New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hailed his side's defense after their shutout 25-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.

The Patriots improved to 7-4 across the season, extending their undefeated away run to five games, being one of two teams who remain unbeaten on the road.

New England also maintained their excellent defensive form, having allowed only 13 points in their past three games.

"I'm proud of the way our guys played on defense," Belichick said at the post-game news conference. "The coaching staff did a good job.

"I thought our defensive coaches really worked hard this week. It was a short week of preparation.

"[Falcons head coach] Arthur [Smith] is always giving us trouble, we had a lot of trouble with him at Tennessee. He gave us some problems tonight but fortunately we were able to get out of some of them one way or another.

"You've got to give the coaches and players a lot of credit. They did a good job."

The Patriots are second in the AFC East after winning their past five consecutive games, and defensive back Devin McCourty said they had discovered their "blueprint" but had to keep it up.

"We found our blueprint," McCourty told reporters. "It's hard work. It's putting in the hours practising hard. We can't let that slip up. End of November-December we have to stick to that.

"I think that's shown so far, when we stick that we have a chance to win a lot of games."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady revelled in his "very cool record" after becoming the all-time passing yards leader during his emotional Foxborough homecoming against the New England Patriots.

Brady broke Drew Brees' NFL record and led Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers (3-1) past former team the Patriots (1-3) 19-17 on Sunday.

All eyes were on Brady as the seven-time Super Bowl champion made his first appearance in New England since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, having won six rings at Gillette Stadium.

Brady received a warm welcome from Patriots fans, with the 44-year-old going on to eclipse Brees' mark of 80,291 yards and join Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees as the only QBs to defeat all 32 NFL franchises.

"I just think it's amazing statistic in that so many people can share in it with me," Brady told reporters after finishing 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards without a touchdown or interception, while he rushed for three yards on four carries.

"Quarterback doesn't throw and catch. Quarterback can just throw it. It's yards. Passing yards have to be caught, so I just hope that everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight knowing they contributed to a very cool record."

"It's not that I would predict what would happen," Brady said. "There were a few emotional moments thinking about the people that meant so much in my life. My football journey took me somewhere else."

Brady shared an embrace with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick following the game, which saw a desperate 56-yard field-goal attempt from Nick Folk bounce off the upright in the final minute as the former got the better of New England.

"All of that is personal," Brady said when asked about what was said between him and Belichick. "We've had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way.

"So much is made of our relationship... nothing is really accurate that I ever see. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and this organisation."

"It was a tough, hard-fought game. It was a very typical Patriot-type weather. Very tough to come into the environment. I thought the fans did a great job. That little, what do they call that horn? That foghorn or whatever? That thing's loud," Brady said of the noise that plays before opponents' third-down plays.

"You don't think about it much when your defense is on the field. I just had to be on the field when that thing was going off."

It remains to be seen whether Brady will play another game in Foxborough as the five-time Super Bowl MVP said: "It's been a great stadium for me for a long time. I don't know what the future holds, obviously. So there could be an opportunity to come back here. So we'll see."

After the reunion, Belichick added: "We went against Tom Brady every day, every day in practice defensively. So it's not like we've never seen Tom Brady before."

Tom Brady made history in his Foxborough homecoming as Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held off the New England Patriots 19-17.

Brady returned to New England for the first time since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, having won six Super Bowls during his 19 years at Gillette Stadium.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion received a warm reception in his homecoming as the Buccaneers superstar broke Drew Brees' NFL passing yards record.

Brady, who finished 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards without a touchdown or interception, eclipsed the 80,291-yards mark in the opening quarter – the 44-year-old's 28-yard completion to Mike Evans seeing him surpass Brees.

Bill Belichick's New England (1-3) led 7-6 at half-time thanks to Mac Jones' 11-yard pass to Hunter Henry in the second quarter.

Ronald Jones II's eight-yard run helped the Buccaneers (3-1) reclaim the lead before Mac Jones' second TD pass of the night – a short completion to Jonnu Smith – tipped the contest back in the Patriots' favour to start the final period.

Mac Jones completed 19 consecutive passes, tying the longest streak in a single game by a Patriots quarterback in the last 30 years. That run was posted by Brady in Week 1 of the 2015 season.

The topsy-turvy clash continued as Ryan Succop and New England's Nick Folk traded field goals before the former converted a 48-yard kick to put Tampa Bay ahead inside the final two minutes following a seven-play, 45-yard drive led by Brady.

A desperate 56-yard field-goal attempt from Folk bounced off the upright in the final minute as Brady got the better of the Patriots and Belichick to join Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees as the only QBs to defeat all 32 NFL franchises.

The debate over whether Bill Belichick or Tom Brady was more responsible for the New England Patriots' dynasty is not one likely to die down any time soon.

But for Belichick's part, the Patriots coach has long since accepted he would not have enjoyed the same success, which saw New England win six Super Bowls in Brady's 20 seasons as quarterback, had another player been under center.

Asked at a media conference if New England would have dominated to the same extent without Brady, Belichick replied: "Of course not. We talked about that for two decades.

"I think I've been on the record dozens of times saying there's no quarterback I would rather have than Tom Brady and I still feel that way.

"I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, to coach him, and he was as good as any coach could ever ask for."

Belichick's fondness for Brady did not stop him from allowing the Patriots' greatest player to leave in the offseason before the 2020 campaign.

Brady moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and promptly won a seventh Super Bowl ring.

While Belichick will have to plan for a game against Brady for the first time when the Buccaneers visit the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, he will likely not have to face tight end Rob Gronkowski, whom the Patriots traded to the Bucs last season after he came out of retirement.

Gronkowski was listed as doubtful on the Bucs' injury report, having suffered a rib injury during Tampa Bay's Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Running back Giovani Bernard and cornerback Jamel Dean have both been ruled out, the latter's absence potentially meaning playing time for a new signing in five-time Pro Bowler Richard Sherman.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick backed Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady to play in the NFL until he is 50 ahead of the pair's reunion.

Brady will lead Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers (2-1) against former team the Patriots (1-2) on the road in Foxborough on Sunday.

The 44-year-old Brady won six Super Bowls with Belichick at the Patriots before leaving for the Buccaneers via free agency ahead of the 2020 season.

With Brady showing no signs of slowing down, long-serving Patriots coach Belichick hailed the five-time Super Bowl MVP.

"Nothing Tom does surprises me," Belichick told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's a great player, works hard, takes care of himself. He's talked about playing until 50. If anybody can do it, he probably can.

"Tom's had an unbelievable career. There's not enough superlatives and adjectives to compliment him on everything that he's achieved and continues to achieve.

"It's unbelievably impressive."

Brady has thrown for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns through his team's first three games for the second time in his career (also 2011). He is the only quarterback in NFL history to do that twice.

Tampa Bay's Brady will be looking to join Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only starting quarterbacks to defeat all 32 teams in their careers.

Brady is also on the cusp of history, with the QB requiring just 68 yards to surpass Brees' NFL career passing yardage record of 80,358 yards.

"He's as tough as any quarterback there is or ever has been. Enough said. His numbers are incredible," Belichick added.

"He's about to pass the all-time passing record. He's done more than any other player at that position in whatever measurement you want to take – whether it's yards, completions, touchdowns, championships, you name it. Put anything out there that you want; it doesn't get any tougher than that."

Cam Newton has been cut by the New England Patriots, according to widespread reports, leaving Mac Jones as the new starting quarterback.

Newton and Jones had appeared in a battle for the starting spot ahead of the 2021 season.

On Sunday, after the Pats' final preseason game against the New York Giants, coach Bill Belichick refused to declare his starter, saying: "We still have decisions to make."

But Newton played just 39 snaps in preseason, also missing five days due to a "misunderstanding" relating to COVID-19 tests. He has now been released.

The decision clears a path for Jones, a first-round pick who led Alabama to the College Football Playoff National Championship this year.

Belichick will hope the 22-year-old can be a long-term replacement for Tom Brady, who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before last season and went on to win the Super Bowl.

Newton was signed as a free agent to fill the void but completed just 65.8 per cent of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 15 regular season games.

Although the 32-year-old did rush for 12 touchdowns – the most since 14 in his rookie year with Carolina Panthers in 2011 – even his underlying numbers through the air were poor.

Newton delivered a well-thrown, accurate ball on 76.1 per cent of his passes while averaging 7.07 air yards, below the 2020 league averages for quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts in both metrics (78.0 per cent and 8.16).

The departing three-time Pro Bowler was still handed a one-year contract ahead of Jones' arrival, but New England have clearly seen enough from the rookie in preseason.

At Alabama, Jones showed himself to be far more effective through the air than the man he will be replacing as starter. His 83.21 well-thrown percentage ranked third in the Power 5 in 2020.

Bill Belichick is keeping everyone in the dark about who will start under center for the New England Patriots this season – including the quarterbacks themselves.

Cam Newton revealed on Monday he does not know whether he will be preferred to Mac Jones for the Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins on September 12.

"No, [Belichick] hasn't said that," he said on Monday. "It is what it is.

"Every single day, I'm coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that's the only thing that I can do, so I can control that."

Newton is returning in 2021 after a difficult first year with the Patriots following Tom Brady's departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The former Carolina Panthers QB, who was the MVP in 2015, threw for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns – his lowest career marks across a full season – as well as 10 interceptions.

Starting 15 games after seeing his final campaign in Carolina disrupted by injury, Newton's arm appeared to be impacted as he threw for just 7.07 air yards on average.

His 103 carries excluding scrambles led the NFL at his position, but his 4.06 yards per carry were comfortably below average.

Newton now has competition from Jones, who was selected with the 15th overall pick after leading Alabama to the College Football Playoff National Championship title.

Jones put up 4,500 yards, 41 TDs and only four picks, ranking first among Power 5 QBs in completion percentage (79.1) and third in well-thrown percentage (83.2).

The 22-year-old was also below par in air yards (8.52) and yards per carry (2.09), however.

Newton is widely expected to start ahead of Jones for now, but the three-time Pro Bowler understands the reasons for such questions.

"I don't take it personal," Newton said. "I just want you guys to understand everything you know I know. There's no hidden motives or things like that.

"I do know those things like that I can't worry about, because each and every day I don't necessarily care about who's starting.

"I mostly care about making sure I put the best product out there for me. I know Mac is feeling the same, and I know Brian [Hoyer] is feeling the same way, and everyone else, going down each and every position.

"As far as Week 1, we have so much to worry about prior to Week 1; that's where my focus is right now."

Cam Newton is returning to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

The former NFL MVP spent the 2020 season with New England, who went 7-9 in a disappointing first year after the departure of Tom Brady.

Quarterback Newton often struggled in a new offense with a poor supporting cast that had also hindered Brady in his last season with the Pats.

However, he will get the chance to improve in 2021 after agreeing a new deal with the team ahead of free agency, according to reports from NFL Network and ESPN.

Newton's deal is reportedly to be worth up to $14million, having surprisingly agreed to a $1m contract last year.

At that price he still represents a more affordable option after a flurry of QB moves earlier in the offseason saw Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz find new teams.

The renewal of Newton ends speculation he will link up with the Washington Football Team, who are led by his former coach at the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera.

With the Buffalo Bills reaching the AFC Championship Game and the Miami Dolphins rebuilding quickly with extensive draft capital, New England are suddenly under pressure in the AFC East.

And the scrutiny on their performances in 2021 will intensify after Brady won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This move sees the Pats secure a starting QB ahead of free agency but will not preclude them from exploring other options at the position, according to reports.

Newton, 31, played 15 games (7-8) for New England – missing just one due to coronavirus - after injuries restricted him to playing only twice in his last of nine seasons with Carolina.

He threw for eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions with 2,657 yards through the air, though he did add 592 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

Newton also caught a TD pass from his leading receiver Jakobi Meyers in a win over the New York Jets.

After a painful year, the Patriots go into the offseason with Newton signed, one of the best salary cap situations in the league and the number 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

A month on from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' triumph in Super Bowl LV, teams across the NFL are preparing to make moves they hope will propel them towards glory.

This year's free agency period is unlikely to see a move as decisive as Tom Brady's decision to swap the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers.

However, with franchises dealing with a likely declining salary cap because of the impact of playing a season largely without fans, the chaos of the league's open market should still be fascinating to watch.

But which teams will be the most active when the NFL opens the window for teams to begin negotiating with free agents next Monday?

Here we look at those likeliest to be busy and the signings they could make.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cap Space: $85.7million

From having the number one pick in the draft, which they will almost certainly use on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, to having the most salary cap space in the league, the Jaguars are the franchise that holds the keys to the offseason.

New general manager Trent Baalke and first-time NFL head coach Urban Meyer have no shortage of needs to address following a one-win 2020 season.

Lawrence will require much-improved pass protection if he is to thrive and lead Jacksonville to contention. With that in mind, they should be in on the sweepstakes for All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who cannot be franchise-tagged by the San Francisco 49ers and is likely to command over $20m a year.

Given the money at their disposal, the Jags will be among the leading candidates to lure edge rusher Shaquil Barrett from the Buccaneers. He could form a formidable tandem with Jacksonville's 2019 first-round pick Josh Allen.

New York Jets

Cap Space: $72.4million

The Jets' offseason will be defined by whether they stick with Sam Darnold at quarterback or use their second overall pick to select one of the top four signal-callers in the draft class.

But beyond that pivotal decision, Jets GM Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have an arduous task of turning one of the worst rosters in football into one primed to contend in the AFC.

Saleh may look to his old team, the 49ers, for whom he was defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020, to build up his secondary in New York.

Richard Sherman could be tempted cross country to stay with Saleh, while slot cornerback K'Waun Williams is a New Jersey native who could offer the Jets a dependable presence familiar with the defense.

New England Patriots

Cap Space: $72.6million

Bill Belichick has rarely been one to spend big in his storied tenure as head coach and de-facto GM of the Patriots.

However, possessing a talent-poor roster and in danger of being left behind in the AFC East, this could be the year where he changes course, and Belichick has already made a significant move, bringing back offensive tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.

New England must make a decision at quarterback after an unconvincing season from Cam Newton as Tom Brady's successor.

Regardless of who is under center, the Patriots will not compete if their quarterback does not have dynamic weapons among their pass-catchers.

Belichick has typically had a blindspot for wide receivers in the draft, so more experienced options with playmaking upside like Corey Davis and Marvin Jones could find a home in New England. Hunter Henry may also be a target if the Los Angeles Chargers decide not to pay the tight end who was franchise-tagged last year.

Indianapolis Colts

Cap Space: $50.5million

The Colts have the man they hope will be the answer at quarterback following Philip Rivers' retirement, backing Carson Wentz to rehabilitate his career under Frank Reich and acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles.

In terms of a support system, Wentz is heading into a team with a strong one in place, yet it could still be improved and the Colts have the wiggle room to be aggressive.

They may be an attractive destination for the aforementioned Williams, who would be an upgrade on the retired Anthony Castonzo at left tackle.

Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton could leave in free agency and it would not be wise for the Colts to rely too heavily on Michael Pittman Jr at wideout despite a strong end to his rookie season.

As they look to maximise Wentz's chances of being successful, a move for a high-profile receiver like Allen Robinson could make a great deal of sense for a team looking to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cap Space: $18.1million

The outlier here in terms of cap space but, having blown out the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers will surely not be short of players wanting to join them on short-term deals to link up with Brady and make another push for a Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa will be busy enough trying to hold on to as many in-house free agents as possible, but the Bucs will find intriguing potential temporary options in areas of need on the open market.

Reinforcements may well be required on the defensive line given the possibility of Barrett going elsewhere.

The Bucs have seen one veteran, Jason Pierre-Paul, thrive on the edge. Perhaps Justin Houston, who has 19 sacks over his last two seasons with the Colts, could be tempted by the chance to chase a ring in Tampa.

On the interior, the Buccaneers have a monstrous presence in Vita Vea, and their strength in that area could allow them to take a swing on a former first-rounder in Sheldon Rankins, who has seen his career with the New Orleans Saints stall because of injuries but had eight sacks back in 2018.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump.

Belichick – widely considered the greatest coach in NFL history – was set to be awarded the medal by United States president Trump on Thursday.

However, Belichick has spurned the offer after supporters of Trump – whose presidential term will end on January 20 – stormed the United States Capitol last week.

"Recently I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients," Belichick said in a statement on Monday.

"Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.

"Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team.

"One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions.

"Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded by the United States president "for especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavours".

Past recipients of the award include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Babe Ruth and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Belichick, who just concluded his 46th season in the NFL and 21st in New England – has enjoyed great success since taking charge of the Patriots in 2000.

The 68-year-old has won six Super Bowls, joining George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches with six championships since the league began postseason play in 1933.

Belichick (280) sits third on the NFL's all-time list for regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and Halas (318).

He is also third for regular and postseason victories with 311, adrift of Shula (347) and Halas (324), while Belichick tops the list for playoff triumphs (31).

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.