Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) scrambles with the ball as Houston Texans defensive end Jake Martin (54) defends during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots overcome Texans’ big plays for comeback win

Nick Folk drilled a 21-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining and the New England Patriots rallied for a 25-22 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Folk, who missed a PAT following the first Patriots touchdown, finished 4-of-4 on field goals, including a pair of 52-yarders. The Patriots (2-3) rallied from a 13-point deficit early in the third quarter behind rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who passed for 231 yards and a 13-yard touchdown to Hunter Henry early in the fourth quarter, plus a serviceable ground attack.

Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns, including a 37-yarder to Chris Conley on a flea-flicker for a 22-9 lead early in the third following a Lonnie Johnson Jr. interception of Jones on the Patriots’ first possession of the half.

Poor special teams play proved costly for the Texans (1-4). Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed two PATs plus a 56-yard field goal that yielded the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown. The Texans also had a zero-yard punt following a bumbled trick play that initiated the New England comeback.

After amassing just 109 yards last week in a 40-point loss at Buffalo, the Texans surpassed that total by the close of their second possession, both of which concluded with Mills touchdown passes.

The Texans covered 79 yards in 10:06 and 18 plays on their opening possession, capped by Mills’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Antony Auclair. The drive was the longest by number of plays for the Texans in 10 years, but Fairbairn missed the first of his two PATs and Houston led 6-0.

After New England responded with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by Damien Harris’ 1-yard touchdown run — the Patriots’ first points on an opening possession this season — Mills found Chris Moore for a 67-yard touchdown on third down. The Texans reached 154 yards on the pass play but Fairbairn missed the PAT and Houston led 12-6, a lead extended to 15-9 by the break.

The Patriots were fortunate to be within six at the intermission. Harris fumbled just prior to crossing the goal line in the second quarter, with Texans cornerback Terrance Mitchell punching the ball free and Jaleel Johnston recovering in the end zone. But two Matt Judon sacks stifled the Texans after Mills connected with Conley for 40 yards to the Patriots’ 4 on fourth down.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton out because of ‘misunderstanding’ of COVID-19 tests

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was absent from Monday’s practice, causing many to wonder what was ailing the former NFL MVP.

The Patriots were quick to release a statement explaining the reason behind Newton’s absence.

“On Saturday, Cam Newton traveled to a club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area. He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility. Cam will continue participating virtually in team activities and return to the club facility on Thursday, August 26.”

Newton previously has declined to say whether he’s vaccinated, although this situation seems to have provided an answer; only unvaccinated players are required to be tested daily.

Newton, a former No. 1 overall draft pick and the 2015 NFL MVP with the Carolina Panthers, is in his second season with the Patriots.

Brought in to fill the very big shoes of Tom Brady, Newton was 7-8 as a starter in 2020 as the Patriots missed the playoffs for only the third time in 20 seasons. He completed 65.8 percent of his pass attempts for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He added 12 touchdowns on 592 rushing yards.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Patriots TE Henry (shoulder) to have MRI

New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry will undergo an MRI on his ailing shoulder, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Henry, 26, injured his shoulder during Sunday’s practice. ESPN reported the injury “doesn’t appear serious,” although it is painful and could force Henry to miss playing time in the preseason.

Henry signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Patriots in the offseason. New England also added fellow tight end Jonnu Smith on a four-year, $50 million deal.

Henry played last season on the franchise tag with the Los Angeles Chargers, his fifth season with the franchise.

Henry caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games last season.

By comparison, the Patriots had 18 receptions for 254 yards and one TD from the tight end position last season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) talks with a member of the Arizona Cardinals prior to the start of the game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore expresses contract frustration with tweet

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore wants to be paid like one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.

He said as much Tuesday with one two-word tweet.

CBS Sports tweeted a list of the 10 highest-paid defensive backs in the league, which now appears to have been deleted. Gilmore, who did not crack the list, quote-tweeted the list with the succinct message, “Oh ok.”

Gilmore, 30, skipped the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp as he seeks a new deal. He is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2021, the final year of his current contract. The Athletic reported that the Patriots and Gilmore have not made much progress on a new agreement.

Gilmore was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2019, won 2019 Defensive Player of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in four of the last five seasons.

In nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2012-16) and Patriots (2017-20), Gilmore has started 122 of 124 games and recorded 25 interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. He also has forced six fumbles and recovered three.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) runs the ball after a catch against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots upend Cardinals on Folk’s 50-yarder

Nick Folk made a 50-yard field goal as time expired to give the New England Patriots a 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Foxboro, Mass.

New England (5-6) overcame an early 10-0 deficit and was able to drive for Folk’s field goal after Arizona kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard attempt with 1:47 remaining.

Folk’s kick was set up after Cam Newton ran 14 yards to the New England 46 and Isaiah Simmons was ruled for unsportsmanlike conduct, hitting Newton helmet-to-helmet while Newton was running out of bounds. The penalty placed the ball on the Arizona 39.

Two plays later, Folk lined up for his game-winning kick, his 19th consecutive successful attempt this season.

Arizona (6-5) tied the game at 17-17 with 8:16 remaining after a fourth-and-5 attempt at the New England 13 was aided by a defensive holding penalty by Jason McCourty.

Four plays later, Kenyon Drake scored on a 1-yard run, the Cardinals’ first touchdown since their first possession of the game. Drake finished with 78 yards on 22 carries.

Newton’s second interception, a pick by Dre Kirkpatrick, gave Arizona possession at the New England 47 with 4:27 remaining. Newton completed 9 of 18 passes for only 84 yards and no touchdowns.

After Drake was stopped short of a first down on third-and-2, Gonzalez missed the 45-yard field goal wide right.

Arizona took a 10-7 lead into halftime but New England’s defense provided the Patriots momentum at the end of the half.

Drake was stopped just short of the goal-line on a fourth-and-goal play inches short of the end zone as time expired in the first half.

On the previous play, Kyler Murray’s 7-yard pass to KeeSean Johnson was first ruled a touchdown but the replay showed Johnson’s knee touched the turf before the ball broke the plane of the end zone.

Murray finished 23 of 34 for 170 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

The failure to score before halftime appeared to take steam out of the Cardinals, whose first three possessions of the second half resulted in a punt, a Murray interception and another punt.

–Field Level Media

Oct 5, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of a NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Mahomes, Chiefs shake off Pats for another 4-0 start

Patrick Mahomes drove Kansas City to two touchdowns in the final 16 minutes Monday night as the undefeated Chiefs downed the visiting New England Patriots 26-10.

Mahomes passed for 236 yards, going 19 of 29 with two TD tosses.

The Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to record 4-0 starts in four consecutive seasons. Mahomes improved to 11-0 as a starter in September games.

Kansas City sealed the outcome on a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Tyrann Mathieu after a pass slipped through the hands of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman with 8:48 remaining.

The game was rescheduled from Sunday because both teams reported positive COVID-19 tests, including one for Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton.

Brian Hoyer subbed for Newton but failed to engineer a score on two drives into the red zone. Hoyer was replaced in the third quarter by third-stringer Jarrett Stidham, who engineered a touchdown drive on his first possession before throwing two interceptions as New England (2-2) fell two games behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

Patriots running back Sony Michel also missed the trip because of a quad injury, but Damien Harris came off injured reserve to gain 100 yards on 17 carries. Harris had missed the first three games due to a hand injury.

Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman caught touchdown passes for the Chiefs, both on easy 6-yard shovel flips from Mahomes.

Only field goals were converted in the first half as the Chiefs grabbed a 6-3 halftime edge.

New England could have tied it as time expired, but Hoyer inexplicably took a third-down sack from Frank Clark with the Patriots out of timeouts. New England executed 25 second-quarter plays for 104 yards but only produced a 43-yard field goal from Nick Folk.

Harrison Butker connected from 23 and 39 yards, each in the first quarter when the Chiefs produced 159 yards but stalled twice. Kansas City also lost a fumble at the New England 15-yard line to begin the second period.

Kansas City appeared to commit another second-quarter turnover when Mahomes lost a ball that the Patriots’ Shilique Calhoun grabbed out of the air. The play was ruled dead, however, and the Chiefs punted.

Hoyer finished 15 of 24 for 130 yards and an interception. Stidham completed 5 of 13 passes for 60 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Aug 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots center David Andrews (60) reacts during the first half against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots place C Andrews, LB Uche on injured reserve

The New England Patriots placed center David Andrews and rookie linebacker Josh Uche on injured reserve, the team announced Saturday.

Andrews, 28, reportedly underwent right thumb surgery on his snapping hand while Uche is nursing a foot injury.

Both players will sit out the Patriots’ games against the Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos before they are eligible to return.

Also on Saturday, the Patriots signed offensive lineman James Ferentz to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. They also elevated defensive lineman Nick Thurman and wide receiver Isaiah Zuber to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

Andrews, a team captain, started the first two games this season after missing the entire 2019 season due to blood clots in his lungs. He has started 59 of 62 games played since entering the league with New England in 2015.

Uche, 22, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He was inactive for the season opener against Miami before missing last week’s game versus Seattle.

Ferentz, 31, has played in 38 NFL games, including two starts last season — one at guard, one at center — for New England. He saw action in 21 games with the Denver Broncos in 2015-16 and 17 with the Patriots in 2018-19.

Thurman, 25, made one tackle in his first NFL game last week versus the Seahawks. He was then shuffled back to the practice squad.

Zuber, 23, competed collegiately at Kansas State and Mississippi State. The undrafted Zuber will provide depth behind Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers.

–Field Level Media