Brady, Patriots bounce back to beat Vikings

By Dan Myers The Sports Xchange MINNEAPOLIS -- After being embarrassed in the second half in a loss to Miami last week, the New England Patriots' defense reappeared in a big way Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots intercepted quart...

Matt Cassel
New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel (16) in the third quarter Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. The Patriots win 30-7. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)

By Dan Myers

The Sports Xchange


MINNEAPOLIS -- After being embarrassed in the second half in a loss to Miami last week, the New England Patriots' defense reappeared in a big way Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Patriots intercepted quarterback Matt Cassel four times -- setting up 17 New England points -- and limited a Vikings ground game without star running back Adrian Peterson to only 54 yards on 19 carries in a 30-7 rout of Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium.


After watching the Vikings march 80 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead, the Patriots' defense got the score back in short order when cornerback Devin McCourty picked off Cassel near midfield and returned it all the way down to the Vikings' 1-yard line.

Running back Stevan Ridley punched it in two plays later to tie the game at 7-7.

"Sometimes you just have to settle down," McCourty said. "We came on the sideline and talked about what they did (on the first drive). We were ready for it."

Quarterback Tom Brady hit wide receiver Julian Edelman on an 11-yard score to give the Patriots a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter following another Cassel pick, this one by corner Darrelle Revis.

But the big blow for the Patriots (1-1) came with time running down in the second quarter. With the Vikings (1-1) driving, a third-down conversion to wide receiver Greg Jennings was negated by an offensive pass interference call. Minnesota was forced to settle for a long field goal, but Blair Walsh's kick was blocked by New England defensive end Chandler Jones, who scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 58 yards for the score with only nine seconds left before halftime.

"It was something we've been working on in practice," Jones said. "Actually, we work on that a lot. It (worked out) just the way we drew it up. I knew I would have got made fun of if I got caught by anyone. I was just trying to get to the end zone."

Following Cassel's third interception early in the second half, the chants for Vikings rookie backup Teddy Bridgewater began. Up 17 at the break, the Patriots took Minnesota's rushing attack away from them and sacked Cassel six times.

"Anytime you can get that kind of a lead like we did, and we saw the reverse of that last week, it was a one-dimensional game and those guys can just do their thing and tee-off on the quarterback," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "That's a defensive lineman's dream. We were able to capitalize on it and get some pressure on the quarterback, but our ability to make plays, get ahead and create in that situation really had a lot to do (with the win)."


Stephen Gostkowski connected on field goals of 47 and 27 yards in the second half to push the Patriots' lead to 30-7.

"We didn't do anything characteristic of ourselves," said Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. "Over the last five games (including preseason), we played fundamental football, didn't turn the ball over, and we didn't hurt ourselves with penalties. We did all three of those things today."

After going 4-for-4 for 75 yards on the first drive of the game, including a 25-yard dump off to running back Matt Asiata for the first score of the game, Cassel went 15-for-31 with 127 yards and four picks the rest of the way.

"Anytime you have four turnovers and a blocked field goal, you're gonna get beat," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "Like I told the team, I was disappointed in the way that we didn't have any sense of urgency offensively for the whole ball game, except the first drive."

Brady finished with only 149 yards through the air, but was efficient, completing 15 of 22 attempts and the single score. Edelman led all receivers with six catches and 81 yards.

"Making mistakes and letting a Hall of Fame quarterback stay on the field," said Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. "We obviously didn't get the job done."

Ridley, who carried only eight times for 21 yards in the loss to the Dolphins last week, rushed 25 times for 101 yards and a score Sunday.

"That was really important for us to be able to run the ball like that," Brady said. "We're going to need that all season."


Asiata started in place of Peterson, who was deactivated by the Vikings Sunday following an indictment by a grand jury on reckless or negligent injury to a child charges. Peterson was booked into Montgomery County (Texas) jail early Saturday morning and was released after posting $15,000 bond. His status for next week, and the rest of the season, remains uncertain.

Asiata carried 13 times for 36 yards. His five catches were tied for the team lead and the receiving touchdown was the first of his NFL career.

NOTES: The win was the 200th in the head coaching career of Bill Belichick. He becomes the sixth man in NFL history to reach the 200-win plateau. ... The 101-yard day for RB Stevan Ridley was his first time over the century-mark on the ground since Week 9 of last season against Pittsburgh. ... Vikings WR Greg Jennings caught only one pass for four yards Sunday, but the catch was the 500th of his career.

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