way like Slater over the years. Belichick values special teams play more than possibly any coach in football not named John Harbaugh jersey and he’s not going to risk his jack-of-all-trades captain hitting the open market. It’s probably safe to say Slater and wholesale jerseys will be around in Foxborough for the rest of his career.
Since becoming the Patriots’ starter in 2001, Brady has 201 wins in 264 career games — it took Manning 293 games to reach 200 wins. It was Brady’s fourth career win over the Rams.
“Tom breaking the record, that’s what it is all about — winning games,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the game.
Brady and the Patriots (10-2) also made sure the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher, who is working under a new contract extension, will have to wait at least another year for a winning season. With the loss, the Rams (4-8) would have to win their four remaining games against the Falcons, Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals to post a .500 record.
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1. Controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and cheap jerseys, the Bengals had the Patriots on the ropes until a pair of penalties instigated an onslaught for New England. A frustrated Tom Brady was pressured and forced to flee the pocket until Dre Kirkpatrick’s illegal contact call on third-and-18 gave him new life late in the second quarter. Brady hit James White for a 15-yard touchdown six plays later. After Andy Dalton jersey led an 80-yard touchdown drive to start the second half, the Bengals defense forced a punt and Cincinnati appeared to be in the driver’s seat. A holding penalty on right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi not only negated a 15-yard pass to A.J. Green, but also led to a crucial safety on a delayed blitz by Dont’a Hightower — his second in as many weeks. The Patriots scored 24 points on their next four possessions, pulling away from a Bengals team that simply lacked the offensive firepower to keep up.
2. Gronkowski and James White exposed the coverage woes of the Bengals linebackers, combining for 209 yards and three scores on 15 receptions. The All Pro tight end was a big-play machine, generating four plays of 25 or more yards in addition to his 4-yard touchdown. Gronkowski was also whistled for taunting after yelling at the Bengals sideline during a two-play sequence that involved an extended back-and-forth with Vontaze Burfict jersey. Cincinnati’s incendiary linebacker and cornerback Adam Jones had gone at the knees of Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett on separate plays, perhaps raising the ire of Gronk.
3. A.J. Green is having an All Pro-caliber season, but Andy Dalton needs more help for an offense that has managed just 10 touchdowns this season — fewer than any teams save the Seahawks and Texans. Ogbuehi, an early-season liability despite his first-round draft pedigree, was benched for Eric Winston in the third quarter. Emblematic of the Bengals’ rushing woes, Giovani Bernard jersey was stuffed on three separate tries at the goal line in the second quarter. Bernard and Jeremy Hill have combined to average just 3.53 yards per carry this season. Cincinnati still has a chance to turn the season around with Pittsburgh and Baltimore each losing on Sunday and Cleveland next on the schedule. If the ground attack doesn’t start showing signs of life, though, the chances of playing catch-up in the AFC North will dwindle.
4. Brady generated an 82.9 completion rate and a 140.0 passer rating on an afternoon in which he couldn’t get comfortable in the pocket for nearly two full quarters. In two games since returning from his two-game suspension, Brady has completed 57 of 75 passes (76.0 percent) for 782 yards (10.4 YPA), six touchdowns and a 135.5 passer rating. The future Hall of Famer said last week that he feels better at age 39 than he did at age 29. We’ve seen no reason to be skeptical of that declaration.